Parking Lot Hockey on Ilford HP5+ – by Simon King

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Rest days give me a lot of stress, especially when I feel I’ve been unproductive, so no matter how hard I try to give myself time off I inevitably end up doing something to make up for it. By the end of one such day in New Jersey I had had a nice evening out but hadn’t really produced anything photographically, and was feeling antsy. As I returned home I noticed a very well lit car park, where two goalposts had been set up, and decided I owed it to myself to investigate further.

It was a really special scene aesthetically – the lights were on but there was no background, no depth beyond the lot, which meant an abrupt transition to inky blackness, very surreal. On the parking lot there were only a few cars, and a group roller blading around between the goals, playing hockey.

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I went and stood to the side, watching the match for a bit. I was conspicuous, so one of them came over to have a chat and see what I was about. I told them it seemed like a peaceful scene, and a wholesome community activity. He told me they would try different locations but would be asked to leave, but here they hadn’t had any issues so would meet on Thursday evening to play a game. It was a few small family groups – adults who had skated together and used to play, now bringing their children to join in. A really warm, inviting, friendly group.

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I only had my M4 and a 35mm, the 7artisans f/2. I would have preferred a 50mm to keep a bit of distance between myself and the sticks/puck/players in case I incurred a collision. I did my best with the wide, but I think you can feel that I was keeping my distance for the most part. I also didn’t want to get in the way and interfere with their moves!

I metered off of the ground, I think it gave me 1/125 at f/2, but for some of the images I stopped down and slowed the shutter in order to pan for a bit of motion. I think a longer lens would have allowed me to really isolate some of the characters, and emphasise their speed.

I quite liked this mark on the floor where a crack had formed in the tarmac and then been filled in – the images I was able to incorporate it into are probably some of my favourites from the scene!

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Although the images are nice, I think they’re a bit superficial. I only spent about twenty minutes in their space, and would definitely want to spend longer to soak up a bit more than just the game itself. I’m glad I got their schedule, although I should also have taken some names and email addresses to reach out. I can always ask around the area to see if anyone knows them, so that I can approach about spending more time documenting their community – their night time matches, along with some portraits, and detail shots.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this piece! I’m currently working on curating and sequencing my work from the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, as well as the other work I produced during my most recent time in the States. I’ll be self publishing this work, so to keep up to date on that, and my other projects, follow me over on Instagram. In the meantime, I’ve collected together some of my work from my trips to the States from 2019, 2020, and most recently 2021, into a “digest” which can be found here.

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