I’m pretty certain the reason we went to the Olympics in Vancouver had a lot to do with my brother’s relationship with hockey. A couple of years ago he divorced baseball. It was an amicable divorce. They still talk, they even hang out together. But when Ethan met hockey it was love at first sight. They’ve been in a very committed relationship ever since. After all, when you meet the ONE, you know. Right?
For this reason, he rallied the troops and a group of us (seven) met at SeaTac to begin our adventures in Vancouver. And adventures we had! It was fantastic. It was my second Olympics, Ethan’s third, and a first for the rest of our group.
These photos are all from Super Sunday. If you didn’t know, Super Sunday saw the pairing of the top six hockey teams in the world. They also happened to be rematches of the three prior Winter Games’ gold medal matches. Russia v. Czech Republic (a rematch of the 1998 Nagano gold medal game), Sweden v. Finland (they met in the gold medal game in Turin in 2006), and Canada v. United States (they battled it out in the 2002 Salt Lake City gold medal game).
We attended the first of the three games and watched Russia play the Czech Republic. We didn’t really have a preference between the teams, but some of the Czech players had family members sitting in the row directly in front of us, so we adopted their family and rooted for the Czech Republic. (If you’re wondering, Russia defeated Czech Republic 4-2… I always shoot a picture of the scoreboard at the conclusion so I don’t have to remember.)
I shot more photos than you can shake a stick at. I have a great lens and I’m not afraid to use it! And I don’t know if it helps or hinders that I’m not overly knowledgeable about the sport of hockey. (Yes, I know you have to shoot the puck into the net to score.) I more or less just focused on the action, shot the photos, and refused to worry about what did or did not come out until I uploaded them onto my trusty laptop–yup, Sean (my MacBook) has been to the Olympics, Europe, multiple National Parks, and trotted up the east coast with me last year. He’s a very well traveled laptop. I’m not an instant gratification photographer. I rarely look at the viewfinder to see if a photo came out. I trust my eye, my ability to frame up a photo, and my instincts. I aim and fire. I was delighted by the success of many shots. (Don’t be mislead, I had some truly awful shots, too, but there were far more good shots than bad!) And before you ask, yes, that is the Sergei Federov in this photo.
After we arrived home, the crew paid for me to develop a coffee table book of our adventures. When the final product was done, the books were shipped to me. I then sent one to Texas, kept mine, and sent three to California. My brother was tickled pink when he flipped through it. He paid me a great compliment. He called me (we don’t often talk on the phone so this is a big deal!) and said I somehow managed to get photos of the important names from NHL hockey (bear in mind I’m married to baseball and barely acknowledge the existence of hockey) and put substantive shots in the book involving those players. Who knew I was that good? <wink, wink> To be honest, I just looked for action shots that interested me.
I admit it… I like shots where the teams treat the net like the amazing clown car. How many hockey players can we fit in one net? Other favorites include diving, falling down, or flying (intentionally or unintentionally) shots.
I do have a sequence of the proverbial, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out,” photos where I just kept shooting pictures as a fight broke out. I have another fast sequence where two players were vying for the puck against the boards and next thing you know half the guys on the ice were elbowing each other trying to free it up. I also looked for ice flying off of the blades of skates or gymnastics (I have a shot of a goalie, from Norway I think, doing the splits in all of that crazy gear) when selecting photos for the book. None of those photos of hockey players standing around the ice. There had to be movement and action in the photo unless it was that moment before the puck was dropped in a face off. That’s Alex Ovechkin in the foreground, if you’re wondering.
Since the Olympics, I’ve learned more about the game. When visiting my brother’s house, I sit on the couch and watch the game with him, peppering him with questions about strategy and calls. I am by no means an expert (like I am with baseball), but I’m more knowledgeable than I used to be. And I still enjoy going to the games and toting my camera with me.