Today at 4:30pm Sochi time, the men of Team USA played against Slovenia. I have to say that, after shooting last night's game against Russia, this one lacked the same energy and excitement. But, I got some cool photos for the team and to share with you all. So, here we go...
This game was played in the smaller Shayba Arena, which has the limitation of only shooting on one side. And, for the fourth time in a row, the American team was shooting the other direction twice. Ughhh. The good news is that I am the only photographer allowed to mount a remote camera on the far side, so I was able to grab some wide shots of the US attack in periods 1 and 3.
I set up a Canon 1DX, with the Canon 16-35mm wide angle lens on a Manfrotto Magic Arm, and once again triggered the camera with the Pocket Wizard remote. I set up the camera in manual mode and tested everything thoroughly about an hour before the game started. I prefocused it, zoomed it to frame what I wanted, and made sure the exposure was correct. What I did not know is that the lighting was lower in between games and so, once the game started with brighter lighting, I had ended up with a bunch of very brightly exposed photos. The good news is that I was able to correct this in Photoshop. Phew!
Here is another wide shot from the remote camera.
Phil Kessel scored a goal in the first minute (plus a couple of seconds) of the game.
I took a lot of photos of the players skating, since most of the action was away from me.
Then a couple of minutes later, Kessel scored again.
Joe Pavelski giving his all on a face-off.
The Slovenian team did play really well, and deserve a lot of respect. I really thought that the US team would cream them, but they played their hearts out, and made the Americans work hard for the win.
Ryan Miller got the start in goal tonight and played well.
Brooks Orpik coming right at me on the boards.
David Backes fighting for the puck in the crease. The puck deflected off something and came flying towards me. You can see the puck off of Backes' right shoulder.
Joe Pavelski going for the deflection.
Zach Parise fighting for position in front of the net.
Paul Stastny playing deep in the Slovenian zone. I shot this at a pretty extreme angle, almost firing the camera without looking. I have been VERY impressed with the focus abilities of the Canon 1DX, especially after the new firmware upgrade. (I shot all of this using AI Servo mode, and I almost always use back-button focus. For those of you who do not know what this means, it means that my shutter button does not handle the focusing. I use a button on the back of the camera to control the focus and shutter button strictly for shooting the frames. This gives me more control of when the servo focus starts and stops. For instance, when the athletes are standing still, I can focus on them and then reframe. I also can prefocus on the goaltender and then shoot without having the camera searching for other things to lock in on.
In the second period, Phil Kessel scored another goal, giving him the hat trick for the game.
David Backes scored a goal as well.
Here are some nice action shots of T.J. Oshie, the star of last night's game.
Nice stick flex.
With the score 5 to 0, I figured it would be a good time to photograph some of the fans.
As I was photographing some of the fans, I heard someone yell "Jeff" and I looked up to see some friends from my home town. I waved for them to stand up, and shot this photo.
It looked like Ryan Miller was going to get a shutout, as the clock wound down.
But the team from Slovenia pressed hard...
...and with less than 20 seconds left in the game, they got one passed the Americans.
Even though the game was basically over, they celebrated the moral victory.
And the fans appreciated the effort.
The game ended with the US team winning 5 to 1. Looking back at the end of the game, I have to admit that I made a mistake. The players from the Slovenian team all graciously saluted the fans in a show of their appreciation. Even though I am shooting for Team USA, I should have photographed that, because it is part of the story, and a great one at that. As photographers, it is our job to tell the story in photos, and I will remember this for the next time this happens.
After shooting this game, the team had their team party. I quickly edited all of the photos from this game and then hightailed it over to the party to photograph that. I can not post any of those photos, since that is a private event. But I can post this one of me and T.J. Oshie, the star from last night's game. (I was just thinking that we should rename him T.J. Sochi!)
Tomorrow is the quarter finals game for the USA women's team. I am looking forward to that. I also briefly photographed some other events yesterday and today (short track skating and curling), and hope to get those blogged tomorrow.