The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “introductions

Game 23: T-Birds Drop Close One to Everett

I’ve always said that I watch each event I shoot twice: once while I shoot it and once more (at least) while going through the photos from that event.  While going through the photos, I often relive the game and see most of the plays in my head as I see photos of them on my computer screen.  It’s a skill I enjoy, for the most part, as knowing what’s going on in the photos really helps me to write better cutlines and give a good account of the photo’s significance according to the story of the game.  While going through the photos for this Everett game, though, nothing was coming back to me.  I wasn’t reliving the plays in my head, I couldn’t remember the significance of what was on my computer screen; it was like I wasn’t even at the game and looking through someone else’s photographs.

Why?  I can’t tell you for certain.  Maybe it was because I sick that day, or maybe I was exhausted from my two shoots the day before (the Portland/Teddy Bear Toss game and a Seattle U. women’s basketball game directly before it).  Whatever the reason, I can’t tell you what happened in that game so I won’t even attempt to.  Instead of commenting on the game in between photos like I normally do, I’ll post just photos, cutlines, and metadata.  To make up for no commentary, I’ll throw in more photos than normal.  Sound good?

Let’s get it started then…

A local hockey beginner gets to stand on the ice with the T-Birds during player introductions and the national anthem.

Canon 7D, 153mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Goalie Calvin Pickard stops an Everett shot from going into the net in the first period.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Defenseman Austin Frank brings the puck out from behind the Seattle net with Everett right wing Cody Fowlie in hot pursuit.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Everett goal despite having Everett defenseman Rasmus Rissanen draped on his back.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Everett goal despite having Everett defenseman Rasmus Rissanen draped on his back.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Calvin Pickard flips the puck after catching an Everett shot in the first period.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Despite falling to the ice, Luke Lockhart tries to knock the puck away from Everett left wing Tyler Maxwell.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Colin Jacobs (top right) and Everett’s Rissanen scramble for a loose puck between Seattle defenseman Brenden Dillon’s skates.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Lockhart scrapes the puck away from the boards behind the Everett net in the second period.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs checks Everett defenseman Brennan Yadlowski into the boards in the corner of the ice.

Canon 7D, 37mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey (middle) waits for a pass from Jacobs (right) in front of the Everett goal.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs watches as a shot from Brenden Dillon (not pictured) flies by Everett goalie Kent Simpson (middle, bottom) and hits the back of the net.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Everett’s Rissanen can’t clear Dillon’s shot before it crosses the red line and counts as a goal.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs begins to celebrate Dillon’s goal.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs’ celebration continues…

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Fans join in on celebrating the equalizing goal by Dillon.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

Familiar faces to this blog cheer on their favorite team after Dillon’s goal.

Canon 7D, 30mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

Center Brendan Rouse watches as Everett center Clayton Cumiskey clears a loose puck from in front of Everett’s goal.

Canon 7D, 45mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Lockhart fires a slapshot onto the Everett goal in the third period.

Canon 7D, 148mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

(I have no clue how the puck got behind Lockhart.  Maybe it was blocked back to him?)

Canon 7D, 148mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Lockhart hits the ice in front of the Everett goal, leaving Everett’s Simpson to freeze the loose puck and stop play.

Canon 7D, 148mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Dillon brings the puck up the ice during the third period.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs brings the puck past Everett left wing Josh Winquist.

Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Justin Hickman fires the puck past Elliot’s Maxwell and to an awaiting teammate.

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs (left) and right wing Burke Gallimore (right) discuss tactics while returning to the ice for a faceoff.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard stretches to block a shot from Everett center Parker Stanfield while Dillon (left) and defenseman Erik Bonsor (middle right) look on.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard makes another save, one of 31 on the night.

Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Everett’s Simpson knocks away a shot from right wing Marcel Noebels (middle, facing camera).

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard knocks down an Everett shot late in the game.

Canon 7D, 153mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Noebels takes a knee during a late break in the action.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

And that’s it for this post!  What do you think of this different format?  Do you like it?  Should I start using more photos and spend less time dissecting (at least trying to dissect) the game?  Let me knowbelow in the comments section!

