The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Luke Lockhart

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!


(Home) Game 12: Thunderbirds Unlucky Against Americans

Center Charles Wells takes a shot on the Tri-City goal in the second period.

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

Hello again everyone!  It’s been a while since the last post (about a week, in fact) so it’s time for another roll of photos.  Sorry for the layoff; I’ve been shooting a lot in the last week, both for the T-Birds and Seattle University all while taking the GRE and getting my application for grad school together.  I’ve finally found time to write up a game thread.  I know I told you guys I’d have photos from last Friday’s away game in the Tri-Cities, but I want more time to put together the videos for that post.  Instead, here’re some photos from the home game against the Americans on Saturday the 11th.

Let’s start in the second period, shall we?  (Note: we kind of have to as I didn’t arrive at the ShoWare Center until just before the first intermission.  I had to come down from Key Arena and a Seattle U. men’s basketball game) Walking into the media box at the ShoWare Center, I was met with the nasty surprise that the Thunderbirds were down 0-4 late into the first period.   Now I’m sure you guys will be ok with skipping straight to second period photos, where the T-Birds seemed to come out with a new energy and ended up matching the Americans’ one goal during those two periods.  Let’s dive straight into the shots, shall we?

Left wing Marcel Noebels evades an attempt to dislodge the puck by from Tri-City center Brooks Macek on his way down the ice towards the Americans’ net.

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

Centers Justin Hickman (right) and Brendan Rouse (center-left) both try to force the puck through the Tri-City defense and into the net.

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

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Tri-City goal, but Americans goalie Drew Owsley stops the puck before it can cross the red line.

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

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Wow, Kyle actually has good-looking photos from through the glass for once,” and you’re right!  I have no clue why all of a sudden I could actually get good shots from behind the glass.  It might be due to the fact I actually stepped away from the glass; normally I press my lens up against it to reduce glare from the lights, but I was moving around a lot more than normal.  It may be because the hockey and the photo gods got together and decided to smile on me, I have no clue.  I just know I got some killer shots from that position.  Those four aren’t it, either.  Here’s some more from the second period I’m quite pleased with…

Wells checks Tri-City left wing David Conrad into the boards behind the Tri-City goal.

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

Center Colin Jacobs battles tries to knock the puck past Tri-City defender Paul Sohor and into the Tri-City goal.

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

And we’ll end the second period photos there.  I still can’t believe how lucky I was to get all those shots.  I think I’ll put either the Noebels photo or the Lund photo—maybe even both of them—into my portfolio.  It’s not every day you get a portfolio-worthy shot, and somehow I got two of them in a span of about 40 minutes.  I was feeling pretty good and ready to continue my streak of good luck—and good photos—into the third period.

And before I went out to the box between the benches (they call it the Suicide Box over in Kennewick and most other hockey arenas; for some reason, I’m not too fond of that name…), Ashley, the intern that has the horrible job of going through every single one of my photos (I really feel bad for her, there’s a LOT of horrible photos from each game and she has to sort them all) caught up with me.  She asked me to get a few photos of defenseman Erik Fleming since I hadn’t gotten any at all this year.   You’re probably tired of reading my ramblings, so here’s that photo of Fleming and a couple other ones.

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

Defenseman Dave Sutter checks Tri-City right wing Jordan Messier in the third period.

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

Noebels skates around the Tri-City goal hoping to find a better angle for a shot while Tri-City defender Zachary Yuen follows in pursuit.

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

Here’s another photo I really like.  I think it’s one of the better shots of a defensive play I’ve gotten this year.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon throws himself to the ice in an effort to block a shot by Tri-City leftwing Justin Fesser.

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

Being not only a rivalry game, but the second game against the Americans in two nights, there was plenty of late hits and hard checks into the boards.  Here, right wing Jacob Doty slams Tri-City defenseman Sam Grist against the boards.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

During one of the media timeouts in the third period, the team gathered at the bench to strategize.  After the strategy session, but before they were called back out onto the ice,  Jacobs (left) and Doty (right) discussed matters between themselves as well.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

In keeping up with the rivalry, Lund and Tri-City defenseman Brock Sutherland found themselves in a fight with about five minutes to go in the game.

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

Although the two fighters were escorted off the ice, their dropped gloves, sticks, and helmets were still strewn about.  For the Thunderbirds, it was Hickman who received the task of collecting Chance’s gear and bringing it back to the bench.

Canon 7D, 78mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Here’s a photo of Defenseman Erik Bonsor trying to steal the puck from Tri-City center Connor Rankin.

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

Despite the game being decided, both sides kept up the pressure on the goalies and tried to earn one more goal.  Here’s a shot on goal for Tri-City.

Tri-City’s Messier (left) fires a shot towards the Seattle goal, which is being defended by defenseman Scott Ramsay (center-left) and goalie Michael Salmon (right).

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

The Thunderbirds also had their late-game chances on goal.  Here, Dillon brings the puck down the ice with a defender in tow.

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

Noebels controls the puck in the Tri-City half.

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

And here center Luke Lockhart tries to brush the puck into the net and past Tri-City goalie Chris Driedger.

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

Alright, that’s it for this post.  I have no idea how I got so many good photos from just two periods, but hopefully my lucky streak will continue!  Check back for my next post to see if it does and, as always, let me know what you liked or didn’t like in the comments section below.

Til’ next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 11: Thunderbirds Topped by Medicine Hat

After a wonderful sports weekend for me—the T-Birds got four points, the Seahawks won handily, and the Huskies made their first bowl game in eight years with a big win in the Apple Cup—it’s time to get back to work on the photoblog.  For this entry we’ll look back at the game against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

I thought the T-Birds played pretty well during that game: they got off 30 shots  (the most they’d had in a handful of games), they held one of the higher scoring teams in the league to three goals, and they got back to a more physical game than we’ve seen since the Eastern road trip.  Combined with me shooting from the rafters for two periods, those all came to produce an enjoyable game, not only for me but for the fans as well (although I’m not sure you guys really cared that I was shooting from the rafters).  So let’s take a look at some photos from it, shall we?

We’ll start off with a photo of a save, something we’ve seen a lot this year.  This save, however, is a bit different: this one was made by defenseman Dave Sutter rather than goalie Calvin Pickard…

Sutter blocks a shot by Medicine Hat in the opening minutes of Tuesday, Nov. 30’s game.

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

As I mentioned before, the T-Birds played pretty physically, making sure to hit the Tigers often.  The hard checks started early, in fact,  as center Tyler Alos knocks Medicine Hat defenseman Scott McKay to the ice shortly after the Sutter block pictured above…

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

And here’s one of the typical saves we see: one by Calvin Pickard.  Here he’s making a stick save of a shot from Medicine Hat right wing Cole Grbavac.

