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Go team! Writing about sports takes teamwork.

A preliminary concept sketch of the September 2013 cover.

The final September 2013 issue cover art.

There’s no getting around it: UH athletics has been going through a rough patch, both on the field and off. But the university is at a crossroads right now. With a new athletic director, a new chancellor and a new football coach, all of one mind, all of them determined to turn things around, what better time for us to do a story on the future of UH sports?

Senior editor David Thompson spent time hanging out with athletic director Ben Jay to find out how he plans to save the program, and we brought in two of our favorite UH sports experts, Lance Tominaga and Dave Choo, to round out the package. Tominaga dissects coach Norm Chow’s football strategies, and Choo takes a look back at UH’s golden age, bringing to life the miraculous 1977 season of former coach Dick Tomey. Check out the feature.

The cover was another big team effort.  We wanted to convey the excitement, suspense and agony of attending a real UH football game, and who better to do that than UH’s own fans, band members and cheerleaders? We weren’t sure where to even begin finding the right people, but the UH Athletic Department and Rainbowtique helped track down a whole posse of them, 30 in all.

You might have missed this on first glance, but the crowd on the cover never actually assembled in that tight formation in real life. Instead, we brought them all into the studio on a Saturday, and had photographer Dallas Nagata White shoot them each individually over the course of 10 hours. Ed White and Kaeo Kepani wrangled the whole parade, and design director Erik Ries … directed. To get everyone properly pumped for the camera, he gave a demonstration yell for every single person. “By the end of the day, I was pretty tired,” Ries says.

Even then, there was a lot of work to do: After compositing the best poses, Ries sent the image off to Photoshop whiz Xavier Camacho, who spent hours and hours perfecting the final scene. The end result might well represent the most people we’ve ever packed onto a cover of HONOLULU Magazine.

After seeing how everything came together, we’re excited about this upcoming season of UH football. We’ll be in the stands cheering the Rainbow Warriors on at the next game; give us a wave if you happen to run into us!

Video: Go behind the scenes and see how a cover shoot comes together, at honolulumag.com/football


Lance Tominaga is a longtime UH sports fan who attended his first Rainbow Warrior football game in 1977. He’s witnessed many of the program’s greatest games, and he still considers Hawaii’s decisive 56-14 victory over BYU in 1989 as “one of the happiest moments of my life,” he says. A 25-year veteran in Hawaii’s publishing industry, Tominaga is the author of several books, including The Hawaii Sports Trivia Challenge (Watermark Publishing). He is currently the Web Editor at ESPN 1420 and NBC Sports Radio on AM 1500. Read Tominaga’s contributions to our package on UH athletics.

Alex Bitter spent 10 weeks this summer as HONOLULU’s editorial intern. The Hilo native got his start in journalism covering university administration for Ka Leo o Hawaii, the student newspaper at UH Manoa, where he is majoring in journalism and political science. “This was my first time writing for a magazine,” he says. “As a journalist, it’s one thing to report on something, but to use your command of the English language, with all its subtleties, that sets HONOLULU apart.” This month, Bitter rounded up 20 great hikes around Oahu—see the story for the full list.

Dallas Nagata White, Ed White, and Kaeo Kepani (pictured right to left) are a trio of Honolulu creatives who are crazy about helping Hawaii businesses through their photography and film services, all while keeping it easy and fun. Based on Oahu, but with roots across the state, this team has worked with international companies such as Pepsi and 2Chillies Swimwear, as well as local clients such as Salty Girl Jewelry and the cover of the HONOLULU Magazine you’re holding right now. See more at dnwphoto.com.