Those of you who have been following either my flickr or Google+ content streams over the last month have already read about an opportunity I was given to photograph the Syracuse Crunch ice hockey games and promotional events on a trial contract for October (2012). Many of the photographs the Crunch have been using on their website and FaceBook page over the last month have been mine.
This week the contract was extended for the rest of the Crunch’s American Hockey League (AHL) home schedule so I feel comfortable in sharing the news with my blog audience. The biggest advantage to being a photographer for a minor league professional team is the freedom to roam around the arena and get into positions to capture game action. I even get to go out onto the player’s bench during pre-game warmups and shoot inside the protective glass instead of through it. Which is where I took this photo of Philip-Michael Devos with his hockey smile. Philip-Michael had taken an errant puck in the face during a team practice a few weeks ago.
The first challenge I was faced with was the speed of the players at the AHL level. These players are a quantum leap in speed from the high school athletes I have been photographing on a regular basis the last three years. I am beginning to better anticipate the play and caught this action last weekend.
I have the luxury of time to try and photograph elements of the game I feel are important like the concentration of a player as the puck is dropped for a faceoff.
Using the very fast shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, I capture things our eyes can not see in real time. I wish my sticks flexed like this when I played.
I try to get the puck in the photo as much as possible. This is the same for any sport with a ball or puck in the case of hockey.
Crunch are undefeated on the road but are having a hard time getting used to their new home rink (this team played in Norfolk last year). They have two games at home next weekend to change that trait.
At this time, I am not totally sure how this extra work with the Crunch will effect the blog. I will keep the same schedule for now. If anything, you will see more hockey photos which I will try to keep relevant and interesting.