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 18: T-Birds Fly Past Silvertips

Last Friday night (Jan. 14), the Thunderbirds hosted Everett for just the second time this season (a fact that surprises me, especially considering we’ve played Tri-City three times before January).  That game, broadcast to the entire region by FSN Northwest, was another well-played home game, giving the Thunderbirds two straight 3-1 wins.  The building was electric for Everett and the tv cameras and everything, so I was amped up before the game started.  I was asked to get photos of the combined choir that sang the national anthem last night, so I spent the player introductions and pregame out on the ice, where I found this cool shot…

Center Luke Lockhart (middle) is bathed in a spotlight while being introduced to the crowd.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Onto the game!  You will notice I don’t have any photos from above this time.  This is because as I was heading to my spot to shoot for the first period, my 70-200 lens (my primary one and the one that allows me to zoom in on the ice from the suite level) learned about gravity the hard way and decided to tumble to the concrete floor of the top level.  It had “a major impact”, as the guys at the camera repair shop would later say, and wouldn’t focus on anything.  I’d have to shoot the entire game with a 50mm prime lens (that means it doesn’t zoom in or out; its focal length is fixed at 50mm), a real challenge for me since I depend heavily on the added distance the 70-200 gives.  Enough with the technical talk, though, you’re not here for that.  Let’s move onto game talk and game photos…

One of the things I was looking for Friday night was photos of the two players the Thunderbirds recently traded for, defensemen Mitch Spooner and Ryan Button.  Since this was their first home game as Thunderbirds, I wanted to build up a couple of stock images for them.  Luckily Spooner was involved with the defense early on in the first period…

Newly-arrived defenseman Mitch Spooner fires the puck out of the T-Birds defensive corner and towards center ice.

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

Spooner tries to shove Everett left wing Ryan Harrison off balance and away from the puck.

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

This next shot isn’t normally a photo I’d take or publish in this blog—I much prefer to put action that shows the puck or a nice moment that most fans generally can’t see—but it is a decent-looking portrait of Colin Jacobs.  Chalk this one up to using that 50…

Center Colin Jacobs (right) and Everett left wing Tyler Maxwell chase after a cleared puck.

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

And here are the same two players fighting over possession.  Funny how that turned out…

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

For the first period, the shots on goal for each team were about even as Seattle had 15 and the Silvertips had 13.  Here, the Seattle defense clears out one of those shots…

Lockhart (left) clears a loose puck after an Everett shot in the first period.

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

The biggest difference is that Seattle got two past Everett goalie Kent Simpson while Seattle netminder Calvin Pickard stopped all 13 shots taken on him.

Goalie Calvin Pickard puts a glove between the net and the puck after an Everett shot.

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

That does it for the first period, but before moving onto the second period, let’s focus on the first intermission.  We had a special intermission show: a proposal!  After the lucky lady scored a goal, the goalie popped off his mask, got on one knee (or is it one pad here), and popped the question…

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/5.6, 1/500th, Manual

And it’s a yes!  Congratulations you two, I hope you have a great life together.  Judging from the looks on your faces in the next photo, it’ll be a happy lifetime at that!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/5.6, 1/500th, Manual

Ok, now we can move onto the second period.  I was again near the side of the north goal for that period.  This time, however, it was the Thunderbirds shooting at this goal.  Take, for example, this photo…

Newly-arrived defenseman Ryan Button takes a shot on goal during a power play in the second period.

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

The Thunderbirds again put 15 shots on the Everett goal.  Silvertip goalie Kent Simpson blocked 14 of them, including this particular shot.

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

There was one that went in, however.  Center Justin Hickman earned his first WHL point by assisting left wing Chance Lund with his goal about halfway through the period.  The two raised their hands in celebration of the goal.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Fans celebrated in a similar fashion, including this particular fellow named Erik…

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Center Connor Sanvido also had a good chance at his first of the season when he faced a loose puck in front of the Everett goal.  Everett defenseman Ryan Murray, however, got his stick in front of Sanvido’s and eliminated the opportunity for a shot.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That didn’t stop Sanvido, though, as he continued to jostle with Murray until the puck slid past the goal.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

As I mentioned earlier, the game was broadcast live on Fox Sports Northwest.  I got this gem during the second intermission of play-by-play voice Ian Furness and T-Birds Assistant General Manager Colin Campbell.

Ian Furness (left) interviews T-Birds Assistant General Manager Colin Campbell. 

