Friday, November 25, 2011

Photographing the San Jose Sharks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

It has been a while since I have photographed a San Jose Sharks game. With my current work load, travel schedule, family time, and other things, it has been hard to fit this in. But, on Wednesday night, the day before Thanksgiving, I got headed over to the HP Pavilion to capture the Sharks vs. the Blackhawks. And this time, I did not shoot from a glass position, but instead used the new Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 lens from a higher position. I wanted to see how this big lens, being shot wide open, would perform in this environment. I usually shoot the Sharks games at ISO 3200 with the Canon 1D Mark IV, but with this lens, I was able to shoot at ISO 800 with an aperture of f2.8 and still get 1/1000 sec. Awesome!!!

I started from the far side of the arena to capture images of the players coming out of the Sharks head. I have photographed this before, using the strobes in the rafters, but wanted to shoot this without any additional light, to capture just the lights from the Sharks head.

Then it was game time, and Antti Niemi, the Sharks goalie, was awesome from the start. (Photographer's note: When photographing hockey, it really helps to get the puck in the shot. Not always, but for the action around the net, it adds urgency and helps the viewer understand what is happening at that moment.)

Logan Couture gets the puck on his stick to keep it out of the Blackhawks players reach.

I love the intensity on the face of Jonathan Toews as he tries to make an offensive move from behind the net. 

Douglas Murray is an absolute tank on the ice, and not easy to take down. Here is a shot of him absorbing a check and protecting the puck.

I usually do not position myself behind the protective nets, but happened to be in this spot when this action occurred. Another amazing save by Niemi.

Chicago's goalie, Corey Crawford, peaking out from behind Joe Pavelski.

This is not one of the best photos from the game, but it happened to be the game winning (and only) goal of the night.

The one and only celebration of the evening, but all that it took to win the game 1 to 0.

Another photo from behind the protective netting, but I love the expression on Joe Pavelski's face as he absorbs a shot in front of the net.

Jumbo Joe Thornton cycling the puck in the offensive zone.

As I went through the 1400 images from the game, this one caught my eye. I liked the way that all three player's sticks were going for the puck. Very geometric! :)

Andrew Murray deflects the puck just wide of the net. Oh, so close to a goal!

Here Michal Handzus shields the goalie and the Sharks almost get a goal. The puck looks like it is going in the net, but it went wide to the left of the pipes.

Then the clock counted down to zero and the Sharks came out with another win.

I was in the locker room visiting with my friends from the team who I have not seen in a while. As we were talking, I was watching all the reporters interviewing Antti Niemi, and decided to shoot a couple of images of this. He had an amazing night with his shut out vistory, and was the number one star of the game.

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