The 2012-13 hockey tour is still going strong, and on January 6th (2013) I was photographing for the Milwaukee Admirals taking on the Grand Rapids Griffins. In case you missed the previous entries in my hockey tour posts, you can find them here by team (Greenville Road Warriors, Cincinnati Cyclones, Dubuque Fighting Saints). Anyhow, prior to the game starting, I had the opportunity to walk freely around the arena to scope it all out, meet some of the Admirals staff, and they even invited us to head down to the media room for a catered lunch, which was unexpected, and quite good. Back to the hockey… this was actually the first time in a long time that I was able to shoot through a photographer window in the glass, and believe me, I took the opportunity.
In the past eight months or so, I have become a bit “goalie-centric”, you could say. Photographing a number of hockey camps, including one for Dallas Stars goalie coach Mike Valley, but also for Goalies Inc. Hockey School, and High Performance Goaltending. Being that the window in the glass was in the corner, and BEHIND the goal line (see image above), I figured it might be tough to get some good shots of the goalies, but I was determined. I stayed in the (very cramped) area with the window for two periods, which was pretty uncomfortable, but worth it.
Prior to the game, I was shooting warm-ups from the penalty box. I was told I was able to have the door open to allow me an unobstructed view of the ice, but one of the penalty box attendants highly suggested I keep it shut, as the players love to whip pucks at the boards to warm up. Not two minutes after he said that did a puck come hurling towards us and smack into the glass, leaving my ears ringing for a few minutes. Turns out – Good advice! Shortly after that, I snapped this image of Griffins defenseman, and alternate captain, Nathan Paetsch.
During the first period, I was able to get a few great shots of the Griffins goalie Petr Mrazek. The best of the lot is shown below:
The second period yielded some good images of Ads goalie Jeremy Smith too; pictured below:
As much as I love shooting goaltenders, it’s not all I shot in Milwaukee … I concentrated on tight player shots as well. Using the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L (non IS, if you’re keeping track) is paramount in getting those shots. Here are a few:
The game went into a shootout, which I decided to capture from a little higher up (first row of the second deck).
Another great time photographing hockey, and my first experience doing so in the AHL. One thing I really grabbed from this was that shooting hockey without glass between you and the action is damn near essential. If you can do it, DO IT. If not, you’ll just have to position yourself in a good enough position that the action comes directly at you.