“You haven’t shot here before?!”
That was the reaction I heard from many of my colleagues on Saturday evening when I broke the news that I was about to photograph my first professional hockey game.
I’ve been provided to photograph some awesome events and teams in my career, but I never made it to an NHL rink. That all changed on Saturday evening as I took my spot along the glass at Nationwide Arena as I was tasked with telling the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins. This contest was of particular importance to me because it’s the team I grew up rooting for, versus my hometown.
This wouldn’t be the first hockey game I’ve covered in Columbus. I covered the Blue Jackets as a writer, just never got the opportunity as a photographer.
I took my position at my cutout in the glass and attempted to photograph the visiting Penguins warming up. This meant I had the likes of impressive players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kristopher Letang traveling past me.
Being a fan of hockey, I always knew these athletes were gifted with a mix of strength, speed, and agility but nothing prepares you for that when you are trying to photograph players on the ice.
The closest comparison that I can make to it is a sort of “deer in the headlights” feeling. You know what you are supposed to do but you fail to do it.
I constantly saw hockey players crossing my field of view and I was in awe of their strength and skill. After taking a few moments to collect myself, I began shooting and trying to collect those special key moments. If I’m being honest with myself, it wasn’t my best effort.
It will take some time to adjust to the speed of the game but I’m excited to get back at it. Check out some of my images that were featured in Columbus Wired this past weekend.