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A Night for Celebrating

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I had a chance to attend the official closing ceremony on Saturday evening for the university’s $2 billion fundraising campaign, “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students,” and it was such a happy occasion. There was a lot to celebrate—raising more than $2 billion is huge under any circumstances, much less the fact that the campaign spanned the economic recession of 2007-09 and the Sandusky scandal. To have raised that kind of money in the face of those challenges is pretty amazing.

Below is a gallery of some photos I took at the finale in Eisenhower Auditorium.

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Tina Hay, editor

April 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

Photos from Penn State Football’s ‘Signature Event’

Our pal Curtis Chan ’94, ’03g, who works over in the College of Engineering and who does a little sports photography on the side, took some photos for us last night in the Jordan Center, at the “Signature Event” that new football coach James Franklin staged to celebrate Penn State’s success on National Signing Day. We thought you might enjoy seeing some of them; here’s a quick slide show:

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Thanks for the images, Curtis!

Tina Hay, editor

February 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm Leave a comment

Penn State Wrestlers Dominate Ohio State

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Senior Ed Ruth returned to the lineup after a one-month suspension (that’s Ruth in the photo above), but it was a redshirt freshman—Zain Retherford—who stole the show Sunday afternoon as Penn State’s wrestlers dominated Ohio State, 31-6, in Rec Hall.

Retherford, at 141 pounds, knocked off top-ranked and previously unbeaten Logan Stieber, a two-time NCAA champion. The two wrestlers were tied at the end of regulation, and Retherford got a takedown in the sudden-victory period to win the match, 4-2. He liked that, and so did the crowd:

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The Lions lost only two bouts all afternoon. Among the bigger winners for Penn State were Nico Megaludis, who scored a technical fall in his 125-pound bout; David Taylor, who earned a technical fall at 165 pounds; and Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184), and Jimmy Lawson (285), who all scored major decisions.

I’ve posted an album of photos from the dual on our Facebook page.

Tina Hay, editor

December 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm 1 comment

Adventures in Sports Photography: Wrestling, Part 2

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Somehow, I managed to let almost three years go by between the first time I photographed a Penn State wrestling dual and the second one. In January 2011, I shot the Penn State-Iowa dual in Rec Hall, and yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center photographing the historic meet against Pitt.

Part of what was cool about yesterday’s meet was that the mat was on an elevated platform. Usually the wrestling takes place at floor level, and photographers have to either sit or kneel mat-side for the whole meet. (The really dedicated ones lie on their stomach to shoot.) I had brought one of those Crazy Creek folding portable camp chairs for back support, but when I walked in and saw the chest-high platform, I knew we were in for a different experience. The photographers spent the afternoon bellied up to the edge of the platform; some shot with their elbows on the platform, while others (more…)

December 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm 3 comments

He’s Watching the Students Like a …

DSC_0024_med_hawkWe’ve got a hawk of some sort who’s a frequent visitor to the grounds outside the alumni center. Today he (or she?) spent about a half hour on a tree branch outside Ryan Jones’ office, and then it moved to the top of the pergola outside our main entrance, where it sat for another good hour. There were plenty of students  walking along the sidewalk below it, but the hawk seemed unconcerned about the students—and vice versa.

I took this photo with my back to the Electrical Engineering Building. The stone building you see is the old president’s house, which is part of the Hintz Family Alumni Center.

As always, click on the photo for a bigger and crisper version.

And if you can ID the species of hawk based on what little is visible here, I’ll be very impressed.

Tina Hay, editor

December 9, 2013 at 1:21 pm 8 comments

A Few Football Photos from a Fan

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Back in August, after I posted some photos from a Penn State football practice, I got an email from Clint Mickel ’05, who does a little football photography of his own.

Clint is not one of the photojournalists who cover Penn State football for the news media. He’s just an alumnus (and former Lion Ambassador) who now works in marketing in Garwood, N.J., and has season tickets to the games at Beaver Stadium. He shoots with a Canon EOS 60D and a 70-300mm lens, and he has the other things that go into good photos as well: a good eye, patience, persistence, and the willingness to shoot in all kinds of weather.

He also has pretty good seats—in the first row along the corner of the north end zone.

