Now that 2013 has come and gone, I'd like to share some of my favorite images from this past year. Some published, while others didn't. Others had such historical and news significance, while still others were just fleeting moments, gone forever after the few seconds they presented themselves in front of my lens.
So here they are. I have a little blurb about my thoughts when I made each picture in the captions. Enjoy! And live like you mean it.
***One of the priveleges of being a photojournalist is being a witness to history in the making. This frame meant a lot to me because I had photographed retired Justice Steven Levinson, right, before, and I knew the importance of the passing of Senate Bill 01 to him. I felt like this shot epitomized a victory not just for Justice Levinson, but for the two newlyweds and the LGBT community.*** Newlywed couple Renea Stewart, left, and Lisa Veneri walk under a hail of rose petals during their wedding ceremony on Monday, December 2, 2013 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel in Waikiki. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I chose this frame from the Christopher Deedy trial as it sums up both the intensity, and the seemingly ever-changing stories from witnesses. This frame was made as witness Adam Gutowski stands in front of the projection screen showing surveillance video from the Kuhio McDonald's. Judge Karen Ahn had motioned him to stand aside as legal counsel conferred with her. Gutowski was looking down, and he just happened to look up, and I snapped one frame.***Photographed during the tenth day of the trial of Federal Agent Christopher Deedy on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at Circuit Court in downtown Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***While working on the Big Island earlier this year for our outer island special section, reporter Mary Vorsino and I met and mingled with so many different and intriguing communities. This frame was surprising because the story we were covering with this particular subject was new affordable housing. But when Malia Keli'ikoa took us around to the back of her home, the morning light, and her modest crop of dryland taro lined up just perfectly with the moment she touched the leaves. It was an ethereal feeling.***Malia Keli'ikoa walks among the dryland kalo that her boyfriend, Brian Lee, Jr. planted outside their home on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***One cannot think of Hawaiian music and hula without thinking of Robert Cazimero. It was a wonderful experience to have met him while he rehearsed with his halau in February for Merrie Monarch. He took a break and sat to chat with reporter Nina Wu and I. It was really early in the morning, and the sun shone through the window and lit his face just as Nina had asked him something that made him smile so naturally.***Kumu hula Robert Cazimero smiles prior to rehearsal with his Halau Na Kamalei on Sunday, February 24, 2013 in Kalihi. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I made this image of Kalani's Leo Klink celebrating as a standard jubilation shot after a team wins a state championship. I had no idea of the gravity of the situation until I was transmitting later that evening. Klink's mother had collapsed earlier that evening, and an ambulance was on scene, stopping the game. Klink did not know it was his mother who was put on the ambulance, and continued to play his heart out. He was a integral part of Kalani's victory, pulling several key plays and goals. I couldn't even begin to fathom the rollercoaster of emotion he had to deal with when he found out about his mother and her passing.*** celebrates after winning the 2013 HHSAA Boys Division I soccer championship game between the Punahou Buffanblu and the Kalani Falcons on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at Waipio Soccer Complex in Waipahu. Kalani won in Penalty Kick to become the 2013 State Champions. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***On a lighter note, here is a portrait that I shot of Kalaheo basketball player Josh Ko. We went through several different poses and setups before I decided to get creative and slow down the shutter for a motion effect.*** Kalaheo's Josh Ko poses for a portrait on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at Kalaheo High School in Kaneohe. For 2013 Boys Player of the Year. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I chose this as one of my favorites because of David Cohen's love for these sea urchins that he and his researchers raise. I had photographed him holding the urchins, but they were so small, it was really hard to get all the elements harmoniously together in a single frame. I happened to see Cohen's reflection on one of the pools as I walked across from him while he was talking to reporters and nabbed this frame.*** David Cohen, aquatic invasive species biocontrol specialist for the State Division of Aquatic Resources, is reflected on the water surface as he looks at specimens of the native Hawaiian collector urchin on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at the Anuenue Fisheries lab and facilities on Sand Island. Cohen and Blodgett have raised over 100,000 specimens of the "collector urchin," a species native to Hawaiian waters, to help combat invasive seaweed species that smother coral in Kaneohe Bay. