The Syracuse Crunch have passed the half way mark in their 2018-2019 American Hockey League (AHL) Season. Here are a few of my favorite photos to this point in the season. Below each photo I will discuss and/or comment on it.
This is Connor Ingram’s second year with the Crunch. He has taken on a much bigger role and has played in 15 games so far this season. He would have played more except for an injury which sidelined him for a month. His early season performance earned him a spot in the AHL All-Star Classic which was held this past weekend. The photo shows the kind of concentration an ice hockey goalie must have to succeed at the professional level.
Andy Andreoff preparing for a face-off checks this stick’s blade before lining up. I really like how this photo shows Andy’s strength of character in how he holds himself when playing. He is not a natural center and has been learning his new position on the job. He is doing it very well, too. Fun fact: if you watch any hockey games in person or on TV and see a stick break, the cost to the team is about $250.
Alex Barré-Boulet is a rookie for the Crunch this season and was signed as a Free Agent by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning have made a habit of finding underappreciated and undersized players over the last decade and making them into NHL stars. Alex hopes to follow in the skates of players like Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point who are currently playing with the Lightning in the National Hockey League (NHL). As for this photo, I am a sucker for flying ice shots.
It is hard to win in the AHL and even harder to shutout any team in the league. Here, Connor Ingram makes one of his 34 saves towards a shutout win over the Utica Comets. Even more impressive is he did it in Utica. A very hard place for visiting teams to play. Often when I photograph a goalie save, I might be a second to early or too late. I got it at just the right time in this photo.
Upstate University Hospital sponsored the Syracuse Crunch’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night with two special dasher board “I Fight For” ads. The names on the dasher boards were nominated by Crunch fans of family and friends who are currently fighting cancer or have fought it. My sister, Linda Drew, can be found on this one. Forward Mitch Hults is wearing the lavender Hockey Fights Cancer jersey the team had on. The jerseys were later auctioned off with proceeds going to the Upstate Cancer Center.
Every once in awhile I get closer to the action than I want to. Along the boards in The Oncenter War Memorial Arena, I use photo holes which get me very clear photos of the action. But, I must be ever aware of any action which comes close to my location. I do not want anything hitting my camera or myself in turn. Luckily, this puck hit the boards underneath the photo hole. Made for a very dramatic photo, too.
Did I mention how hard it is to get a shutout in the AHL? Well, Connor Ingram is making a habit of proving me wrong. So far this season, he has had four of them. Another reason for him being named an AHL All-Star. After each win, the players come out to congratulate their winning goalie. It is a great time to get candid photos of the players.
When I can capture a player’s eyes cleanly, it more often than not creates a stunning image showing the intensity he plays at. Crunch Captain Gabriel Dumont is skating at full speed trying to get to a loose puck before his Bridgeport opponent. I do not often use what many in the industry call Nikon’s best lens, the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Zoom, from the photo holes because it is a tight fit using the Nikon D500 DX dSLR Camera to capture action around the net from them. This photo, which is slightly cropped, shows Dumont crossing the Sound Tiger’s Blue Line.
After Alex Barré-Boulet scored the first goal of the game against the Cleveland Monsters, all the Crunch players on the ice at the time converged to congratulate him. While it is not even close to the Nikon 70-200VRII lens in focusing speed and image quality, the Nikon 18-140mm DX lens works very well with the Nikon D500. It allows me to get wide angle and telephoto images to capture moments likes this.
To capture this scene of Alexander Volkov digging out the puck from a Cleveland Monsters defender, I did shoot through the protective “glass”. The reason this photo looks a bit over processed is because it is. Had to add more contrast then usual to clean up the image and a slight dose of Dehaze using Adobe Lightroom Classic to finish it up. I still like it for showing the type of hard work the players put in to gain control of the puck.
Gabriel Dumont was having a rough game at the face-off dot. This linesman had thrown him out of the face-off circle numerous times. Dumont, frankly, had had enough of it and let the linesman know he was not pleased. I could lighten this photo up some but I did not want to loose the emotion of the scene.
The Crunch are fighting for first place in their division with two and a half months to go before the playoffs start. I will be there to photograph the fun and excitement of each game and the players who make the game of ice hockey so special to me.
If you have any questions about any of these photos or would like to make a comment, please, do so below.