Bye bye my little work horse!

Bye bye my little work horse!

Call me a softy but I get emotional at times over things like music, memories, and sentimental items.  I’m not always all blustery as I sometimes appear and I can easily get weepy eyed watching Tom and Jerry from my youth.  Its not often but it happens.

But the other day, tears formed in my eyes as I said goodbye to my old pal, my Canon 1D Mark IV camera body.  After nearly a decade of using her and her twin sister, whom I sold a few years back when I got the mighty Canon 1Dx, were my reliable friends through thick and thin.  Through rainstorms on the football field to bikini babes on the set of Hawaii Five-O, my Mark IVs did the job and helped me snap some amazing images.

The Mark IV captured this great shot of Michelle Wie celebrating a putt at Turtle Bay.

Michelle Wie captured at Turtle Bay with the Canon 1D Mark IV

I got this shot of Obama and his kids at the beach,

Obama, Sasha, Malia,
Obama and kids on Kailua Beach. Captured with the Canon 1d Mark IV

and I even captured a shirtless David Beckham after a L.A. Galaxy game at Aloha Stadium!

Footballer David Beckam at Aloha Stadium. Captured with the Canon 1D Mark IV

The camera’s 16.1 mb file is outstanding.  I never pushed the ISO to its limits until Jamm Aquino convinced me I could deal with the grain and sure enough, the files were superb. The fast frame rate kept up with  the action and outside of my own fumbling, the camera never skipped a beat and captured the action.  The only drawback was the cropped 1.3x frame as it limited your ability to shoot with wide lenses but the crop was like having an built in extension for my longer glass.  Having a 400mm f2.8 turn into a 520mm  was always a treat.

Broncos Tight End Julius Thomas goes for the ball at the Pro Bowl. Captured with the Canon 1d Mark IV

Alas, technology marches on and after the purchase of the X, the Mark IV became my secondary or backup camera.  I knew at some point I’d sell her but I knew she could still handle the jobs and make wonderful images.

Reflection captured at a golf tournament. Canon 1D Mark IV

And this last winter, Jordan Murph made a deal I couldn’t say no and I purchased the stellar Canon 1Dx Mark II from him thus signalling the end of the Mark IV in my arsenal.  And just like the 1Dx Mark I, the newer camera crushed the older body’s technology.

In 2017, Canon Professional Service announced they  will no longer service the Mark IV thus heaping their once flagship camera onto the bin of obsolete technology.  For an annual fee, CPS repairs registered cameras and lenses within a 72 hour period and without that service, I can’t run a business with a camera in a repair shop for weeks on end.  Once CPS made this statement, I knew it was the end for my trusty friend.

After nearly a decade of faithful use, and more than 200,000 frames clicked, I made the tough decision to list the body on eBay this last week.

On Monday, eBay notified me that my beloved Mark IV sold. It filled with regret knowing I was letting go an important tool that helped me pay my mortgages and put food on the table.  But more importantly, the camera helped me make a name for my self in this tough business.

Guilt and dismay overwhelmed me but I knew it was time to let her go.  The bidder won and, after a few emails, I knew he would care for the Mark IV and continue to make art with her.

So as I placed the camera on the counter at the post office, I kissed the box with aloha and thanked her for all the years of reliable service.  I didn’t feel this way when I sold her sister but as I let this one go, it reminded me of all the hardships and joy of my career in Hawaii for the past decade.  It was tough and I’m glad I had this trusty camera at my side.

Bye bye… 🙁


Turn on a dime.

Turn on a dime.

So after my two weeks golf week hell, I had a week off to recover, pay the bills, and storm the football field for the NFL’s Pro Bowl.  We don’t get to cover sports much in Hawaii on the national level.  Hawaii doesn’t have any professional teams  nor is there much national interest in college or high school sports unless they win big.  Yet with two major PGA Tour golf tournaments and the Pro Bowl…all within the span of three weeks in January…I’m sported out!

