Blackhawks players get fan sendoffs for SOCHI Olympics.

The Illinois Lottery and the Chicago Blackhawks are at it again with another video.  This one shows fans recording a personal message for their favorite Blackhawks Olympians before they head over to the Sochi to represent their country for the Winter Games.  Oh, and there’s a wonderful twist at the end :)

You can watch the video here. (it loads slowly, but it worth it)

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USA Hockey Olympic Exhibition: USA vs Canada

Every photographer has something they absolutely love to shoot, that never EVER feels like work to them.  And inside that goal lies something they want more than anything.  My answer to the first part is “hockey”, and my answer to the second part is “USA Hockey“.  Well this past December 28, I was given an assignment by USA Hockey Magazine to photograph the USA vs Canada women’s exhibition game in St Paul, MN (Xcel Energy Center).  The assignment was to get photographs of the referee/linesman crew for the magazine, and action shots from the game.

To be completely honest, I was honored.  The argument could be made that it’s just an assignment – but it’s photographing the OLYMPIC HOCKEY TEAM for cryin’ out loud.  5-hour drive each way?  No problem; happy to do it.

So upon arriving, I met with Bruce Kluckhohn, who photographs for the Wild, and he assigned me one of the windows in the glass, which is where I shot for the warmups and the first two periods.  The only problem with that is that it has to be done from a kneeling position, and was really tough on the knees.  For the first part of the third period I was walking around on the first deck, shooting from the entrances/isles.  Then for the last 10 minutes of the third I was down at an unassigned window by the glass … which means I was there for the shootout as well.

*note*  Any time I shoot out-of-state, the game will go into at least overtime, and most often, into a shootout. 

So below are some of the images that I got from the game.  Warmups were from the Team Canada end of the ice.

Gillian Apps © www.aepoc.com

Gillian Apps © http://www.aepoc.com

Caroline Ouellette (© www.aepoc.com)

Caroline Ouellette (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Charline Labonté (© www.aepoc.com)

Charline Labonté (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Marie-Philip Poulin (© www.aepoc.com)

Marie-Philip Poulin (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Lyndsey Fry (© www.aepoc.com)

Lyndsey Fry (© http://www.aepoc.com)

USA goal! (© www.aepoc.com)

USA goal! (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Jessie Vetter (© www.aepoc.com)

Jessie Vetter (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Meghan Duggan (© www.aepoc.com)

Meghan Duggan (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Meghan Duggan (© www.aepoc.com)

Meghan Duggan (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Jayna Hefford (© www.aepoc.com)

Jayna Hefford (© http://www.aepoc.com)

First period collision (© www.aepoc.com)

First period collision (© http://www.aepoc.com)

The view from above (© www.aepoc.com

The view from above (© http://www.aepoc.com

The view from above (© www.aepoc.com

The view from above (© http://www.aepoc.com

Jocelyne Lamoureux (© www.aepoc.com)

Jocelyne Lamoureux (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Kacey Bellamy (© www.aepoc.com)

Kacey Bellamy (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Brianna Decker (© www.aepoc.com)

Brianna Decker (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Kelli Stack (© www.aepoc.com)

Kelli Stack (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Hilary Knight (© www.aepoc.com)

Hilary Knight (© http://www.aepoc.com)

Hilary Knight (Shootout winner) (© www.aepoc.com)

Hilary Knight (Shootout winner) (© http://www.aepoc.com)

USA! USA! USA! (© www.aepoc.com)

USA! USA! USA! (© http://www.aepoc.com)

I guess what you look for from every shoot is a few images that make you think “Yep, I certainly nailed that one” or “That image is one of my best to date“.  Walking away with a number of those from one shoot makes me incredibly happy; and having that one shoot be for an organization that I one day hope to work for, in USA Hockey, makes it that much more gratifying.  The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are just a few weeks away, and I couldn’t be more proud of what I produced for USA Hockey Magazine.

Famed Sports Photographer Neil Leifer

I saw this via ISO1200 a while back, and forgot to share it here.  If you love sports (and let’s face it, you probably do if you’re on my blog), this is an awesome video to watch:

https://vimeo.com/75057665

“Project 13” – A Friday The 13th Series

When I was growing up in the 80s, a certain series of horror films were coming out that were pretty popular; Friday the 13th.  In fact, the “franchise” also became a TV show, novels, comics, and of course, all sorts of merchandise.  Of course, I wasn’t allowed to watch these movies at such a young age, but somehow managed to see them all during middle school and the beginning of high school.

In the movies, in case you’re unfamiliar (spoiler alerts!), “Jason Voorhees”, was a young boy who drown while at Camp Crystal Lake.  Jason is largely absent from the first movie, in which his mother stalks and kills the camp counselors (to avenge his death) that were going to be reopening Camp Crystal Lake after Jason’s drowning.  She is killed at the end of the first movie and Jason comes back to avenge her death in the next (count them) ELEVEN movies!

Camp Crystal Lake

So a few months ago I had this idea that I should get one of those masks that Jason (irony??) wore in the movies, get the clothes he wore, and do some photos for Halloween.  So I started investigating further (as it has been years upon years since seeing the movies), and rented and watched the first 7 movies in the series.  Well, finding a good replica of the mask wasn’t terribly easy, but I did find one, and thus began the project.  Mask (check), crowbar (check), machete (check), mechanic’s overalls (check), gray pants (check), long-sleeve work shirt (check).  The next step was to scout some creepy places to photograph.

Creepy House | Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

This abandoned house fit the bill.  © http://www.aepoc.com

There are a number of sketchy looking places to shoot not far from where I live, so I walked around and took some photos with my cell phone to start the process.  And then I got to thinking, “Maybe it’s not the world’s best idea to be walking around a small town in a hockey mask, dressed as a very popular serial killer, holding a machete, crowbar, or other killing utensil”.  So I went to the local police station to inform them of the project, and see if I needed to get clearance, permits, etc.  Turns out I needed to address the town board and write up exact dates, times, etc.  So I wrote a letter to the board, and they approved the project.  A local paper even got wind of it and ran a story on it as well, which I will put in a future post.

Below you’ll find the images taken for the project.  Happy Halloween!

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © www.aepoc.com

Friday the 13th Photoshoot © http://www.aepoc.com

Hockey Photo Of The Day |31| Mrazek

The final image in my “Hockey Photo Of The Day” series.  Petr Mrazek is a phenomenal goaltender.  He led the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Calder Cup Championship in the 2012-2013 season.  While photographing for the Milwaukee Admirals, I was able to snap this image of him making an incredible save.  Just a few days after this shot was taken, Mrazek was called up to the Detroit Red Wings, for his first NHL start; which he won.

Petr Mrazek | © www.aepoc.com

Petr Mrazek | © http://www.aepoc.com

Hockey Photo Of The Day |30| That Mouthguard!

Former Fighting Saints forward Mike Szmatula reminds me a lot of the Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane, for many reasons; one of which is the mouthguard that was always dangling from his mouth.  Mike now plays hockey for Northeastern University.

Mike Szmatula | © www.aepoc.com

Mike Szmatula | © http://www.aepoc.com

Apparently it’s a thing in the NHL too:

Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane

Hockey Photo Of The Day |29| Hockey and humor

Hockey players generally have a pretty good sense of humor.  Sometimes, you have to look closely to find it.  When I traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan to photograph the Griffins, this is what I found on the bench:

Skywalker | © www.aepoc.com

Skywalker | © www.aepoc.com