Archive for the ‘news’ Category

USS Nimitz

July 25th, 2012
By



Hi everyone!

Well the buzz of excitement has settled from my embark aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, so here’s a few of my favorites from the trip, since most didn’t make our print edition.

Leading up to the assignment, I was pretty nervous about the whole ordeal.  I mean, trap landing–going from about 150mph to 0 in about 60 feet or so–pretty gut wrenching–both literally and in my mind.  As was the catapult take off.  But that’s the only way onboard a carrier that was in the middle of naval exercises out in the middle of the Pacific.

I couldn’t really sleep the night before because of both the excitement and the anxiety.  Our meet time was scheduled for 6am at Pearl Harbor.  From there, we were to board a Grumman C2 COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) aircraft–a nice, turboprop powered plane that sacrifices everything for performance.  No inflight movie or beverages here.  Here’s what it looks like:

This was shot after we landed back from the USS Nimitz. Note the rear hatch, where we enter and face after being strapped in tight.

So after our safety briefing, we were issued cranials–a combination skullcap, helmet, goggles, and ear protection contraption required at all times while on the flight deck and on the tarmac.

Cranial with my two cameras. DV means "Distinguished Visitor," although I jokingly thought to myself it means "Doesn't Vomit"

So with my cranial on my cranium, I made my way towards the aircraft with the rest of the media.  We entered through the rear hatch of the aircraft, and the seats are facing aft.  No windows on the plane, save for two small, 8-inch diameter holes towards the front of the COD.  So there’s no seeing, just sensory telling you whether you’re going up or down.  I was nervous.  After a long taxi, we were finally airborne, and it was about a twenty minute flight to the USS Nimitz, which was about 100 nautical miles northeast of Oahu.  When we were safety briefed, the crew was to give a hand signal to the cabin to prepare us for our trap landing.  When the signal was given, I braced myself in my seat and counted down 15 seconds (that was the approximate time the crew had said after the signal).  It felt longer.  Then, BAMMMM!  I was thrown forward into my seat, knocking the wind out of me, and I swear my gut and innards wrapped around my spine.  But before even a second, it was done!  VOILA!  The crew opened the rear hatch of the aircraft, and my eyes adjusted to the bright sunburst and focused on planes, and more planes, and planes.  We were aboard the Nimitz!

The view from my seat in the COD. As you can see, it's dark and rather cramped inside. The rear hatch opens, and it's just a bright light.

After an adjustment in exposure, you see the flight deck, and it's just an amazing feeling to be actually onboard an aircraft carrier at sea!

We are shuffled aboard and below deck to the media room, where we are briefed on the day’s events, flight ops, lunch, etc.  But enough of the text, let’s see some images.  Here are a few of my faves.  Enjoy!

Seahawk helicopters carrying US Navy CNO Jon Greenert and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus lift off aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

US Navy AO2 Luis Rosales preps an F/A 18 Hornet for flight ops aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

US Navy Comm. Fred Goldhammer with VAW-117 "Wallbangers" talks in the squadron's ready room aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

A "greenie board" in the US Navy's VAW-117 Wallbangers E2C squadron is seen aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. The colors represent the grade on each "pass" or landing, with lighter colors being more satisfactory. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

After a quick break for lunch, we were off to witness flight ops! The food was really, really good!

I had to have the obligatory self portrait onboard, so here I am with my cranial on, struggling against the wind!

Capt. Kevin Mannix is silhouetted in the hangar as the HMS Darwin from Australia steams in the background aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Here’s a view from the hangar looking out to sea.  The sheer size of the Nimitz was nearly unfathomable.  About 5,200 sailors, pilots, engineers, cooks–you name it–live, eat, sleep, and work onboard.  It’s like a floating city!

A flight deck crew member is engulfed in steam from one of the catapults aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

The blast shield goes up as an F/A-18 Hornet prepares for a catapult launch aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

A "shooter," in yellow, give the signal for an F/A-18 Hornet to launch aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

The orchestration and coordination of the ground crew is just amazing.

