On October 1st I was able to get access to the Minnesota Wild game when the Buffalo Sabres were in town for Minnesota's final preseason game before the regular season starts for them on October 8th. This was a big moment for me for a couple reasons, mainly that this was my first assignment and that it was my first "big" assignment. I've been working towards making it to professional sports for the longest time and the day finally came; ever since I picked up a camera I knew this is what I wanted to do and no matter how many people told me this was ridiculous, stupid, or unrealistic, I kept at it. Please excuse me for a moment while I pay myself on the back.
Puck drop was at 7 pm so I arrived at Xcel Energy Center at 4:30 pm and made my way to the press lounge and it was very accommodating. Everything looked fresh, there were TVs everywhere so you could watch the game/other NHL games going on and the press area where we got to work was well thought out. Each media member had their own station that was partitioned off so you had a dedicated work space which was great considering I've seen videos of media areas where you're spilling over into the other person's work space. I use a program called Photo Mechanic which is how I get all of my images captioned ("Zach Parise (11) of the Minnesota Wild..." as an example), sorted, and renamed so they can be sent off to my wire so after getting all of that set up and ready to go, it was time to eat! In true Minnesota fashion, tater tot hot dish was served along with country meatloaf and some turkey breast along with some greens and dessert. When I saw the menu I couldn't help but laugh and I made sure to help myself to some hot dish along with some turkey.
Once it got closer to game time and I found out where I would be shooting for the game, I made my way to my spot. Have to say, it was really cramped. I'm average height but when you're on the corner of the glass you're sitting right at the bottom of the stairs for the section next to the fans. I was sitting on a bucket with a cushion on it and would have to reposition my legs constantly because of how close I was to the boards since there's not a lot of wiggle room. It was also kind of strange attending the game as a non-fan for the first time, but after the first goal was scored I didn't even react, so it was nice to know that it was just business as usual for me. Probably the biggest adjustment I faced was shooting through a small glass hole and being able to keep up with the pace of the game, since I've been shooting paintball for so many years.
After the 1st period I rushed back to the press lounge so I could dump my cards and get everything tagged, edited, captioned, and transmitted. There's 17 minutes in between periods but realistically I have about 15 minutes to do everything. It seems like a good amount of time but it really isn't. Overall, that was the one thing I took from this: I need to make my workflow faster.
Not really much else to say, I had a great time, met some really nice people, and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to the next game, hopefully that'll be the home opener when the St. Louis Blues come to town.
Canon 1D Mark IV