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

Now as you all know this is my first year following and learning about hockey.  I like to think I’m picking it up well—I’m no longer thinking of it as a faster version of soccer, for one—but there’s still things I find odd and that throw me about the game: how players can use their hands to stop or even catch the puck.  For some reason I think it’s odd to see the puck flying though the air past the red line and all of a sudden be caught by someone or to see a player bend down and stop a puck sailing along the board with his hands.  Why am I talking about this you ask?  Well for one thing it’s about 2 am as I’m writing this and my thoughts aren’t as lucid as normal at this time, but the main reason is I have a photo of defenseman Scott Ramsay stopping a puck along the boards with his hand which I will show you now…

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

And to go even weirder on you guys, here’s a photo of a couple of fans with food I took from above.  I must have been really hungry when I took this photo.  To be fair, though, that burger looks mighty tasty…

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200th, Manual

For the first ten minutes or so, I was on the catwalks just off the ice on the south end of the building, meaning I was just above and to the right of the Medicine Hat goal.  That meant any play that happened along the right side of the goal I had a nice view of.  That includes this chance right wing Jacob Doty had on goal.  Note: the random black lines are from the net behind the goal and above the boards.  Yes it played havoc on my focus, but I did luck out with some things focused properly…

Doty has the puck knocked away from him by Medicine Hat left wing Kale Kessy near the Tigers’ goal in the first period.

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

Halfway through the period, I moved down to my vantage point above the Seattle goal in hopes of some cool saves from Calvin.  He didn’t make me wait long as he made this gem shortly after I got down there.

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

When the puck was up the ice and down by the Medicine Hat goal, I’d take a step and a half behind me and shoot from about above the hashmarks.  This gave me a nice view of center ice to about the far crease and allowed me to get this shot of center Luke Lockhart trying to disrupt Medicine Hat defenseman Matthew Konan’s pass.

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

It seems like since the Eastern swing, the refs had been focusing on stopping fights before they happened.  I don’t remember seeing any fights in the last three weeks; confrontations were broken up before they could escalate.  Last Tuesday, however, we had a very large scuffle (not a full-blown fight, however) by the Seattle net.   Luckily I was in position to capture it…

Center Justin Hickman (top middle) shoves Medicine Hat’s Kessy  (middle right) while Ramsay lands a punch on Kessy’s chin.   Sutter and Medicine Hat left wing Dylan Bredo are also involved in the fracas.  Both Ramsay and Kessy received two minute penalties for their involvement in the situation.

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

After the refs got everything straightened out, play resumed.  Soon after, the Tigers controlled the puck at the Seattle end.  In fact, Medicine Hat nearly earned a shot on goal here, but center Travis Toomey knocked the puck away before Pickard had a chance.

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

Just after that shot, the Tigers managed to get the puck in behind Calvin but still in front of the goal.  Sensing an oncoming Medicine Hat player, Sutter made a goal-saving grab for the puck and caught it.  I caught the play on film, about which I was very excited about.  Check out the play for yourself…

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

That awesome photo of Sutter grabbing the puck (I think that might be my best photo this year; it’s easily in the top three at least) ends photos from the first period.  A lot happened in it, seeing as half the photos from this game are from the opening period (by the way the score’s 1-0 Medicine Hat.  In all the excitement my photos I forgot to mention the goal.  Oops.).   So on to the second  period!

I spent all of that period along the catwalk that runs above the team benches. That’s where I got this shot of Gallimore trying to force the puck past Medicine Hat goalie Tyler Bunz.  Bunz wasn’t having it, however, and blocked the puck’s passage of the red line.

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

You can classify this next photo as nothing else but good luck and taken at the right time.   It shows right wing Marcel Noebels (top), center Luke Lockhart (bottom) and Medicine Hat defenseman Thomas Carr (middle) all going after the puck.  Their sticks somehow align themselves, however, into a triangle and the puck is nearly dead-center in that triangle.  Who knew geometry was used in hockey?

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

From the catwalk over the benches, I had a nice view of fans in the middle and tops of each section.  It just so happened that one of the fans below started showing off a Thunderbirds scarf during a timeout in the second period.  Too bad we can’t see all of his face, but it’s still a pretty cool shot…

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

Let’s just skip ahead to the third period now… The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three minutes in to make the score 2-0.  Before the faceoff at center ice to open play again, right wing Jacob Doty made sure to talk smack to the Medicine Hat player next to him.

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

Doty later continued his duties as a bruiser by checking Kessy into the boards.

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

Later on in the third period, Noebels found himself on a breakaway to the goal with only the goaltender in front of him.  Medicine Hat defenseman Sebastion Owuya tried to get back to Noebels and the puck, but ended up falling to the ice and sliding into Noebels, knocking him down.

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

Noebels buried the penalty shot that resulted from that play, cutting the lead to 3-1.  There was still plenty of hockey left to be played, though.

Before the faceoff that resulted from Noebels’ penalty shot, Doty was again jawing at a Medicine Hat player, this time being Cole Grbavac.

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

With all the hard checks and the smack talk from both sides (I’ve only shown Doty, but players from both sides were doing it), I was expecting a fight to finally break out.  After  Medicine Hat center Wacey Hamilton ran into Calvin Pickard and was called for interference, I was sure there’d be a last-minute fight.

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

One never materialized, however.   What did happen is the T-Birds pulled Pickard with a few minutes left in an attempt to score a couple goals and equalize the game.

Center Colin Jacobs (left) fires a slapshot towards the goal in hopes that Noebels can tip it into the net.

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

Unfortunately the T-Birds didn’t get anything else past Bunz and the game ended 3-1.  It was an entertaining game, though, and one I had a lot of fun shooting.  And, as you all know, they went on to win their next two games.  So that was nice…

As always, let me know what you liked, didn’t like, etc., in the comments section below.  Or you can debate the merits of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.  Your choice.

Til next time, Go T-Birds!

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Game 10: T-Birds Cooled off by Kootenay Ice

First off, yes I know this title is a terrible pun.  It works for the game, though, and it keeps with the format I’ve been using for the game threads so it’ll stay unless I hear something better in the comments section below.

Now about the game?  It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of games—I’m not sure a 6-2 loss ever is—but at least it was the first game all season the T-Birds haven’t had a chance to win or tie at the end.   To be fair, however, I didn’t have the best game either.  I was often a second late on good shots and couldn’t really get anything in focus.  Oh well, it was just one of those nights.  Let’s just dive into the photos from it then…

We’ll start off with a shot of goalie Calvin Pickard saving one of 17 shots from Kootenay in the first period, this one from Kootenay center Steele Boomer.

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

A few minutes later center Luke Lockhart fired a shot past Kootenay goalie Nathan Lieuwen to give the Thunderbirds an early lead over the Ice.

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

For the second game in a row, Cool Bird appeared in a suite right by where I was shooting in the first period to throw t-shirts into the crowd (I think he might be following me, hmm…).  Naturally, for the second game in a row I grabbed a photo of him throwing shirts.  Check out how fast he’s throwing them: it’s just a blur to the camera!

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200th, Manual

Here’s a photo of left wing Marcel Noebels controlling the puck…

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

And here, defenseman Brenden Dillon fires a shot towards the Kootenay goal .

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

(Game timeline:  somewhere between the Cool Bird photo and this next photo, Kootenay scored two goals to take the lead.  Sorry I have no photos from them, but they were both blocked by players in front of the net)

The next photo is further proof that Saturday just wasn’t the T-Birds’ night.  Pickard came out to diffuse a run by Kootenay left wing Kevin King.  Instead of going backwards, though, the puck went off to Pickard’s right (which is what’s pictured below) and was quickly taken back by King, who then fired at the open net.

