View 323: Spring Sports in Central New York

The calendar has turned to Spring but the weather here in central New York is still fluctuating between it and Winter.  I photographed my first outdoor field lacrosse game of the season over the weekend.  The weather started out windy and cold with an overcast sky.  As the game entered the fourth quarter, snow started to lightly fall.

Cazenovia Lakers Henry Mann (2) wins the face-off to start the fourth quarter against Baldwinsville Bees Luke McCaffrey (20) on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.

Cazenovia Lakers Henry Mann (2) wins the face-off to start the fourth quarter against Baldwinsville Bees Luke McCaffrey (20) on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/2000s, f/5.3, ISO 800, EV +0.7, 310mm focal length, cropped.

I was using the Nikon D700 camera with the original 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF VR Zoom lens on a monopod in Shutter Priority mode.  Lacrosse is a fast sport so I set my shutter at 1/2000th of a second and let the camera choose the aperture and ISO.  Added a bit of Exposure compensation with snow banks surrounding the turf field.

As the game progressed so did the snow.  It added a surreal look to the photos I was taking.

Baldwinsville Bees Mitch Rein (1) with the ball against Cazenovia Lakers PJ Brown (10) as the snow falls on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.

Baldwinsville Bees Mitch Rein (1) with the ball against Cazenovia Lakers PJ Brown (10) as the snow falls on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/200s, f/5.3, ISO 1400, EV +0.7, 240mm focal length, cropped.

Isolation photos really came out great with the lovely bokeh of the lens and the falling snow being, if you will forgive me, frozen around the players.

Baldwinsville Bees Eric Candee (10) looking to make a pass against the Cazenovia Lakers in a Spring snow shower on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.

Baldwinsville Bees Eric Candee (10) looking to make a pass against the Cazenovia Lakers in a Spring snow shower on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/2000s, f/5.3, ISO 1400, EV +0.7, 260mm focal length, cropped.

As the clock was running down on the game, the snow came down even harder.

Cazenovia Lakers Henry Mann (2) lining up a shot at Baldwinsville Bees goalie Daniel Thomas (15) during a Spring snow shower on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York.

Cazenovia Lakers Henry Mann (2) lining up a shot at Baldwinsville Bees goalie Daniel Thomas (15) during a Spring snow shower on Saturday, April 5, 2015 at Cazenovia, New York. Cazenovia won 13-5.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/2000s, f/5.3, ISO 2000, EV +0.7, 310mm focal length, cropped.

The next game scheduled for this week has wind, cool temperatures and rain forecasted. Good thing the young and talented athletes I see through the view finder give me something to concentrate on.

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View 322: Spring Waterfall

Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York.

Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York taken on March 23, 2014.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 32mm focal length, HDR image.

Spring arrived last week as the Vernal Equinox occurred. Problem is Nature is far from done with winter weather in upstate New York.  I drove in and out of snow flurries on my trip down to Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York.  The falls were flowing well and even the ice around the plunge pool was starting to break up.  The cold air temperature required me to wear a heavy winter coat and winter photography gloves.

The trek up to my favorite view of Taughannock Falls was icy and treacherous.  The view calming.  It has been a long winter and the sound of the falling water, crisp air on my face and smell of life about to be renewed was something needed.  Yes, Spring will come as it has for thousands of years….in its own good time.

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View 321: Hockey Drama

A few years ago, North American professional hockey leagues added a short overtime period if a regular season game was tied after regulation.  During this five minute overtime period, the teams would only have four skaters instead of the normal five.  This would result in more ice for each team to score.  First team to score during the overtime period would get two points in the standings, the other team only one.

Last Friday night, the Syracuse Crunch hosted Superhero Night.  Fans came dressed as their favorite superhero and Captain America dropped the ceremonial puck. Jon DiSalvatore represented the Crunch for the puck drop for the first time since joining the team back in December. I point out this fact as it was Jon who did his best superhero impression by scoring the overtime winning goal that night while surrounded by Hershey Bears defenders.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Syracuse Crunch Jon DiSalvatore (41) celebrates his overtime winning goal against the Hershey Bears in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Friday, March 14, 2014.

Syracuse Crunch Jon DiSalvatore (41) celebrates his overtime winning goal against the Hershey Bears in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Friday, March 14, 2014.
Nikon D7100/70-200VR, 1/1000s, f/3.5, ISO 2000, EV +1.3, 125mm (192 mm DX) focal length.

Still not satisfied with the amount of ties happening with the additional overtime period, the leagues implemented a Shootout similar to what was popular at the Winter Olympics hockey tournament.  For the American Hockey League (AHL), the shootout consists of five skaters from each team one-on-one with the goalies.  After five attempts, if the score was still tied, the shootout continued until a winner prevailed.

