Wildlife photography is like … hockey??

Surprisingly, hockey and wildlife photography are eerily similar. Think about it:

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Is that photographer really wearing hockey gloves?!?

  • 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 …

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Now that is a stylish wildlife photographer … too bad no one told him he was supposed to blend in with the surroundings. Photo credit Jacey Krahnpix.

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.

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That’s the split second I was waiting for!

Enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

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Latest Comments

  1. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. It was classic Krahnpixian. Then as I went to type some sort of comment of praise, I thought to myself, “Why the heck is that guy wearing hockey gloves?” Now I don’t know what to type.

    Like

  2. rickfurmanek says:

    You are such a great writer! … and photog. 🙂

    Like

  3. Girl Gone Expat says:

    Hockey and wildlife photography are definitely two things I would think of comparing, but when you present you case I guess you have a point! 🙂 Good job on capturing the hawk at take off, picture is perfect!

    Like

  4. Mike Powell says:

    And I thought people went to hockey games to see the fights. Now that the Capitals are out of the playoffs, my low level in hockey has dropped even lower. I think that your comparisons worked particularly well for hockey, because its rules are a bit obscure and it seems to require a lot of expensive gear. It’s nice to see you got the shot this time. I shudder to think about the ration of shots taken and “goals” for me (or perhaps I should say “shutter).

    Like

  5. Phil Lanoue says:

    Definitely you scored on a Breakaway with that hawk from the Neutral Zone.

    Like

  6. hannele says:

    Great comparison – it is, indeed, a bit surprising, but maybe it’s a more general similarity between a lot of human activities?

    Or maybe it’s just photography and hockey.

    Like

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    I remember trying to learn to play hockey as a kid on my friend’s pond. I was more likely to get clobbered with a stick or puck, and was not a fast skater.

    You did a great job capturing that bird, and Jacey did a great job of capturing you. A rare photo of the elusive Lyle in the wild! 🙂

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m still ruminating on your “classic Krahn” comment from last time and now it’s “Lyle in the wild.” Your comments never cease to amaze and inspire. BTW – Jacey appreciated your compliment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dalo 2013 says:

    Being south of your border, I got the baseball reference (fantastic) but not the hockey one 🙂 That is a beautiful final shot ~ that timing as you say was as perfect as it gets. the other shots were pretty good too for the laugh ~ wonderful post!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I was anticipating that hockey would be bridge too far for some people – glad you hung in there. Good thing for the baseball reference. Glad you enjoyed my quirky sense of comparison.

      Like

  9. Garden Walk Garden Talk says:

    Now that you mapped out the similarities, yes you are right. I had season tickets to the Flyers (when they were good and feisty) and since moving to Niagara Falls have only been to a few Sabres’ games and with them, my love of hockey faded. 😦 But any way, I can see how photography has the feel of success and defeat. You are a winner on every post.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      The Sabres seem to be gearing up so maybe they have hit bottom and are on their way up. Who knows?

      It’s funny how I don’t keep score on my photography but it still feels like winning and losing.

      Like

  10. Steve Gingold says:

    “I’d rather be lucky than good”….Lefty Gomez. Based on that split second you waited for and got quite well, I’d say you’ve got both. With the dexterity of those gloves, I sure hope you’ve got some good auto focus going on. 🙂
    And I am seriously envious of that hair.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      The dexterity of those gloves was such that it was all I could do to hold on to the camera without dropping it! The things we do fame:)

      OK your hair comment still has me smiling a day later.

      Like

  11. Brian Main says:

    He shoots, he scores!!!!!!

    Like

  12. Alison says:

    That last photo of the hawk must be the game-winning shot. Way to go!

    Like

  13. Seenorway says:

    He he, heard about ‘thermo gloves’ packed with thinsulate fibers?

    Like

  14. whichwaynow101 says:

    Now I KNOW you took those gloves off for that shot. Brilliant! Thanks for the Red Green reminder. We haven’t seen him in while!

    Like

  15. Gunta says:

    Pity you missed the “shot” a bird usually launches before it takes off… 😉 Or was that the previous split second? Must have been those gloves.
    (If I’m being a bit obtuse it’s likely because I’m only half awake at the moment). Nice spilt second shot nevertheless.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Ha – I actually did get that shot too in the previous split second. Funny that you should mention it. I guess that’s coming from someone who’s quite experienced with these creatures. You have me chuckling.

      Like

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