“It’s a great seat for the outstanding views,” he adds, “but I constantly have photos of people’s backs as they walk in front of me to go to the concession stand.”

Anyway, I’ve been following Clint’s photographic efforts via his Flickr page over the course of the season, and now that the season’s over, I’ve pulled about a dozen of his photos that I thought you might enjoy. I’m sharing them with his permission—see the slide show below. In the meantime, you can follow him on Twitter (@SupportPSU) or go to Flickr to check out the other stuff he photographs.

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Tina Hay, editor

December 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Here’s the Fog Photo of the Day

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We had some pretty impressive fog here in Central Pennsylvania this morning. My friend Sue Baker, who works in the Eberly College of Science, took this photo on the mall on her way in to work. I thought it was a lovely image.

Tina Hay, editor

December 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm 1 comment

Opera Program’s Latest is a Haunting Tale

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The students in Penn State’s Opera Theatre program are staging a production of the tragedy Dialogues of the Carmelites tonight and tomorrow at University Park—and, if last night’s dress rehearsal is any indication, it’ll give you chills.

It’s a 1957 work by a French composer, Francis Poulenc, and is set in the bloody French Revolution of the late 1700s. Blanche, the central character, is an anxious, fearful young woman who becomes a Carmelite nun in hopes of feeling safer in life—and ends up being anything but. As Ted Christopher, the head of the opera theatre program, described it to me last night: “Blanche felt the world closing in on her, so she joined a convent … where she found the world closing in on her even more.”

Blanche’s character is fictional, but the larger story, the martyrdom of 16 Carmelite nuns in 1794, is not.

It’s a dark, intense, provocative production, and the final scene—the nuns singing as, one by one, they head off to their deaths—is incredibly moving.

Performances are at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow (Nov. 15 and 16) in the Esber Recital Hall, part of Music Building I. Tickets are $4.99 for the general public; students pay $2. More information is here, and some photos I took at last night’s dress rehearsal are below.

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Tina Hay, editor

November 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm 1 comment

Joe Battista Leaves Penn State to ‘Dream New Dreams’

DSC_8939_Joe_BattistaNow that Penn State has both men’s and women’s varsity ice hockey teams and a spectacular new hockey arena, it’s hard to remember a time not long ago when it all was just a pipe dream.

Until September 2010, when Penn State announced that historic gift of $88 million from Kim and Terry Pegula ’73, ice hockey was a club sport, and it was played on a rink that had audience seating on one side only. (The folklore is that there simply hadn’t been enough money to build a facility with grandstands on both sides.) And while the Icers, under head coach Joe Battista ’83, were among the finest club teams in the country—winning six national club championships—the idea of upgrading to varsity status was just out of the question. Too expensive.

And then, maybe five years ago, in part because of a relationship formed between Battista and Pegula, rumors started swirling that the Icers’ dream might actually come true. Our senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 tells the tale of how the dream finally did come true in the cover story of our Sept./Oct. issue.

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Battista as an Icer in the early ’80s.

I have a clear memory of waiting to cross College Avenue over lunch hour one day a few years back and seeing Joe (who by then was a fundraiser for Penn State) stopped at the stoplight. He rolled down the window, we exchanged hellos, and I said, offhandedly, “What are you up to these days?” And he replied with a big grin, “I’m trying to get us a hockey arena!”

Today, less than three weeks after the opening of the 6,000-seat Pegula Ice Arena, Penn State announced that Battista—who came here as a freshman in 1978 and, except for a four-year stint after his graduation in 1983, has been associated with Penn State ever since—is leaving the university. Effective Nov. 8, he’ll step down from his current role as associate athletic director for the Pegula Ice Arena and hockey development in order to go work for Pegula’s company, East Management Services, as its vice president of hockey related businesses. (Pegula owns the Buffalo Sabres and is also developing two public rinks in Buffalo, among other hockey ventures.)

In the news release today, Battista talked about the Pegula Arena and the launching of men’s and women’s ice hockey as the culmination of a dream for him. “While this dream has come true,” he said, “it is now time for me to set new goals and dream new dreams.”

Speaking on behalf of his wife, Heidi, and himself, he added: “We will continue to proudly support Penn State and wear the blue and white forever.”

