The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Prince George Cougars

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!

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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 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!