Wednesday, February 19, 2014

USA Hockey - The men beat the Czech team to advance to the medal rounds

Tonight was the quarterfinals for men's hockey, with many big games in the same evening. The Russians play and lost to the Finnish team earlier in the evening and then the U.S. and Canadians played at the same time (9pm). Both teams won to advance to what I hope is a gold medal showdown.

Honestly, tonight's game was not all that exciting, being mostly lopsided. The US team scored within the first 2 minutes.

I captured this shot form my remote camera which was mounted on a pole behind the plexiglass.

And...a little celebrating after the goal...

And then the Czech's came back and puck the Americans on their heels for what seemed like 5 minutes of playing time. It looked like it could be a tough match. Here is a photo of the US goalie, Jonathan Quick, looking at the replay screen to see how the goal was scored against him.

And then during a break, he came over to the bench to get cooled down. I have seen him do this before, where he dumps water on his head, so I ran over by the bench and shot this.

It wasn't long before the Americans got warmed up and took control of the game, scoring numerous times. It seemed to me that this just deflated the Czechs. (This was also taken from the remote camera, since there are no good photographer positions on this side of the rink.)

You could see the confidence building in the Americans and declining on the other bench.

I was shooting with a total of three cameras. One remote Canon 1DX with a 24-105mm lens on the far side, and a 1DX and a 5D Mark III with me against the glass. The 1DX had the Canon 70-200mm lens and the 5D Mark III had the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens. I mostly use the camera with the 70-200 lens, but whenever the players come right against the boards, I quickly switch to the camera with the fisheye to get these types of photos. All cameras are shooting full RAW images. I have seen many comments asking why I shoot RAW. The answer is this: RAW files are the best you can get. I am shooting the Olympics, and want to have the best possible photos for the team and for my portfolio. Why would I want to shoot photos that are anything less than the best possible quality?

As the scoring continued for the US team, the remainder of the game became less exciting. Trust me, I am very happy that we are advancing to the medal rounds, but photographically, it was a bit of a let down. My job is to capture the story, and there was not much of a story here. I am sure that will change with the next game(s).

Nice stick flex.

Jonathan Quick stopped everything until the very end of the game when the Czechs scored a second goal.

I like the way that each of the players sticks were at the same angles in this shot. Good symmetry.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, us photographers like to get photos that show the puck in the frame.

The game ended with a score of 5 to 2, and now the team is two games away from winning the gold. Tomorrow is the women's gold medal game, and I am really looking forward to the matchup against Canada.

This was the last hockey game in the Shayba Arena. After shooting many games here, I am going to miss the venue and the people here. But I am also looking forward to shooting the rest of the hockey games in the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The Bolshoy is much bigger, has better lighting, better quality plexiglass, and MUCH better shooting positions.

As the team photographer, it really does not get any better than this, with both teams playing really well and entering the medal rounds. No pressure, right? :)

And here it is, 2am once again. All of us here have decided that there are numerous time zones in the world, but the Olympics has their own. :)


Don Atkinson said...

Love your work man... the action, the emotion, the intensity, is just superb. My photgraphy instructor drilled into us, "The picture is just what you see, the image is what you remember..."

It is somewhat pointless in shooting in other form than RAW. Just can't beat the quality.

Geoff R said...

As the official photographer for USA Hockey, do you get access to the other events, or do you have other contacts.
When shooting in RAW, can you edit in photoshop easier.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, incredible shots. You posted links to the cameras and lenses you used to get these shots.

For those of us with lesser capable lenses, is it still possible to get such awesome images?

What is it about the lenses you're using that makes them absolutely necessary for the shots you got?

Anonymous said...

Amazing!! I love that you share information about how you shoot. I have met other photographers who are very tight lipped about their craft. It is much appreciated and I am a big fan.

Unknown said...

Love the shots where the puck is in the frame, the stick is flexed, and the sticks are all lined up. You're capturing the essence of being on the ice in the midst of the game. Have fun - you have a great job.

Unknown said...

I love the hockey shot with the fisheye. I'm amazed, though, you have time to swap lenses. I shoot youth and high school hockey and have enough trouble following the puck, much less change out a lens. Your shots, needless, to say, are superb. I REALLY appreciate reading the plan behind the picture.

Rachel Hunter said...

Loving these shots - thank you for taking the time to post them. I don't have a TV, and your blog has become my way to catch up on the Olympics when I can't crash a friend's sofa!