PHOTO BY BARNICK

Photo By Barnick

The Story Behind the Shots

Frozen Four Hockey Semifinals

April 6, 2023

Shooting the Frozen Four, especially with Michigan in it, is a dream for this sports photographer. While it’s no Super Bowl or Olympics, the atmosphere is great and there are three games to shoot.

For these games, I was requested by my client to obtain pictures of Matthew Knies, Brock Faber, Logan Cooley, Adam Fantilli, Erik Portillo, Rutger McGroarty, and Skyler Brind’Amour. Photos apart from these would still be welcome but should be kept separate.

Prior to showing up to the games, I had no idea where I’d be shooting. I was hoping for a hole in the glass but unfortunately did not get one for either game. However, I did have a period in each game (second period) at ice level, albeit behind the glass.

Photo Assignments Frozen Four Semifinals
Photo Assignments Frozen Four Semifinals

All shots taken at rink level were taken with the Canon R6 and the 24-105 F4 RF version. The rest of the periods I was at a shooting position at the top of the stairs at the top of the lower bowl of seats for all three periods.

View From Shooting Location
View From Shooting Location

Not my favorite location at all and I’ve never shot from there before. In hindsight, what I learned was that the most important thing is to keep the netting and the glass out of the pictures. Even a little bit can ruin a shot. So any action that was on the near side of the rink was pointless to shoot.

Example of shot ruined by net
Example of shot ruined by net

All shots from that location were taken with the Sony A9 and the 70-200 2.8 version 2 lens.

Regarding the photos (Minnesota vs Boston U):

1. For the first photo, I always love wide angle shots in hockey with a player up close. I don’t see those too often. Now I usually use my 16-35 F4 lens for these type of shots but was pretty happy with the 24mm part of the 24-105 lens. A bit of reflections in the top right of the photo but still happy with it.

Minnesota Hockey Bryce Brodzinski
Minnesota Hockey Bryce Brodzinski

2. The Matthew Knies sequence battling for the puck worked out well. Even the third picture overall, which doesn’t have the puck in it, works for me because of the eyes. A couple of images have a bit of a blur to them (top center) which is due to a scuff or something in the plexiglass. Nothing I could do here but I still decided that they were usable photos. Some from that sequence were culled by me because the blur was too pronounced (example below), even though the rest of the photo was good. Hard to crop out the middle of the image!

Minnesota Hockey Matthew Knies Boston University Nick Zabanah
Minnesota Hockey Matthew Knies Boston University Nick Zabanah
Example of too much distortion through glass (see #22)
Example of too much distortion through glass (see #22)

3. I really like the sequence of shots with one Minnesota player (Brody Lamb) and two Boston players (including Ty Gallagher) racing for the puck. The eyes of Brody Lamb looking at Ty Gallagher is what catches my attention. I think my favorite of the sequence is where the players and the two refs are all in an almost diagonal line in the photo and I have Lamb’s eye peaking over the helmet of Gallagher.

Minnesota Hockey Brody Lamb Boston University Ty Gallagher
Minnesota Hockey Brody Lamb Boston University Ty Gallagher

4. The two shots with Knies setting up in front of the net, with the rest in front blurred, show how blur in the front can create a sense of anticipation in a photo. The second one especially has that sense of anticipation when you can see the blur of another Minnesota player that you know is looking to pass the puck (without seeing it).

Minnesota Hockey Matthew Knies Boston University John Copeland
Minnesota Hockey Matthew Knies Boston University John Copeland

5.  This didn’t make the cut for the website or my client, but it’s an image that captures an important part of the game.  It’s hard to see the puck but it’s right underneath the goalie’s stick.  This was reviewed and determined no goal.

No Goal - Puck Underneath Goalie
No Goal – Puck Underneath Goalie

I have to admit a lesson learned here in this game. The shooting location from above provided some usable shots for my client but when going over them during the game, I felt so strongly that I was obtaining nothing of value that I did not bother to go over nor send any of these to my client until later. A couple lessons: One – Make sure you keep shooting despite what you think you may or may not be getting.  Gladly, I did that.  Two – I shouldn’t have been so quick to discount my images.

Michigan vs Quinnipiac:

1. The initial sequence with the body check has a lot of reflections in it. When you are shooting through plexiglass at the arena, it is important to be shooting at least straight or, even better, partly down if you can. I’ll wear all black shirts to avoid reflections. However, for this period, I was shooting between two rows of seats in the stairway for this. The lady beside me, when I attempted to shoot, said “I can’t see anything”. Well, of course I cannot be part of her lack of enjoyment so I had to crouch down really low. So, in this case, I’m shooting up. Hence, some serious reflections. But….I love the sequence. Just too much emotion to pass up these images. She thanked me for crouching down so low so she could enjoy the game.

Michigan Hockey Keaton Pehrson Quinnipiac TJ Friedmann
Michigan Hockey Keaton Pehrson Quinnipiac TJ Friedmann

2. The Luke Hughes sequence of three shots turned out pretty clear for shooting through the glass. The best one is the one with the Quinnipiac player, but I still like all of them (including others that couldn’t be included – tough with 12-20 fps to make decisions like this).

Michigan Hockey Luke Hughes
Michigan Hockey Luke Hughes

3. I got no usable images of Adam Fantilli from the glass level. That really wasn’t great especially because I know my client wanted some. I ended up going through my shots from above to get some. This was the first time, albeit a little late, that I realized that the shots from above could still be usable photos.  Like this one of Adam Fantilli below.

Michigan Hockey Adam Fantilli Quinnipiac Zach Metsa
Michigan Hockey Adam Fantilli Quinnipiac Zach Metsa

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