Photos and video cannot replace the sheer power that was felt when a fighter launches off the deck of the carrier. It really rattles in your skin and bones! An F/A-18 Hornet launches from the catapult aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

An F/A-18 Hornet performs a touch and go landing aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 off Oahu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Mayoral debate at KITV

July 12th, 2012
By



From left, Honolulu Mayor incumbent Peter Carlisle, mayoral candidates Ben Cayetano, and Kirk Caldwell moments before a televised Honolulu Mayoral debate on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at the KITV studios in Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Last night I photographed the three Honolulu mayoral candidates in yet another debate–this time at KITV’s studio.  Their studio had some really nice, clean black tables with very reflective surface–perfect for the series of shots that I’m showcasing here.  With the just the right amount of squatting and getting on my knees, I was able to get the three candidates reflected in the table.

But aside from that, I also got to see my old news editor, and now news director for KITV, Chuck Parker.  He was my news editor when I first started working for the newspaper back in 2005, and it was always a pleasure working for and with him.  Here he is in action before the cameras roll.

KITV news director Chuck Parker, left, walks onto the set with candidates Kirk Caldwell, middle, and Ben Cayetano.

From left, Honolulu mayor incumbent Peter Carlisle, mayoral candidates Ben Cayetano, and Kirk Caldwell listen to KITV news director Chuck Parker, left, and Paula Akana moments before a televised Honolulu Mayoral debate on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at the KITV studios in Honolulu. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

KITV news director Chuck Parker walks off the set minutes before going live with the Mayoral debate.

Barack Shadow

November 12th, 2011
By



Howdy everyone!

Anyone enjoying APEC yet?  The traffic, the dignitaries, the secret service–oh my!

I had the privilege of photographing the arrival of President Barack Obama and the First Lady last night.  As always, the standard pool rules.  Far.  Secret service sweep.  Far.  Three hours before his arrival.  Far.  Oh did I mention, the press riser is FAR???

So I’m swept and led through by Secret Service–four hours before his arrival.  I’m armed with a 24-70, 70-200, and a 400 2.8.

Air Force One makes a nice landing right in front of us!

I had a pretty nice spot on the riser.  The nice thing about President Obama’s late arrival is that there was plenty of room on our riser!  I guess an 11pm arrival didn’t appeal to a lot of the rest of the press.

The door to Air Force One opens, and out steps First Lady Michelle Obama and the President.  Standard shot.  Neat shadows on the plane from the tarmac lights.

And another stock shot…

BUT!

All of a sudden *Emeril Voice*  BAAM!!

As I was firing off frames, one of the photographer’s flashes from the traveling pool (Air Force One has a traveling pool that gets to ride with him), happens to light my frame.  Voila!  The result?  SHADOW…

President Barack Obama, back, and First Lady Michelle Obama deplane after arriving for APEC 2011 aboard Air Force One on Friday, November 11, 2011 at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. (POOL PHOTO/Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Stay tuned for more APEC stuff!

A day in a life…literally

August 5th, 2011
By



A 12-week-old pup I christened Lennon looks out from her enclosure on Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Kaneohe.

By now you’ve already read the news story that ran last week on the Hawaii Humane Society’s ceaseless efforts to prevent animal cruelty and promote animal wellness and health.  It has taken me nearly a week and a half to muster up the courage to write about this story I photographed, as it was such a heartbreaker.  Yet the people at HHS have to do this on a daily basis–I truly admire and respect their steadfastness and courage after seeing and following along for this story.

I followed HHS Humane investigator Vernon Ling on this Thursday to check out several different cases reported of neglected, abused, or ill-fated animals.  Most, as it turned out, were total duds, reported by ill-willed neighbors or passers-by.  But there are some animals, even those that are taken care of, that just break your heart when you come in contact with them.

