CRANBERRY, Pa. — This feels weird to write, but locker cleanout day is something I actually look forward to. I know you guys don't like hearing that because it means the season is over and ending with photos of guys leaving with bags instead of walking down the Boulevard of the Allies with beverages and sunglasses.
That's not to say it's fun, it's not. Just about everyone is available, but they're talking in the wake of elimination. Hard questions are asked, hard answers are given. Players talk about injuries they've worn heavier than any jersey drenched in sweat.
But, it's a chance to walk into the locker room with a camera and make still images -- something that can't be done until this particular day ends a given season.
On this day, I chose to go in with my FujiFilm X-T2 equipped with my Mitakon 35mm (52mm equivalent) f/0.95 lens. As I've mentioned before, this is my favorite set of gear that I own, and I was excited to shoot a narrow depth of field, and shoot manual focus in the locker room.
This cleanout was a bit different than last year's. There were fewer, larger scrums. Fewer guys hanging out in the room when they weren't talking. Fewer signing licensed memorabilia for the NHL, in the room itself. So, really, fewer opportunities to get unique photos of the guys.
But, with the Mitakon's thin focal plane, I was able to make some images I really liked from the day. The first one up there is of Patric Hornqvist. He had a pretty somber media session talking about what he considered a disappointing season. He also laughed about his first near "fight" in the NHL with Robin Lehner. I used the light from the television cameras to go with a "rim light" look of No. 72.
There are images of Matt Cullen discussing his future, and looking as undecided as you can be, Jared McCann trying to choose what twigs to take home from the rack and some behind-the-scenes looks at the way the scrums unfold in the locker room.
Have a look and I'll see you guys and gals in the comments.