The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Behnd the Scenes

View From the Top

Hello again everyone!  The T-Birds have just two more games on their road trip, but won’t be back at the ShoWare Center until next Friday.  To celebrate the road trip so far (five points in four games), how about we take a talk about what it’s like to be up on the ShoWare catwalks?

In this post I’ll be trying something new: video!  My camera has video capabilities and I tested those out along with my video-editing know-how (or should I say no-how, as I have none?).  Since these are my first videos they’ll be short and have abrupt transitions.  I promise to keep working at making better ones, though.   Oh, and they’ll be out of focus at times.  My camera can’t auto-focus while in taking video.  Just warning ya…

So let’s get up to the catwalks, shall we?  Since the doors to the catwalks are on the roof, we have to get up there.  Let’s get past this sign, go up the staircase and hit the roof then!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/80th, Manual

Thankfully it wasn’t raining Nov. 2 (the night of the Red Deer game and when I was on the catwalks), although it was kind of chilly.  Here’s a video of the walk on the roof to the center ice door.

Timeline note: at the end when we’re inside the arena, you see some actual game footage.  That video was taken before and during the second period and not before the game.  I did this because my video from before the first period was taken inside when I was figuring out where to stand.  In fact, let’s watch it now…

At the end there, I mentioned I was going to stay over the T-Birds goal in the north end for the first period.  Well I got over there in time for the players to be introduced on the ice.  Since there’s a spotlight that lights up the T-Birds players as they’re introduced, there was some nice lighting for a few pictures.  Being behind them and facing the spotlight, I got nice, long shadows off the players.  Since this isn’t even making sense in my head, much less in writing, I’ll just show you the picture.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/320th, Manual

There!  There’s my cool photo from the player introductions, it’s exactly as I described it.  😛

After the introductions came the national anthem(s).  Since Red Deer is from Canada, the Canadian anthem was sung as well as The Star-Spangled Banner.  Having shot many sporting events—and listening to the American anthem before every single one, too—I’m not quite used to sitting through two yet.  Oh well, at least O Canada is just as nice to listen too, especially Anne Jones’ (the singer that night) rendition of it…

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/160th, Manual

Now for the game to start!  I actually found myself moving around a lot.  I started out at center ice (although over the fans on the one hundred-tens side—the sections are all in the one-teens, or whatever the proper term for 110-119 is), moved to left of the Seattle goal (over the ice), then to just above the crease (still over the ice).  I got this photo of Pickard returning the puck to a referee from just to the left the Seattle goal…

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

When over the goal, the bottom of the catwalk prevented me from seeing all but just the goal and one corner of ice.  If I just leaned to the other side of the walkway, though (as the catwalks are pretty much bridges over the ice: a walkway with pipes on either side to prevent you from falling down), I could see both neutral zones and both benches.  That viewpoint gave a cool photo of the T-Birds bench during a media timeout.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

When the puck was in play, I’d be switching between my goal vantage point and my neutral zone vantage point to get the most photos possible as I subscribe to the theory “the more I shoot, the more good photos I’ll have”.  Despite getting dizzy when the T-Birds kept clearing the puck, I did actually get some cool shots.  Here’s one of Pickard right after making one of his 46 saves.  You can see the puck on his glove, which is why I like this shot…

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Unfortunately I couldn’t see the south goal where the T-Birds were shooting at thanks to the hanging scoreboard. Of course, the only fight I was on the catwalks for happened at the far end of the ice.  As you saw in the last post, I used the video screen to see the fight and to “shoot” it.  Here’s a shot of the screen, or a shot of a shot of the fight, as it were…

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

After the fight, Mitch Elliot was sent off the ice since his five minute penalty wouldn’t be over until the second period.  His teammates had to collect his stick, gloves, and helmet off the ice and take it over to the bench.  There, equipment manager Jason Berger laid them aside to give back to Elliot for the next period.

Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Right before the game restarted, the officials chatted with players from both teams, again in my sights from above.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the second period, I continued my roving ways.  I started out over the Seattle bench so I could see more of the ice; from that vantage point I could see both goals.  I also had a very nice view of the Seattle bench, which I’ll show you now…

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

From there, I went back to above the north goal (this time defended by Red Deer) and hoped for some offense from the T-Birds.  Luckily I got it, but those photos were already posted in the last post.

That’s actually all the content I have for you today.  Sorry for the short post, but I didn’t shoot as much of the actual catwalks as I should have.  Next time I’m up there, I’ll try to remember to give you guys  more.  Sound like a deal?
As always, feel free to leave me a comment or two in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 6: Thunderbirds Topple Rebels

Hello again everyone.   Sorry for the long delay in getting last Tuesday’s game thread up but not only have I been busy, I also have to make sure I have enough content to get through the two and a half week eastern swing the Thunderbirds are now on.

Last Tuesday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels was a fun one for everyone: the players seemed to really enjoy themselves in the win, the fans had plenty of goals to cheer for, and I got to shoot from what’s always a cool angle: the catwalks above the ice.  I’ll have a post dedicated to my experiences from above later on in the road trip, but I will say this: the catwalks above the ShoWare ice are cool places to watch a hockey game.