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

The T-Birds tried to get one of those back in the end of the period, but they couldn’t get one past Lieuwen.  Here’s an attempt from right wing Tyler Alos that gets blocked by Lieuwen.

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

During the second period, I didn’t get anything good for the first 10 minutes or so.  Any shot I tried to get was either out of focus, blocked by a player not involved in the play, or taken at a bad angle through the glass and made blurry by that.  I was easily the worst thing in the arena during the second period…

Luckily I was thrown a bone during the second period’s media timeout (the one with the Zamboni Dance) and fans tried their best to earn a seat on the zamboni for the second intermission.  All four of the pictured candidates put up a valiant effort but unfortunately none of them were selected to ride the zamboni.   I hope it’s a consolation for them to be included on this blog…

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

About five minutes into the second period, coach Rob Sumner replaced Calvin with backup goalie Michael Salmon.  The Ice scored two more in the second period, making the score 5-1.  While it’s too bad Calvin couldn’t finish out the game, it was nice to see Salmon get some playing time, especially at home.  That gave me a chance to get some photos of him in action, so I moved down to the T-Birds’ defensive half to get better photos of Salmon.

Being in a new location, I was excited to get some photos I normally don’t get.  But of course my bad period continued when a player brushed up against the glass just to my left.  He picked himself off the ice, but unfortunately some water from his jersey remained, block my view down the ice…

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

Luckily I could still see out through the glass in front of me and to my right, which worked to my advantage when defenseman Scott Ramsay came skating past trying to take away Kootenay rightwinger Brock Montgomery’s path to the goal.

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

Thus ends the second period, by far my worst 20 minutes of shooting this year.  Yeesh.

When I moved into the box between the benches for the third period, my luck—and my shots—improved greatly.  Here’s a shot I really like of center Travis Toomey trying to sneak past Kootenay defender Joey Leach and take control of the puck.

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

And here’s defenseman Dave Sutter trying to disrupt Kootenay left wing Drew Czerwonka from passing the puck to a teammate.

Canon 7D, 93mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s center Charles Wells racing to control the puck in the T-Birds’ defensive end.

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

During a break in action, Coach Sumner drew up a play for the T-Birds to use.  I like this detail shot of just his hand much better than any other shot from the series.

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

Remember earlier how I was excited to finally get a game photo of Michael Salmon?  Well my worst period of shooting ever hampered that goal.  I came out ahead, however, when I grabbed this frame of Salmon making a stick save on a Kootenay shot.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

By the middle of the third period, the score found its’ way to 6-2 in favor of Kootenay.  Despite being down four goals, though, the Thunderbirds never stopped fighting for pucks or playing hard.  Here Wells tries to knock the puck away from Kootenay center Max Reinhart despite having fallen to the ice.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

To end the post, here’s a series of three shots of Dillon giving Kootenay’s Steele Boomer (ok I have to say this: what a great name) a hard shove over the puck late in the third period.

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

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

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

Alright that’s it for this post.  As usual, leave any comments or questions for me in the comments section below.   Is there anything you want to see more of? Less of? How about any photos or videos you’d like to see?

Til later, go T-Birds! And Huskies (that’s right, I went there…)!

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Game 8: T-Birds Tipped by Everett

So in the beginning of the last post I promised that we’d get to the Everett game soon, and here I am to keep it.  Last Saturday was the first time the Thunderbirds played host to their rivals from just up the road, and it was the first time since the season opener that the two teams faced off.  Inside the ShoWare Center you could tell it was a rivalry game:  the crowd was loud and into the game from the beginning, the refs were determined to keep the peace between the two teams, and the hits were hard and kept coming all night…

In fact let’s start out with a few hits.  Saturday also marked the home debut of center Justin Hickman, who had returned from injury during the Eastern road trip.  Hickman threw his weight around for the early part of the game, making more than a few hard checks on unsuspecting Silvertips.  Here’s two of those hits…

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

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

Fellow center Charles Wells got in on the action too.  In these next photos, Wells got tangled up with Everett rightwinger Cody Fowlie when the two were chasing after the puck in the first period.

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

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

The Silvertips came out ready to play Saturday night, as evidenced by their three first period goals.  By the end of the first period, however, the T-Birds seemed to have gotten back into the game when defenseman Brenden Dillon fired a shot past Everett goalie Kent Simpson and into the net.

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

And here, rightwinger Burke Gallimore puts a hit on Everett leftwinger Tyler Maxwell to end the photos from period one.

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

For the second period, I decided to keep myself behind and to the left of the Everett goal (the north goal).  I wanted to try out a new angle (as I’m normally to the right of the goal up there), and I must say I’m happy with what I got from that position.   It allowed me to get more of the action close to the benches like this particular battle for the puck between leftwinger Mitch Elliot (center) and Everett rightwinger Tyler Cote.

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

Of course, that position is not perfect, not for me and my equipment.  I mainly use a 70-200 milimeter lens; not only does it give me coverage of most of the ice, the photo quality of it is unbelievable (and no, I’m not getting a cut for this advertisement.  But I should, right Canon?).  The only drawback is that I have to be about five feet away from things in order to a) be in focus and b) to be able to see every part of an upright human.  Well when I’m right on the glass and the players are right on the glass, I can’t get a picture that includes every part of both players.  I commonly get photos that cut off players’ heads, hands, and feet.  Or, in this case, players’ heads AND feet.

Center Tyler Alos (left) is checked by Everett defenseman Ryan Murray.

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

With my 70-200, though, I can get pretty much everything between the blue lines, give or take a few feet on either side.  That set me up perfectly to get this photo of a Burke Gallimore shot.

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

Unfortunately I missed getting a shot of Gallimore’s goal in the second period (note: the previous photo isn’t his goal-scoring shot).  I did, however, get a celebration photo with Dillon (who was credited with an assist on the goal) and rightwinger Marcel Noebels.

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

Since Everett and Seattle’s home rinks are separated by just about an hour’s drive (assuming light traffic… we all know it can take much longer to get to Everett some nights) there were plenty of Silvertips fans at the ShoWare Center Saturday night.  This Thunderbirds supporter felt it necessary to remind the ‘Tips fans in front of him what team had just scored.  Thank you, unnamed T-Birds supporter, for standing up for Thunderbirds fans everywhere…

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

And to close out the photos from the second period, how about a shot of leftwinger Chance Lund holding off Everett defenseman Alex Theriau while attacking the Silvertip goal.

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

Having cut the Silvertips’ lead down to one, the Thunderbirds came out and played a good third period.  They controlled the puck for much of the period…

Center Colin Jacobs controls the puck despite an attack from Everett leftwinger Josh Winquist.

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

Passed the puck fairly well…

Wells (back) skates towards the Everett goal while Noebels gets in position to receive a pass during the third period.

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

Checked the Silvertips often…

Gallimore checks Everett’s Josh Winquist into the boards during the third period.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey hits Everett defenseman Rasmus Rissanen before Rissanen can get to the puck.

