My First and Last Game of the 2016-2017 NHL Season
When an image doesn't just tell the story of the winners, but also the losers, and the donuts! In what would be my first and final and Sharks final game of the season, I headed down to San Jose to cover the Sharks versus the Edmonton Oilers for game six of the first round of playoffs.
Last year covering the Sharks three times in one week and dealing with the horrendous Bay Area traffic commuting from East Bay to South Bay, having to arrive hours early to be first to put my name one the shooting position list in order to get an ice level hole for at least one period, only to have the team photographer unapologetically decide he wanted to shoot there in addition to the other hole his photographer had just a minute or two before the period started, thus leaving me with no ice level position and navigating under the bleachers, up three flights and through fans to one of the elevated positions trying to not miss any action. So I told my editor, no more! Please assign it to someone else who lives closer or at least has more patience.
He kindly responded and I didn't see a hockey game for the rest of the season until game six of the Western Conference Finals when he couldn't find anyone else to cover and asked if I wouldn't mind. I hadn't expressed myself clearly enough, because regular season back-to-back-to-back was torture but playoffs, I am always down for playoffs! I was able to cover Sharks clinching their Stanley Cup appearance, but thanks to my request to not shoot Sharks, they had (thinking they were being nice) not put me on the list to cover Stanley Cup finals. So in my resume of NBA Finals, World Series, Super Bowl, I can't included Stanley Cup, doh!
This year I made sure it was known to count me in for playoffs, and a game here or there in regular season, but unfortunately game six was my first and last NHL season. Sharks fell to the Oilers in an exciting 3-1 final.
Also, in my absence, there's been a handful of photographers to cover for USATSI, but the very clever and very friendly John Hefti, mentioned that he had worked with the team to request a guaranteed ice level position for the 1st and 2nd periods (generally save the 3rd for up top in case it's a tie-breaker you don't want to get burned on a shooting position that can't see one of the goals) listed on the sign up sheet and they kindly obliged! Good reminder that sometimes, we get so caught up following a protocol that doesn't serve us when sometimes all you have to do is ask! Thankfully Sharks were able to accommodate me as well.
I still showed up early to try and snag an ethernet port. They have rules that you can't transmit over their wifi, but gave the room with multiple ethernet ports to TV and the photographers were left with a room with exactly two. Maybe that will have to be on my next request!
Though it's probably my last time covering Joe Pavelski.
And possibly Patrick Marleau, at least in a Sharks uniform.
Since this was my only game of the season, I'm not focusing on how I covered it with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, but in the spirit of previous posts, since it was technically my first hockey game with the camera, can add that I was again very pleased! It handled color balance very well (you CANNOT shoot hockey on auto white balance let alone auto exposure, that bright blue-tinted ice will throw you off every time!) and the 40-150 with an extender was perfect. AP photographer Tony Avelar who didn't know I had switched to Olympus looked at me curiously "what happened to your 300?" and then was fairly impressed when I said "this effectively is my 300... but with an extender so 420" It was better than the 300 fixed because I could zoom out for a team celebration photo.
But then also zoom in when popcorn was being thrown onto the celebrating Oilers by Sharks fans. Yikes!
Though for some reason while PhotoMechanic reads it as 210mm (it's true focal length) zenfolio exif reads it as as 35mm equivalent of 421 instead of 420... anyone know why this is?
Keywords: Action, Hockey, NHL, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus, Sports, Sports Photography, USA Today Sports Images
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