United States's players reach up to block a return ball during a men's volleyball preliminary round pool B match against France, at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
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TOKYO (AP) — From the darkness, hands emerge, reaching for the volleyball.

They belong to Kenya’s Sharon Chepchumba Kiprono, blocking the ball during the women’s volleyball preliminary round pool A match against the Dominican Republic at the Tokyo Games on Saturday.

A shot like this — which evokes magic and shadows and feels compellingly alive — does not come about by accident. Not hardly. Let the Associated Press photojournalist who made the image, London-based Frank Augstein, explain:

“We came up with ideas every day by concentrating on the highlights and by learning what is important in this kind of sport," Augstein says. "The visual stuff can be reduced to hands, arms and balls. So when some players turned up with arm sleeves to protect themselves from the ball impact, I only needed to wait for them to wear black ones and look for a dark background.”

Some photo positions at the volleyball venue gave him the opportunity to capture such a background, but it took a lot of tries to get it just right — and not only because he wanted the hands to look like they're coming out of nowhere.

“I tried for two days, as I wanted to have the ball showing the Olympic rings,” Augstein said Saturday. “Still not perfect, though, but still have another week to get it better.”


More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports