predators get the upper hand
I realized last night while shooting Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in Nashville, that I have never photographed a road Blackhawks’ game before.
I have shot countless baseball, football and basketball away games so I am very familiar with the challenges of arriving at a new arena and having to figure everything out.
My experience Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Arena was very typical.
I gave myself a bit of a break by calling Predators’ team photographer John Russell on Monday and asking him about the shooting positions at the arena. He mentioned that I would only be able to get an ice level shooting position for one period. That was fine since I knew that it was possible that I would get it for no periods.
When I arrived in Music City USA, I headed directly to the venue.
I found the credential pick up window and was directed to the lower level. As I exited the elevator, I asked a security guard where the photo work room was. I received back that blank stare that I often receive when I talk to a non-media employee at a stadium.
My minimal amount of pre-planning paid off seconds later, when John Russell came bounding down the hall and asked if I was from the Tribune.
John then graciously showed me where the work room was and explained what the shooting position situation was.
I ended up getting a hole to shoot from in the 1st period on the side of the end of the rink where the Hawks’ offense would be attacking.
That meant I would be upstairs for the final 2/3rds of the game.
After shooting some features of Hawks’ fans, I set off to find a good upper position.
I chatted for a bit with AP photog Mark Humphrey and spied a possible upper spot.
I wandered to my desired spot and kindly inquired with the tv cameraman if I could squeeze in next to him during the 2nd and 3rd periods. He gave me a big thumbs up.
At this point, I was anxiety free and could shoot the game without worries. Well, as few worries as possible when you are shooting an NHL playoff game by yourself and need to transmit photos back after each period and sometimes during a period.
Photographically, the game went well. The Hawks sucked but I made some nice storytelling pictures of the rough play and Nashville’s celebrations.
I also turned two negatives, the Preds’ fans waving towels in front of my camera and an annoying spotlight, into a positive for my end of game images.
Thursday night should be much easier now that I know the lay of the land.
©2010 Scott Strazzante/ Chicago Tribune