Ronnie Dunn made his living behind a microphone, performing some of country music’s greatest hits of the 1990s and 2000s. Now, he’s just as good behind a camera lens.
Part of the country music duo of Brooks & Dunn, and then a solo artist, the 62-year-old Dunn found himself at a Nashville Predators game on April 5, snapping photos of some of the best hockey players in the world.
Dunn picked up photography about four years ago, and up until this week, had never tried sports photography. Instead, he concentrated on animal and nature photography, taking trips to Africa, as well as a recent excursion to Cuba, to take photos of the native creatures.
Dunn’s friend Ronald Modra, a renowned sports photographer who took shots for Sports Illustrated for 23 years and has 70 SI covers to his credit, invited the country music star to join him at a Preds game, perched atop section 101 at Bridgestone Arena, to try his hand in the hockey arena.
“It’s just like art, it’s like music in so many ways,” Dunn said of taking up photography. “You could hand a guy a guitar and he can play, but if he’s not good at it as an artist; I know guys who say they’ve played 30 years, and Eric Clapton’s played 30 years, but he’s got a little better touch. That’s kind of like Modra here. He’s got all the technical skills and the experience, but he’s real good too. I never would’ve been here tonight if it weren’t’ for Ron asking me to do it.”
“I think it’s great; I’m really excited that he got into photography,” Modra said of his friend. “I saw his pictures from Cuba and from Africa, and he’s got the eye for it.”
Dunn, who has been to several Predators games before, says he studies photography on YouTube all weekend long, learning everything he can about the craft. For him, there was no better sport to start out with than hockey.
“All the pros say the hardest sport to shoot is hockey, so he’s throwing me into the fire right off the bat,” Dunn laughed. “If I don’t walk out of here and throw my cameras across the street, we’re good.”
Dunn’s new hobby is one he can add to his repertoire, stating that music is a hobby too, he just happened to be able to pay the bills with it. But photography is much different than being on stage, a different experience for Dunn.
“I get to hang out with Ron Modra and take photos,” Dunn said. “I was telling somebody, it’s like getting to paint with Picasso. Can you imagine?”
Dunn was simply excited for the opportunity to capture the greatest players in the world, but there was one thing he was hoping to leave with before the night was through.
“I want to catch somebody in the air,” Dunn said, “like one of those famous Ron Modra shots with the puck right in front of them.”