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… 🙁


Hokulani Bakery

Hokulani Bakery

It seems like such a long time ago although I shot the images for Entrepreneur Magazine in 2008, but the shot of Tushar and Ana Dubey of Hokulani Bake Shop remains one of my favorite pictures mainly because I think I clearly captured their existence at being:  Tushar with the frosting on his nose and Ana with her nose for baking.  The picture took no more than a few swipes at his nose for their relationship in business and love to clearly shine through.

Entrepreneur really knew their stuff as they spotted Hokulani Bake Shop as an up and comer.  Amazing their writers spotted and predicted they would go to the top.

Tonight we attended their celebration and screening party for their bakers and bakery, Hokulani Bake Shop for winning the recent Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.  It was great to see their little bakery started at Restaurant Row gain national and possibly international attention for having some of best bakers and cupcakes in the Pacific.

Let the victorious eat many a cupcake and may they sell a million more.

SALUDOS! and BADHAI HO!  (I hope that means congrats in Hindi as I hope I didn’t call Tushar a donkey…well, maybe I really meant to.)

If you’ve never had one of their cupcakes, please visit one of their three locations, Restaurant Row, the Hyatt Waikiki and at downtown’s Pioneer Plaza.  At their website ( you can see their audition tape where their bakers, Angela Chandler and Nicole Ferriman, made it big for the shop.

I hope this shameless plug gets me a cupcake or two!

Blood, sweat, and…ring girls?

Blood, sweat, and...ring girls?

In college, I really wanted to be a sports photographer.  An 18-yrs-old with a Nikon F3HP, a 300mm F 2.8, and a quick finger.  What more did I need?  I worked at the Cactus yearbook and the Daily Texan at UT Austin in the early 90s.  Working there allowed me to shoot presidents, protests, car crashes, rock concerts…everything from Depeche Mode to Hillary Clinton.  But the best for me in those times was shooting UT sports.  Swimming, basketball, football, etc…what an amazing time.  Sadly, at that age, I wasn’t as serious as I should have been as some of my colleagues went onto bright photojournalism futures as I entered graduate school.  But while was an undergrad, I actually considered my future in photojournalism and sports and figured it was a career to nowhere.  I did see the end of the San Antonio Light and that was the paper I wanted to grow up and work for.  Shortly later, the internet took the fun out of the newspaper industry and job loss and newspaper closings became all the rage.

UT woman’s swim meet.  Possibly NCAA championship…1990-91.  Tri-X pushed like three stops to 1600 or even 3200 ISO!  Now that was some film processing.

I did recall a conversation with a staffer from the Dallas Morning News and we talked about the Pultizer Prizes won by several staff members back in those days.  The staffers exact words were “At the end of the day, you can’t hug a prize.”  I never forgot it.  I then continued to put more emphasis on life rather than career.  Whether its was the right decision to make a balance of life over letting a career take you over, I don’t know.

After grad school (international economics) went to New York to learn about commercial and editorial photography as a photo assistant…lots of good that did.  Yet I live in Honolulu and have a great shooting career and life.  Sure I think about moving back to New York but my friend Tracey Woods, a photo at a big mag asked me, “Why?”

She was right…why give up the sun, sand, and bad drivers?

But I digress…

On to the boxing.

I’ve only shot boxing once.  Its a brutal sport.  Too many punches and way too much blood.  On TV and from the stands, its ok..but up close, you get…well, you get the picture, rather you get it all over your picture and yourself.  Sweat and blood splatters all over the place.  And if you are next to the ring, you’ll surely get a shower.  The AP writer, Jaymes Song, told me he covered boxing once all the while drinking fountain cola in a cup.  Jaymes said after one particular bloody match, the inside and outside of his cup was flecked with red spots of…well…it wasn’t Coke.

Pingo got punished!

Needless to say, Jaymes didn’t finish his drink.

Boxing isn’t for the faint of heart.  Its tough to watch if you’re not into pugilism.  I could care less but seeing people get the hell beaten out of them, it can be slightly unnerving.  So last night I had to cover several boxing matches for AP and the big match was the Hawaiian Punch Brian Viloria in a title fight against Mexico’s Julio Cesar Miranda.  They went 12 rounds and Viloria was the victor.  A great fight although Miranda put up a good attack.  Viloria knocked him down a few times and I think the Mexican was shocked Vilora was such a tough guy.

