Feb 262014
Frozen at Fenway

Every January, Boston builds an ice rink for a few weeks in the midfield at Fenway Park to host a series of skating and hockey events with college teams throughout New England in what is called “Frozen Fenway”. This year, I covered Hartford’s Trinity College Bantams hockey team playing the Williams College Ephs. In case you are wondering, a Bantam is a small variety of chicken (or rooster)  and the “Ephs” (pronounced “eefs”) are named after the college’s founder, Ephraim Williams. Their mascot is a purple cow.

frozen fenway

Photo by Mike Raciti / Trinity College

Conditions at game time were brutal. It was 10 degrees with windchill factors of 10 to 15 below. It was so cold, pucks were cracking in half and the player’s water bottles froze instantly. I worried about how the camera and batteries would hold out but there were no issues, attaching a foot warmer heating pad to the bottom of the camera must’ve helped. I dressed warm enough with plenty of  layers but the hands are always problematic. It’s impossible to wear heavy gloves and operate the knobs and controls on the cameras. Keeping a few hand warmers in my pockets barely provided relief.

Hockey, even in a heated arena, always have been one of the most challenging sports to shoot due to its fast pace and limited vantage points around the plastic barriers, while at all times trying to stay clear of puck projectiles and hurling bodies. Fortunately, current camera and lens technology have made following the action a lot easier under the bright stadium lights.

Despite the bitter cold, it was neat to experience the fabled venue from unique vantage points and be able to visit the (wonderfully heated) exclusive skyboxes and club areas with lots of memorabilia and great sports photography everywhere.  At least in hockey they have three periods which allowed for two thawing out breaks, then it was back to the boys of winter, certainly different than the summer ones.

 February 26, 2014  Editorial, Education, Events, Photography Tagged with:  2 Responses »
Jan 092014
The Ice Dog Cometh

On a previous post I had a picture of Josie, our Wirehaired Pointing Griffon creating quite a splash after retrieving the ball from the pool in the summer heat. Just because it’s winter, her obsession for daily ball time never lets up, even this past week when temperatures reached 10 below zero.

Feeling proud that she was able to find the ball in the deep snow, Josie stares and drops it at my feet in her usual all season ritual. Seeing her snout full of ice and usual determination, it was something worthy of a picture.

The trick was to have her stand still for a brief moment before my fingers froze. I’m sure she was just being patient having trained me that if she cooperated, I’d throw the ball again. And I did, over and over again, just like we did last summer – aren’t those words from a song ?

Wishing everyone a prosperous, healthy and blissful New Year!

 January 9, 2014  Editorial, Photography Tagged with:  4 Responses »
Oct 222013
Shooting in the Dark

Lighting is the fundamental ingredient in every photograph, it defines the mood and feel of a scene and how to handle it is always the primary question when evaluating a setting. Whether staging lighting to achieve a specific look or working with available light, we’ve always been at the mercy of time, conditions, or the technical limitations of the cameras.

There’s indisputable honesty and beauty in available light, and today’s cameras with higher low light sensitivities have made it easier to capture images which where impossible or very difficult just a few years ago. An example are these two images taken for an assignment at Trinity College in Hartford which were done totally by available light at night.

high iso photographyThe middle eastern dancer, part of an international theme, was a fast moving unpredictable subject with varying intensities of light from the swirling fire batons. She was lit strictly by the light of the fires and little help from nearby street lamps. The second shot, of students around the new outdoor fire pits, was done by the light of the fire only with a side fill from the building’s interior lights on right. On both instances, on camera flash would open up more detail but would totally destroy the mood of the scenes.

These images were shot at ISO 3200 which still provided excellent detail and minimum noise. The camera’s sensitivity can be pushed even higher, and while some camera manufacturers brag about ISO going as high as 51,200 and beyond, it always comes at the cost of quality. As low light quality continually improves, it has been liberating and refreshing and it is changing the way we capture images.