Team Catwalk Photo - Corpus Christi, TX
My favorite photo of the season. The catwalk system at American Bank Center is very nice and the only one I'm willing to go on in the South Division (not a fan of heights!). One of the larger platforms rests right over the Away goal and it's the perfect place to camp out for those directly overhead shots.
This photo took a few tries! Our first weekend in Corpus I asked the team to do a huddle like this during warmies and they... forgot (naming no names!). The next weekend we were there, I asked AT Cynthia West: "Who do I need to ask to get this done?" She didn't hesitate: "Feeney."
Goaltender Harrison Feeney organized everyone to hold position just long enough for me the realize they were actually doing it (and scramble across the catwalk into position) and get the shot. The game (a win!) was here dedicated to avenge Steve Irwin.
Sunshine - North Richland Hills, TX
Anytime two-touch went outside, I was a happy camper. Shooting an indoor sport is great, but sometimes it's nice to get to shoot with a lower ISO (less grainy photos) and edit some blue sky. The parking lot was full this day and so for the good of all cars, two-touch moved across the street where a softball game was ongoing.
This parking gate was the perfect height for softball viewing, once eliminated from two-touch, and provided this wonderfully-spaced team shot. I haven't kept stats, but the more nonsense that happened during two-touch, the better the boys seemed to play. We definitely won this day.
Line Change - Corpus Christi, TX
As a photographer, you find yourself saying weird things about the sports you shoot. Like this one. I love line changes. I love bench action in general, but line changes (especially from a catwalk) make for such fun photos. Every game in Corpus, I make sure to set aside some time to camp out cross-legged above the bench and just shoot line changes and time outs.
The catwalks are a (very uncomfortable) grate with barely large enough slats to shoot through. Shooting straight down through the grate is fantastic because, as mentioned, I hate heights and am not about to lean over the edge. So I strap on some old rollerblade knee pads (Fashion) and sit or kneel for about 3 hours each game. Worth it.
Player Intros - Amarillo, TX
I know, these photos are of Bulls, but look! I love Amarillo's player intros. The smoke and colored lights are something I don't get to photograph anywhere else, and are a fun challenge to edit. The photos above were taken from on the ice - freshly cut, so I made sure my cleats were on - and then went through several edits before I found what I liked.
I had no set way to edit shots like this (as opposed to your typical game action shot) so I got to be a bit more creative. The edit on the right was purely accidental. I had copied the edits from a different photo and accidentally pasted them to this one - and loved it (with a few tweaks).
Lines and Shadows - Corpus Christi, TX
Back to the catwalk shots! My first day I shot from the catwalks, I was so excited. These were the photos I had wanted to take since I started shooting hockey. I went back to the hotel that night and looked at my photos and... I wasn't satisfied. They were fun, but something was missing. By our next trip, I had it figured out.
I was a math major in college. I like structure, lines, symmetry. You can easily lose that with an overhead shot of ice. I needed reference points, not just a player floating in a sea of white. The next time I scaled a catwalk, I was more purposeful. I shot to include lines and face-off circles and I edited them to align with the edges of the photo. And I found what I was missing.
Ghost - North Richland Hills, TX
After you shoot warmies for a few dozen games, you need to mix it up. I was trying slow shutter speed panning shots this game and wasn't getting the results I wanted from the bench (maybe I'll try again next season.) So I ducked out and quickly popped over behind our goal to try another angle.
This shot was taken with a 15 second shutter speed with the camera on a tripod for stability. I joke that a goalie shot is best if you can see the eyes - is one eye enough?
You're a Star - North Richland Hills, TX
My first stop on game days (after Starbucks) is the trainer room for some stick-taping shots. Here, AT Cynthia West tapes a stick in front of the trainer room door. I love this door. It's a perfect black backdrop for photos like this and makes editing much easier.
Stick-taping, two-touch, warmies -- all these are my warm-up as well to get used to focusing through traffic and giving my thumb that workout (back-button focus is your friend!)
Tunnel Vision - North Richland Hills, TX
I complain that our tunnel is cramped but it can still deliver the shot. The cinderblock wall is a great neutral backdrop (left) and the metal ceiling creates some great opportunities for color (right). The ceilings, and therefore the lights, are pretty low so the lighting can be drastic. You figure it out early that tunnel shots at NYTEX are about timing - waiting for players to hit the lights just right as they walk by.
Reflect - North Richland Hills, TX
I saw a photo like this from a Maple Leafs practice and started camping out, waiting for my own chance at it. Photos at the glass are fun because you get fantastic white light bounding off the ice along with the reflection aspect. The angle to get a good reflection is more acute than you would think, so get close to the glass yourself if attempting.
Throughout the season, I was able to get about 5-6 shots like this and I'm looking forward to more next season.
Shootout - Corpus Christi, TX
I had a small panic moment in the catwalks as we went into the shootout because... what do I photograph? Any other game on the ground, I would camp out on our shooting end and resign myself to not getting any goalie shots. But from the catwalks I realized I could have both.
So I stood on one of the 2 center catwalks, straddled an awkwardly placed beam (!), and made sure I didn't trip as I crouched and turned to each side of the ice as each round of the shootout passed.
Heads Up - Corpus Christi, TX
The last bit of the player tunnel in Corpus opens up into the arena and - lucky me - the side catwalks go right over it. I have waited a long time for someone to look up and finally this group obliged (and posed!)
Keep doing this next season please! <3