The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Party on the Plaza

T-Birds Open 2012-13 Home Slate

Greetings again, T-Birds fans! I’ve finally found a bit of time so why don’t I revisit the Thunderbirds’ home opener against Portland last Saturday? Does that sound like a good idea to you guys? Well I certainly hope so.

As with the two other home openers I’ve seen, the T-Birds hosted a Party on the Plaza before the game started. There was a bouncy castle for the younger fans, a beer garden for the older ones, and face painting for everyone, along with other booths. Since you can’t really go wrong with a photo of kids having fun on bouncy castles, I headed there first and waited for a photo opportunity to arise. It didn’t take long for me to get this gem…

A young fan gets assistance in departing a bouncy castle at the Party at the Plaza outside the ShoWacre Center.

Canon 7D, 800 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/5000


As mentioned before, there was a face painter outside available to paint the logo of a certain hockey team on the body of anyone who wished to employ her services.

Canon 7D, 400 ISO, 37mm, f/4.5, 1/250

I stuck around outside to finish up a couple of photos I had to take, and then headed inside to prepare for the player introductions before the game started. Here are a couple of photos from those…

Defenseman Jesse Forsberg rushes onto his new home ice while being introduced to the Seattle crowd. Forsberg came over from Prince George in August.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/400

Surprisingly and a bit to my dismay, I didn’t catch any laser or flare in my lens, which would have made those photos stand out from the other introductions. Nevertheless, I found a nice way to make a good, somewhat unique photo during introductions by shooting without the aid of the spotlight. Here’s what I’m talking about…

Left wing Alexander Delnov, from Moscow, Russia, is introduced for the first time to Thunderbirds fans.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/400

While the pregame festivities were great to watch and everything, the main draw of the night was (obviously) the game against the rival Portland Winterhawks, so let’s check out some action shots from the first period!

Defenseman Shea Theodore fights through a check by Portland center Nic Petan.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 110mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

As you would expect from a Seattle/Portland matchup, the game quickly turned chippy with physical play all around the rink and plenty of pushing and shoving after the whistle. Here T-Birds’ left wing Riley Sheen (left) and right wing Seth Swenson (right) are involved in a small dust-up with Portland’s Adam De Champlain.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 115mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Center Connor Sanvido controls the puck in front of the Portland bench during the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 165mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

About seven minutes into the game, the Thunderbird found themselves on their second powerplay of the night. Barely 10 seconds into the advantage, Seth Swenson powered a loose puck past Portland goalie Cam Lanigan to give the T-Birds a 1-0 advantage in the first. I didn’t get a good frame of the goal, unfortunately, but I did get a decent photo of the resulting celebration.

Sheen is all smiles after Swenson scores his first goal of the year on a power play in the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 120mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Delnov chases down a loose puck while in the neutral zone during the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 175mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

That’s it for photos from the first period. Let’s move onto the second!

As we’ve previously established, the game turned very physical quickly. It came as no surprise when, nary two minutes into the second period, left wing Mitch Elliot and Portland right wing Joe Mahon dropped gloves and earned themselves a five-minute fighting major, but not before Elliot forced Mahon down to the ice.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 170mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Center Tyler Alos slides a centering pass through the reach of Portland’s Kirill Vorobev and towards the Portland goal.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Theodore controls the puck in the Portland zone during the second period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

The Winterhawks scored two goals in the second period, taking a two score lead into the third period. For the third period, I moved to my typical spot between the benches to get photos unblocked by the glass, where it looks like my efforts paid off…

Defenseman Jared Hauf brings the puck up the ice early in the third period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 110mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Theodore slides a pass up the ice and into the neutral zone.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 155mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Center Justin Hickman brings the puck past an offscreen Portland defender.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Right wing Branden Troock battles with Portland center Preston Kopec for a puck in the Portland zone.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 105mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Forsberg knocks away a puck heading for the Seattle goal in the third period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 125mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Delnov attempts a back-door shot on the Portland goal, but Portland’s goalie Cam Lanigan makes the save.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 155mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

And, since it’s a Seattle/Portland game, why don’t we end the blog on a shot of another fight? Deal? Deal.

Defenseman Taylor Green and Portland right wing Joe Mahon prepare to land punches on each other late in the game.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

And that’s it for this edition of Bird Watching! The Thunderbirds return to the ShoWare Center Saturday night, October 6 for a game against those [sarcasm]beloved[ens] hated rivals directly to the north, the Everett Silvertips. I’ll be there, will you?

Opening Night pt. 1

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


Pickard was the first player introduced before the game.


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

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


And now Chance Lund makes his way onto the ice.


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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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