I was hired to photograph the Sharks’ home playoff games. Let’s hope they start winning. I really like shooting hockey and basketball. I think it’s because the games are so fast paced and you really need to pay attention.
It’s challenging to get good sports photos. Add in other factors such as lighting, scuffed glass, other photographers, refs getting in the way and you not being in huge right spot at the right time and it makes things a little bit difficult. But as with anything, the more you shoot, the better you get. Understanding the game is a huge part too. You can almost anticipate where the puck will be going next.
I typically shoot from the corner of the rink just because that’s a safe spot to be. You are against the ice and close to the action. Pounce I get my “safe” shots, I tend to move around the rink. I’ll find empty seats in different places around the rink, I’ll sit at the bottom of the stairs up against the glass, or I’ll try to go up high to get above the glass. Going up has advantages and draw backs. You can get super clear and clean images because you aren’t shooting through glass, but you run into other problems. Obstructed view of the puck and the ice but objects such as safety netting and glass panels are two big ones that come to mind.
In the two shots above you see Michael Haley, #18 of the Worcester Sharks scoring the first goal of the game off a rebound, and then you see Haley fist pumping in reaction to the goal. I was in the corner of the rink and go these “safe” shots. You can see the puck making a clear path to the net in the first image. In the second you can see the puck and the expression of the player. Those factors are what make the photos successful. I would have liked to have shot the first image a fraction of a second before or after the moment I captured, sometimes you get what you get.
The next three images where shot from the upper deck. It helps to sometimes get above the ice. Where shooting hockey it’s not uncommon to leave a game with several hundred or even close to 1000+ images. Move around. Get some variety. Take some chances.
The top image was in the neutral zone and shows the players pretty well. It looks like I caught a slash or a hook committed by one of the Sharks’ players that went unnoticed by the officials.
The middle image is a little trickier, I caught one of the Sharks batting the ball out of the air with his glove. This image would have been stronger had I gotten the glove and puck closer to one another. I like the added dimension of the safety net in front of the players. It’s something different. The goal of photographer is to be unique and stand apart from the pack.
The bottom image shows a goal getting past the Sharks’ goalie. I admit this image is busy, but a goal is a goal. This photo has several elements working for it. You can see that the player has just fired the puck on net, you can see the puck in the 5 hole between the goalie’s skates and the chaos that is the Sharks’ defense.
This photo is a clean portrait of the Skarks’ goal scorer, Michael Haley. I took it as a stock image for the publication to have as a backup in case they don’t like the image if the goal being scored.
A shot of players battling over the puck. Fun fact: Jeremy Langlois, #28, was called for a game misconduct that ended up costing the Sharks the game. It was an ugly play and I thought Steve Olesky was going to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. But they play should have been 2 minutes AT MOST! Both guys went hard into the corner, Olseky lost his edge and ended up going what looked like head or shoulder first into the boards.
A shot of Bryan Lerg, the Sharks’ captain. He’ll be good in the NHL.
A photo of Sharks’ Bryan Lerg and Hershey player, Nate Schmidt. Schmidt scored later scored the game winning goal late in the third period. Lerg had his first NHL goal a couple of weeks ago for the San Jose Sharks.
My parting shoot, the Hershey Bears celebrate what ended up being the game winning goal off the power play generated from Langlois game misconduct penalty. Nate Schmidt knocked the game winner past Dell to take a 2-1 lead. You can see the reaction of the Sharks’ fan behind the Hershey players. He is not a happy camper. Today is not his best day.
The next game is scheduled for Saturday, April 25th at the DCU Center in Worcester. The puck drops at 7pm.