Monday, January 21, 2013

Ouch, my knee

Yeah, I know -- haven't blogged or vomitted forth wisdom here in a bit. 

So, I'm playing pickup at lunchtime last Monday -- I believe in getting the work week off to a positive start -- and there's only five of us on a full sheet of ice. We're having a fun 2-on-3 game when a dude manages to wipe out and go shoulder first into the outside of my right knee. 

Ouchies! A few minutes later, I'm sliding off the ice on my ass and soon am enroute to the Huntington Hospital ER in Pasadena where I'm pretty much the only gimp and everyone else looked like they were suffering from some advanced case of Ebola. 

Anyway, I'm still limping around one week later and above is my MRI. The follow-up with the sawbones isn't for a few more days, meaning I'll spend the rest of the afternoon drinking beer and trying to self-diagnose by comparing my MRI results to pics found on Google Images. 

Of course, the outcome doesn't really matter. I'm only 46 years old and I'm not quitting hockey 'cause of a stupid knee injury. Either I'll be back sooner or I'll suffer a bit and be back later. But I'll be back. After all, I have a scoring drought to extend and my team is fighting for the eighth and last seed for the fall season playoffs. So quitting now would be quite pussy-ish, right?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Take that, Gary Bettman!

As for the lockout, I mostly sympathize with the players -- since they're the ones I'm going to see and they're the ones getting concussed for the sake of my entertainment. My first favorite excerpt from a media story (the NYT):

Ryan Miller, the Buffalo Sabres goaltender, took a dim view of Bettman’s stewardship.

“Gary has basically run this business for 20 years, so if he’s operated at a loss for how many of those years, how is he still in a position of leadership, or even have a job?” Miller said, and then answered his own question. “Gary’s doing exactly what the owners all want, and Gary’s doing a great job in their minds.”

My second favorite excerpt from a media story (again, the NYT):

The 2004-5 lockout cost the N.H.L. all 1,230 regular-season games and the Stanley Cup playoffs. The first lockout of the Bettman era, in 1994-95, cost 468 games, almost half the regular season.

That total since Bettman took the job in 1993, 1,698 regular-season games, exceeds the totals over the same period in Major League Baseball (948 games in addition to the postseason in the 1994 players’ strike); in the N.B.A. (704 games in owners’ lockouts last season and in 1998-99); and in the N.F.L. (no regular-season games lost).

All kidding aside, both players and owners, however, should be concerned about the ridiculously high ticket prices for games. It shouldn't cost more than $30 to sit in the upper deck for a regular season game and spending $80 or $90 to sit in decent seats is beyond stupid.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Must be hockey night...

Beer + 1 can of dog food means my team must be playing. I'm curious about the hefs from Sierra Nevada. The Summer Twilights from Deschutes Brewery in Bend are sublime and seasonal -- I got the last six-pack at my local grocery. My girlfriend said I should horde them for myself, but I thought the hockey Gods would look more favorably on my team if I shared them with my teammates.

Quick background: as co-captain of my team I quietly obsess each week over the kind of beer to bring to my games. It's one thing to disappoint my teammates with my poor and inexcusably bad play. It's quite another to let them down cooler-wise. 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Second stab at photographing hockey

 In order to help my team recently, I declared myself a healthy scratch for a summer league game and took another stab at photographing the exciting sport of adult recreational hockey. Here's the gallery.

I wouldn't call the latest batch epic, but they're better and crisper than my previous attempt. The big difference was that I boosted the ISO to 3200 in order to shoot faster shutter speeds. Most of the shots were taken between 1/500th and 1/1000th shutter speed. Some of the photos still had a lot of noise -- because of the high ISO -- but I also shot in RAW and the RAW editing tool in Photoshop Elements helped pull the noise down to manageable levels.

That was important because I heavily cropped some of the photos to better focus on the action. Shooting through the glass is still a pain in the ass and I need a much, much better telephoto lens than the cheapo one that came with my Nikon D5000 (I drowned that one so now I'm shooing with a D5100). The lens got a soaking in the same kayak accident, which came just six months after the lens survived a sandstorm on the Kelso Dunes of the Mojave National Preserve. Sometimes it focused and sometimes it didn't.

The obvious remedy is to spend $2,000 on a really fast telephoto, but that would cut into the money I need to pay league fees, pickup fees, adult clinic fees and stick time fees each week. While on my smugmug site, feel free to lurk around and look at my NatureBoy photos; I highly encourage you to spend hundreds of your hard-earned dollars on prints. The last couple batches from the Sierra this summer turned out well: Kearsage Pass and Big Pine Lakes.

The sun sets over Fourth Lake in the Big Pine Lakes basin of the John Muir Wilderness.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Frozen Tenaya Lake II

Frozen Tenaya Lake II by Jeff Pang
Frozen Tenaya Lake II, a photo by Jeff Pang on Flickr.

I came across this on Flickr today -- taken last winter when low snows allowed Tioga Pass Road to remain open way past the usual closing date. I still can't believe I didn't hit the road to get up there for a skate. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Maybe this winter....


Friday, August 10, 2012

Timeout on hockey for a little backpacking

The sun sets over Fourth Lake in the Big Pine Lakes basin of the John Muir Wilderness.

Just got back from a nice four-day backpack in the Big Pine basin of the John Muir Wilderness -- classic Easter Sierra. The above photo was taken at sunset at Fourth Lake -- a big thunderhead rolled up from the Owens Valley producing some pretty unbelievable colors.

Check out the rest of my photo portfolio at


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Photographing beer league ice hockey

I thought playing ice hockey was humbling -- until, last night, I tried to photograph my friends' upper division game at the Pasadena rink.

Check out the results here. One of the better shots is above and it's not that good.

Yeah, I know. I suck!

I've spent some time reading up on photographing ice hockey today and here are a few things I've learned:

•It may be a good idea to rent a fast telephoto lens. I used my Nikon 70 to 200 mm 4-5.6 telephoto. Too slow. Way too slow. My Nikon 5100 DSLR is perfectly good -- but these cameras are only as good as the lens you put on them.

•At the least I should ditch the lens (or rented a good one) because the autofocus is busted -- and ice hockey is a big-time test of autofocus because of the speed and poor lighting.

•Don't use shutter speeds of less than 1/1,000 second. I was shooting on 1/250th to 1/400th and that was generally no good. I don't think shooting through the glass helped -- may be best to hang out near the bench and be careful you don't bonked with a puck or stick.

Here is a good post on shooting ice hockey. Basic tips: fast lens, high shutter speed, high ISO and find a clean spot in the glass. I'm looking forward to trying again -- God knows the sport is photogenic enough.


Dog eats from Pasadena Cup

After seven seasons of trying, my team finally won a division title at the Pasadena rink. The division 4 Pasadena Cup, it turns out, is bigger than your average salad bowl.

This is my dog T-Bear enjoying breakfast from the Cup the morning after we won it. I downed my beer from it the preceding evening but I'd drink from it anywhere, anytime.

The Cup has since moved on to another teammate who I pray is heaping other indignities upon it.


Saturday, June 16, 2012


Drive-thru by JulieAndSteve
Drive-thru, a photo by JulieAndSteve on Flickr.

Fueling up for early Sunday a.m. pickup. This is high-performance food, right?

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Bailey! by JulieAndSteve
Bailey!, a photo by JulieAndSteve on Flickr.

Of course, my second-best pic of the Los Angeles Kings parade is of the mascot, albeit he is a good mascot.