I took a couple of thousand shots that day.
It’s been two years since, but I can still remember the joy I felt after seeing that among all those shots, I was able to capture something like this.
I used to only see these in NBA cards and sports magazines. And there I was, having an opportunity to take a shot I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life.
I’ve always been fond of taking pictures. I remember getting my first camera after sixth grade, and my first digital camera after graduating from college. In 2015, I bought my first interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, a Fujifilm X-A2. It was also then when I decided to take photography more seriously and learn the technicalities of it.
Fast forward to early 2019 when a friend from a photography group, Via eXis, asked our group chat if anyone wanted to try out sports photography. While I’ve previously shot sports, it was mostly during the start of games I was watching. I haven’t actually “covered” a game yet.
After that first night covering two volleyball games, I realized how difficult it actually was. I wasn’t too familiar with the game anymore and things were happening too fast, you won’t have that much time to tinker with the camera’s setting. Shooting in burst-mode was a “shortcut”, but it won’t guarantee good shots either.
I covered a couple more volleyball games after that, learning more about sports photography and the sport along the way. There was still a lot of trial and error happening, but I knew from my shots I was also improving.
A couple of weeks later I got a chance to cover the SM NBTC League National Finals. It was during the Slam Dunk Contest where I got this shot of Jalen Green soaring through the air. The students wearing color-coded shirts in the audience added a nice touch to the photo.
I’ve only been doing sports photography for a year when the pandemic hit. Just a few months before the community quarantines I was thinking how amazing it is that it’s never too late to achieve your dreams and tick-off things from your bucket list.
And then all of it came to a pause, not knowing when we’ll have the opportunity to do it again.
// by Francis Abad