Afraid of heights

August 5th, 2014
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Window washers Ikaika Pahulu, top, and Barry Iona of World Wide Window Cleaning rappel down as they service the makai tower at One Waterfront Plaza on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Honolulu.

Window washers Ikaika Pahulu, top, and Barry Iona of World Wide Window Cleaning rappel down as they service the makai tower at One Waterfront Plaza on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Honolulu.  

Now that our Progress Edition of Hawaii at Work has published, I can tell you a little story about a big fear that I had to overcome for my subject for Hawaii at Work--HEIGHTS!!!!

When we were asked to brainstorm ideas about photographing subjects with interesting jobs, the first people that came to mind were window washers--the fearless, rappelling, keepers of the some of the nicest views in the whole state.  I turned specifically to World Wide because I had photographed a bunch of their crew a few years ago rappelling down Century Square in downtown with Jason hockey masks a la Friday the 13th for Halloween.

20101031_newsWDAwashers

I've always had an admiration for the fearlessness these guys have in hanging off the side of a 400-foot tall building.  Working them on this current assignment, the guys at World Wide gave me such great access and knowledge into their craft--400 feet in the air!  The day I worked with them, they were working on One Waterfront Tower--the two building high-rise condominium across the street from our Restaurant Row newsroom.  Site manager Steve Kaaa oversaw the operations and led us to the rooftop of the makai tower.  Upon opening the rooftop, I was instantly mesmerized with the view looking out.  But looking down....well, let's just say, knots began to form in my stomach.

Window washer Barry Ionn of World Wide Window Cleaning prepares to rappel  down.

Window washer Barry Iona of World Wide Window Cleaning prepares to rappel down.  Canon 1D mark IV, EF15mm fisheye, 1/2000 @f8, ISO 200, manual exposure, daylight whitebalance.

As soon as Barry, Ikaika, and Gordon were rigged up and ready, they attached my safety rig so I can get onto the scaffolding.  I noticed I was talking at 90 miles an hour, and my palms began to sweat.  But I had to concentrate on the task at hand.  An overhead perspective was best, and that meant lying prone on the scaffold to eliminate the guardrails in the photo.

Here I am, trying really hard to work and trust that the scaffold won't suddenly disappear from underneath me.  Photo by Steve Kaaa.

Here I am, trying really hard to work and trust that the scaffold won't suddenly disappear from underneath me. Photo by Steve Kaaa.

It's pretty daunting to look down through the "cheese grater," as Barry put it, and see the street, cars, and pedestrians moving about like ants below your feet.

Here's another perspective of where I shot from.  Photo by Steve Kaaa.

Here's another perspective of where I shot from. Photo by Steve Kaaa.

From top, window washers Ikaika Pahulu, Barry Iona, and Gordon Susau of World Wide Window Cleaning rappel down as they service the makai tower at One Waterfront Plaza on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Honolulu.

From top, window washers Ikaika Pahulu, Barry Iona, and Gordon Susau of World Wide Window Cleaning rappel down as they service the makai tower at One Waterfront Plaza on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Honolulu.  Canon 1D mark IV, 15mm fisheye, Manual exposure, 1/1250 @f11, ISO 400, daylight whitebalance.

Window washer Gordon Susau of World Wide Window Cleaning rappels down to service the makai tower at One Waterfront Plaza on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Honolulu

Window washer Gordon Susau of World Wide Window Cleaning rappels down to service the makai tower at One Waterfront Plaza on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Honolulu.  Canon 1D mark IV, 70-200 f2.8 @95mm, Manual exposure, 1/640 @f2.8, ISO 320, daylight whitebalance

All in all, what an amazing experience.  Am I still afraid of heights?  HELL yeah!  But seeing Barry, Gordon, and Ikaika in action, and seeing the passion for their craft was well worth the sweaty palms and dry mouth!

 

Ramadan #latergram

July 30th, 2014
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This is by no means a lean towards one religion or the other, but I just thought I'd share this wonderful moment I photographed a few weeks ago as local Muslim women observed Ramadan.

Fariha Kazi, left, Deanna Wathen, and Shereen El-Kadi share a light moment as Kazi has her hijab adjusted prior to breaking fast during the fourth night of Ramadan on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at the Manoa Mosque in Honolulu.  Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims worldwide observe as a month of fasting.  This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.  (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino). Canon 1D mark IV, 16-35 2.8 @ 20mm, 1/60 @ f2.8, 2500 ISO, daylight whitebalance, Manual exposure.

