Continuing with my recap of 2013, I wanted to do a gallery that encompassed some of my favorite feature images I captured over the last year. This includes portraits and pretty much anything that’s not fight-action. I really enjoy trying to make interesting photos outside of the fights themselves, and I relish every opportunity I have to shoot something different than fights, whether it be for fun, for charity, or for another assignment.
One of my favorite feature images from this year is the image at right of Cat Zingano stretching before a workout leading up to her UFC debut.
Here is a slideshow of the full gallery. Please click through to my site to view the full-size gallery.
Tonight, I covered game one of the ECHL Western Conference Semifinals between the Las Vegas Wranglers and the Idaho Steelheads. As I mentioned before, these two teams have quite an intense rivalry. This became evident very early on when a member of the Steelheads on the bench pulled a move straight out of the Hanson brothers’ playbook by clotheslining a passing Wranglers skater early in the first period. Somehow the referees missed this, which only led to more brutal hits throughout the game.
Steelheads goalie Jerry Kuhn was the superstar of the first period making some fantastic saves. Early on, it looked like the Wranglers were going to be in trouble after being blanked in the first. The Wranglers finally netted two goals in the second period though. A third goal was disallowed by the referee for some reason unknown to everyone in attendance. The puck hit the pipe in the back of the net and bounced out like it hit the cross bar. The referee immediately waved it off and signaled for play to continue. I guess the ECHL does not have any sort of goal review. Fortunately it didn’t end up being a factor in the final outcome of the game. Kuhn finished the night saving 43 of 45 shots. The Wranglers netted a third goal in the closing minutes of the third period on an empty net to seal the victory.
I didn’t get to spend as much time shooting down at ice level as I would have liked, but I made the best of the situation I was dealt. Luckily, I had a 300mm lens with me tonight in addition to the 400mm. The 300mm proved to be a much better option for this small arena. I barely used the 400mm at all.
Tonight, I covered the Las Vegas Wranglers’ home game against the Alaska Aces at Orleans Arena. This was my second hockey game, and I’m pretty happy with the results. I learned a lot from the first game and from advice from my buddy and amazing photographer Ed Mulholland.
This game started out a bit slow, just like the first game I shot on Saturday. I shot down at ice level for the first period near the goal the Wranglers were attacking. The only goal of the first period was just before the break and at the other end of the ice from me. For the second period, I headed up top to see if I could have some better luck with the 400mm lens. The shots on goal increased, and thus so did the save attempts by the goalies. In the end, the Wranglers won the game 4-2.
You may have seen me post recently on twitter or facebook about covering some of the local sports teams here in Vegas. Tonight was my first opportunity to shoot a Las Vegas Wranglers hockey game, and actually it was my first time ever shooting hockey. I’ve been a fan of hockey for a long long time and have attended a number of NHL games across the country. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to shoot the game tonight, and I look forward to next Tuesday’s game against the Alaska Aces, which I will also be shooting.
In anticipation of this shoot, I rented a 400mm 2.8L lens from LensProToGo.com. Was my first experience renting from them, and I must say I’m extremely impressed. You all know I’m a diehard fan of BorrowLenses.com, but in this case, LensProToGo.com had the lens I needed and gave me a much better deal for the 10-day rental.
Alas, back to the game. I started out shooting down on ice level through the port holes in the glass. I was nervous at first and felt like I couldn’t control my jumping back any time the puck hit the glass anywhere near me. Eventually, I relaxed and started paying more attention to the action instead of worrying about getting smacked with an errant puck. The first period saw little action, and produced very few photos. I started to worry that I needed to change my position or something, but really all I needed was better action to shoot. And luckily, the action picked up in the second period. The guys came out hitting hard and taking a lot more shots. After a scoreless first, there were three goals in seven minutes to open the second, including a penalty shot. Once I felt like I had enough keepers from down at ice level, I moved up to the concourse level to shoot with the 400mm. For this particular arena, the 400mm was too much lens. Not by a lot, but I think I could have been better off with a 300mm. The 400mm is always my “go to” long lens, and I didn’t really consider that a smaller arena might mean the overhead positions are too close. Nonetheless, I still got a good number of shots I liked from up top. The game ended up going into overtime and then a shootout, which Idaho won 3-2.
I was thoroughly surprised with the crowd. Las Vegas is not really a hotbed for any professional sports, especially hockey. But the attendance tonight was just shy of 7,000 and the crowd seemed to be very passionate and educated on the sport. It was very refreshing to see there’s more to Vegas than gambling and partying. Perhaps a major professional sports team could do well here?
Below is a gallery of shots from tonight’s action. Please let me know what you think.