Comets Tales: Eye on the Comets

by Don Laible

May 19, 2014

When it comes to the Utica Comets, what you see (literally), is what you get, courtesy of Comets team photographer Lindsay Mogle.

Check out a copy of the Comets’ inaugural yearbook. Mogle’s work is everywhere in there. Every photo featured on the team’s website, or social media, all captured by Mogle’s lens. Whether it be pictures of the anthem singers before every game, or action shots that capture the emotion of the game, Mogle’s efforts chronicled the entirety of the Comets inaugural season.

The best view, the best access, the best timing, Mogle was around the ice, and as close to the action, yet was virtually invisible to audiences and participants. That’s how well Mogle did her job. When the words “Lindsay A. Mogle/Utica Comets” appear at media outlets’ publications or websites, this is code for Mogle’s work.

Summing-up her first go-around as a team photographer being on the job for all home games at The AUD, and a handful of road games, Mogle tells proudly of her accomplishments.

“I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I had taken some pictures in Rome of the Frenzy (2010 Federal Hockey League), so I thought it would be similar to working at the newspaper,” said Mogle, a former photographer at The Rome Sentinel. “It was a lot of demanding work, but I had a blast the entire time.”

However, when looking back to the Comets final game of the season on April 19, with the final minutes counting down, Mogle recalls standing in the Saranac suite and being overwhelmed as players and fans saluted each other in appreciation for a season of bonding. In the suite Mogle had her Comets moment. “The season took on a life of its own,” Mogle said of that highly emotional afternoon.

Four years working the newspaper beat and shooting sporting events on her own, qualified Mogle to concentrate her talents on the return of professional hockey to the Mohawk Valley. From the press conference at Aqua Vino Restaurant last June announcing the partnership between the Vancouver Canucks and Comets, Mogle would become the eyes of the organization. Her lenses saw and recorded hockey history in the making; game by game, milestone by milestone.

On gamedays, Mogle’s prep begins in the morning while coming up with a plan. Always looking to capture something she hadn’t yet, Mogle tells of working closely with the team’s Director of Communications, Mark Caswell, Jr. and also reviews that game’s itinerary script looking for special presentations.

When designing a game schedule, Mogle will checkout other team websites and study what they’ve covered, as well as search individual photographers on how they have captured the competitiveness on the ice. Becoming a student of hockey isn’t something Mogle anticipated however has earned her degree in.

“I usually shoot between 500-700 pictures a game,” Mogle explains. “Then, generally between 50-75 are keepers. Of them, 20-30 are used by the team. All photos are filed for possible future use.”

Because it’s impossible to cover all the action from all the necessary angles during three periods (or more, if necessary) of Comets play, Mogle enlisted the help of three interns this past season. The interns came from MVCC, Utica College, and Hartwick College. Mogle tells of capturing the action during a shootout as among the toughest assignment of any. This is where the interns came especially important, having ample coverage at each end of the rink.

Mogle jokes of having her “ah ha” hockey moment; her welcoming as a hockey photographer during a game this past season.”I was hit in the face by a puck last Novemeber. I’m a girl in a guy’s world. When the puck came through the hole in the glass where I was shooting, that’s when I became a hockey photographer.”

Next time you take a look at the team photograph the Comets distributed at season’s end, that too is a product of Mogle’s work. So, what’s it like to corral so many bodies at the same time, seat them, position them, and get all to smile at once?

“I was a nervous wreck having 30 or so people together. There were many revisions of the seating chart. I was so convinced that someone was going to fall off the risers,” Mogle recalls.(Comets Photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

At the top of Mogle’s most memorable Comets images captured in season one, is that of goalie Joe Cannata standing in a down position during the national anthem, shot through a fisheye lens. “I was three feet behind him when I captured that one,” Mogle reveals.

Comments from players, jokingly asking Mogle to be on the spot for their fights made the lady and professional within her loosen up around the team. And now, just as the players and coaching staff have time off from their main occupation, Mogle is in off-season mode herself. This weekend she will be shooting her first wedding of the season, solo. Along with weddings, Mogle takes on senior portraits and other assignments.

Taking one for the team, literally, during the past Comets season, Lindsay Mogle has earned her stripes as one of the crew that comes equipped to The AUD each game to perform at their best. Only with Mogle, the proof is always in the pixels.

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