Fariha Kazi, left, Deanna Wathen, and Shereen El-Kadi share a light moment as Kazi has her hijab adjusted prior to breaking fast during the fourth night of Ramadan on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at the Manoa Mosque in Honolulu. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which Muslims worldwide observe as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths. (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino).
Canon 1D mark IV, 16-35 2.8 @ 20mm, 1/60 @ f2.8, 2500 ISO, daylight whitebalance, Manual exposure.

Deedy Trial, version 2.0

July 29th, 2014
By

Hey all,

Been a while since I've posted, but I felt that it was worth posting this image of Christopher Deedy at Circuit Court today.  I've covered the first trial, and now this, and I've finally FINALLY managed to nab an artistic shot of the otherwise mundane courtroom song and dance.

Federal agent Christopher Deedy is seen against the projection of a security video as he takes the stand on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 in the Honolulu circuit courtroom of Judge Karen Ahn.  Deedy is on trial for the November 2011 shooting of Kollin Elderts in a Waikiki McDonald's.  (Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino). Taken with a Canon 1D mark IV, 70-200 2.8, 1/200 sec @ f2.8, 5000 ISO, Manual exposure, 4100K whitebalance

Federal agent Christopher Deedy is seen against the projection of a security video as he takes the stand on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 in the Honolulu circuit courtroom of Judge Karen Ahn. Deedy is on trial for the November 2011 shooting of Kollin Elderts in a Waikiki McDonald's. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino).
Taken with a Canon 1D mark IV, 70-200 2.8, 1/200 sec @ f2.8, 5000 ISO, Manual exposure, 4100K whitebalance

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Aftermath

February 3rd, 2014
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Chris Nary, left, is comforted by neighbor Lynne Westlake outside the burned remains of Nary's townhouse unit on Sunday, February 2, 2014 in Ewa.  A two-alarm fire late Saturday night had firefighters responding to a blaze that tore through the four-unit complex, leaving Nary and her husband Ben with nothing left.  (Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino).

Chris Nary, left, is comforted by neighbor Lynne Westlake outside the burned remains of Nary's townhouse unit on Sunday, February 2, 2014 in Ewa. A two-alarm fire late Saturday night had firefighters responding to a blaze that tore through the four-unit complex, leaving Nary and her husband Ben with nothing left. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser/Jamm Aquino).

Yesterday I photographed the aftermath of a housefire that ravaged through a townhouse complex in Ewa.  One of the couples, Chris and Ben Nary, were left with nothing but the clothes on their back.  Collectibles, musical instruments, documents--everything one holds dear to the heart and security that one calls home was gone.

I made the photo above, taking care not to overstep my boundary with my being there, and was immediately heartbroken with the gravity of the situation.  Our reporter Sarah and I talked with Chris' husband, Ben, and he had mentioned that he lost his drums, collectible model trains and LEGOs--everything.

Everything.

It's so hard to fathom the feeling they felt, yet bitterly real at the same time.  They escaped with their pets and lives, but the home is where the heart is, and this fire literally cleaved it into pieces.

I did my best to put the camera down when I needed to, but it is stories like these that really get to my emotions.  Later that night, I couldn't shake Chris Nary's voice when she had said "I lost everything."

This really checked my reality as a human being, and not just a photojournalist.

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Teleprompter

January 15th, 2014
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House Speaker Rep. Joseph M. Souki is reflected in a teleprompter prior to his rehearsal in the House Chambers on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at the State Capitol in downtown Honolulu.   The Hawaii State Legislature opens Wednesday, January 15, 2014, and   Senators and House members plan to celebrate Hawaii’s 55th year of statehood by honoring the hundreds of men and women who have served before them.  (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

House Speaker Rep. Joseph M. Souki is reflected in a teleprompter prior to his rehearsal in the House Chambers on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at the State Capitol in downtown Honolulu. The Hawaii State Legislature opens Wednesday, January 15, 2014, and Senators and House members plan to celebrate Hawaii’s 55th year of statehood by honoring the hundreds of men and women who have served before them. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Yesterday I photographed preparations at the State Capitol for today's Legislative opening.  Here's my favorite image that didn't make it in our print or online gallery of House Speaker Joseph Souki as he prepped for today's speech.

It took a while for Speaker Souki to get used to me being there, and as he paced near the podium, I noticed that the teleprompter cast a nearly perfect reflection of him.  I got down and shot upwards with a wide angle as he paced to get the interstellar look of the House chamber lights and the earthly brown colors of the ceiling.

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