A sport that I have loved for years and one that I LOVE to photograph is hockey. We were fortunate to move to a city where there was already an established hockey team, the Evansville IceMen. When we moved here, they were in the CHL, a few ticks below NHL. And for the 2012-2013 season, they joined the ECHL – NOW they have NHL affiliates! The IceMen are having some growing pains this season; but, they are still a good team, have a solid fan base and give an AWESOME way for sports photographers to play!
The IceMen play in the new Ford Center (opened in late 2011) in downtown Evansville. Beautiful new arena with wonderful lighting! Now THAT is the way to watch hockey. My wife and I have been to a few games now. Being able to shoot f2.8, ISO 800 and about 1/640 sec from the cheap seats works for me. Yeah, I could go higher ISO and speed up the shutter speed; but, generally I can catch the action with that speed and keep the noise to a minimum. I’m okay with this. I sure wouldn’t mind sitting closer; but, then would have to shoot through glass. And you hockey fans may appreciate the fact that when we are higher, we get more sounds, one of my favorite parts of the game. It’s cool sitting close; but, the glass filters out the sound of the skates and more.
I actually inquired about shooting for the IceMen. That was a big negatory, mission control. No worries. I can still go, sit up high and shoot my pics. And honestly, that’s all I ever want to do. I learned something a few years back. I learned that I can be content with just me and my camera. I don’t care who else is around. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to events with my wife and with friends; but, I’m just saying that if it’s only me, I’m okay with that.
How about you? Are you okay if it’s just you and your camera? Have you ever gone out by yourself just to play with your camera? If not, give it a try. You may be surprised.
My second trip to a threshermans event was even more enjoyable than the first. This time, my brother and I went to Boonville, IN to see the old steam tractors. More than that, one of my buddies from work, Kyle, has vintage tractors and we had been trying all summer to get together so I could take some pictures for him. Two years ago, when my wife and I went to Wisconsin with my Dad, we sat and watched the tractor parade and were “treated” to nasty black smoke all over the place including our lungs thanks to the wind.
In October 2012, the goal was to get pictures of a friend, his tractors and his family. And we did just that! Since I knew we would not be taking a bazillion photos this time, I got to shoot on RAW which I always enjoy doing. I always do sport shooting in JPG mode. Yeah, I know how much the data is compressed and that it stinks losing the creative control you have over RAW; but, JPG is much faster and smaller allowing me to fit more photos on a memory card. Also, I can turnover the photos much more quickly when shooting in JPG. Now, if I were getting PAID to shoot, I am pretty sure I would do whatever necessary to shoot in RAW, i.e., get more cards!
When we got there, Kyle was not in the normal show area. We had to walk out to the back forty where he was plowing! He had a 1951 Farmall still with many original parts and a plow that might have been of the same vintage. Kyle’s wife showed up a little bit later on HER tractor! She had a 1951 Farmall that looked more like a show tractor, bright red paint, it looked good. And she had a plow on the back also – she showed up and started plowing. Their three kids were there as well – Kyle towed them around on an old lawn mower (he’s into that, too) while they rode in cut-out 55-gallon drums. Are you imagining it? Yeah, he made a train for the mower! It was GREAT! It was really cool how he has made this a family affair. And the whole family looked happy to be there.
Oh, forgot to mention – I plowed! Yeah, Kyle got off his tractor after seeing us get there and within minutes asked if I wanted to try. It only took me a few seconds to accept the offer. Now, this is NOT something I would normally do! And my brother’s jaw about hit the ground – he was shocked that I was about to get on a tractor. I made one pass and was scared to death most of the time – what if I kill it, what if I mess up, what if I break the tractor, what if I kill Kyle (he walked alongside of me the whole way and helped with the plow), what if what if what if. But, nothing bad happened and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. My butt was a little sore; but, that was probably mostly because of a big butt and a hard seat! My brother ended up making a plowing pass after me and he was a natural.
I look forward to a follow-up trip to Boonville Thresherman’s Park in 2013. Wish I could share a link here; but, I couldn’t really find one worthwhile. If you are interested, I would just Google it.