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

Hustled to un-controlled pucks…

Noebels races Everett’s Cody Fowlie to a loose puck during the third period.

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

Got in position to tip a shot into the Everett net…

Center Luke Lockhart battles for position in front of the Silvertip net with Everett defenseman Brennan Yadlowski.

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

And earned 14 shots on goal throughout the third period.  Unfortunately, Everett goalie Kent Simpson blocked all 14 of those shots.

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

But I hate to leave on a down-note, so I will end with a nice portrait of Brenden Dillon taken during a late timeout.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

That’s it for this edition of Bird Watching.  I hope you enjoyed the photos and I wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  Be sure to tell me how awesome your dinner is (or my photos are, either one) in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!

 

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Calvin Pickard: The Energizer Bunny in Pads

Monday night, 10:44 pm:  I’m writing this blog post in the dark, seeing as the wind storm that’s rolling through the area finally won its battle with the local power lines and my house lost power.  Not much from my preferred working environment has changed though; sure it’s a tad dark, but I can still type this up on my laptop, listen to music on my ipod (right know it’s Human by the Killers, in case you’re wondering), and still text friends and family on my cell phone.  It’s nice to know that even though I depend on electricity for so much, I can live without it (in short doses, though;  I’m SOL when my batteries run out).  Batteries are the fail-safe of today’s society, and they really should be appreciated more; they help keep everything running when the power goes out, and they have saved untold hardship and lives just because they’re a great fail-safe.

By now you’re probably thinking “this is a photoblog about a hockey team, why are you writing about batteries, Kyle?”  If so I don’t blame you, but trust me I’m heading somewhere with this…

Batteries are a lot like a goalie in hockey.  More specifically, batteries are like a reliable goalie in hockey, one who can be depended to immediately and effectively defend the net if something gets behind the defense, much like how batteries are called upon once the electricity stops flowing.  Since batteries have a near 100% effectiveness, this goalie has to be nearly perfect, saving 93 percent of the shots that come at him.  Hmm, a dependable, reliable goalie that saves nearly every shot taken on him? Why, that sounds a lot like our own Calvin Pickard, doesn’t it?

Say hi to the readers, Calvin!

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

As you may have just now guessed, this post is dedicated to our fearless netminder, the man who never met a shot he really liked and never met a puck he couldn’t stop. He backs up the Thunderbirds defensive line and is probably the best goalie in the WHL right now.  In fact, for the next two days he’ll represent the WHL in the Subway Super Series, two games that pits a team of WHL stars against a team of Russian junior stars. Since the Thunderbirds have a few well-earned days off after their eastern road trip (in which they did quite well, taking 8 of a possible 12 points) and Pickard is playing in the series, it seems like a great time to have a post saluting our never-stopping netminder. Here are 15 photos of Pickard doing what he does best: backing up the T-Birds and looking good while doing it…

Pickard stops a shot from a diving Lethbridge left winger Jacob Berglund during a game Oct. 1 against the Hurricanes.

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

Pickard goes down to stop Lethbridge center Cam Braes.

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

Picarkd attempts to block a shoot-out attempt by Tri-City right winger Jacob Holland on  Oct.  26.

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

Pickard watches as defenseman Brenden Dillon steals the puck from Prince George center Nick Bounassisi Oct. 29.

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

Pickard re-directs a shot towards teammate and T-Birds center Luke Lockhart.

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

Pickard tracks the puck while center Colin Jacobs (left) and PG center Charles Inglis fight for it during the Oct. 29 game against the Cougars.

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

Pickard prevents Red Deer left winger John Perrson from redirecting the puck into the Seattle goal Nov. 2.

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

Pickard stretches out to make a save against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 85mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Pickard makes yet another stop against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

See the previous cutline.  Just know that he made 46 saves that night.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Pickard makes another sprawling save against the Rebels on Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Pickard passes the puck to defenseman Dave Sutter during the third period of the game against the Rebels.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Pickard, Sutter (left) and Red Deer right winger Daulton Siwak (top right_ all have a nice view of the puck before Pickard falls on it for another save).

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

And let’s end this post the best way I know how: with a picture of Calvin celebrating a win!

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

Hopefully you enjoyed this look at Calvin Pickard, and be sure to tune in to the Subway Super Series against the top Russian junior players.

Til next time, go T-Birds (and WHL)!

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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!


Game 5: T-Birds Beat Up, get Beat by Cougars

Hello again everyone.  Well, I’m sure we’ve all recovered from not only Halloween, but that rough, chipper game the Thunderbirds played Friday night.  In case you’ve forgotten all about it, I’m here to remind you and let you relive the game.  So brace yourself because this post will leave you black and blue…

The game started at 7:40 pm on Friday night.  Before the clock struck 7:41, we had our first fight of the night. Center Mitch Elliot and Prince George’s (PG) Brock Hirsche dropped the gloves and resorted to fisticuffs after just 40 seconds of game play.  The fight didn’t last long, however, as Hirsche apparently suffered a leg injury during the fight.  Here’s a picture of the two going at it…

Left wing Mitch Elliot lands an early punch on Prince George center Brock Hirsche just a half minute into the game.

Canon 7D, 190mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Don’t worry, though.  A hockey game broke out after the early fight.  Both teams had their chances in the first period, but both goalies had great games and kept it scoreless for two plus periods.  Here are a couple shots of the T-Birds’ chances in the first…

Prince George goalie Ty Rimmer collects a Seattle shot.

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

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on PG’s Rimmer.  The shot went high

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

It wasn’t just the T-Birds controlling the puck, however.  Here defenseman Brenden Dillon tries to win the puck back behind his own net.

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

This was the first game this season (that I noticed at least) that had a lot of pucks leave the ice and go high in the air.  Seeing that, I really hoped to get a shot of someone knocking the puck down.  One of those shots came to me (yay!) when Burke Gallimore tried to knock the puck down midway through the first period.

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

Alright, back to the hits and fights.  Here defenseman Scott Ramsay gets pushed by a Cougar player.  Ramsay, however, did well not to retaliate and drew a penalty, giving the T-Birds a two minute power play.

Defenseman Scott Ramsay is pushed by PG left wing Wilson Dumais.  Dumais was given a 2:00 roughing penalty for this shove.

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

There were many times where the refs had to intervene and separate players from both teams.  Here linesman Adam Brastad is forced to separate center Travis Toomey and PG defenseman Sena Acolatse.

Center Travis Toomey (top middle) gets a few extra punches on PG defenseman Sena Acolatse (middle left) during a scrum in the third period.

Canon 7D, 190mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And it happened again later in the third period (note: the players are different, and I can’t identify the official that is pictured)…

An official steps in between Lund and PG defenseman Jesse Forsberg.

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

The scrappiness continued into the second period.  Here, center Luke Lockhart is pushed off-balance by Hirsche.

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

And here’s Lockhart controlling the puck.

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

Here, Mitch Elliot fires a shot in front of the PG goal, hoping for a re-direct into the net.

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

Now onto the third period which brought on another fight, this one between rightwinger Jacob Doty and PG center Greg Fraser.

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

Doty gains the upper hand- literally -on  PG’s Fraser.