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Now for the third period!  I split time between the handicap seating area near section 112 and Calvin’s Corner (which was unused).  I don’t really like the photos I got from the handicap section, so here’s another photo from in front of the north goal.  This was a particularly hard-fought faceoff…

Players pile on top of each other during a faceoff in the middle of the third period.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Late in the game, Everett pulled Simpson in an attempt to catch up to the T-Birds.  The Silvertips pulled an all-out attack, but the Seattle defense pulled out all the stops to keep the score at 3-1.

Defenseman Erik Bonsor hits the ice in an effort to block the path to the Seattle goal.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The Silvertips didn’t get a single goal, yet needed two to force overtime.  You know what that means: SEATTLE WINS!

The Thunderbirds rush onto the ice to celebrate the win over Everett with goalie Calvin Pickard.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That’s it for this blog post, T-Birds fans.  Tune in a bit later in the week for photos from Sunday’s game against Vancouver and to see if I managed to survive without my broken lens.

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!


Best of Part One: The Top Photos So Far…

It seems like just yesterday since we were back here on Bird Watching, now doesn’t it?  Anyways, I promised you a post containing my best (and favorite) photos from the season so far, so let’s get going!

17) For the first shot of the day (and seventeenth best shot so far) we’ll go all the way back to October 26 for a game against Tri-City and a shot of center Colin Jacobs on the bench during a shootout.  I think this shot is typical of many photos of Jacobs I’ve taken; in most of them there’s either a big smile or intense expression on Jacobs’ face.  That really adds to the emotion of the photograph and helps our understanding of what’s going on in it.

Center Colin Jacobs is all smiles after left wing Marcel Noebels (background) converts his shootout attempt against the Americans.  Despite the successful conversion, the T-Birds fell in the shootout, 2-1.

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

16) Let’s stay in that same game against the Americans for shot number 16.  In the first 33 games of the season, the T-Birds had three of their four home games against Tri-City, and each one was a hard-hitting matchup worthy of the rivalry.  There were many notable hits between the two teams, and one of the better photos I’ve got of them happens to be this one, where two Thunderbirds combine to make an American sandwich…

Right wing Jacob Doty (left) and center Connor Sanvido (right) sandwich Tri-City defenseman left wing Marcus Messier in the first period of an Oct. 26 game against Tri-City.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

15) With number 15, I decided to go with a shot from the KING 5 taping that occurred October 12 at ShoWare Center.  KING 5 sent reporter Christie Johnson down to learn more about hockey and the Thunderbirds.  The clips that were filmed went out live during the morning news broadcast, and the four players there (Luke Lockhart, Brenden Dillon, Burke Gallimore, and Michael Salmon) had to arrive early in order to meet with the KING 5 crew.  I snapped this gem during a break in shooting…

Center Luke Lockhart (right) and right wing Burke Gallimore (top) rest on the ice during a break between takes.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/3.5, 1/800th, Manual

It’s not the best technical photo from the shoot, but I do find it quite humorous and there’s something charming about it so I decided to use it over the other photos from the tv shoot.

14)  After each win, the team would always skate out to the goalie (normally Calvin Pickard, but Michael Salmon has taken over between the pipes on occasion) and celebrate the win.  They did this a bit over the first half, as the T-Birds have accumulated 15 wins so far this year.  Normally these shots aren’t that exciting as everyone is facing inwards, but I got lucky with this one when Jacob Doty looked backwards (with his helmet off! What luck!) during the celebration.

Jacob Doty joins the rest of the Thunderbirds in celebration of their Nov. 19 victory over the Spokane Chiefs.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

13)  I’m always looking for new angles to shoot from.  Seeing something from a different vantage point can make the most typical of things seem new or exciting.  I was allowed to shoot the Red Deer game on Nov. 2 from the catwalks above the ice.  I was up there for the pregame events, including the introduction of the Thunderbirds starters.

The Thunderbirds starters are introduced before the Nov. 2 game against Red Deer.

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

12)  What would a look back on the Thunderbirds’ season be without talking about Calvin Pickard?  He’s been the T-Birds’ brick wall in goal for most of the season, saving an astounding 1169 shots so far.  His save percentage of .927 is good for second in the WHL, just a thousandth behind Darcy Kuemper of Red Deer.  Needless to say, Pickard’s been a major part of the team, and I had to include a photo of him in this countdown.  Here’s one of his 1169 saves, this one against Red Deer.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a stick save on a shot from the Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 2.

