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Friday, February 3, 2012

Montreal vs. the Media

The crowds of media covering an event often provide better photos than the event itself.

Victorious Montreal Canadiens pose in a team picture for a group of photographers after defeating the Boston Bruins in six games to win the 1977-78 Stanley Cup Championship (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
For the second consecutive year, the Montreal Canadiens were in a position to win the Stanley Cup championship against the Bruins (potentially their third title in a row). I didn’t have the official press pass to go onto the ice surface and photograph the Canadiens as they were crowned National Hockey League champions, so I needed a good photographic vantage point that didn’t require special access. At first, I planned on moving down to the front row of seats to shoot the winners, like all the other fans. However, when I looked up and saw a catwalk high above the ice surface, I realized it could provide a more unusual and interesting angle. I quickly climbed to the very top of the building where I fortunately found the catwalk entrance open. As the game concluded, Montreal won the game and championship series 4-2, and I had a clear overhead view of the entire celebration, as the team skated around the rink holding the Stanley Cup aloft. I did manage several standard photos of players skating while holding the Cup overhead, but this was too common, so not very interesting. The champs quickly posed for a group photo with the Cup, and the horde of credentialed press photographers crowded into another swarm across from the Montreal team. With a 180MM lens, I easily shot this overhead perspective of the two groups, which was a compelling alternative to the typical ice level shot of players holding the Stanley Cup over their heads. Not having on-ice access forced me to come up with a strong, yet unusual, photo.

3 Tips:
1) When you don’t have the shooting position you want, be resourceful to find an alternative, more powerful photo.
2) The cheap seats high up in an arena will often give a vantage point that almost mirrors an overhead view.
3) Sometimes the crush of media coverage can provide its own unique photo.

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