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

It seemed that all night I had players randomly skating in front of me and into the foreground of my shots.  Most of the time the completely block me from the play, but sometimes they help create a nice looking shot.  This next picture is one of the latter.

PG left wingeTaylor Stefishen (middle right) waits for a pass in front of the Seattle goal while Dave Sutter jostles for position with him.

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

When I first saw this next photo I dismissed it because it was too cluttered: there were players all around the goal and I didn’t see any obvious crop that wouldn’t cut someone in half.  After looking a little more (and zooming in) I decided to try a tight crop on Pickard.  What turned out looks pretty good, although it makes me wish for an even better camera to help reduce some of the noise and improve the picture quality (zooming in and close-cropping takes away the quality and clarity of a photo).  Here it is…

Pickard makes a glove save in the third period.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In my photo career, I’ve shot a lot of gymnastics and have seen some athletes bend their bodies in incredible forms and still stay on their feet.  According to this next photo, center Charles Wells has that same control over his body gymnasts do.  Check out how far down he goes and still stays on his skates…

Center Charles Wells (right) manages to stay on his skates to knock the puck away from PG’s Bounassisi.

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

Here, defenseman Travis Bobbee races for the puck with PG center Charles Inglis.

Defenseman Travis Bobbee (right) and PG center Charles Inglis go after the puck.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Both teams had quality chances in the third period, as well.  Again, the goalies did well to keep the puck in front of the red line (although PG did eventually get two in at the end of the game).  Here’s a shot of PG goalie Ty Rimmer saving a Burke Gallimore shot on goal…

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

And here’s Pickard making one.

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

And we’ll end with a shot of Lockhart and PG rightwinger Brett Connolly fighting for the puck late in the third quarter…

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

That’s it for this post.   Please leave any comments or questions or anything else in the comments section.  Let me know how I’m doing and if there’s anything you’d like to know or see differently, just let me know!

Til next time, go T-Birds!


Game 4: Thunderbirds go to Shootout vs. Americans

I was hoping to get this post up yesterday, but unfortunately some errands unexpectedly came up and I couldn’t get it done before work.  Have no fear, though, as I’m off today and can spend it all on the blog!

Tuesday night’s game against the Americans was a well fought game, I thought.  As always with these ‘birds, the outcome wasn’t decided until after they played five extra minutes and took three extra shots on goal.  Unfortunately, the Americans slipped two shoot-out attempts past Calvin Pickard while only one of the T-Birds found the back of the Tri-City net.

We’ll start, however, before all of that; even before the game started.  Before the game, equipment manager Jason Berger brought out the pucks for pre-game warm-ups and formed the letters W,H, and L with them. Director of Media Relations Ian Henry told me about the pucks and asked for some photos, so I happily obliged.  I got three frames of the design that I really liked, but this one stood out above the other two.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/1.8, 1/60th, Manual

Having shot the pucks, I had nothing to do until the players came out for warm-ups.  Normally I don’t shoot that seeing as I’ll be getting the same photos during the game, but I needed to get some photos of backup goalie Michael Salmon for a newspaper in his hometown of Red Deer, Alberta.  I took a couple nice shots of Salmon but couldn’t decide between the two.  I’ll let you guys see both of them and decide what one’s better…

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

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

Now for in-game photos.  I wanted to go back up and shoot from the suite level again for the first period.  I like the angle it gives, I just wanted to do something different from the game against Calgary.  The nice thing about shooting from the suite level is that I have a great view of most of the ice and bench area.  That view allowed me to get this photo of Head Coach Rob Sumner during a timeout in the first period.

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

I like this photo because you get to see the play designed.  Taken from any other angle, the players would be blocking the view of the whiteboard, but this time I was high enough to see over the players.

Remember a couple of posts ago when I said that there’d be games in college I’d get great photos of the opposing team and not the Huskies?  Well that happened to me again Tuesday.  I seemed to get many photos where you could see Americans players well, but the T-Birds guys had their back to me.  These next three are good examples of that.  Oh well, at least the pictures show the T-Birds doing well and having success…

Center Connor Sanvido has a shot blocked by Tri-Cities goalie Drew Owsley in the first period.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Rightwinger Jacob Doty (left) and Sanvido (right) sandwich Tri-Cities center Justin Messier in the first period.

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

Defenseman Travis Bobbee knocks a Tri-Citiy Americans player to the ground.

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

And to close out first period photos, how about a good ole’ Calvin Pickard save?

Goalie Calvin Pickard (middle) blocks a shot while center Luke Lockhart (right) and Tri-Cities leftwinger Justin Feser fight for the rebound.

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

Due to a terribly stupid operator error, most of my shots from the second period were not useable and were only worthy of being deleted.  So let’s forget the second period ever happened, assume the score magically changed to 2-2, and move onto the third, shall we?  Ok? Okay!

Since this was the third period (wow, it just seems like seconds ago we were in the first, where does the time go?)I went to my typical spot in between the benches, and was rewarded for going in between the benches by a shot of Luke Lockhart scoring a goal to take a 3-2 lead.

Lockhart tries to slip a slapshot past the Tri-City defense in the third quarter.  The puck did find it’s way to the back of the net, giving Lockhart his second goal of the evening.

Canon 7D, 78mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And as always, a goal shot deserves a celebration shot…

Lockhart (right) and right wing Burke Gallimore celebrate Lockhart’s third period goal.

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

That lead, however, wasn’t a permanent one.  Just a few minutes later, the Americans evened up the score with this goal.

Tri Cities center Mason Wilgosh (left) gets a shot past Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard during the third period of a WHL game in Kent, WA, Oct. 26.

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

A bit after that goal, there was a small dust-up between Marcel Noebels and the Tri-Cities’ Spencer Humphries.  I couldn’t see the fight or what caused it since it took place in a corner I can’t see from between the benches, but I did get an important shot of the aftermath: Marcel Noebels being escorted off the ice.  He got more penalty minutes than what was left in the game and so was taken off the ice (note: he was eligible, though, to return in overtime).

Linseman David Tise escorts Seattle rightwinger Marcel Noebels off the ice after Noebels received a 10-minute miscondcut in the third period.

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

Here’s an attempt on goal by Travis Toomey.

Seattle center Travis Toomey (left) can’t knock the puck past Tri-Cities goalie Drew Owsley in the third period.

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

Luke Lockhart had a good game having scored two goals.  Since he had one of the better games, I tended to get more good photos of him. Here’s two of those…

Lockhart (right) runs into Tri-City left wing Justin Feser during the third period.

Canon 7D, 78mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Now onto the overtime period where I got my best photos from the game. Both teams had some good chances in overtime, but neither could punch it through.   I’ll just let my photos describe it to you, as they’re a good representation of what happened.

Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard (right) blocks a shot while defenseman Dave Sutter (left) and Tri City right wing Jordan Messier fight for the rebound in the overtime period of a WHL game Oct. 26 in Kent, WA.

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

Seattle left wing Marcel Noebels (right) and Tri Cities defenseman Zachary Yuen fight for the puck during the overtime period of a WHL game Oct. 26 in Kent, WA.

Canon 7D, 80mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Seattle defenseman Erik Bonsor (right) disrupts the possession of Tri-City defenseman Zachary Yuen.

