Archive for the ‘wildlife’ Category

Mayoral debate at KITV

July 12th, 2012
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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.

Dream Day at the Office

June 17th, 2012
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One of three female scalloped hammerhead sharks take a curious pass at the camera.

Hola friends!

As many of you may know, I’m an AVID fan of sharks.  Last week, I had the pleasure of photographing three beautiful scalloped hammerhead sharks without a cage–something I’ve always wanted to do my whole life!  Just one baby step closer to my ultimate dream–white sharks!  So with housing in hand, a Mark IV and a fisheye, into the water I went!  Special thanks to the staff at Sea Life Park, Josh and the gang at Hawaii Photo Rental, and Cheryl Tsutumi!  Enjoy!

Like the dolphin experience, Sea Life Park now offers guests a chance to be in the water with various species of sharks native to Hawaiian waters.

The sharks were quite wary of me upon my entry into their domain. I actually had to let them get used to me to be able to get them to come close to the camera and me. Keep in mind this is a fisheye, so they REALLY got close on some passes, like this one.

When they finally got a bit more comfortable with me, I was able to get under them for some nice shots of them passing overhead.

Overall, just an amazing experience to be in the water with them!

A day in a life…literally

August 5th, 2011
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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
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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).

SPOOOOKY

October 20th, 2009
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On October 10, I photographed Wet N’ Wild’s haunted attractions–the 3D Creepy Cave, the Freezer, and the Tunnel. I must say, I was spooked outta my pants! It’s amazing how high-tech and dazzling these attractions have become! Made some pretty neat images, and nearly passed out from the strobe lighting in the freezer! It felt like a scene from the movie “Saw,” I was literally trying to find my way outta there, and the actors and actresses really played their parts convincingly.

Nanea Lum, 17, and Blythe Matias, 19, react as they stick closely together making their way through the 3-D Creepy Cave at Wet N' Wild's Festival of Fear on Saturday, October 10, 2009 in Kapolei.  The attractions will be featured along with the park's full offering of waterslides on Fridays and Saturdays until Halloween.  (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Nanea Lum, 17, and Blythe Matias, 19, react as they stick closely together making their way through the 3-D Creepy Cave at Wet N' Wild's Festival of Fear on Saturday, October 10, 2009 in Kapolei. The attractions will be featured along with the park's full offering of waterslides on Fridays and Saturdays until Halloween. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).


Nanea Lum, 17, front, Blythe Matias, 19, Christa Bender, 18, and Desiree Faavi, 17, stick closely together as they make their way through the 3-D Creepy Cave at Wet N' Wild's Festival of Fear on Saturday, October 10, 2009 in Kapolei.  The attractions will be featured along with the park's full offering of waterslides on Fridays and Saturdays until Halloween.  (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).

Nanea Lum, 17, front, Blythe Matias, 19, Christa Bender, 18, and Desiree Faavi, 17, stick closely together as they make their way through the 3-D Creepy Cave at Wet N' Wild's Festival of Fear on Saturday, October 10, 2009 in Kapolei. The attractions will be featured along with the park's full offering of waterslides on Fridays and Saturdays until Halloween. (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).


It was creepy indeed, because you never knew if the psychedelic paint and designs on the wall would come out and jump at you. This next photo made me jump. I thought that mask was a decoration and part of the wall, but it all of a sudden hurdled at me at hi-speed!
This masked head just exploded towards me seconds after I shot this photo!

This masked head just exploded towards me seconds after I shot this photo!


Whew!! Okay, I survived. I don’t know what was more unnerving, the ghouls n fiends that occupied that cave or the shrill screams of the girls I was photographing!
On to the Freezer….what a name! I was greeted at the door by a butcher with bloody garbs. Something told me this was going to be a notch up from the last one! I stepped into the Freezer and was instantly greeted by strobe lights at a high rate. Euphoria. Strobes, like the ones at dance clubs, for long periods of time tend to mess with my head and equilibrium. So I closed my eyes as I felt my way through the Freezer, snapping as I encountered other hapless explorers along the way. The one GOOD thing about the strobes is I was able to use ambient and use the house strobes to illuminate my shots. Here’s my favorite frame from inside there.
Bobby Pagdilao, front, Frances Andres, left, and Francisco Arellano are attacked by one of "The Freezer's" creepy occupants at Wet N' Wild's Festival of Fear on Saturday, October 10, 2009 in Kapolei.  The attractions will be featured along with the park's full offering of waterslides on Fridays and Saturdays until Halloween.  (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Bulletin).
Finally I had to stop. Those strobes were really doing a number on me. So I crouched for a while with my eyes closed. Eerily, all the screams and noises from guests stopped, and all I heard was the loud haunted music on the P.A. I opened my eyes and saw nothing but pitch black, save for a very bright light in front of me, with a shadow slowly making its way towards me.
This was rather unnerving--as was the methodically slow approach that this creature took to get to my crouched position.

This was rather unnerving--as was the methodically slow approach that this creature took to get to my crouched position.


It was moving very slowly, and all of a sudden, BAM!! In front of me, house strobes at full power again! Using my camera as if it was machine gun (and AS IF that would do anything in a situation like this!), I rattled off frames and came away with this:
I was outta there after seeing this!!!

I was outta there after seeing this!!!


I had enough, I had to feel my way through the chainlink fences towards the exit. They were gaining on me, snarling and thirsty for my blood. I could feel my pulse quickening, and with every step that I took, it seemed they got closer and closer. I could hear the distant sound of sharpened steel cutting flesh, and feared that mine might be next. With desperation, I felt a corner on the chainlink and rounded my way clear of it and….

Okay, back to the real world. Back outside. The big burly dude who had scared the guests at the beginning was outside taking a breather and smiled at me, blood on his face and butchers’ clothes and everything. I SURVIVED! Kudos to Wet N’ Wild, because that was quite a thrill ride.

*For you technical people, all images were made with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III with an EF 16-35 f2.8L, an ST-E2 wireless flash transmitter and a single 580EX speedlite set to manual, 1/64 power. Exposure modes varied from 1/15 sec to a full second, all hand held.