Sport photography is a tough business.  Your career is based on capturing that winning moment.  Photographer (and mentor if you ask me) Nathaniel Welch once told me about sports photographers.  “Your livelihood depends on whether or not the athlete or team you are following makes the big play and wins,” or something like that.   If that team or athlete fails, you fail.  If you have to depend on someone else to make a living, it isn’t a good career.

I once wanted to be a sports photographer back in the day of film and manual focus cameras.  It was in college and the University of Texas had top notch athletic programs and athletes.  I spent much of my college days at football fields, basketball courts, and swimming pools.

UT vs Houston BB
UT vs Houston men’s basketball 1991-1992


Luckily I avoided that career path but do wish I had dabbled in the professional sports photo world a bit in my younger days.  I would have been special times to have gone to a Super Bowl, a World Cup or an Olympics yet I don’t regret the path I have taken.  Although I heard Nathaniel’s words much later in life, I clearly understood them years before.

But back to the Pro Bowl, the NFL event that brings the best of the best players who currently are not playing in the following week’s Super Bowl.  Not too far back, the Pro Bowl used to be held after the Super Bowl but the Pro Bowl began to lose relevance and the NFL had to update and remake the event to keep people interested.  For too many years, the Pro Bowl was a powder puff game where teams played hard the first quarter and cruised the rest of the time.  I recall many times hearing boos and catcalls  from fans as QB’s would take knees to run down the clock or tacklers would gently grab a runningback so as to avoid injuries.  The last two years have changed quite a bit as players are actually out there to win.  There’s still some powder puffiness going on but this last game proved to be a nail biter.

With minutes left in the game, Team Sanders scored only to have Team Rice quickly score soon after and take the lead with a two-point conversion.  Team Sanders then drove midway down the field only to have Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles sacked by Dallas Cowboys DT Jason Hatcher forcing TS into an impossible 67-yard field goal.  With virtually no time left on the clock, the kick went wide but New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie caught the kick and ran towards the opposite end zone.  The media and the side line had rushed the field as we thought the game had ended but clock had not completely zeroed out.  Cromartie ran down field in hopes of making a touch down and headed straight towards me.  I aimed my camera and fired thinking he’s stop but he kept coming.  I didn’t have time to move and wondered if my cameras would break on impact.

Antonio Cromartie almost runs me over.
Antonio Cromartie almost runs me over.

Cromartie looked forward then back and rushed towards me only to turn on a dime to avoid running me over.  He clipped the lens of my second camera on my shoulder which rocked back and forth after he shot by.  Most of you who know me know I’m not a small guy but Cromartie would have knocking the hell out of me.  It would have made a funny top ten plays of the day on Sports Center but it would have been an expensive trip to Canon repair…if not the doctor as well.

If you are not on the field and only watch it on television, its really hard to understand the athleticism of these men.  I’ve seen 300 lb plus linemen move like ballet dancers and watched wide receivers make impossible catches…and this is only the powder puff Pro Bowl!  My current and recent experience photographing football is the University of Hawaii and many of the players if not most will never see the professional side of the sport.  There is no comparison.  The Pro Bowl brings the best of the best to the field.  I can only imagine if it had been a stumbling local college kid and what might have happened.  Thanks Antonio for not breaking my back or bank.

*Note–The 2o14 Pro Bowl teams were drafted from both the NFC and AFC and teammates had the possibility of playing each other.  The teams were headed by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders.


Live by the club, die by the iron.

Live by the club, die by the iron.

2014 started with a bang, rather a swish of a golf club.  Hawaii is golf central in January.  Everyone from Barack to Vijay come to the Islands to hit our beautiful links.  My first two weeks of the year are filled with the smell of grass, the pain of walking 18 holes plus an additional 18 holes, and the sound of…well…nothing as pro golfers are too sensitive to the sound of the camera shutter or the sound of anything else.  An NBA player or Premiere League footballer can be screamed at during a free throw/kick…but a golfer?  Well, silence is the only way to oppose this noble and elite sport.


