The View Behind The Shot

A Basketball Story


Sarah Anne Szabo

Alex Kemnitzer, a Rhinebeck High School junior, signals out towards his players where he needs help on a defensive stand point with a blaring call.

The camera clicks rapidly. The crowd chants. The basketball player shoots the ball. The crowd goes wild.

What happens behind those final shots?—both the photographer and player feel adrenaline and glory.

Going behind each shot, Rhinebeck Reality gets my view as the Varsity Sports Photographer and the view of the Varsity Basketball players, Colin Reichelt and Alex Kemnitzer. 

I took photos between the happy and sad moments showing success and failure during a remarkable season.  When masks were still required, we struggled to breathe and follow mask mandates. 

Sean Duke, a senior at Rhinebeck High School, makes a lay-up in a game against SS Seward to move forward in the sectionals tournament. (Sarah Anne Szabo)

The excitement of the game increases exponentially during the moments leading up to a shot.  

The mindset behind an incredible game is worth exploring. 

The player prays for the shot to go in and I hope for a wonderful photo. 

Colin Reichelt, a senior at Rhinebeck High School who has been on varsity for two years and averages 10.65 points per game, gave his input.  During a shot, he would describe his mind as fairly blank. The words that he says flow through his mind are “Make it.” To add a step further 

“You just know you can’t shoot the ball because of a bad pass,” said Reichelt. 

Alex Kemnitzer, a junior and Rhinebeck’s center, contributes his mindset during a shot.

“Nothing, my mind is completely blank…I try not to have any doubt in myself,” said Kemnitzer.

Aiden Prezzano, Rhinebeck High School Sophomore, defend the hoop in a challenging game against Pine Plains (Sarah Anne Szabo)

As the Varsity Sports Photographer, my mindset is similar. 

I frequently lose track of where the ball is focusing on capturing a certain person or position. One of the most common remarks while taking pictures is “where is the ball” and “did it go in.”  I am in either a very comfortable position or uncomfortable either with people or body angle. As someone who sits with the parents instead of the students to be able to capture the best shot, the reaction of the all players and crowd reaches me through the lens. 

I sometimes have a different mindset than the players. I constantly gasp for breath away from the camera to prevent the viewfinder from fogging up with the mask. The basketball players and I capture a similar mindset, but I just don’t need as much muscular endurance, for that mindset.

Although Colin Reichelt may be the smallest in stature on the court, he holds his own against kids who range in heights around 6 feet. 

“People think they are just going to run over me,” said Reichelt. 

Reichelt is one of Rhinebeck’s Starters and proves himself on the court every time he plays. The crowd loves him as well. He shocks other team’s spectators with his scrappy spirit. 

Colin Reichelt, Rhinebeck High School Senior, called for the ball from Alex Kemnitzer, Rhinebeck High School Junior in a game against Ellenville at Highland High School. (Sarah Anne Szabo)

I saw his emotion and mindset in his body language and facial expression despite the covid restrictions. My job was to capture all of it in photos. 

I often found myself pointing out  Reichelt’s facial expressions to nearby spectators during the game. From the scowl to the biggest smile you could expect— his expressions were definitely ones worth capturing. 

Hours before the moment of the shots, the players build themselves up with tons of preparations.

The Game Day Ritual. Wearing the same shirt helps  Reichelt play their hearts out on the court.

Reichelt is very superstitious when it comes down to game day. He would repeat everything he did on the previous gameday if they won. Reichelt pointed out how in one game he wore sweats to school, and then they lost, so the following game day he wore jeans. 

There would be these little factors that Reichelt would see to avoid any chance of a loss.

Most RHS players say their goal is to get into the right mindset through either music or relaxing. Kemnitzer focused on hydrated and getting enough sleep, while Reichelt reviewed the last game’s film. 

Being the photographer, my rituals are less superstitious and more logical. The camera needs to be charged ahead of time, and I need to get to the location early to be able to get the perfect spot for taking photos.

Now that the season has ended, the players have their regrets and plans for the future. Most may go on playing intramural or club basketball, while some may play for a school. Many will continue to play pick-up games with friends who will be there for a lifetime.

“I am really thankful for everything that has happened this season,” said Alex Kemnitzer. 

No matter what the outcome was for the season, the Varsity Boys Basketball team grew from teammates to friends with the vision of prosperity for the future. They stand together as a team and connect as Hawks. 

Look for more sports photography to come to in the future with the spring sports season ahead. Check out the Rhinebeck Basketball Varsity Sports Photos article for a collection of my favorite photos of the season. 


Richard Dentico, a Rhinebeck High School Junior, embraced Sean Duke, a Rhinebeck High School senior, in a side hug after a challenging game against FDR High School. (Sarah Anne Szabo)