Wildlife photography is like … hockey??

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


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 …


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.


That’s the split second I was waiting for!

Enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

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.


  2. rickfurmanek says:

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


  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!


  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).


  5. Phil Lanoue says:

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


  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.


  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! 🙂


    • 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!


    • 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.


  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.


    • 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.


  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.


    • 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.


  11. Brian Main says:

    He shoots, he scores!!!!!!


  12. Alison says:

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


  13. Seenorway says:

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


  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!


  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.


    • 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.


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