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|| News Item: Posted 2011-10-14

Holy Toledo! What a way to end a workshop

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter Newsletter

Photo by Maya Sugarman, Sports Shooter Academy VIII

Photo by Maya Sugarman, Sports Shooter Academy VIII
I can’t watch football.

I’ve probably covered hundreds of football games in my career. From Visalia’s annual Cowhide Game (Redwood High vs. Mt. Whitney High) with a Nikon FMII and a 180mm lens ---to last February’s Super Bowl Game (Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers) with a D3s and a 600mm.

Running up and down the sidelines at the Candlestick Park or parked in an end zone with the sun over my shoulder at the Rose Bowl (usually sitting next to SI’s Peter Read Miller), covering football has always been my favorite.

But when it comes to being a spectator, I just can’t watch.

I’ve never been one of those guys that hang out at sports bars with dozens of noisy, usually sloppy “fans” screaming at a succession of games rotating on large screens mounted on wall, not being able to hear the play-by-play.

Of course I’ve watched games in the comfort of my own home, but when I start pacing around the room (usually about 12 minutes on the game clock) I end up changing the channel to a rerun of Triple D ---no not the Playboy Channel --but Drive-Ins, Diners & Dives on the Food Network.

(I do have a fond memory of watching “The Catch” ---Dwight Clark’s legendary leaping TD grab in the ’82 NFC Championship Game against the Cowboys --on a 24-inch TV in our second floor Visalia apartment. Our neighbors thought there was an earthquake because of all of the jumping and shouting I was doing… But for the most part, that was about all I could watch of the game.)

So what’s the matter with this Sports Fan … the guy complete strangers often approach and say “Hey you’re that Sports Shooter Guy!”

And there is my problem: the Sports SHOOTER Guy.

When I watch games on TV or even from the stands during my daughter’s high school’s games, I can’t think of the game in terms of The Game. I think of it in terms of covering the game: Ball is on the 15 yard line, 3rd down; do I go to the back of the end zone with the 70-200 zoom or get to the corner at the goal line?

This was extremely evident during the final event at the recent Sports Shooter Academy VIII workshop, a come-from-behind-double OT thriller, probably THE best football game I have ever witnessed. Academy VIII workshop, a come-from-behind-double OT thriller, probably THE best football game I have ever witnessed.


There were two teams running no-huddle offenses, leaping fingertip catches, diving touchdowns, scrambling throwing QBs, a linebacker with hair that made would make Troy Polamalu jealous and unbelievable jube/deject at the end of the game.

As Bill King would say: “Holy Toledo!”

And there I was, along with fellow workshop instructors Rod Mar, the Seattle Seahawks’ team photographer, LA Times staffer Wally Skalij and Sports Shooter Academy co-founder Matt Brown ---all outstanding Sports Shooters in their own right ---witnessing unbelievable plays happening every 90-seconds. And none of us with a camera between us.

Holy Toledo!

Photo by Paul Hayes, Sports Shooter Academy VIII

Photo by Paul Hayes, Sports Shooter Academy VIII
As Matt would say after the second OT: “I had to stop myself from knocking over a workshop student and grabbing their camera and 600 so I could shoot!”

I spent most of the game pacing the sidelines offering advice and yelling to workshoppers: What down is it? Where’s the next play going? Have that wide angle ready for that play in front of you.”

When the benches emptied and players were either jumping in victory or looking off to the late afternoon sky in disappointment, Santa Ana College had overcome a 10-point 4th quarter deficit and beaten Palomar College in a 52-45 double overtime shootout.

I was literally in pain throughout the game, frustratingly no cameras in my hands with about a dozen spectacular plays frozen in my mind ---all of that vanished a couple of hours later while watching the workshop participants editing their work.

There were players flipped in the air, spectacular catches, touchdowns captured from every conceivable location, details, features and the proverbial “thrill of victory, agony of defeat” moments flashing across laptop screens.

A perfect ending to the workshop … even though I didn’t have a camera in my hands…

Holy Toledo.


The Sports Shooter Academy is a labor of love. I could not even think about holding something of this magnitude without the help of some VERY good friends.

Thanks to Rod Mar, Myung Chun, John McDonough, Wally Skalij, Jordan Murph, Shawn Cullen, Crystal Chatham, Tim Mantoani, Susaníca Tam, Rafael Delgado and Christy Radecic. These guys all busted their butts, giving their time and talents to help educate, enlighten and inspire 50 students and photographers from literally around the world.

(Sports Shooter Academy VIII had participants from the U.K, Germany, Singapore and Canada.)

Matt Bailey, Mike Greenlee, Simon Housman and Lincoln Bandlow gave freely of their time, sharing their insights into the business of photography.

We had several companies provide much appreciated support: Samy’s Camera; Think Tank Photo; liveBooks; Pocket Wizard; Lumodi and HonlPhoto.

And thanks to Nikon (Bill Pekala, Sara Moosbrugger, Mike Corrado and Ronal Taniwaki) for providing the funding that allowed students to attend SSA VIII tuition-free.

All of this made Sports Shooter Academy VIII THE coolest photography event of the year!

I am narrowly focused during the workshops – sometimes demanding, exacting, exasperating with high expectations ---but I usually pay for dinner. The workshop staff’s patience and good humor keeps me grounded and pointed forward. Thanks again to all…


Check out the fun videos, photos and comments about Sports Shooter Academy VIII at these links: 218332281520720?sk=wall

*** **

Sports Shooter Newsletter #143 features our annual Intern Diaries series, in which students write about their experiences working at various jobs during the summer. Brent Lewis, Maya Sugarman, Josh Couper, Joel Hawksley, Alex Trautwig, Brooks Canaday, Miranda Chrislick contribute to this year’s Intern Diaries.

Sports Shooter member Shelley Cryan writes an insightful story recounting her two-weeks teaching photography to girls in an impoverished village in Gambia, West Africa. Dave Honl writes an In The Bag Column on lightening up for his trips to Afghanistan. Rafael Delgado contributes a humorous look at Burning Man “through the numbers”. And Michael Lopez gives us a student’s perspective on the Sports Shooter Academy VIII workshop.

Photo by

Books on my nightstand this month include James Lee Burke’s “Feast Day Of Fools” (the return of Hackberry Holland) and Michael Lewis’ “Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World” (a follow up to last year’s “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine”).

And Tower of Power’s “40th Anniversary” CD, from the band’s 2010 live show in San Francisco commemorating their lasting legacy, is in heavy rotation on my iTunes playlists…

“You’re Still A Young Man”…



As always, special thanks to: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen and Jason Burfield.

Thanks this month to contributors: Shelley Cryan, Brent Lewis, Maya Sugarman, Josh Couper, Joel Hawksley, Alex Trautwig, Brooks Canaday, Miranda Chrislick, David Honl, Rafael Augustin Delgado and Michael Lopez.

The comments, opinions and other perceived nutty statements that the writers may have expressed, implied, imagined or made up are theirs and theirs alone. Sports Shooter, Inc. and published these articles in good faith with the purpose of education and inspiration. Permission in writing must be obtained from Sports Shooter, Inc. and the author of the article before being reprinted. I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at The Sports Shooter Archives, as well as tons of cool resources and information, can be accessed at

For information about the Sports Shooter Academy go to the workshops website at: and the new Facebook page: 218332281520720?sk=wa...

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