Surprisingly, hockey and wildlife photography are eerily similar. Think about it:
- There are lots of shots but few hit the target (add a decimal place for successful wildlife photography percentages)
- There are incredible highs of victory and the terrible lows of defeat – nothing worth winning is any different
- A lucky shot counts the same as a planned one
- Each activity has structure but the creativity is what makes it special – and when that happens, the celebrations for success are a thing to behold
The way I used to play hockey reminds me of my photography today. I usually managed to look like I was skating furiously, slashing the ice with each stride. The truth is I actually wasn’t going that fast. I was a human change up, to use a baseball term, compared to the smooth skaters who floated by me. By comparison, my photography also seemed to involve a lot more sound, fury and retakes than others – especially retakes.
Since I was unencumbered with natural hockey talent, I had to plan ahead in case someone passed me the puck. Pretty much like trying to anticipate when a hawk will fly off. I have often wondered if there would have been easier activities to choose …
Nothing came easy for me in hockey- probably because I missed out on organized hockey as a kid. Interestingly, I also started getting serious about photography later in life. Without formal training in either activity, I end up learning randomly and then relearning what I somehow forgot. Nevertheless I was proud of the fact that I scored far more goals than my limited talent deserved and got much better photos than I probably should have. Who said life was fair?
I remember back on my illustrious recreational hockey with fond memories. The magic of smooth ice, the feel of a good stick and the sound of a puck hitting the boards still bring a smile to my face. Just like the smooth clicking of a shutter when capturing a wildlife shot. And of course there’s that passion to chase what I love.
Now that I think about it, there’s hardly any difference between hockey and photography. Perhaps other than Red green’s advice to, “Keep your stick on the ice,” is best not applied to cameras.