The Crunch, after having won in overtime the night before, found themselves in a shootout on Saturday against the Hamilton Bulldogs.  Tied at one after regulation and the overtime period, the coaches gave their list of five players to the referee.  After the first five, the score was still tied as the goalies turned away every attempt.

Syracuse Crunch Jordan Henry's (22) shootout attempt is blocked by Hamilton Bulldogs goalie Robert Mayer (29) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Syracuse Crunch Jordan Henry’s (22) shootout attempt is blocked by Hamilton Bulldogs goalie Robert Mayer (29) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 15, 2014.
Nikon D7100/70-200VR, 1/1000s, f/3.5, ISO 1800, EV +1.3, 135mm (202.5 mm DX) focal length.

On Hamilton’s ninth skater, Mike Blunden, fired a blistering shot past the Crunch’s goalie Kristers Guldevskis for the game winner.

There are people who dislike the shootout and there is talk of adding another short overtime period and only having three skaters on the ice.  For me, I like the current format, as there is always a winner.  The fans certainly like the extra entertainment.  As a photographer, I love the fact I will know when and where the big moments will happen during the overtime and shootout to get shoots like these.

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View 320: Hockey Action

The Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League are heading into the last part of their season.  From now until mid-April, the Crunch will play two home games every weekend.  Here are a few photos from last weekend’s games.

Syracuse Crunch Richard Panik (14) with the puck against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Friday, February 28, 2014. Syracuse won 4-0.

Syracuse Crunch Richard Panik (14) with the puck against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Friday, February 28, 2014. Syracuse won 4-0.
Nikon D7100/70-200VR, 1/1250s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV +1.0, 102mm (153mm DX) focal length.

The team can always use isolation photos of the players.  The best are when I can get them with the puck like I did above with Richard Panik (14) as he was bringing the puck into the offensive zone against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Hockey goalies are easier to isolate as they stay close to the net.  The challenge with them is to time the shutter press as they make a save.  Anders Lindback (39) was going down to block a shot and I caught the puck as it hit him in the chest.

Syracuse Crunch goalie Anders Lindback (39) makes a save against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Friday, February 28, 2014. Syracuse won 4-0.

Syracuse Crunch goalie Anders Lindback (39) makes a save against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Friday, February 28, 2014. Syracuse won 4-0.
Nikon D7100/70-200VR, 1/1000s, f/3.5, ISO 2000, EV +1.3, 200mm (300mm DX) focal length.

The next night, the Adirondack Phantoms came to town and the Crunch got on a roll in the second period scoring three goals.  The best of the three came on a fast passing play which I anticipated and captured the resolution of the play as Dana Tyrell (42) fired in the puck past the Phantoms’ netminder.

Syracuse Crunch Dana Tyrell (42) puts the puck past Adirondack Phantoms goalie Yann Danis (34) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Syracuse won in overtime, 5-4.

Syracuse Crunch Dana Tyrell (42) puts the puck past Adirondack Phantoms goalie Yann Danis (34) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Syracuse won in overtime, 5-4.
Nikon D7100/70-200VR, 1/800s, f/3.5, ISO 2000, EV +1.3, 70mm (105mm DX) focal length, cropped.

When play stops for face-offs, it gives me an opportunity to photograph the game within a game. Here, Tanner Richard (71) stares down his opponent in the face-off circle before the linesmen dropped the puck.

Syracuse Crunch Tanner Richard (71) facing off against Adirondack Phantoms Nick Cousins (25) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Syracuse won in overtime, 5-4.

Syracuse Crunch Tanner Richard (71) facing off against Adirondack Phantoms Nick Cousins (25) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Syracuse won in overtime, 5-4.
Nikon D7100/70-200VR, 1/800s, f/3.2, ISO 3600, EV +1.0, 135mm (203mm DX) focal length.

The rest of the season should be full of more great moments to photograph and show. Hold on to your helmets!

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View 319: X-15 Spaceplane

X-15 #1 on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

X-15 #1 on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

The X-15 was a rocket-powered aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the early 1960′s. The X-15 set speed and altitude records reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. Another version of the X-15 still holds the official world record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned aircraft. Its maximum speed was 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h) or Mach 6.72 meaning it went 6.72 times the speed of sound.

A larger version of the X-15 was considered for the first United States (US) orbital flight. I sometimes wonder if NASA had gone in this direction how much different the space program might have gone.  X-15 flights started in 1959 some 22 years before the first Space Shuttle mission.

The National Air and Space Museum has the historic X-15 #1 on display which was first piloted by Neil Armstrong who later became the first Man to walk on the Moon.

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