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BELLEVILLE, Ont. – 
You never know what to expect as a sports photographer, whether you are covering any sport as part of the media or as a team photographer. It could mean traveling to see the team on the road or even the chance to go up the next level of the pipeline to see the players who are called up.  I usually cover the Brampton Beast for The Sin Bin but recently, I went up to Belleville to see the Beast players who have been assigned to the AHL. There is always something to be said for what we do.

Here are some facts about me, stay with me on this as it will be explained later in the article. I am a 5’6 female photographer shooting sports for the last four years for the ECHL and OHA’S Senior A hockey.

While on assignment for The Sin Bin photographing at Yardmen Arena on Saturday, February 24 between the Laval Rocket vs Belleville Senators, the night was about capturing as many of the former Beast players as possible, while still getting images to tell you how the game played out.

Belleville’s first season hosting the AHL is already making quite the impression on those who visit the rink. Walking into the Yardmen Arena, I was very impressed!  The rink is attached to a rec-center that includes a public rink, basketball court, and a swimming pool, with a ton of other accommodations. Heading in through the entrance, I noticed how bright it was with lots of room to walk around. Even an hour to go before the gates opened, people were hanging around waiting to get in.

As I went upstairs to retrieve my media pass, each staff member I had dealings with were social and polite. Able to go in early I grabbed some photos of what the Hockey Hall of Fame had brought for the Senators hockey history night, which included the Norris, Art Ross, and Calder trophies.

During warm-ups, I was setting up while working on getting pictures of the players. One of the fans beside me kept asking if I needed help. Politely saying I am fine. Placing the camera on the lip of the porthole, he continues saying the equipment is way too heavy for you. I ignored the comment and continued focusing on the ice; next thing I know he’s reached out and grabbed my lens. He’s like I’m stealing it for you as it’s too “heavy”. I grabbed his hand and pulled it off my equipment and said please keep your hands off my camera. After this, he finally stopped. I was shooting with a 70-200mm 2.8/f lens.

Unfortunately “at this moment” the porthole has a secured cover you need to replace when done. I could not walk away in the middle of the warm-ups. If this was you, how would you have handled the situation?

Both Marcus Hogberg and Zach Fucale were getting the start in net. This game held so many players that have spent a game or more with the Beast. To me, it felt like a Beast Scrimmage. They have both played a fair amount of time in the ECHL.

The portholes where we mostly shoot from so the photographers don’t need to shoot through the glass. They are between fan sections at the stairs where you’re not in the fans view. Though whoever designed the spot where the cut in the glass hoes only had tall people in mind, *laughs* not us short photographers. You’re too tall to stand to shoot through, but as soon as you sit down on the chair you’re too short to reach the spot.

The only solution I could come up with at that moment was to sit on my knees to give me the height I needed. It certainly wasn’t comfortable and I was very cramped up by the time the first period was over, it did give me give me the clear shots I was looking for. As I like to say… “do what it takes to get the shot.” After the first period was over I did notice that the glass was very clean and decided to give it a shot during the third period and it helped the lighting was stunning as it made a huge impact on the shots I was getting.

While shooting the second period I was on the wrong side of the rink to get the scrum between Jeremy Gregorie and Andreas Englund, those would have been great shots. Sometimes you win sometimes you don’t.

The Laval Rockets took the win 4-3 win over the Senators. With all the experiences that come with photographing a game never leaves the night dull. You can check out my gallery from the game here. I hope you enjoyed a snapshot of the life of a photographer in minor league hockey.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It sure sounds like the gentleman was out of line. I do not know how I would react if someone grabbed my lens like that. I want to believe that I would handle it as well as you.

    Our rinks I’ve been to don’t have the portholes. As scary as that might be, I’d love to try it.

  2. I figured with being at a visiting rink, it being my first time there I needed to handle it as professionally as possible to not make a scene.
    As much as the port holes can be scary, as long as you are completely focused on the game, they are a lot of fun to shoot through. They can limit your shooting as they are only so big..

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