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

Seattle center Charles Wells skates past Tri-City right winger Patrick Holland in overtime.

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

Tri-City goalie Drew Owsley stops a Thunderbird attack late in the overtime period.

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

Now that overtime is over, it’s time for the shootout!  There was really only one good photo from the shootout that I got, and thankfully it shows what happened in it.  So it is with great sorrow that I end with this photo of Pickard not being able to save a shootout attempt.

Tri-City right wing Patrick Holland slips a shoot-out attempt past Pickard.

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

You know what, I really hate ending with that photo.  So instead, let’s see some of Center Colin Jacob’s infectious smile…

Center Colin Jacobs is all smiles after Noebels converted his shootout attempt.

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

If you got this far, thanks for reading!  As always, I’d love to hear any comments, questions, criticisms, quandaries; anything you want me to know or answer, I want to hear it.

Oh, and Erica and Erik?  It was great meeting you Tuesday night!

Til next time, go T-Birds!


Game 3: Thunderbirds Upended by Hitmen

Hello again everyone, and sorry for the delay in getting this post up.   Here’s the game thread for last Saturday’s overtime loss to Calgary.

It was a good hockey game that had a bit of everything: great-looking goals, last-second saves, and even a couple of pretty decent fights.   In fact the only thing missing from the game was a second point for the T-Birds, as that game was just their first overtime loss of the season.   So enough with the chit-chat, let’s get to the photos!

For this game I tried something different: I didn’t start out shooting from above the glass.  Eventually shooting from the same spots every game will get repetitive and you’ll start seeing the exact same shot as you did a game ago or two games ago.  So to break myself of that (and to keep it more exciting for me) I’ll change up my routine.  Today I spent the first two periods behind the glass, moving between spots behind the goal on the north side (the side where the players and zambonis get onto the ice) and right across from the T-Birds bench.  In any rate, I got luckier with the glass that night, as a number of photos I took from that spot are pretty clear and unaffected by the thick plexiglass.

Defenseman Erik Bonsor (right) battles with Calgary center Jimmy Bubnick for the puck early in the first period.

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

Now I’m going to teach you a trick that’s useful in all sorts of photography, but absolutely necessary in sports photos: cropping.  It’s needed in sports photography to focus in on the action and eliminate all dead space surrounding it that ruins the photo.  Let’s use a shot of Calvin Pickard making a save.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save during the first period.

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

Now as you can see in the photo above, I was as wide as my lens would allow me to be (98% of my shots are taken with a 70-200mm lens).  Since I had Pickard centered in my shot for focusing reasons, there’s a lot of dead space on the left of the shot, and the players to the right merely distract from what’s going on.  So let’s take them out of there, shall we?

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

Now, by merely cutting out what I don’t want seen, we have a pretty nice shot of Pickard making a save.  It’s also now easier to see the puck in the middle of his pads.  Before, there was just too much distracting information for your eye to notice it.  With all of those distractions gone, however, the puck is much more visible.  Amazing, huh?

Onto the next shot now.  Here’s a photo of Brenden Dillon fighting Calgary’s Ben Wilson.  For whatever reason, I got numerous good shots of Dillon Saturday night.  I tried to get as many other players in the post as possible but apparently Dillon was working it for the camera that night.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon throws Hitmen defenseman Ben Wilson to the ice during a fight in the first period.

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

And here’s some more photos.  Sorry there’s no cool intro for them, but I can’t think of a good one right now.  Let’s just say they’re a good representation at how even the two teams played.

Bonsor keeps the puck away from Calgary leftwinger Justin Kirsch.

Canon 7D, 95mm, 800 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Luke Lockhart fights for the puck with the Hitmen’s Bubnick behind the Calgary goal in the second period.

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

 

I’m proud of myself for this next shot: I actually remembered something I had to look for during the game!  Media Relations Director Ian Henry told me to look for kids wearing the beanie given away before the game.  Well, I found a group of excited young boys during a break in play that seemed to really want to get on the jumbotron.  I’m not sure if they ever did or not, but they were dancing well enough to be put on there…

Young T-Birds fans dance during a break in the action in hopes of getting shown on the jumbotron.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

I’m still looking for a good goal photo from behind the glass: one where you can see both the puck going into the net and the face of the player who got it.  I know I’ll get one eventually, but sometimes it’s hard for me to remember to concentrate on the player in front of the goal instead of the guy with the puck.  In the second period of Saturday’s game, though, I thought I might have had a chance when Luke Lockhart had a nice shot on goal.  Unfortunately, it was blocked by the Calgary defense and eventually cleared.  What turned out was still a nice photo, but unfortunately one of a great play for Calgary instead of for Seattle.

Lockhart battles with Calgary defenders to get the puck into the net in the second period.

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

Here’s another Brenden Dillon sighting.  He got an assist for a pass to Tyler Alos in the second period.  Of course I had to put this shot in…

Dillon passes to teammate Tyler Alos- who then put the puck in the back of the net- in the second period.  It was the first of two assists on the night for Dillon.

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

And here’s Alos acknowledging Dillon’s pass after the goal.

Canon 7D, 80mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a photo of the second fight of the evening.  In it, rightwinger Jacob Doty took Calgary’s Cody Beach to the ice.  In fact, the two T-Birds fighters of the evening both took their opponents to the ice.  Even if it didn’t matter on the scoreboard, that was nice to see.

Rightwinger Jacob Doty (right) lands a punch on Calgary rightwinger Cody Beach during a second period brawl.

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

In college when shooting for The Daily, there’d always be games where I’d get better photos of the other team than I would of the Huskies.  Sometimes it would turn out ok because we’d run some of them as long as they made sense with the game story and every once in a while we’d send them to other school’s student paper.  When shooting for a team, though, there’s no spot for these photos to go.  That’s why I like having this blog; in it, I can put all my shots from a game.    I don’t have to worry about will it make sense with a story or is it a photo of the other team.    So I’ll throw in this photo of Calgary goalie Juraj Holly knocking away a shot by Chance Lund.  I thought Holly had a pretty good game and was pleased to have a photo of him.

Canon 7D, 1140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

During the third period, I was in my normal third-period spot between the benches.  Despite what I said earlier about changing things up every once in a while, I thinkI’ll be spending every third period there so I know I’ll have some good pictures no matter where I am for the first two.  Anyways, I remembered to keep an eye on the T-Birds bench for any good photos there.  During one of the timeouts in the third, I found assistant coach Turner Stevenson talking with one of the T-Birds.  I remembered to take the photo, I just wish I thought to stand up.  That would have made Stevenson’s arm visible and made a much, much stronger photo.  I’ll get it next time, though…

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

And here’s another Dillon sighting.  He’s getting good coverage right now…

Dillon chases after the puck with two Hitmen in pursuit.

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

I like trying to get photos of players on defense.  It’s a side of the game that doesn’t produce quite so many images as offense or hits, but it’s still important to play good D.  Here, center Travis Toomey is covering a Calgary attacker well.

Toomey covers Hitmen center Chase Clayton late in the third period.

