Monday, December 26, 2011

Idaho Steelheads ECHL Hockey: A chance to shoot images from the bench

Last week, while in Boise for some other business, I decided that, since the Idaho Steelheads hockey team was in town, I would head over and check out the game. I talked to a friend of mine who works for the team and he said "Hey - do you want to shoot the game for us?" I thought about this for a little bit, since honestly I was torn between shooting more hockey or just relaxing and watching the game for the pure pleasure of it. But, after much thought, I decided to shoot the game, and I am glad that I did.

There were three reasons that I decided to photograph the game. First of all, my passion for photography won out. Secondly, even though I did not have my 70-200 2.8 IS lens with me, I knew where I could borrow one easily. Lastly, after talking to my buddy, Britt, he said that I would have full access to shoot from the bench with no glass in front of me. The thought of shooting this high level of hockey without having to deal with a small hole in the glass (or shooting through the glass) was intriguing.

A nice "cluster" of guys working in front of the net. I also like the fact that the puck is clearly visible in the far left of the frame.

One of the advantages of shooting from the player bench, is that everything is happening right in front of me. Even during the down times, I could shoot images of the guys as they talked strategy and listen in.

This image (above) was taken with my iPhone 4s during one of the times when the play had stopped. This shows you where I was standing during the game. Why did I take this with my iPhone? Because I only had one lens with me for the game and that was a 70-200. Not wide enough for this shot from this vantage point. :)

After the Steelheads scored a goal...the celebratory gathering.

Gotta love the beard on Chris Hepp!

Another goal...another celebration.

Pure concentration from the goalie as he awaits the inevitable shot from the Alaska Aces player.

As I mentioned earlier, it was fun to have so much freedom while shooting this game. I was shooting from right next to the players bench, with no glass separator between us.

I could shoot really nice images of the coaches at work and even had full access to the locker room between periods and after the game. I can guarantee you that I do not get this level of access when shooting the NHL or Olympics.

As a hockey player myself, I found it really interesting to hear the discussions and colorful talk on the bench throughout the game. Great stuff!

The game went into overtime shootout, and Marc Rancourt made this great goal, to make it 1 to 0 in the shootout. From this shot, it does not look possible that he snuck the puck past the goalie's outstretched leg, but he did.

Jerry Huhn, the Steelheads goalie, played an awesome game against Alaska. Here is a shot of him stopping one of the Aces as he tried to make a backhand move.

This is the type of shot that I am always looking to capture. This was the final shootout goal of the game with Derek LeBlanc sneaking the puck five hole on the Alaska goalie. You can see the puck getting past their goalie as it makes it way to the back of the net.

Game over and time to congratulate each other. I shot a couple images of this, but this one really stood out from the others. Why? Looking right into the middle of the group, you see Ian Lowe, with his perfect hockey smile (missing teeth). That makes the picture! :)

After the game, I followed the team into the locker room and captured a couple of images of Coach Sauter giving his post-game speech. As you can imagine, it was an upbeat speech after a very good, and exciting game.

Thanks to Britt, Coach Sauter and the rest of the Steelheads organization for letting me be a part of the action for the evening.

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