My week spent at the Kapalua course for the Tour of Champions in Maui was hell.  The hilly greens could easily be a ski resort and hiking is the only way to really describe covering the action on this course.  The outstanding views of Molokai are touchable from many of the holes and all considering the current weather pattern on the mainland (Jan 2014) there is no better place to be…just don’t ask my knees, thighs or calves the next day.  What a pain!  Hoisting 400mm f2.8 up hill is no fun.

My next assignment is the relatively flat Waialae Country Club course for the Sony Open staring Wednesday.  Its warmer, not as scenic but there are no hills.  However, there are many more golfers to cover and be sensitive about ensuring an errant camera shutter disrupt their concentration.

Mr. Obama, above, started my year on the first at Mid Pacific Country Club.  The club is one of the few Mr. Obama can play at where the public can actually catch a glimpse of him.  Most of the courses he now plays in Hawaii are secluded and difficult to get to but Mid Pac’s 18th hole sits on a public street across from a popular hiking trail.  Obama, hat askew, hit off the fairway onto the green and made a long putt that would make any golfer proud.  All considering he’s played about 12 rounds of golf during his 15 day Hawaiian vacation, he should be able to make all his putts!


A few tearsheets

A few tearsheets

Its been a very busy few weeks and I just wanted to post a few new tear sheets to my growing list of clients and images.

The above shot was the Spring issue of Modern Luxury.  I sat atop a secret hill top and shot the city at dusk and waited for magic.  I had to do this three times as one day was good, the second day was cloudy, and the last day was magic.  Its just amazing how much we can’t control when we do outdoor shots.  A cloud rolls in and the day is over.  These things take time, luck and a little skill.  Not much skill, but a little.

I’ve had the chance to photograph the owners from Fighting Eel a few times and this shot happens to be one of my favorites.  I’ve not had the easiest time photographing them as they seem at times, slightly uncomfortable with themselves (or maybe it was just me) and I haven’t nailed a great shot of the pair.  But this pix seems to really be what I would call the shot.  I like it.  Thanks Rona and Lan.

Having been dressed by the Hawaii Five O duo for my shining start on the Rick Springfield episode, Five O costume designers Michelle and Anthony, were surprised I put them behind the camera this time.  Erika, the handler of all handlers, coordinated a great time, location, and helped set a great image of the two.  I think of the shot, along with the Fighting Eel girls as a portfolio piece.  Its another great environmental shot.  Both shots were for the Spring issue of Modern Luxury.

My last tear sheet is actual an image from the LPGA Lotte Championship Golf tournament held in April at Ko Olina.  The winner happened to be Japanese golfer Ai Miyazato.  She led the last round and kept steady and focused.  She stayed par the entire time but nailed the last few holds to win the four day tourney.  Unbeknown to anyone, even her, she started doing a hula with the hula dancers during the award ceremony.  She danced really well and surely deserved the dance.




Lining up just right.

Lining up just right.

In the last few weeks, my cameras have covered everything from hydrogen cars, tennis action, a financial planner at the beach on the Big Island, whale researchers on a boat in Maui, and a party at Chai’s Bistro.  I’m still patiently waiting for the sun to appear as I have another job in which I need to shoot a house and attempt to have some blue skies in the shot.  My head is still spinning with all the variety of images that were flowing out of my computer.  Of course, I can’t publish and of the images I’ve shot (except for some tennis) as a majority of is for future publication.

Oh and I also shot makeovers given at a big name make up shop.

One of the more interesting shots I made last week was of a tennis player at UH serving.  Jamm Aquino told me of the spot to spot a certain type of shot and I did so.  Clean shots and background (dare I say ground) made this a cool moment.

Its not often I shoot sports.  The time, effort, and hassle is sometimes too much to bear for my impatient self.  I really loved it in college as I shot loads of UT football, basketball, swimming, and the likes.  It was great fun.  Now…eh.

But those times when everything just lines up perfectly, a good shot is worth that small paycheck at the end of the day.