My wife and I both enjoyed our time working with the Evansville Rage in 2012. And I kind of kept track of some of our guys in preparation for the 2013 season. Turns out that we had 5 guys from the 2012 Rage playing summer ball for a semi-pro team in Indianapolis, the Indiana Mustangs. So, late in July we made the trek (would have just been a trip; but, thanks to all the traffic and construction on I-70, it was at minimum a trek, more likely a journey) up to Indy to watch Josh Cox, Mike Cupp, Robbie Piper, Jordan Cook, Rodney “RJ” Morris and Dontae Hart play football.
We had a blast and Josh talked to their GM to get me a sideline pass. I had SO many of my favorite things happening right there – up-close, football, outdoors and daytime! Man, I had a blast! The action was intense and the orange jerseys offered some nice change of pace with colors. Football-wise, the Mustangs played a hard fought game against the Indiana Generals, also based out of Indy, and won with a closing minute touchdown. It was an exciting game!
It was a treat to shoot football outdoors. I was able to shoot f2.8 and ISO 250 at first. I ended up at ISO 800 as the skies started to grow dark and the stadium lights started to come on. Shutter speed was pretty nice most of the day – 1/1600 sec. That’s almost like setting your camera to Auto – just make sure you focus!
If you are up for watching OR playing summer football, check out the Indiana Mustangs on their Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Indiana-Mustangs/107632097085?fref=ts. Oh, and if you want to see Jordan Cook and RJ play in the winter of 2013, come out to an Owensboro Rage game – http://www.owensbororage.com or http://www.facebook.com/OwensboroRage. More to come on the Rage…..
To say I was ECSTATIC when I heard professional cycling was coming to Evansville is an understatement. As some of you know, cycling has been one of my favorite subjects for years. And since we moved, I REALLY missed the International Cycling Classic Superweek Tour (http://www.internationalcycling.com/). With a couple races in the Chicago area and even one near my old stomping grounds of Rockford, I was seriously missing it. But, in early June, the criterium came to Evansville in the form of the River City Classic (http://rcbclassic.blogspot.com/). We had beautiful weather and a good turnout of both cyclists and spectators. The local business community jumped on board and it seemed like there was good support for the event on that end, too.
I can’t believe how lax I have been in updating my page. A lot has happened since March of last year. Well, almost a full YEAR has passed! I’ll try to catch everyone up in the next couple of months.
So, I just finished enjoying my first weekend in a month with NO football photography. Okay, “enjoying” may not be the right word. I am LOVING my time with the Evansville Rage. And boy am I learning a lot. I made it through the first regular season game photos, the 63-35 defeat of the Indianapolis Enforcers. I shot the entire game on Av and ISO 3200. I am pretty happy with the pictures. I definitely need to keep going to practices and getting my own practice on panning. I have had pretty good success with panning at car races. But, in the big picture, that’s pretty easy since everything moves together. When you deal with body motion, you’ve got SO much movement – head, arms, legs and everything else! I’ve been trying to keep my focal points on either the helmet logo or jersey number. Sometimes that is easier said than done! Still plenty of room for improvement.
Something I am going to try for our next home game, an April 7 meeting with the Dayton Silverbacks, is working my way back to Manual. I’ve been shooting manual for some time now and have been shooting aperture priority for the Rage as I get comfortable and used to the new environment AND sport. It’s easy to shoot outdoors with good light. And it takes more skill (or luck) to shoot indoors with questionable lighting, at least for someone like myself. But, I’m learning and plan to practice hard to get the team and the players the photos they deserve! Anyway, planning to shoot ISO 3200 and 1/320 shutter for our next home game.
In the meantime, the next Evansville Rage game is Friday night, March 30, at the Saginaw Sting. This will be a true test to see where the Rage are as a team as I just heard that Saginaw won three of the last four championships. I have faith in our team though. If we play OUR game, I think we have a good chance of coming back home 3-0! Game time is 6:30pm CDT and will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, 106.7 FM in Evansville. I think you can also listen online at http://goo.gl/nWJeR (I grabbed a shortened link). Let’s go Rage!