London Ice Hockey - Streatham Ice Hockey News 2014 | Streatham Ice Hockey -
Jan 29, 2019

Behind the lens

We caught up with one of our photography team for a chat about taking the perfect snap and finding out why hockey is such a great sport to follow. Rick Webb did the honours and answered some of our questions.

Why did you pick up a camera and choose to stand in a freezing cold ice rink? 

I started taking hockey snaps at Streatham a season or so just before the old rink was pulled down. I skated at Streatham as a kid from kinda 16 through to 19 years old pretty much 3 or 5 times a week, so it was a big part of my youth, so when I heard it was being demolished I wanted to get involved to help save the rink and help build the club up over the move to Brixton and in the new rink. My motivation really is just to keep the profile of ice hockey “out there“, I guess also to keep plugging away with some media coverage and keep the exposure going. If I can take a snap that makes the player feel good, and he says to himself... hey that’s me out there looking good …and he plays better next week , then I consider I’ve done my job. 

What’s the most amusing/unusual feedback or requests you've had from players? 

I don’t get too many odd requests from players to be honest. I’ve had a couple ask to try and catch their stick flexing as they shoot the puck. I think Mel (fellow photographer) was trying to get me to skate round with his camera phone on a gyroscopic gimbal mount one training session, but as I haven’t skated for a while I will maybe wait and see on that one! 

Is there a particular Holy Grail type pic that you love to try and capture? 

I usually like to take action shots preferably of the players, head up watching where they`re going and controlling the puck ideally, showing off their skills. I like to be able make eye contact if possible as I tend to think looking at a player’s back makes for a less interesting shot. Sometimes a big body check or maybe a goal with the fans celebrating in the background also works. One of my favourites is of Jack Tarczycki below: 

What is the most frustrating thing about taking hockey pics in the NIHL? 

Not being able to afford better kit. I’d like a new camera body really, I’m kinda pushing the limits of the capabilities of my current camera body, and it struggles in bad light. Other frustrations are poor lighting at rinks and badly scratched plexi glass, especially Gillingham, which is why I mostly try to shoot from over the glass at home games. Oh and did I mention poor lighting at ice rinks! 

What advice would you give anyone starting out in hockey photography?

Advice to someone who wants to start? The obvious answer you`d probably expect is “don’t“ lol. However it’s fun and rewarding, as long as money is not your motivation, there isn’t any, but that’s not why we do it eh? Glass, good glass is where it`s at, read that as also “expensive”, bodies are consumables but you will always keep good lenses. These days a decent laptop and some good editing software are essentials. Also external hard drive storage space. If you’ve never photographed hockey, go watch a few games first. Try to understand the game and read the play, try to anticipate where the action is going to be. If you`re reacting all the time you’ve probably already missed the shot. Be prepared to spend many, many hours uploading /downloading and editing tens if not hundreds of thousands of images. But hockey is family, and you will be rewarded with a great network of new friends.  

We’d like to thank Rick, Mel, Kieran, Sam and all our other photographers for their dedication bringing to life the beautiful game!