Tina Hay, editor

October 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Adventures in Sports Photography, Hockey Edition

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This past summer, as we all started to get excited about the opening of the Pegula Ice Arena, I started to get even more excited about the prospect of photographing collegiate ice hockey.

I’ve written before about the challenges and rewards in photographing volleyball, wrestling, and a football practice. But, except for one time in the late 1970s when I took my now-antique Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic to a Johnstown Jets game at the War Memorial, I had never tried to shoot hockey.

To get ready for the Penn State games, I did what I always do to educate myself on such things: I went to Google. (Full disclosure: I own exactly one share of Google stock.) I searched “how to photograph ice hockey” and found an enormous amount of advice. Some of the best came from a guy by the name of Don Smith, who is the team photographer for the San Jose Sharks and whose article on the subject was especially helpful.

Among the advice that stood out for me:

All that ice. The game is played on a virtually all-white surface, which can mess up your camera’s exposure metering, but on the other hand, it helps illuminate the players’ faces. It’s way better than, say, wrestling, where the action often takes place on a dark mat.

DSC_9030_goalie_save_croppedNeed for speed. Hockey is one of the fastest-moving of all sports and thus one of the toughest to photograph. It requires you to set your camera’s ISO to at least 800 to 1000 and use shutter speeds no slower than 1/400 of a second. Luckily, the Pegula Arena is exceptionally well-lit, and in the two games I’ve shot so far, I’ve been able to use shutter speeds as high as 1/1250 or even 1/2500 of a second.

Keep shooting. As is true in virtually every sport, the secret to getting a few good photos is to take a lot of photos. Or, as one guy online said: “Don’t hesitate to shoot a ton of frames; by sheer blind luck some will be great.”

At the men’s opener against Army, I shot nearly 300 images and ended up with about 20 that I thought were half decent. At the women’s game against New Hampshire this past Saturday night, I took about 185 images—and identified seven that I like. My ratio might improve as I get more experience, but still, that’s just the nature of photography.

Watch the knees. This was an interesting tip: If you’re trying to get photos of the action in front of the goal, train your camera on the goalie and wait for his or her knees to flex—a sign that the puck is headed their way—then start shooting like crazy. I tried to remember that on Saturday night, and sure enough, I was able to get a shot of a goal being scored. Unfortunately, it was a goal for UNH:

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Through the looking glass? The plexiglass that protects fans from flying pucks can really be annoying to a photographer: It can cost you at least an f-stop in exposure, and the scuff marks and hand prints can mar your photos. Some photographers take a rag with them to the games and do what they can to clean off their little section of the glass.

Luckily, the people who designed the Pegula Arena included a few portholes for photographers to stick their camera lenses through. Two of the portholes are reserved for Sports Information photographers Mark Selders and Steve Manuel ’84, ’92, but that leaves one or two for the media photographers to take turns with.

Part of the reason I went to the women’s game this past Saturday night (and not, for example, the rematch on Sunday afternoon) was that I figured Mark and Steve would be out in Columbus shooting the football game. Likewise, I assumed that few, if any, news media would cover a women’s hockey game scheduled opposite that football game. I was right: I had the Pegula portholes to myself all night.

I suspect that those portholes will become more important as the season goes on. Take a look at how scuffed the glass has become after just a few games:

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Below are a couple more of the photos I got on Saturday night. Here’s a scrum in front of the UNH goal (note the Penn State chipmunk on the puck):

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And here’s a shot of some action along the near-side boards:

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That’s sophomore forward Micayla Catanzariti trying to dig out the loose puck.

You can see that the stands were, unfortunately, pretty empty on Saturday night—there’s a big discrepancy in attendance so far between the men’s games and the women’s games, and being up against the Ohio State game obviously made it worse. Official attendance was listed at 493. But it was a great game: The two teams traded goals all night, until UNH finally pulled away and won 8-5.

I’m looking forward to lots more hockey in that magnificent arena throughout the season and in the years to come.

Tina Hay, editor

P.S. If I’m not mistaken, somewhere around my house I have a few photos from that Jets game I shot, including one or two of the Carlson brothers, the Johnstown players who served as the model for the nerdy, goon-squad Hanson brothers in the Paul Newman movie Slap Shot. Someday if I run across them, I’ll post them.

October 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm 1 comment

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