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|| News Item: Posted 2006-04-28

Sports Shooter Academy II: 'But Was I Ready?'
By Jesse Bowman, University of Hawaii

Photo by Jesse Bowman

Photo by Jesse Bowman
(Editor's Note: Sports Shooter Academy II was held earlier this month. The hands-on, shooting workshop gave participants an opportunity to cover a wide range of NCAA Division I sports through the Big West Conference in addition to several professional sports. The Sports Shooter Newsletter asked several participants to write about their experiences and what the took away from this educational program.)

Months ago I was excited to find out I was accepted to Sports Shooter Academy II. This actually came as a shock to me since I had only been a member for a few months and was sure the competition would be tough. But I made it and the following weeks would be spent preparing for what would undoubtedly be one of the most intense learning experiences of my life as a photographer.

The day came when I was ready to board the plane from Honolulu to Orange County for an extended spring break from the University of Hawaii. But was I ready?

Most of the flight was spent going over my equipment list to make sure I did not forget anything and trying to remember anything I had ever learned about photography that might be useful during the workshop.

The workshop kicked off with keynote speaker and NBA Senior Photographer Andy Bernstein. As soon as Andy began to speak I realized this was the real deal. Here was a man who had turned his passion into his livelihood, and for the NBA no less. Andy had a lot of great stories and amazing images to share with us, my personal favorite being the picture of Andy and Shaq cruising down the freeway in Shaq's Lamborghini … hilarious! Andy's presentation touched on many topics including preparation and hard work and was an effective start to the workshop.

The following day it was off to Santa Anita Raceway with Los Angeles Times staff photographer Wally Skalij. I was really excited to shoot horse racing because it is something I could never do at home in Hawaii. Before the races began, Wally briefed us on the rules and showed us how to set up a remote camera on the starting gate. Then we were free to roam. It was a long day but a lot of fun. Personally I think I got some of the best shots I have ever taken that day.

After an hour and a half in SoCal traffic, fellow SSA II attendee Tony Blazejack and I arrived back at the hotel for a Portrait Lighting Class. This was a very informative class on how to use speedlites to light a portrait shoot and saved me thousands of dollars in lighting equipment.

On Friday it was off to the track again … track and field that is. Led by freelancer Matt Brown we turned the Big West Challenge track and field meet at U.C. Irvine into our own personal classroom. Matt pushed us to think outside the box and try new things. It seemed for Matt the only limitation was your imagination.

The final day of shooting was spent back at UCI covering men's tennis and baseball. These are two sports I have covered rather extensively at the University of Hawaii. But here it was different. I was seeing things in a new way. Not what had to be done but what could be done. This new way of looking at the world has stuck with me in the weeks following the Academy.

The Academy was a great opportunity for me to learn how to do what I love from some of the best in the business, and do it better. It was a chance for me to step out of the ordinary and do something different with my photography. I learned a lot at the academy, made some new friends and had some good times. It is something I will always remember.


(Jesse Bowman is a student at the University of Hawaii.)

Related Links:
Bowman's member page

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