The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Archive for September, 2010

Opening Night pt. 2

We left off with me scrambling off the ice after Glen Goodall dropped the ceremonial first puck (again, I didn’t fall on the ice, I’m so proud!) .  In addition to missing the ceremonial puck drop, though, I also missed the drop to begin the game.  For the first period I wanted to shoot from the upper level of ShoWare to get above the glass, so I was running up and around to my vantage point.  After missing just half a minute of action, I settled into my position by a couple of suites and started to fire away.

The nice thing about being up high is that you can shoot above the glass instead of through it.   That makes the photos clearer since there’s nothing to ruin the camera’s focus.  I’ll give you an example…


Jacob Doty checks a Winterhawk into the boards, which mess with my focal point.


Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

This photo of right winger Jacob Doty checking a Winterhawk into the boards is slightly out of focus.  If you look close, you can see that the glass is the focal point of the photo, not the players even though that’s what I was focusing on.  This fore-focusing is a result of having something—even though it’s translucent—in between the lens and the subject.   My focus was tricked into being wrong by the glass.


Calvin Pickard saves a shot in the first period.


Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

The focus on this shot of a goaltender Calvin Pickard save is in focus, seeing as the glass doesn’t rise high enough to be in my line of sight.  When shooting from a high vantage point, I mainly shoot the goalie and the part of the ice not behind the glass and safety nets that hang behind each goal.  Unfortunately that takes away many shots from when the T-Birds are when offense, but I can make up for it when I head down rinkside and shoot through the glass there.

Speaking of going rinkside, I’ll share just one more photo before we head down there. During one of the timeouts in the first period, Cool Bird walked into one of the suites behind me with a t-shirt cannon.  As he was firing t-shirts into the crowd, I snapped a few frames.  I managed to press the shutter exactly when Cool Bird shot out a shirt.


Cool Bird shoots t-shirts into the crowd during a break from the first period action.


Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/320th, Manual

For the second period, I went down to the edge of the rink behind the Winterhawks goal to get some shots of the T-Birds on offense.   Since I’m new to watching hockey, it sometimes is difficult for me to keep up with the speed of the game in front of the goal.  Until I can anticipate what’s going to happen better, I do have to take whatever shot I can get.  Here’s me  doing that: a photo of a face-off right in front of me.


Center Connor Sanvido takes part in a face-off in the second period.


Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The second period was a pretty good one for the T-Birds, offensively.  They scored two goals and had a good number of breakaway opportunities.  Here’s one of those breakaways, this one by center Travis Toomey.


Center Travis Toomey tries to get past the Portland defense in the second period.


Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Speaking of goals, one of them happened right in front of me.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch it on film (figure of speech, I don’t use film anymore), but I did get right winger Marcel Noebels’ unique assist.  That just goes to show that you don’t need a stick to help your team win.


Marcel Noebels kicks the puck to Luke Lockhart for a goal in the second period.


Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And such a cool assist like that certainly deserves a celebration!


Noebels celebrates Lockhart's goal.


Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Noebels wasn’t the only one celebrating.  The ShoWare Center erupted after that goal, and fans got out of their seats and cheered on the Birds while the game was paused.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

For the third period, I shot from the box between the team’s benches (another trip onto the ice where I didn’t fall, I getting good at that…).  That’s my favorite place to shoot since there’s no glass to look through and you can cover both ends of the ice pretty well.  Here’s one from the T-Bird’s offensive half.


Noebels fights with a couple of Winterhawks for control of the puck.


Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here’s one from when the T-Birds were on defense.  Defenseman Brenden Dillon wrestled the puck away from the Winterhawks’ Sven Bartschi on this play.


Defenseman Brenden Dillon wins the puck in the defensive half during the third period.


Canon 7D, 85mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

During the third period, the Thunderbirds clinched their first win of the season by scoring two more goals, one by right winger Burke Gallimore and the other by center Colin Jacobs.  You can see the photo of Jacob’s goal with the team’s story of the game at, so I won’t repost it here.  I will, however, post Jacobs’ reaction.


Center Colin Jacobs celebrates his goal late in the third period.


Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In the photo business, reaction shots are commonly called ‘jube’ (for jubilation).  I’d say that’s some pretty good jube shown by Colin right there, although it’s too bad the referee completely ruins the background.  Jacobs was clearly fired up by his goal as he was still celebrating while skating back to the bench.


Jacobs' celebration continues towards the bench.


Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Down by three, the Winterhawks spent the last five minutes of the game desperately trying to get one more goal.  Calvin Pickard didn’t let any garbage-time goals in, however, as he stopped anything that got through to him.


Pickard makes a late-game save to keep the score at 4-1 in favor of the Thunderbirds.


Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And with that, the Thunderbirds won!  They beat the rival Winterhawks 4-1 and earned their first victory in the new season.   That’s it for this edition of the photoblog, but keep an eye on this space over the weekend for a post about the game against Lethbridge tomorrow.  I hope to see you all there!

Til then, go T-Birds!

Opening Night pt. 1

Finally it had arrived!  I was looking forward to the Thunderbirds’ home opener ever since I started shooting for them mid-August.   Over the last month I’ve shot a few practices and exhibition games, but in many ways the home opener was the first hockey game I’ve covered.  Sure I had shot a few exhibition games and practices, but regular season games that actually count in the standings, I’ve found, are completely different.  Having all the fans there, having the festivities that go on before and during regular season games really add to the atmosphere of games, and I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself and capture it for you all to see.