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

I think these next two photos would be great for a caption-writing contest.  In fact, if I ever get to give away something in a contest, that’s what I’ll do.  But until then, just enjoy them and that what you like about them.

Center Travis Toomey (right) and Calgary center Cody Sylvester both have a good view of the puck while battling for it in the third period.

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

Head Coach Rob Sumner discusses things with Coach Stevenson in the intermission between the third period and overtime.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

And here’s the last of Brenden Dillon for the post.  But of course, it’s a series of photos.  Watch as he takes a slapshot towards the Calgary goal in overtime.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Overtime was just as hotly contested between the two teams as regulation was.  Let’s include a shot of Burke Gallimore trying to disrupt a Calgary player to prove that…

Rightwinger Burke Gallimore tries to disrupt a Hitmen’s handling of the puck during overtime.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

That’s all the photos I have for you today.  I unfortunately didn’t get a good one from the game-ending goal, but that’s just the way it is sometimes.  I’ll do better next time, I promise.  As always, feel free to tell me what you like, don’t like, want to see more off, or any other comments you may or may not have in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!


There’s Nothing Better than the Sound of Slapshots in the Morning…

Remember last post when I promised to find ways to get new content on the blog during road trips?  If you don’t I’ll give you time to go find it…

Got it now?  Good.  And if you didn’t go check, trust me it’s there.   Just a few hours of writing that post, I found out that King 5 would be taping some news segments about the Thunderbirds early Tuesday morning (October 12th).  Having shot a live tv show before last February when College Gameday was at the University of Washington, I knew I could get some nice shots of the taping so I committed to wake up early and head down to the ShoWare Center for the morning’s events.

When I got to the ShoWare Center, the players were in the locker room getting their gear on while the King 5 crewpeople were finishing setting up the camera and discussing the day’s takes.  Since all of the takes would take place on the ice, reporter Christie Johnson would be on ice skates to move around most easily.   Since the players weren’t out of the locker room yet, I snapped a few frames.

King 5 reporter Christie Johnson laces up her skates before taking the ice to file reports from the ShoWare Center early Tuesday morning.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/100th, Manual

I really like this shot.  A lot.  For one thing I have a thing for darker photos, and also the hallway between the rink and the main concourse (by section 108) had some very nice side-lighting (where the only light source for a photo comes from the subject’s side).  Overall, I thought this photo was a decent starting image and a good omen leading into the rest of the morning.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon was the first of the participating T-Birds (right winger Burke Gallimore, defenseman Luke Lockhart, and goalie Michael Salmon were the other three players that showed up), so he got to do the first teaser with Christie.  Little did he know that Christie had experience in figure skating and wanted to open up with one of those moves for the tease…

Defenseman Brenden Dillon, along with Christie Johnson, shows off his figure skating skills during a teaser for an upcoming segment on King 5.

Canon 7D, 70MM, 1600 ISO, f/5, 1/400th, Manual

Don’t worry, Johnson didn’t force anymore figure skating moves on the guys; they quickly moved on to half-speed plays, and even a mock face-off.  Here, Johnson takes a shot after “winning” one of those face-offs.

Reporter Christie Johnson skated with a few T-Birds early Tuesday morning.  Here, they include her in a mock play after a faceoff.

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

Johnson and her photographer Jim had the segments planned out for the most part before the morning started, so there wasn’t a lot of time spent designing what would be on camera.  After a few minutes of Christie and Jim explaining their visions, there’d be one or two run throughs of the shot to nail down the details of a shot and so that both the players and Christie knew their assignments and timings.  Here’s a photo of Christie explaining the plan for a teaser that included a check into the boards.

Johnson plans out the next take with right winger Burke Gallimore (left), defenseman Brenden Dillon (center), and center Luke Lockhart (right).  Goalie Michael Salmon was also part of the shoot, but is hidden behind Lockhart in this photo.

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

Here is a continuous set of shots that show part of the teaser.  That’s Burke Gallimore in grey and Brenden Dillon in blue who are smashing into the glass in front of Christie.


Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/400th, Manual (all photos)

This next photo might just be my favorite from the day.  Not only had the guys had been good sports for the camera, but they had to get up pretty early to do so (they arrived before 5:45 am).  They were understandably tired and so during a break between live takes, Luke and Burke decided to take it easy right out there on the ice.

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

During the time in between live takes (and while the T-Birds players were relaxing), Jim and Christie would consult with producers back at the King 5 production room.  Instead of having to call someone in the studio, though, they merely had to talk through their microphones (the same ones used while taping) in order to be heard.  In addition, Christie could look through the camera so as to “look at” the producers while talking to them.  For whatever reason, I thought this to be somewhat interesting.  So of course I snapped a photo.  What else would I do?

Christie Johnson talks with producers back at King 5 studios through her hidden microphone and by looking at the camera.

Canon 7D, 75MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/400th, Manual

After the 40 or so minutes after the first live segment, the second one aired.  For this, Christie asked Thunderbirds head coach Rob Sumner a few questions about the T-Birds’ season so far.  There was also a quick explanation about how to check a guy into the boards.  Since you can scroll up and find plenty board-checking above, here’s a shot of Christie talking to the Coach.

Christie Johnson interviews head coach Rob Sumner during a segment that aired Tuesday morning.

Canon 7D, 70MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/400th, Manual

I had been trying all morning to get a cool photo of Christie talking into the camera while still being able to see Jim (photographers always take pictures of other photographers; it’s just something we do), but I hadn’t seen anything good.    Finally, during the segment with Coach Sumner, I got what I wanted.   You can see the camera and everything.  Hey, even photographers deserve to be recognized every now and then…

Christie Johnson opens a segment.

Canon 7D, 70MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/400th, Manual

The last segment was all about slapshots.  In it, Luke Lockhart explained how to hit one, Michael Salmon explained what it’s like to try and stop one, and Christie Johnson even attempted to take one.

Luke Lockhart goes through the basics of a slapshot.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/640th, Manual

Christie Johnson asks Michael Salmon about facing slapshots coming at his head.  “I try not to think about the speed [of the pucks,]” he said.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/640th, Manual

The T-Birds players taught Johnson the basics of a slapshot, which she’s practicing here.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/4.5, 1/640th, Manual

Once Christie got her shot off, Burke, Luke, and Brenden unleashed a volley of slapshots at Michael.  Despite the multiple pucks coming at him seemingly at once, he did well to block many of them.

Salmon got a leg pad in front of this slapshot.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/4, 1/500th, Manual

After the slapshots, there was just one more thing to film as a possible space-filler in the noon broadcast.  For this, Christie met Luke in a face-off and once again “won” it.  She seems to be pretty good at those…

Christie Johnson takes one final faceoff before signing off from the ShowWare Center.

Canon 7D, 70MM, 1600 ISO, f/4, 1/500th, Manual

After that segment was completed and the producers okayed it, all the taping was done.  After cleaning up all the pucks shot at Michael, Christie got a picture with Coach Sumner and the guys.

