Shooting hockey at indoor rinks? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 118
Default Shooting hockey at indoor rinks?

Hey folks, I know this isn't hiking related but there seem to be tons of really experienced photographers here with great recommendations so I figured I'd give it a go.

I'm going to a hockey game tomorrow night to try and combine two of my loves - hockey and photography. Does anyone have any experience, stories or tips with regards to shooting hockey at an indoor rink?

It's a preseason game and will be poorly attended so I will be able to get right up to the glass; I have a d80 and will probably be using a 70-300 4.5-5.6 VR lens.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 03:39 PM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: vancouver, bc, Canada.
Posts: 1,099

Gus, I haven't shot much hockey (some sledge hockey). The range on that lens should fit the profile but I worry if it will be fast enough glass (large enough aperature) to be able to freeze the action. I would be looking to pump up the ISO, hockey rinks are notoriously badly lit. Shoot raw so you can go back later with noise reduction (you'll need it) and also adjust the white balance (though setting it up at the beginning properly and you should be fine). If you have any larger aperature glass, I'd recommend bringing that along, a 135f2 or something of that nature would be helpful.

Try and shoot from different angles if you can move around the arena. If you're really having trouble freezing the action, don't forget you can pan with the open ice rush and perhaps be more selective and shoot moments with less movement (faceoffs, shots from the point etc.) Don't forget to watch the goalies and the benches even when the "action" is not near, and also shoot away after the whistle. You'll often get the best emotional reactions during these times and to me a frustrated player on the bench tells more of the story then someone winding up for a shot.

Also bring a monopod to help with steadyin the camera. Extra Battery/memory so you can shoot away and find something that works as it's your first experience with this.

Happy Shooting.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 118

Thanks Splitboarder! I'm saving for the new 70-200 2.8, I'm about halfway there, can barely wait till I get it! It seems as though it would be perfect.

The fastest lens I have is 50, which seems a little short so chances are I won't use it.

I don't have a monopod, just a tripod; should I look for the same things in a monopod as I would be in a tripod?

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 09:56 PM
Headed for the Mountains
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Location: , Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 294

Unless you are shooting a televised game that is well lit your f4.5-5.6 lens will require very high ISO in most rinks to get a usable shutter speed. Many indoor rinks will require an ISO of 1600-3200 at f2.8 to get a shutter speed around 1/500 second which should freeze most action and you might go as low as 1/250 second but may get fewer crisp shots. Also the VR is not much use when shooting fast moving sports as you need the faster shutter speed to freeze the action. You may even want to turn the VR off as it can sometimes slow the focus lock and shutter release and drains batteries.

Take the 50mm and crank up the ISO. If you can get up to the glass around the corners and the net your 50mm should let you catch a lot of action. Don't use a flash as it can distract the players and will usually just bounce back at you off the glass and ruin your picture. Also try to keep the front of your lens close to the glass to reduce the reflection of objects behind you.

A great location for a shorter lens is between the net and the corner where you can cover action at the net and players digging for the puck in the corner.

Enjoy the game.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 10:57 PM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ladner, BC, Canada.
Interest: this and that, here and there I may be boring, but i\'m never really bored... and that\'s all that matters. Isn\'t it?
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wow, lot's of good tips.
I love the panning shots....sometimes those slightly blurred shots turn out to be great ones too, captures good motion.

My friend comes right into the p-box to get shots 'cuz there's no glass. I don't know how much access you get with your game =P

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 118

Thanks again for all the great suggestions and tips! I went out and got a monopod beforehand, I've only ever used my tripod before and was pleased with the stability of the monopod but wasn't so stoked on it when I was sitting down - I'm used to simply moving the camera to get different angles/change the view but with the monopod I had to move my whole body. I suppose this isn't the case when you're standing though.

I manually set white balance off the ice when I got there and sat high looking over top of the glass for the first period. This angle gave a neat perspective but I didn't have enough reach to get the framing I wanted.

For the second and third period I sat in the first row and shot through the glass, which seemed to work ok. The play stayed mostly in front of me throughout so I didn't feel the need to move anywhere else in the arena.

I played with the ISO a bunch but was happiest at 400 - even at that the photos are pretty noisy at full size. Even at f/4.5 (70mm) I could barely get the shutter fast enough to freeze the action and still see the image. Basically I got what I expected, neat shots with a lens that is too soft to really make the images pop. But for my first try I'm super content with the results!

I put my favourites on flickr if anyone wants to see my them. I like the simpler ones where you can see players faces and imagine their thoughts or emotions.
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