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Shellie Lewis: Sports Photographer


Chicago Outdoor Hockey League at Solider Field, February 1, 2013

Wait… what?  

My HBBF [Hockey Blogger Boyfriend] has been writing articles for print media including some freelance writing assignments for two hockey magazines.  Last December, I drove him to cover the newer Chicago Outdoor Hockey League.  This is their second year and everyone is welcome to join and play in the various skill levels. There is wide age range of players and a few female players who take to ice to pursue a puck and win.  The names of some of the teams are a riot, like The Noregretzkies, The Lockout Kings, Iceholes and Polish Dragons.

COHL is a park district league here in Chicago and he needed to get photos and some interviews.  It was really cold out and I was bored, so I took over the camera.  My photos came out a lot better, which my HBBF, with his passionate love of the sport, was a little singed over.  These wound up being the best two shots from that cold December night, and they’re not much but they’re not terrible.



My HBBF recovered from his disappointment to throw me another assignment.  He had people to run around and interview and a game to watch.  Sports photography is hard.  Players are move quickly in different directions.  Pauses in game play are usually not interesting photographs.  The COHL plays outdoors at night, so I was freezing; numb fingers do not adjust a lens well or fast enough and chilled hands are not the best to hold a camera steady.  Breathing fogs up my glasses and the viewfinder.  The glass surrounding any rink is tinted and scratched all over the surface.  I also got tired pretty fast and was a bit whiny and snuffling.  I was mollified in a restaurant with Pakistani food.  Loads of hot curried food restored my will to live.  I will work in the cold but demand to be fed in exchange!

The COHL had an exciting night last night.  They had a game in Chicago’s Soldier Field and this event is part of a larger event being the first time hockey games have been held in the football stadium.  I was lured into this gig with a burger, a loaded baked potato and two cherry cokes.  The game started after 10:00 pm and ran to about midnight, it was 14°F (-10 °C ) and it snowed the entire time.  If you do not live in a cold climate you will have a hard time understanding that I pulled Cuddl Duds under my jeans, had wool hiking socks in knee-high Sorel Tofino boots, a full-length North Face down coat with a hood and then pulled a two inch thick Irish Aran wool sweater over a cashmere sweater over a turtleneck.  I topped this off with an angora blend hat and scarf I knit and chemical hand warmers jammed in my gloves.  I was ready to photograph in arctic style.  Out of hundred of shots, these few came out really well, at least not bad for someone who identifies primarily as a painter.  I feel kind of like a bad ass.  I will be proud if any of my photos get used.  Meanwhile, my HBBF was taunting me, “Sports photography!  Ha, you’ll never get into grad school now.  You’ve lost all street cred.”  He was pretty nippy my photos were better.  😉


         Teams line up for the National Anthem


Tension and excitement before the game starts


Break away


Goalie in primary colours.  Picasso did that, right?



I like when they stop and spray the ice; it illustrates the action.


I know a people who are into sports and probably most of Chicago would find it more exciting than I did to be walking around on the field itself of Soldier Field.  I briefly wondered if the grass was the great-great-great grandchildren of grass Walter Payton touched.  Before I left the field, just ahead of 12:30 am, I called my mom and told her I was calling her from the grass on the field of Soldier Field.  She knows how much I don’t like and have predominantly avoided anything to do with sports.  She probably thinks I drunk dialed her.

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