Since we’re talking about the festivities around the game, it only seems natural to begin with a picture from the Party on the Plaza .  Before the game, there was a celebration outside of ShoWare that had music, a beer garden, and even inflatable play areas for the younger fans.  After surveying the plaza, I decided to head over to the inflatables and get photos of kids playing.  A few minutes later, I snapped this frame of a young T-Birds fan coming down a slide.


A young T-Birds fan enjoys a slide during the Party on the Plaza


Canon 40D, 50mm, 640 ISO, f3.5, 1/4000th, Manual

Happy with my slide photo, I wandered around the party and snapped a few more frames of the outdoor celebration, but nothing useable.   Happy with the photos I got from outside, I decided to head inside and wait for the gates to open.  I had in my head a cool idea for a photo of fans piling into the arena, but I quickly realized with my equipment (more specifically lack of a working wide-angle lens) my vision wouldn’t be possible.  I decided to focus on a single fan receiving one of the wooden train whistles that were handed out.  After a few minutes not getting a useable photo (weird facial expressions, blocked subjects, the usual…) I finally stumbled across a decent frame. Naturally, I forgot all my journalistic responsibilities and didn’t get this woman’s name.  In this business, however, you try to use your best frames, and this is the best photo I had from the gates.


Fans received train whistles upon entering the ShoWare Center and were told to blow them at various points throughout the game.


Canon 40D, 50mm, 800 ISO, f3.2, 1/250th, Manual

After clearing my memory cards onto my computer, I headed down rink side to wait for the ice to be cleared.  Once the players’ warm-ups were finished and the ice was zambonied, the photographers were let out on the ice.  I was weary of walking out on the ice and falling on face in front of everyone as I’m not the most graceful person in the world, but I’m happy to report I stayed upright out on the ice.  While waiting for the team to be introduced, Charles Cortes of the Kent Reporter and I noticed that the Thunderbirds’ helmets were lined up atop the wall.  Never missing an opportunity for detail shots, we both snapped a few frames of the helmet line.  This is my version of it, which I am quite happy with.


The Thunderbirds helmets are lined up near the bench prior to the start of the game.


Canon 7D, 50mm, 1250 ISO, f2.8, 1/50th, Manual

A few minutes later, the lights dimmed and a short highlight video from last year played on the video screens: the players were about to be introduced!  The green lasers and smoke machine used in the introductions made cool effects for in the background.  I’ll share a few of my favorite player intros with you now…
Here’s goaltender Calvin Pickard acknowledging the crowd (you knew I had to include him…)


Pickard was the first player introduced before the game.


Canon 7D, 180mm, 1250 ISO, f2.8, 1/640th, Manual

And here’s left winger Chance Lund coming out of the tunnel


And now Chance Lund makes his way onto the ice.


Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

While the lasers did make for some cool background effects, they could be distracting, as well.  Or, in this case, they could be shining straight into the lens when I release the shutter.  If you look closely, you can see left winger Mitch Elliot.  (hint: you have to look very closely)


Green lasers are cool to look at. Not when they're shining right in your eye, though.


Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

And last but not least is backup goaltender Michael Salmon, who shows us that you don’t need fancy lasers and fog to make a good-looking photo.


With Michael Salmon, the entire Thunderbirds squad is now on the ice.


Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Once the Thunderbirds were introduced and the Winterhawks were on the ice, it was time to honor T-bird legend Glen Goodall.  Goodall gave a short speech and, after the national anthem, dropped the ceremonial first puck.  Of course, I completely forgot about the puck drop and was walking towards the door off the ice while when the puck was dropped.  Luckily the Thunderbirds had another photographer who was more on top of things to cover that moment.  Since there’s no good photo of the first puck from me, I’ll leave you with a photo of Glen during his speech.

Thunderbird great Glen Goodall returns to speak to fans and drop the ceremonial first puck.

Canon 7D, 195mm, 1600 ISO, f3.2, 1/1600th, Manual

Since this post ran much longer than I expected, I’ll have put up some game photos in the next post.  Stay tuned to the Photo Blog for more updates throughout the season.  Again, if you have any comments/questions/concerns/ideas for me, just post it in the comments section below.  And thanks for reading!

Hello and Welcome!

Hello T-Birds fans! Welcome to a new and regular feature here on, the Seattle Thunderbirds Photo Blog.

I hope to use this space to take you behind the scenes at T-Birds games and show you not only what happens on the ice, but what happens off it as well.  Over the course of the season you’ll see plenty of the bone-rattling checks, game-changing goals, and last-minute saves that you’d expect of a hockey photo blog, but also some of the things that go on beside the game.  Ever wonder what exactly goes into preparing the Showare Center for practice or a game?  How about what exactly the off-ice officials do throughout the game?  Throughout the next six months, I’ll be showing you that and more.  In fact, if there’s anything you’d particularly like to see in this blog, please let me know in the comments section.

At your service is new team photographer Kyle Scholzen.  I spent the last three years shooting for the University of Washington’s student newspaper, The Daily, where I shot plenty of Husky sports while getting my degree.   Although I’ve never shot hockey before, I look forward to learning the game and seeing what pictures I can come up with this season.  And I look forward to sharing what I find and what I learn with you all.  I hope you enjoy looking at this blog, as I’m sure I’ll enjoy making it.

A few shots from the home opener against the Winterhawks is coming up shortly.  Stay tuned for plenty of photos from the Seattle Thunderbirds 2010/2011 season!

Til next time, go T-Birds!


Here's me in action! Obviously not at a hockey game, though.


Photo by Laura Hughes