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

11)  As I’ve said before, I didn’t follow hockey before I started shooting for the Thunderbirds.  All I really knew about the game was that it was really fast and players were allowed to fight (with a five minute penalty, though).  Being one of the bigger teams in the league, the T-Birds have really thrown their weight around for the first part of the season, making sure to hit the opposing team and even fighting them if need be.   One of the bigger fighters on the team is Jacob Doty, who is frequently making sure the opposing team leaves the game black and blue.

Jacob Doty lands a punch on Prince George center Greg Fraser during a game Oct. 29.

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

10)  Once December rolled around, it was time to plan for the T-Bird’s Christmas Card.  It was up to me to shoot the photo that would be on the card, something I’ve never done before.  After scouting out the location and perfecting my exposure for the surroundings, the players arrived and we got down to business.  I’ll tell you right now this photo isn’t the best team photo ever taken, but I’m quite proud of it and the way it looked on the card, so I decided to put it on this list.

Happy Holidays from the Seattle Thunderbirds!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1000 ISO, f/10, 1/25th, Manual

9)  I’m always looking for non-action photos to shoot.   Not only does it give me something to focus on while the game’s not being played, but it showcases particular events that might not have been seen by everyone.  One of my favorite detail shots from the half-year is this photo taken during a particularly chippy game against Medicine Hat.

Jacob Doty leans over and tries to intimidate the Medicine Hat player across from him before a faceoff at center ice during a Nov. 30 game.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

8)  It’s not common to see a goalie get checked hard on a play, but it does happen on occasion.  When it does, it can make a cool photo to see the two players all sprawled out.  That happened in the Medicine Hat game; an action I thought was sure to lead to an all-out brawl between the teams.  It didn’t but it did lead to a cool photo…

Calvin Pickard is run into by Medicine Hat center Wacey Hamilton during a Nov. 30 game.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

7)  One thing I have noticed through the first 33 games is that the Thunderbirds fans are pretty good at making noise.  When I went over to Kennewick for the Tri-City away game on Dec. 10, I was surprised at how quiet those fans were during part of the game.   To commemorate them, I’m always looking for photos of T-Birds fans to put in the blog.  Normally I have a requirement that they need to be in T-Birds gear, but I waived that Dec. 14 when the group in Calvin’s Corner kept yelling at Spokane goalie James Reid whenever he ventured to that side of the ice.

Fans in Calvin’s Corner try to get Spokane goalie James Reid to lose focus during a Dec. 14 game.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

6)  This fan, however, showed his T-Birds colors well during the Medicine Hat game.  The more I look at this photo, the more I like it.  Not only is it taken at a cool angle (from the catwalks), but the look on his face—particularly that smirk—adds some nice emotion to it.  He looks proud to display that Thunderbirds scarf, and in turn I’m proud to call this photo one of the six best shots I took during the first half.

A fan displays a Thunderbirds scarf during a timeout in a Nov. 30 game against Medicine Hat.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

5)  Here’s my favorite photo of Calvin Pickard I’ve taken so far.  This might be ranked higher on this list—and would definitely be the best shot of a Calvin Pickard save—if this was in fact a save; this is actually a shot of a Tri-City goal.  I took this early enough in the play, however, for it to look like a decent photo Pickard doing well.  No matter what the result of the play, however, it’s a nice looking photo and nice enough to be number five.

Tri-City center Mason Wilgosh sneaks a shot past goalie Calvin Pickard during an Oct. 26 game.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

4)  You may have noticed that so far all of the action photos on the list were either taken from above (the photos with a background that consists of ice) or from the box in between the benches (where the background is the goal or the boards around the rink).  Well, coming in at number four is my first action shot taken from behind the glass at one end of the rink (#7—the photo of the group in Calvin’s Corner—was taken from the side, but I don’t consider that an action photo).  It was taken fairly recently, at the game where I finally realized how to shoot from behind the glass ((Home) Game 12: Thunderbirds Unlucky Against Americans).  You’ll also notice that three of the top four photos were taken in December, further suggestion I’ve finally realized how to shoot hockey.  It took long enough, now didn’t it… 😛 Anyway, here’s number four!

Left wing Marcel Noebels evades an attempt to dislodge the puck by from Tri-City center Brooks Macek during a Dec. 11 game.

