The NHL officially returned for the 2021 season on Tuesday and the fans of 10 clubs got a chance to see how their respective team’s rosters looked to kick off the new year. Of course, in a more literal sense, every team’s fanbase got a chance to see what the roster looked like when team photos were released less than a week prior to the first puck drop.
Hockey fans were given an opportunity to see how new draft picks and other player acquisitions looked in their new, or returning colors. But in the case of the Ottawa Senators, their fans were treated to a new, let’s call it, perspective of this year’s players.
The distorted headshots drew numerous jokes from those on the NHL side of Twitter which ranged from digs at how the players themselves looked, and how the owner of the Senators tends to spend his money on the team.
But within the jokes came an actual question of how these photos were taken — see the “or what” portion of the above tweet. Jack Crosbie, photojournalist who’s shot for VICE, Rolling Stone, and other publications, said that the question of whether a fisheye lens was used wasn’t too far off from what likely was the case. His best guess was that a wide angle lens of some sort was used really close up, and explained how that effect on the Senators players was made.
“So with a fisheye or wide-angle lens, the lens itself is curved more than a longer, flatter lens,” Crosbie said. “That means if you stand close to whatever you’re shooting, the stuff in the edges of your frame is actually going to be slightly further away from the lens itself.
“What that looks like in a picture is whatever’s toward the edges of the frame gets blown up and stuff in the middle looks smaller, which is why all the Sens look like weird slender babymen in the middle of the frame (also, wearing a hockey jersey with no pads on will always make you look like a toothpick, so that doesn’t help).”
CBS Sports reached out to the Ottawa Senators through email asking about the set up the photographer who shot all of these was using, and if those photos were what the organization was expecting. We will update this story when we get a response.
For those curious on how to take headshots that are a bit more, well, normal, Crosbie offered a brief explanation on how to get such an image.
“Most portrait photographers doing headshots would use a longer, fixed focal length lens, usually an 85mm,” he said. “That’s going to give you an image that looks much more “natural” to the naked eye, and shows things roughly in the same proportions as we’re used to seeing them.”
It’s something that other teams certainly were able to figure out. Case in point, the Capitals were able to make the 6-foot-9-inch Zdeno Chara’s portrait look more natural than anyone on Ottawa’s roster.