This blog is about that one animal.  A 12-week-old pup who I will name Lennon for the rest of this blog.

Lennon, right, regards Hawaii Humane Society humane investigator Vernon Ling as he performs an inspection at a pet store on Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Kaneohe. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Vernon and I encountered Lennon during a routine check at a pet store in Kaneohe.  She was in a separated enclosure with two other pups, including one that was her sibling.

Lennon's sibling sniffs at the camera

Vernon then checked out the rest of the shop, making sure each animal was adequately fed and hydrated in a clean environment.

After the inspection, Vernon went back to Lennon, who had concerned him from the get-go.  Lennon was lethargic and meek, unlike the other pups who were just right up to the cage whenever you’d pass by their space.  After a very thorough examination and evaluation, Vernon decided that Lennon needed veterinary care.

Lennon stays back in her cage as Vernon Ling evaluates her situation.

Lennon is examined by Vernon Ling before being sent to the Humane Society's veterinarian.

Soon after Vernon’s assessment, another HHS truck came to take Lennon to their veterinary care center.  Meanwhile Vernon and I were off to our next case investigation.

…….

So why, you may ask, was this a heartbreaking story?  Well, if you are a pet owner or animal lover, seeing any animal, whether it’s a dog or rabbit, or deer, or alligator for that matter, is not a pleasant thing.  It was clear that Lennon wasn’t in the best shape, which is why the decision was made to take her to the vet.

The heartbreaker came after we had arrived back at the operations center.

Lennon had to be put down.

She had a very contagious disease known as parvo, which attacks the canine’s nervous and circulatory system.  Essentially, Lennon was dying by dehydration, and she was in her final stages when we encountered her that day.

After hearing the news and saying farewell to Vernon and the HHS crew, I walked to my car, got in, and wept for about 10 minutes.  She was 12 weeks old.  She didn’t know enough to deserve that fate.  It was hard to come to grips with it, but that fate was ultimately what was best for Lennon and the rest of the canines who were around her.

In the end, I felt like I was one of the last parts of her short life–I photographed and preserved these moments and am immortalizing them in this blog post.  A day in Lennon’s life–the last day of Lennon’s life.

I’ll leave you with perhaps my favorite image, and the one that tells the story of my short encounter with Lennon.  Live like you mean it.

Lennon is silhouetted with an uncertain fate as Vernon Ling makes the call to request veterinary care for the pup.

Python

July 10th, 2011
By



The other day I got an unusual call for breaking news–breaking python!  But this wasn’t the usual “go down to the Department of Agriculture and see what they’ve go in the cage” ordeal.  I was sent to the Humane Society in Moiliili–interesting.  When I got there, apparently it was a red carpet greeting for this captured snake as myself and the rest of the news media awaited its arrival.

When the python arrived, I was immediately awestruck by its striking color, but most of all, its apparent desire for human contact and interaction.  The snake was a total ham!  I stuck my camera right in its face and it just kept flickering its tongue and following me.  Judging from the sizable lump in its mid-section, it had already eaten, so all the “killer snake” mental pictures weren’t in question.  Needless to say, the snake charmed the rest of the media for a good hour or so before being taken away by the Department of Agriculture.

An albino Burmese python is handled by Hawaii Humane Society field services manager Delvin Honda on Friday, July 8, 2011 at the Hawaii Humane Society in Moiliili. An anonymous tip led to the acquisition of the nine-foot albino Burmese python in Ewa. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

A captured python is brought to Admissions on Friday, July 8, 2011 at the Hawaii Humane Society in Moiliili. An anonymous tip led to the acquisition of the nine-foot albino Burmese python in Ewa. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

An albino Burmese python is handled by Hawaii Humane Society field services manager Delvin Honda on Friday, July 8, 2011 at the Hawaii Humane Society in Moiliili. An anonymous tip led to the acquisition of the nine-foot albino Burmese python in Ewa. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).