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

3)  When I saw number three happen I immediately became excited.  I immediately knew I had this really cool play when it happened; once the puck was cleared from the Seattle end and there wasn’t a danger of missing a play, I chimped the photo (photographer jargon for looking at the LCD screen) to see if I really had got it.  A wide smile crept along my face once I had; I think that was the most excited I’ve ever been over a photograph.  It really is a cool photograph, and important, too.  Check out this goal-saving grab Dave Sutter made on the puck.

Defenseman Dave Sutter saves a goal by grabbing the puck out of the air just before it crosses the red line during a game against Medicine Hat Nov. 30.

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

2)  I remember telling you I had a portfolio-worthy shot during the blog post I first shared number two with you.   It is also one of the few head-on offensive shots I’ve taken this year since I haven’t found much success shooting through glass yes.  I’m really happy with the way this shot turned out, although I do wish the shot featured in the photo was just as successful. 

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Tri-City goal during a Dec. 11 game.

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

1)  And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for and the best shot I’ve taken so far this year…  As I said before, three of the top four photos were taken in December, and we can expand that out to a whopping eight of the top ten.  That means throughout the year I’ve really improved my hockey shooting, so it’s only natural to guess my top photo is from December, right?   Well it’s not from December.  Or November.  Or even October for that matter.  That’s right, the single best photo I’ve taken came from the one home game in September and the first regular season hockey game I’ve ever shot.  Crazy, right?  I’ll let you see the photo before I talk about why I picked this as number one…

Colin Jacobs celebrates a goal in front of the Portland bench during the home opener against the Winterhawks Sept. 25.

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

This photo shows just about everything you need to know about that opening night game: that the Thunderbirds were fired up and playing well enough to celebrate (visible in Jacobs’ face) and it shows some dejection in the Winterhawks’ player behind Jacobs.  Furthermore, the spotlight on Jacobs makes him jump out at the viewer and the stick and shoulder in the foreground give a nice frame to Jacobs to really draw your eye to him.  That is why I’m calling this the best photo I’ve taken this season, and a photo I’m proudly displaying in my portfolio.

Well there you have it: the top 17 photos of the Thunderbirds’ season so far!  What plays will there be for me to capture during the second half?  Find out tonight when the Thunderbirds take on the Spokane Chiefs at 7:05 at the ShoWare Center!  I’ll be there, will you?

Do you agree with my selections? Did I miss something that deserves to be in this post?  Let me know in the comments section below while you wait for 7:05 to come!

‘Til tonight, go T-Birds!


Game 7: Thunderbirds Smoke Chiefs

Hello there everyone!  Now that the T-Birds are back from their successful road trip, I have new photos for you to enjoy!  Even though there were two back-to-back games, I’ll only be talking about the Friday night game against Spokane for now.  We’ll get to Everett a little later.  So let’s set those time machines back a few days and relieve that shootout win over the Chiefs, shall we?

We had a special visitor to the press box before the game started; a Stanley Cup championship ring!  Mark Kelley, the director of amateur scouting for the Chicago Blackhawks, went to the game to look over some players with his recent championship ring in tow.  He was nice enough to let me get a shot of it for the blog.  Thanks Mark!

A 2010 championship ring from Chicago Blackhawks’ Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Kelly.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/1.8, 1/250th, Manual

Director of Media Relations Ian Henry told me that we had a big pre-game ceremony planned and that I should be on the ice for it.  So I went down there (didn’t fall again, I should go pro in ice walking with expensive equipment around my neck…) and waited for the pre-game to start.  It finally did once the players were introduced.  I got a nice photo of Dave Sutter side-light by the spotlight while waiting for the rest of the pre-game ceremony to start…

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Since the team was back east for Veterans Day, the men and women of our armed forces were honored before the start of the game.    The local Veterans’ association presented the colors and the puck was rappelled down from the rafters by some current national guardsmen (and women).  Here’s a gentleman carrying the American flag. He also did well to keep on his feet while bringing the flag out.  As a reward for staying upright, here’s a photo of him.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/250th, Manual

I may have glanced over this part, but let’s go back: the puck rappelled down from the rafters.  More specifically, one of the guardsmen held the puck while rappelling down.  There were three rappellers and unfortunately I didn’t have a lens that could go wide enough to see all of them, but I did get some nice close-ups of one of them…