Johnson wanted a photo of everyone involved for her own blog, http://www.christiejohnsonking5.blogspot.com.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

If you didn’t catch the segments live, here’s a link to them on King 5’s website.

http://www.king5.com/video/featured-videos/On-the-ice-with-the-Seattle-Thunderbirds-104794044.html

A special thanks to Christie, Jim, and everyone else at King  5 that helped with the broadcast from ShoWare Center.  I had a blast shooting it, and I hope you guys have enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at how it was made.

And as they say in show business, that’s a wrap!

Til next time, go T-Birds!


Game 2: T-Birds Weather the Storm

For the second (home) game of the season, the Thunderbirds played host to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  It was the only time this year that the ‘Birds and the ‘Canes would face off, and the players seemed intent on being as hitting each other as much as possible because of it.  It was easily the most physical hockey game I’ve seen (although that number is quite low).  Because of that, I’ve decided to focus on the hits for the first half of this post.

The hits started early as shortly into the first period, Lethbridge defenseman Brennan Yadlowski (left, 9) tried to start a shoving match with T-Birds center Travis Toomey (middle, 37).  Despite having his helmet knocked off, Toomey couldn’t retaliate as he was quickly wrapped up by an official.

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

There were, though, a couple fights during the first period.  The first one was between Thunderbirds rightwinger Jacob Doty and Hurricanes center Neil Tarnasky.  Unfortunately the referee was in between me and the two fighters throughout the whole thing and ruined every shot taken during it, but I did manage to get a frame when they were finally separated.

Canon 7D, 195mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The second one, between T-Birds leftwinger Chance Lund and Hurricanes defenseman Derek Ryckman, came after T Lund put a hard check on ‘Canes right winger Alex Kuvaev.  Ryckman hit Lund in response, and the fight was on.  Thankfully the referees were off to the side throughout the fight so I got plenty of good shots during it.  Here’s my favorite one, where Lund seems to land a good shot on Ryckman’s chin.  Maybe I should start taking boxing photos to improve my fight shots…

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Hits didn’t come merely in fights, though.  The whole game featured a lot of hard checks by both sides.  Here, Seattle defenseman Dave Sutter forces a Lethbridge player into the glass while pursuing the puck…

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

And here Seattle defenseman Dustin Baecker forces Yadlowski into the glass, preventing him from racing after the puck.

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

It wasn’t just Seattle players throwing their weight around, Lethbridge got a few good checks in as well.  Here Hurricanes defenseman Cason Machacek throws Thunderbird center Brendan Rouse to the ice.

Canon 7D, 195mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Despite all the hits, the two teams still managed to threaten the goal a few times.  In the first period the Thunderbirds managed to earn 13 shots on goal while Lethbridge had 9.  Here, Seattle rightwinger Burke Gallimore tries to sneak the puck past Lethbridge defenseman Daniel Johnston and goalie Brandon Anderson.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here Thunderbird center Connor Sanvido takes a shot on Anderson.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Late in the first period, Lethbridge leftwinger Jacob worked his was in front of the net and tried to sneak the puck past Seattle goalie Calvin Pickard.  Pickard, though, was ready for it and blocked the shot.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

All of these photos are from the first period, where I was standing along the top row of suites for 10 minutes and inside a suite for the other 10.  Overall, 9 photos I’ll use in this post are from the first period when I was along the top, 10 or so are from the third are from the third period when I was between the benches, and just one from the second period when I was shooting through the glass behind the Lethbridge goal.  This points to two things: 1) not much happened in the second period—which is true—and how hard it can be to shoot through the glass since there’s a not-quite clear barrier between the lens and the action.  Mainly, though, it just goes to show me where I have room for improvement.  Once I learn to select positions along the glass at either end of the rink, I’ll get better photos from those positions.  Until then, I hope you enjoy this photo of T-Bird center Luke Lockhart passing to a teammate…

Canon 7D, 78mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Onto the third period!  It seems like just a second ago we were just on period 2, doesn’t it?  Anyways, just over a minute into the period, Toomey found himself on a breakaway with no one between him and the goalie.  He calmly aimed and fired 15 feet or so away from the goal and scored!  Being between the two benches, I had a great view on the play and expected to have a pretty decent shot of it.  I’ll share it with you now…

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Amazing! Spectacular! What a photo!

Yeah, this is a typical occurrence in photography: a random object that has no place being in the frame but is and ruins the photo.   I guess I can take comfort in the fact it wouldn’t have been a great photo anyway: the goalie’s leg is cut off, only Toomey’s back is visible, and the puck is hidden behind the stick.  But still, it’s pretty annoying to have to have a random stick block your shot… (What’s that?  I shouldn’t complain because I get to sit between the benches?  You’ve got me there, I’ll stop now.)

I did get something good from that goal, though.  In his celebration Toomey rolled out to the right, giving me a clear line of sight to shoot the reaction.  Here’s one of them…

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

After Toomey’s goal came a series of pretty good defensive plays (or at least a series of good shots of defensive plays).  Since I can’t think of a better way of introducing them to you, I’ll just post them and you can decide for yourself if they’re good or not.

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

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

Being right beside the team bench, I can hear some of what’s said in the bench (a lot of which I can’t repeat on this blog) and have a good view of coach Rob Sumner.   Here’s a photo of Coach Sumner instructing a player during a break in the action.

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

Up just 1-0, The Thunderbirds really could have used another score or two to really put the game away.  Apparently rightwinger Marcel Noebels thought that as well, seeing as he buried a shot from distance past the goalie Anderson and into the net.  My photo of the goal isn’t good—you can’t tell what’s going on and it’s very cluttered with players—so instead I’ll show you Noebel’s high-kicking celebration.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Now that the Thunderbirds were up 2-0 with six minutes to go, things were looking pretty good.  The Hurricanes, however, didn’t give up and kept pressing the attack, hoping to shoot themselves back into the game.  Finally, they pulled Anderson in favor of having a sixth attacker and the move seemed to pay off as they snuck two past Pickard in the last two and a half minutes.  Here’s a photo of the first goal from Lethbridge by leftwinger Jacob Berglund.

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

With the score tied 2-2, we were now heading into overtime.  It was a defensive extra period, as there were only three shots on goal in extra time, all three by the Thunderbirds.  None went into the net, however, and a shootout would decide who would escape with two points.

In the shootout, Gallimore shot first for the T-Birds…

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

I’m not exactly sure what happened with the shot.  From my picture, it looks like it may have deflected off Anderson’s glove and into the goal, but I’m not confident in that guess.  What I do now is that it eventually crossed the blue line between the pipes and gave the T-Birds an early lead in the shootout.

First up for Lethbridge was leftwinger Max Ross.  He did not convert his shot, though, as Pickard followed the puck all the way to his left leg pad and blocked it.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Up next for the Thunderbirds was Marcel Noebels.  He also converted his shootout goal, and then Calvin Pickard blocked the attempt from Lethbridge leftwinger Mitch Maxwell.  The T-Birds won the shootout 2-0!

Of course, everyone rushed out to Pickard to celebrate the win with him.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Blog note:  The T-Birds are now on a two-week road trip and I won’t be following the team much—if at all—on the road this season.  My question is, what do you want to see on the photoblog for the next two weeks?  Give me any suggestions in the comment section.  Of course, if you want to critique my work, that’s fine too!

Till next time, Go T-Birds!