New Kid on the Block

Curiosity. Thirst for knowledge. Experience.

Those three words can describe why Joey wanted to take photos during PRFU’s event, the 2017 SPI 15s League finals.

Who is Joey? Well, let’s backtrack a little bit.

Joey Cate attended my first ever Photography 101 session way back January 28, 2017. Unlike the other participants who wanted to sit in the middle or at the back, Joey sat in front. All through out the workshop, Joey listened intently and he asked a lot of questions. Second only to Paolo Valera, who didn’t hold back in terms of photography-related questions. Haha!

I really felt Joey’s desire to learn the basics of photography, so much so that he committed to joining the shoot I arranged earlier this month.

Fast forward to the days leading up to March 11. Joey confirmed his attendance to the rugby game shoot. Again, I could sense his eagerness to hold a camera and take photos. To him, it didn’t matter what type of shoot was organized as long as he takes home a ton of knowledge.

On the day of the shoot, I met up with Joey in Alabang. We rode together going to Southern Plains in Calamba. On the way to the venue, I set his expectation about the upcoming shoot. I told him that it was going to be hot since rugby was played on a field and that the players are playing under the heat of the sun. I also told him that he needed to move, a lot! I wanted to instill in him the same discipline of following the ball and staying in front of the players so that he can take good photos.

When we arrived at the venue, I sat him down and told Joey that we should watch one whole game first. It helps, especially if one is new to a sport, if you watch them play first. Watching the game can give you somewhat of a background on how the game goes, something that can help you get in to the flow of your shoot.

During the latter part of the first game, Joey did something that was very Joey-like. He asked me if he can take photos already. I laughed because he couldn’t contain is excitement to experience his first sports shoot. I said: “Go ahead, knock yourself out.” Who am I to stop him from doing what he really wanted to do?

At first I observed him while he took photos. He tried his best to keep up with the players who were going up and down the field, he looked like he’s in to the game. He was slowly getting in to a good flow of the shoot.

After the second half of the second game, it looked like Joey is now familiar with the game. He took photos with ease and he already took shots from different parts of the field.

At the end of the day, Joey was tired and thirsty but I saw in his face the happiness and contentment of experiencing his first ever sports shoot. He told me that the shoot had a different feel compared to his usual gigs of company events, that it was more challenging since predicting the players’ moves were hard and staying under the hot sun made it harder.

Before we parted ways, he thanked me. The look on his face, his firm handshake and his heartfelt thanks made my day. It really is a good feeling to be able to pass on knowledge to people who want it.

By the way, all images I used in this blog entry were taken by Joey.

Photography 101: The Second Time Around

February 25 felt like it was just like any other Saturday, except that there was something during the afternoon that needed my attention.

That something was my second Photography 101 workshop, this time it was held at Bo’s Coffee in Eton Tower at Makati City. It was my first time both in Eton Tower and in the branch of Bo’s Coffee of that building.

Unlike the first workshop, I wasn’t uneasy and I wasn’t all over the place. I knew how it was going to go. Things flowed smoothly, from ingress to the nitty gritty preparation details.

The workshop started on time, with all eleven attendees coming in early. It was a good mix of fresh faces and familiar faces. Michael and Paolo, both of them attendees from my first workshop, attended again. It was truly heart-warming, seeing two of my former students enroll again because they thought one workshop wasn’t enough and that they didn’t want to stop learning.

There was one attendee that stood out the most. My good friend, Mark. We’ve known each other since college and it was just recently that I saw his interest in photography. Turns out, his dad is a hobbyist and he now plans to use his gear and his dad’s old gear to take photos of his daughter.

They were very inquisitive from the get go and they took advantage of the house rule “Questions will be entertained at any point of the workshop.” The participants asked questions as much as they could! I really welcomed the idea of putting the workshop on hold for a few minutes just to be able to answer their questions.

From camera settings for street photography to old school Nikon 50mm f/1.2 lens, the topics and questions that were really diverse. The attendees kept me on my toes and it was such an amazing feeling.

Before the session ended, I told the participants to ask me anything. In my mind, I thought that they were going to ask me photography-related questions. The questions they asked surprised me, to say the least. From college course to my first job, why I left my day job to is the risk I took worth it. It felt like I was telling my life story, haha! But it was fun, it was one way for me to bond with my participants.

When all was said and done, February 25 was one of my most tired and exhausting but fulfilling days in my photography career. And I’d give everything to have a lot more of that.

Photography 101: There’s always a first time in a long time.

Eight years. That’s how long it has been since I last taught Photography 101. The last time I was in front of attendees, I was still an employee of Accenture and the people who attended were my co-employees. I didn’t have any problem speaking in public during activities of Accenture Photography Club mainly because I knew most of them already.

Fast forward to a week and a day ago, I find myself standing in front of workshop attendees again. Eight years more of experience under my belt, new presentation deck on screen, and twenty three fresh faces looking back at me.

I was all over the place! I was setting up my Mac for the presentation, my other stuff was  spread all over a long table, my mind worried about the projector and the projector screen. Kassy, my girlfriend, told me to calm down. Eventually, I got all of my stuff in order and all I did was just wait for the attendees to come in of Bo’s Coffee.

The attendees were almost complete. I had to stand in front to get the workshop started. My hands were sweaty, I think they were even shaking at one point. I fidgeted with my presentation clicker while I was speaking nervously (wish I brought the fidget cube we bought at kickstarter). When Kassy started with an ice breaker and introduced me, it was only up until I started to talk about my credentials when I felt settled. I think that was the last time that I was nervous.

From 12 noon to 2 in the afternoon, I had boggling jitters. All those what if’s lingered but soon as everyone sat comfortably and started asking questions, I knew I’ll be okay. 

Everything after that came naturally. Like how it was way back 2009. I discussed and explained each and every bullet point and photo with ease.  

“Everything is going to be okay.”

With much delight, a-lot of have requested for another rerun of the workshop and we’re grateful on the kind support Bo’s Coffee have extended - We’re doing another round of the Photography 101 workshop at their Eton Tower Makati Branch. 

And, just like my title, there’s always a first time in a long time. I’ll be posting more often on this blog, soon! 

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