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Old 12-02-2012, 05:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hockey game shooting tips

Similar to Kermit's thread about air show picture taking. I'm going to be attending a local OHL game here in Niagara on Thursday night and I'm thinking of doing some action shots while I'm there. I'm thinking on taking either my 70-210 F4 or my 28-105 3.5-4.5 USM II and possibly a 50mm 1.8 prime lens. Opinions on which zoom lens I should take are welcomed and if you have any tips from shooting fast paced sports let me know.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I do not have any helpful advice but share what you captured after please.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If it's indoor, I'd try renting some glass. You'll probably not get desirable shots without a fast aperture and at least 200m reach indoors. Outdoors, f4 should be fine unless it's at night.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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it's an indoor arena but with that said there is TONS of lighting on the ice. I'm thinking of borrowing a 70-200 2.8 from a buddy of mine. or given the fact I can be right at the glass running a 50mm wide open
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Remember to shoot with M mode to keep the shots consistent, and set the a custom WB before shooting.

The cameras automatic funtions will have hard time with all the ice, and different colour lighting. I would try the 70-210 first, the other ones are too short.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm going to be shooting RAW and adjusting exposure and WB afterwards so full M it is
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not much of a photographer but the setting where it takes half a dozen rapid fire photos works quite well when people take pictures of me playing lacrosse.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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you're speaking of burst mode. That was already my first though was I'm not going to try single shooting unless it's say setting up a point shot where the players may be relatively still for a few seconds otherwise for the high speed stuff burst mode in RAW is where it's at.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A few thoughts in no particular order:

1. ISO: Shoot at the highest ISO value you can tolerate for the intended output of the job. This depends on your body and also on what you intend to do with the images. Are you printing enlargements or just working up images for the web? I am consistently amazed a how good the modern generation of cameras can look at high ISOs in smaller image sizes.

2. Shooting Mode: As noted elsewhere, shoot bursts. Be aware that if you're shooting RAW, you'll crowd the buffer more quickly. If you can get WB and exposure reasonably close, you might prefer to have a 60-70 shot buffer on JPEG normal versus 6-7 shots shooting RAW. Plus you have to wait for the buffer to clear if you peg it. There is no free lunch!

3. Focal Length Choice: Remember that you want a 1/focal length minimum shutter speed just to combat handholding blur. To freeze motion you need to get in the range of 1/250 or 1/500. If you are limited in your lens selection, bear in mind you may have better results up against the glass with a 50mm lens than you would back up in the stands with a 200mm lens. If your body allows it, you can crop for a tighter shot...that may or may not be an option based on your sensor. Lastly, make yourself change lenses once or twice...during a pause in the action, or during half time...take some waist-up shots of players, candid moments, shoot the sticks on the wall, etc. Make sure you don't come back with 1500 identically composed images because you never swapped lenses for a different focal length.

4. Stability: A lot of venues do not allow tripods. Monopods are usually permitted. I shoot soccer games with a monopod and I swear it helps a ton. I run the monopod down my right leg (trailing) and sort of jam the base into the arch of my foot. Body weight on the monopod and arms tight make for better stability for me than the monopod out front on its own. Vibration Reduction/Image Stabilization and a monopod are really great helpers...too.

5. Exposure Strategy: Shoot Manual OR Shutter Priority with Auto ISO enabled. I respect the comment above saying to set a particular exposure manually. I do that if shooting indoors at a dinner party where I'm working at a consistent distance and am worried about point light sources fooling the meter--like, candles. But I think there's a chance you may have uneven lighting conditions and anyway may want to mix up your shots enough that shooting shutter priority to guarantee you are freezing the action and the let your depty of field vary could be a good approach as well.

6. Autofocus Strategy: Your camera should have a variety of autofocus modes--single versus continuous. I would suggest continuous with focus confirmation needed to release. This will allow the camera to vary/track a moving subject but prevent release unless focus is locked. May not be locked on the right thing, depending, but better than getting a stack of unfocused images. This is extra important if you're shooting RAW--because of the limits on the buffer vice JPEG.

7. White Balance: I am a fan of shooting with a WB as close as you can get. That way, if I switch to JPG from RAW, I'm in good shape. Can you get in to the venue ahead of the game? If so, you might try setting WB manually.

8. Random: Bring lots of cards in a little wallet. Keep them facing forward until they are full, then put them in the wallet in order, facing backward when full. Keep this on you. Have a spare battery, charge both the night before. Do not wear a backpack. Keep track of your stuff...leave with a friend, if possible. Lenses can wander off, if you know what I mean. Move when shooting so you don't block one particular person's view (and keep the images interesting).

9. Flash: Skip it unless for portraits after the game. It's annoying and the bounce off the glass may screw up your images in ways you don't notice on the LCD.

Sorry to ramble, but I guess I'd summarize it like this:

1. Highest ISO the job allows
2. Continuous high shooting mode
3. JPEG, normal quality (for buffer size)
4. Careful manual white balance setting
5. Shutter priority
6. If using slow glass, get close and shoot wider--possibly to crop later
7. Use a monopod
8. No flash
9. Change lenses and position regularly
10. Don't expect to watch the game (sorry!)
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Problem with using an auto mode over manual settings is just how badly that much white is going to fool your meter. Better to spot meter multiple locations around the surface as you get going, and map things out yourself. I would rather over expose a bit on digital and pull it down instead of massively under exposing and trying to pull up.
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