On Thursday night, after an exhausting week of trying to juggle work, taking pictures in my free time, training, and attempting to stay optimistic about securing a full time job, I felt wiped out – mentally and physically. I had hoped for a sign, something, anything, to hint that these efforts weren’t futile.
Last night, I attended the Singapore One FC: Battle of Lions, just to help out as a photographer on the red carpet after receiving word that they had slots open. Coincidentally, the main photographer for One FC is Justin Ng – an established photographer introduced to me by name via Serena Tan and her colleague. I never thought I would actually meet this person in real life since he’s highly sought after and seems to be globetrotting around the world snapping for names such as Nat Geo and BBC. For those of you who are interested, you can check out his photos here.
At the event, he announces that he’s going to pick three photographers to join him at the cage. I’m praying for this opportunity but deep down inside, I tell myself not to set my hopes up too high, seeing as how there were 30 of us and more advanced cameras to my right and left. After selecting the first photographer based on past experience, he asks two questions, the first being targeted towards those who carry lens with a particular focal length (so I’m out) and the second, his One FC FB username. Another guy shoots his hand into the air, and I’m about to accept the fact that I’m never going to this cage. But then he gives an incorrect answer and the next thing I know, my butt is on a chair next to Justin Ng, cage front with other media photographers capturing Martin Nguyen defeat Rocky Batolbatol.
It was nerve wrecking because one, I think I was mildly in shock and two, so worried about adjusting the settings right to get clear shots. Not to mention the fact that I had provided a very unimpressive answer to one of Justin’s technical questions that I wanted to bang my head on the wall. That aside, I feel thankful for this opportunity, and knowing that if I could just secure at least one decent shot that night, I would be extremely happy. Capturing athletes in action has been on my to-do list for quite some time, mainly because sports has occupied a big part my life. Showcasing the determination, energy and passion of fellow athletes is a project that I’ve been looking forward to undertake. While there are some aspects to this shot that could definitely be improved, this image is one of the few that means so much to me personally. I couldn’t help but grin all the way home. Think when you were a kid and entered the candy store prepared to walk away with one green sour strip. Instead, you came out with a bagful of mix and match, and suddenly, you see a rainbow. To one of the most memorable Friday nights ever. Martin Nguyen def. Rocky Batolbatol via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:10 of R2. For the full results, visit mmafighting.