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I was on my way to a baseball game at Iolani when I happened upon these square windows on a construction barrier. I stood there for a good 5 minutes before these elements all lined up. It was very instgrammable (sic).***A glimpse of a construction site of a new building on the Iolani campus is seen through two windows in a fence on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at Iolani School in Moiliili. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***The Blue Man Group was perhaps one of the most entertaining shows I've ever had to photograph, with so many stunning visuals. I chose this from a couple of dozen from the show for its simple and graphic depiction of the show.***The Blue Man Group performs on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall in Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***Like the Big Island shot, I felt a wonderful energy when I stood under this canopy of native plants to photograph Malcolm Chun. A ray of sunlight just pierced through some branches, giving me that star effect.*** Malcolm Chun stands under the canopy of native plantlife in his garden on Monday, August 12, 2013 at his residence in Waialae. Chun, an author of over 19 books on native Hawaiian subjects and plants, has been cultivating and caring for endangered native plant species since the mid 1970s. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I shoot A LOT of sports, and I think I've only had the ball indent upon impact just a handful of times in my career. This is one of them. With today's cameras shooting upwards of 10 frames a second, I still say it's all about timing...and luck!***Hawaii's Krystal Pascua heads the ball over Portland State's Kelsey Henningsen in the second half of a women's college soccer match between the Portland State Vikings and the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 in Waipahu. Hawaii lost to the Vikings 2-0. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***Decanting a bottle of wine is part of the ambiance of dining out, but decanting a wine AT SUNSET, ON THE BEACH?? 'Nuff said. This shot was special to me because this shot was at our publisher Dennis Francis's personal pick for the 'Ilima Awards.*** Server Robert Casale decants a wine at sunset at Michel's at the Colony Surf on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 in Waikiki. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I shot this while on set for the shooting of "Hawaii Five-O." This particular episode had a flashback to Japanese internment camps during World War II, and I was accompanying a couple of women who had actually spent time at one of the camps as children. To me, this frame is probably as close a visualization as being there--the bayonet, the barbed wire, the feeling of being unable to escape, and the irony of the blue sky.*** An American soldier stands outside a barbed wire fence during the filming of an episode of the television series "Hawaii Five-O" on Monday, October 21, 2013 in upper Wahiawa. This particular episode featured a scene involving a Japanese internment camp from World War II, and the episode airing coincides with the Dec. 7 anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombings. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***I was lucky enough to travel to San Diego in September to photograph Manti Te'o's first game as an NFL player. Unluckily, though, he had suffered an injury in the pre-season, and so I could only get him on the sidelines since he wasn't playing or suiting up. I shot at a real slow shutter speed to catch his dressed team mates warming up as he stood there. Manti or not, it was quite a thrill to shoot a regular season NFL football game.***San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Teo watches his team warm up prior to the start of the first half of an NFL season opening game between the San Diego Chargers and the Houston Texans on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***Another sports portrait, but what thrilled me the most about photographing Kamehameha sophomore wrestler Teshya Alo was that she is only beginning to tap her potential as an Olympic hopeful. Earlier in the year, she traveled to Russia and wrestled the country's third best wrestler in the weight division and hung in there for five minutes. What a feat! I think Hawaii will definitely hear and see more of her.***Kamehameha sophomore wrestler Teshya Alo poses for a portrait on Friday, November 29, 2013 at Kamehameha School in Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
***Ah yes, UH Football. With the dread of a potential 0-12 season, the victory against Army, coupled with the sudden death of one of their players earlier that day, had me wondering what kind of reaction I'd get at the end of the game. Then I saw the cooler being sneakily hoisted by players, and I knew this would happen. I got doused as well grabbing this frame, but hey, a win is a win.***Hawaii head coach Norm Chow receives a Gatorade bath from Hawaii tight end Clark Evans (84), left, after the second half of a college football game between the Army Black Knights and the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Hawaii won 49-42 to finish the season with their only win. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).