Shooting boxing is tough to do. You have to anticipate each punch if you want to get peak action. If you snap when you see the punch going, you’ll never catch the actual glove connect with face.  All it takes is a little timing (and a fancy camera!) and you’ll eventually get the right moment.  The physically hard part of shooting the bloodsport is being bent over as you’re sticking yourself and camera through a few inches of ring rope.  12 rounds at 3 minutes each times 6 bouts…well…it’s a long time to be contorted over and through the ring and ropes.  My back wasn’t all that happy at the end of the night.

well…at least there are ring girls…

Its a far cry from the chicks I shot in swim suits racing at the UT swim center.  Alas, its a job…and I did have to shoot ring girls as a notation and separation to each round…really…its true.  Ask any of the guys who shoot boxing…

Anyway, I got away from the journalism life only to play one in Hawaii.  I’m glad I don’t have to shoot so much news and sport as I have much more fun now shooting travel pieces and portraits here and around.  But its nice to get a rush shooting a sporting event…all the while getting splattered with long as its not mine.



I’m updating my website and found myself searching for images on discs from a few years ago.  I actually came across a set of images from Tokyo that I have not edited or looked at in some time.  I hadn’t forgotten about these images but I found myself looking at the pictures with a different perspective, another person’s eyes.  The images were from around May of 2005.  I was different.  I had left New York already.  We were living in Honolulu.  My career was just blooming.  I saw things differently.  I felt things differently.  But essentially, its still me.  The images retain that feel from my perspective.

Watching, wishing.  Outside.

Here piggie piggie…

Here piggie piggie...

Down the street from our place is Honolulu’s notorious Chinatown.  Once the first and only stop for Chinese immigrants and laborers in the 19th century, Chinatown’s colorful history has transformed it from a seedy prostitution and gambling den during the greatest generations of World War II (many from that generation onced lined up by the hundreds to visit their favorite girls at such places named Club Hubba Hubba)  to a trendy shopping and nightclub spot where homeless, hipsters, and drug dealers all co-mingle in a slight disharmony.  And don’t forget the Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrants  who step over and around mentally ill drug addicts to shop for choice produce, exotic fruits, and some of the freshest chops, slabs, and chunks of, well, just name it.  Roast ducks slowly drip their goodness in the window of a hole in the wall restaurant, tropical fish glare back at shoppers while on ice, and slices of durian fruit can be smelled a block away.  Very few things are like Honolulu’s Chinatown.  Small indeed but it packs a tasty and visual (sometimes stinky) punch!

Ola Magazine, the in-house magazine of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, tasked me to document Chinatown so as to entice daring hotel guests to drift downtown and visit the exotic side of Honolulu.

The spread, published this month, can be seen here in pdf form.

How do you whitewash the “exotic” and make it interesting for the average tourist couple to visit?  Like the Asian shoppers, you just jump over the homeless, avoid the drunk hipsters, and politely decline anything for sale by Kimo the dealer.

Overall, Chinatown is a fun place to photograph.  Its not as bustling as New York’s but its interesting none the less.  To photograph can be a challenge as language and misunderstandings can easily follow.  At some spots I asked to shoot at, I was met with suspicion as many thought I was expecting a bribe or a kickback for “advertising.”  Once people opened up, they easily allowed me to enter their worlds and see/smell/taste only insiders might.

Sweet gelatinous chicken feet in a brown soy sauce, Filipino balut (fertilized eggs…oh so good!) , fresh local lychee.  Cheap Chinese made sandals, jade jewelery, a steaming hot bowl of Vietnamese pho.  Fresh cut flowers, hand made leis, a legit massage.  Its all in Chinatown if you look and step over the calloused outside.

Yes, the poor thing…destined for a wok, soy sauce, and a pair of chop sticks!  Ooo la la!

So gone are the whore houses, the thousands of sailors, and bad art galleries have replaced shooting galleries.  Gone are the good ol’ days.

My father, stationed at Schofield Barracks in the 1950s, told me the prostitution was gone (historically, the State, which ran the brothels for the military, did close the sanctioned businesses of the brothels by the end of WWII) said the vice was still around and everywhere.  During the year he was stationed here, his claims range from having a pistol shoved in his face after racing to rescue a damsel in distress to escaping out of a just a bit too small window above a bathroom to avoid a thrashing by drunk sailors.  Said, “I’ve only thought it was in the movies that I would see a grown man thrown through a plate glass window.”  Hawaiian police with yard long batons, flying beer bottles, tattoo parlors…ahhhh…what life must have been like…