I decided to move around a lot during my time on the catwalks to make sure I had different types of images.  I started off at center ice (along the side though; there’s no ramp to the scoreboard directly over center ice) and got a nice looking photo right after the opening faceoff…

Center Luke Lockhart gets knocked down shortly after the opening faceoff by Red Deer leftwinger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Center Luke Lockhart gets knocked down shortly after the opening faceoff by Red Deer left wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

After a few minutes, I decided to move down over the Seattle goal (the goal in the north end of the stadium is the only one with a catwalk over it) since the Thunderbirds had played nearly exclusively defense up to that point.  I also wanted to get some cool overhead shots of a Pickard save or two (or 18 in the first period alone).  And get cool overhead shots of a save I did.  See them for yourself…

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Next I’ll talk about the shortfalls of shooting above the goal: the scoreboard blocks the opposite third of the ice.   And, just as you can imagine, the only fight in the first period happened in the T-Birds attacking third of the ice, weaving in and out of my sightlines.  After “shooting” the fight from the jumbotron, the fighters, left wing  Mitch Elliot and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer, came into my view.  I tried to get a frame that contained both the fighters and the jumbotron screen.  I’m not real happy with it since Elliot’s head is cut off on the jumbotron, but it’s still a cool enough photo…

Leftwinger Mitch Elliot (left) and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer fight during the first period.

Left wing Mitch Elliot (left) and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer fight during the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Both Elliot and Archer were given five minute major-fighting penalties and since there were less than five minutes left in the period, Elliot was sent off the ice (I assume Archer was too, but did not witness him leave).  Here’s a photo of him heading down the tunnel towards the locker rooms.

Elliot leaves the ice after receiving a five minute penalty for major fighting with just two minutes left in the first period.

Elliot leaves the ice after receiving a five minute penalty for major fighting with just two minutes left in the first period.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200th, Manual

Meanwhile, while the penalty situation was being discussed among the officials, Pickard was just hanging out waiting for the game to restart…

Pickard waits for the game to restart after the fight between Elliot and Archer.

Pickard waits for the game to restart after the fight between Elliot and Archer.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Maybe to make up for the fight being out of my sight, there were a few hard checks right behind Seattle’s net and right in my view.  Luckily I got a few of them on film (well, digital, but close enough).  Here’s one…

Seattle leftwinger Chance Lund checks Red Deer center Byron Froese behind the Seattle goal in the first period.

Seattle left wing Chance Lund checks Red Deer center Byron Froese behind the Seattle goal in the first period.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the second period, the teams switched sides like normal.  Not being able to be over Pickard’s goal, though, didn’t mean I couldn’t get a good frame of him.  I got this from somewhere over the Thunderbirds’ bench…

Pickard makes a save in the opening minutes of the second period.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Right wing Burke Gallimore broke the scoreless deadlock in the second period.  After receiving a pass from Marcel Noebels, Gallimore blew a slapshot past Red Deer goalie Bolton Pouliot.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And after the goal, Gallimore skated over to the T-Birds bench to get a high-five from his teammates.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Later on in the period, center Colin Jacobs found himself with the puck in front of the Rebel goal.  He put a nifty backhand on it…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And Pouliot couldn’t stop it from getting over the red line and onto the net.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The players were celebrating with Jacobs right under me.  That gave me a cool frame of the celebration from an angle you don’t normally see.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

By this time, I was pretty happy with my foray onto the catwalks above the ice, but there was still something I was missing: a cool check right under me.  Thankfully center Travis Toomey gave me a string of check shots shortly before the end of the period and the end of my time up above.

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the third period, I went back to my normal last period spot in between the benches.  My good photo luck must have followed me downstairs as I got a sweet shot of the faceoff to open the period…

Center Luke Lockhart and Red Deer’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins try to win the opening faceoff in the third period.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Was a break in play shortly after the period began, and the players returned to their respective benches.  While the T-Birds were back on the bench strategizing, I was trying to get a shot of the coaches interacting with the players.  Unfortunately, though, I had too much lens and ended up with a close-up of assistant coach Turner Stevenson gesturing.  It turned out to be a nice shot, though, so I’ll share it with you all.

Assistant coach Turner Stevenson discusses tactics with the Thunderbirds players during a break in third period action.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Later in the period, Gallimore had a breakaway with just one Red Deer defender in front of him.  He earned some space and took a shot that made its way past Pouliot again for the third T-Birds goal of the night.  He went into the corner to celebrate not only with his teammates, but with the fans too…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Red Deer tried their best to make a game of it again, but they could only get one past Pickard, and that was on a 4 v. 3 power play for the Rebels.  Pickard continued his brilliance with save after save, including this one.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

In the end, time ran out on any Red Deer comeback and the Thunderbirds earned their third home win and two points.  Time to celebrate, right Calvin?

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And that’s it for this game thread.  Check back periodically during the Eastern swing for a new post.  If there’s anything you’d like to see or know in the next two weeks, feel free to ask in the comments section below.  I’d also love to hear what you thought about this post, so leave those comments there too!

I think I’ll end this post with something new I’ll try: a slideshow of all these photos used!  Enjoy seeing them again!

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Til next time, go T-Birds!