1. Name/Hometown/Company Name/Where do you live now?I’m Jason Rubin. I was raised in Stony Brook, NY, moved to Florida in my teens and have been residing in Iowa since 2005, currently living in Oelwein. I’ll spare you all of the dull details, but after spending twenty years as an elementary teacher (NOT a dull detail, by the way), I decided to retire from teaching and pursue my passion for photography. JMR Images was officially branded in 2015.2. How did you hear about the Iowa Heartlanders?When I first heard about the Xtream Arena being constructed down in Coralville, I decided to attend the grand opening, as I was hoping to make some connections and possibly photograph events that would occur at the new arena. Long story short, I received a call about coming down and photographing a press event where the team name was going to be officially released to the public. Thus, the Heartlanders name was unveiled! 3. How/Why did you become a sports photographer?It goes back (not quite TOO long ago) to around 2011. We had just made the move to Oelwein, and our daughter had joined the local swim team. Being a hobbyist at the time, I inquired if I could take some photos during the swim meets. What started out as something I was just doing to practice my craft turned into a bit more than that. Capturing the movement, energy, and emotion (players and fans) is the biggest draw to being a sports photographer.4. What’s your favorite part of coming to a game at Xtream Arena?WOW! There’s just so much to say about this. The energy of the fans as well as capturing moments on the ice are probably the two biggest elements for me when coming to a game here at the arena. There’s so much more, including Heartlanders staff, team, and the crew from Xtream Arena.
5. Take us through a summary of an average game night for you. What time do you get there? What do you do before/during/after a game?Generally, I try to arrive approximately an hour or so before the doors to the arena open for the fans. Once I get there, I set up a remote camera, grab a bite in the media room, and prep my gear for the night to come. Shortly before the players come out for warm-ups, I position myself over in the Heartlanders bench to capture some moments while they’re on the ice during that time, then drop a few shots to David immediately afterwards. The rest of night involves watching the stands for unique fan moments, all while keeping an eye on the ice to capture the players in action. In between periods, there’s always something happening on the ice, so I usually try to capture those events while simultaneously dropping some in-game shots to David. At the end of the night, if the game is a win, I make my way out to the ice as quickly as possible to capture the celebratory shots of both the players and the fans. Afterwards, I simply pack up my gear, head home and edit the night’s photos the following morning. 6. What are your favorite shots to capture in hockey?Anything that captures the energy of the players on the ice as well as rare or unique moments that occur during the game.7. What have been some of the favorite moments you’ve captured this season?There have been quite a few, but one in particular (and fairly recent) was when Yuki made his return to the ice after being out for almost two months due to an injury. A little fan brought a sign that read ‘Welcome back Yuk-Show # 17. Can you get a goal for me?’ Well, Yuki did just that. He scored the first goal of the game that night, and quite early in the first period. After the game (which was a win), there was a shot I captured of Yuki skating over by the glass where the sign was located (as well as the fan who held it up earlier), with both fists in the air in celebration, while facing that particular fan.
8. How hard is it to do what you do taking photos of a fast-moving sport?It’s challenging for sure. Trying to keep an eye on the puck is the most challenging aspect of photographing hockey. Keeping focus on where the majority of the action is happening on the ice is key. Unfortunately, there are those times where an opportunity is missed due to the nature of the sport.9. You’ve had the chance to interact with some of the players and coaches. What do you think about them?Nicest group of guys for sure! I’ve had the opportunity to casually chat with a few of them during one of the Mug Club Nights across the street at BackPocket Brewing. Great conversationalists! Yuki Miura and Ryan Kuffner are by far the friendliest players I’ve had the pleasure to chat with now and then. While the conversations have been brief, I can easily determine their character.Another player, Alex Carlson, is a true sport. He built up some community relations with fans for a special meet-and-greet opportunity after a game, where fans donned their ‘Kung Fu Carlson t-shirts, made by one of the Heartlanders’ biggest fans.10. What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job?I mean, what’s NOT rewarding about a job like this? Definitely one of them having the opportunity of being with a new team right from the beginning is truly rewarding in itself. Just knowing that the guys appreciate and enjoy the shots I capture of them. I couldn’t do what I do without them on the ice, etc. The team, staff, officiates, interns, etc. are just an incredible group of people with whom I have the privilege to work.