Yesterday was the first hockey game for the women of Team USA, and they took on the team from Finland. The game started at noon which meant that I had to be at the rink by 10am, to secure a good shooting position on the glass. This was not an easy task since after shooting and editing the photos from opening ceremonies, I did not get to sleep until 3am.
As I arrived at the rink, I saw our team outside getting warmed up. Just like in the NHL, they play some soccer to warm up. I quickly grabbed one of my cameras, put on the fisheye lens and shot some photos of them. But, as always, I wanted to get something different. So...
...knowing the girls well enough to ask...I suggested that I lay down in the middle of them and shoot up on the warm ups. We all had a good laugh and they kicked the ball around and tried to avoid kicking me. :)
At the Vancouver Olympics, getting a shooting position on the glass for the women's games wasn't too difficult, as they had a lot of positions. This time is different. There is really only one side of the ice to shoot from, and many of the large agencies and broadcasters have permanent spots which are reserved for them. But, after some negotiating with the venue photo manager, I got the spot I wanted. Then it was waiting time. Even though the game had not started yet, that does not mean that there are no good shots. I always scan the crowd for interesting fans, and grabbed this image for the USA Hockey web site.
Then it was time for the game to begin, and the girls did their customary huddle at the net. For shooting this event, I used two Canon 1DX cameras, one with the 70-200 2.8 lens and one with the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens.
Right off the bat, the American team scored a goal, and since it was at the other side of the rink, I could not get a good shot of the goal. But, I looked over at Jessie, the goaltender, and she had a big smile on her face as she went over to congratulate her teammates.
And then the game evened out a bit more and I went to work shooting the action. I was a little frustrated by the fact that 2/3 of the action was away from my shooting position, since I normally always sit on the side where my team shoots twice.
I love the action in front of the net.
One good thing about this shooting position, is that I was right next to the team bench. Which meant that I could get up and shoot photos of the players and coaches during the game.
Part of my job is to get good shots of the athletes, even when not in full action.
Here is one of my favorite photos from the game, as Kelli Stack gets a great scoring chance.
Here, Amanda Kessel clanks the puck off of the goalpost. So close!
Monique Lamoureaux, one of the twins on the team, taking a shot.
The Finnish goaltender not looking very happy after the U.S. scored another goal against her.
Here is Jenni Hiirikoski doing her best to clear the zone from behind their own net. I saw this photo on the back of the camera, just after shooting it, and loved the fact that she is in mid-air. I also like that the puck is still in the frame.
The U.S. scores again!
Here are some of the fisheye shots from the game.
As the women were waiting to come out for the third period, I reached the camera out and grabbed some photos of them in the hallway.
Here is the equipment manager, who is a really nice guy. We were joking around before the game, and I decided to grab a photo for him. I waved for him to come over by the hockey sticks and got this.
And then, two and half hours later, the game was over and the Americans prevailed.
To be honest, I was not very happy with my photos from this game. So, I stayed at the venue to write the last blog and then went back onto the ice to shoot some of the Canadian hockey game. I decided to change some of the focusing settings on the Canon 1DX, and found that I had sharper images. Tomorrow I hope to get a better "take rate".
FYI - many of you have asked how I have time to blog while doing everything else. Well...it ain't easy. Time is always against you at the Olympics, with so much to shoot and then needing time to edit and submit. But I love sharing this experience with everyone, so sleep can wait. Actually, I am writing this blog on a press bus as I head up to the mountains. I am hoping to cover some new sports today and tonight. Maybe some slope style, luge and ski jumping. Time will tell!