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

And here’s the guardswoman who brought the puck down…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Alright, now that we have the puck, we can play some hockey!    The game started off fast when center Luke Lockhart got one past the Spokane goalie in under a minute.  I wasn’t in position to get a photo of the goal, but I had a nice view of the Seattle bench after the goal, and the bench was excited to have an early lead.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

I eventually moved up to the second level of the ShoWare Center from rinkside—I wanted to have a view of the goal the T-Birds were attacking—and started shooting again.   Naturally, the first good photo from that position would have been more dynamic if I had just stayed put.  Oh well, it’s still a nice shot, though…

Goalie Calvin Pickard blocks a shot from Spokane rightwinger Matt Marantz in the first period.

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

Here, center Charles Wells (right) and Spokane defender Brendon Kichton battle for the puck in the first period.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

It was a brutal, bitter game; about what you’d expect for a rivalry game.  There was a lot of face-to-face confrontations throughout the game, like this one between rightwinger Jacob Doty and Spokane leftwinger Colin Valcourt…

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And also some shoves, like this altercation between center Colin Jacobs and Spokane defenseman Jared Cowen.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a photo of rightwinger Marcel Noebels controlling the puck.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And actually that last photo ends the second period of play for us.  Either time flies when you’re having fun (you guys are having fun reading this, right)  or I just didn’t get many good shots during the first two periods…

Anyways onto the third.  Three minutes into the third period, Spokane snuck a goal past Calvin to tie the game.  Of course I got a photo of it, and unfortunately a nice-looking photo, too.  Why are my best always of the other team doing well?

Spokane center Tyler Johnson (left) slips a shot past Seattle defenseman Travis Bobbee (center-right) and goalie Calvin Pickard (center) in the third period.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

This next photo is actually one of a string of fifteen or so photos of defenseman Dave Sutter trying to get the puck away from Spokane center Brady Brassert.  I might end up giving you that strain eventually, but here’s one of the better ones (although they’re all pretty good)…

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

Here’s a faceoff between Jacobs and Spokane center Kenton Miller.  It’s not a particularly important photo (I mean it is just a faceoff, those happen all the time), but I like how Miller’s face is framed by Jacobs’ arm.  Again, why are my coolest photos of Spokane?

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a photo of defenseman Travis Bobbee and Spokane center Steven Kuhn scrambling for the puck while Pickard looks on.

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here linseman David Tise has to step in between Noebels and Spokane rightwinger Blake Gal.  The refs were adamant to stop any fights from happening Friday night.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In case you haven’t noticed, many players have grown mustaches for the month of November.  As well as it being no-shave-November (check out your local college campus if you don’t believe me) it’s also Mo-vember in the NHL where many players have grown their mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health problems like Prostate cancer.  Many WHLers decided to join in on the mustache-growing fun.  Here’s two of them…

Defenseman Erik Bonsor and Spokane defenseman Brenden Kichton battle for the puck during the third period.

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

Now this next photo I’d normally not put in the blog: nothing important is happening and it’s not that great of a photo anyway.  I just thought like how Bobbee is surrounded by the flying ice particles.  And I guess you can see Pickard making another save in the background, but this photo is really about Travis…

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

With the score tied, the two teams went to overtime, five minutes of four-on-four action.  Nothing slipped past either goalie, though, and we went to a shootout.  Since I missed out on my chance at being in between the benches for the third period, I was relegated to finding a rinkside seat (what’s that? I’m lucky to have such great seats anyway? You have a point there…).  I ended up setting up just to the right of the goal Pickard was defending.  That, in theory, would give me a head-on view of the goal the T-Birds were shooting at.  It did, but I did not take into account that a certain referee would be blocking my view…

It’s a successful shootout attempt!  You can’t see the goalie or much of rightwinger Burke Gallimore but you can see the puck just off of the referee’s right hand…

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

I did, however, have a unique view of the Seattle goal.  Here Pickard blocks the attempt by Spokane center Tyler Johnson.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And of course the team rushed out to Pickard to celebrate with him.  Jacob Doty seems particularly excited.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And that’s it for this blog post.  I hope to get the thread from Saturday’s game up soon, but they do take awhile.   There is a day coming up Thursday where I don’t have to do much but help out in the kitchen.  Hopefully I can get it done by then, huh?

As always, leave your comments/criticisms/critiques/quandaries in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!

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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!


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!