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Old Nov 5, 2012, 06:41 PM   #1
mrfrosty
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Ice hockey photography

Hi,

We are coming to NYC his Xmas from the UK for my son (8 years old) to play in some ice hockey games. Lockout permitting he will also be skating during some of the period breaks of some NHL games. I'd really like to get some action shots at the games and also take some pictures around NYC. Can anyone help me out with some recommendations on some equipment ? I currently have a E-PL2 with kit lens but I fear that's not going to cut it ! I struggle to get the shutter fast enough to avoid motion blur. I took 390 pictures at the last game and about 3 were any good, this is not a good ratio !!!

I don't have an unlimited budget but I appreciate this could get expensive. $2k would be too much, 1k$ would be more like what I was thinking !!
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 07:17 PM   #2
aerok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfrosty View Post
Hi,

We are coming to NYC his Xmas from the UK for my son (8 years old) to play in some ice hockey games. Lockout permitting he will also be skating during some of the period breaks of some NHL games. I'd really like to get some action shots at the games and also take some pictures around NYC. Can anyone help me out with some recommendations on some equipment ? I currently have a E-PL2 with kit lens but I fear that's not going to cut it ! I struggle to get the shutter fast enough to avoid motion blur. I took 390 pictures at the last game and about 3 were any good, this is not a good ratio !!!

I don't have an unlimited budget but I appreciate this could get expensive. $2k would be too much, 1k$ would be more like what I was thinking !!
Sadly sport photography is a very expensive. Idealy, you would get a DSLR with a 70-200mm 2.8 lens but that alone can cost you $2500 (Lens only)

The alternative is getting a cheap Canon DSLR (like the t3) and get the 55-200mm lens. Both together should be around $700 to $1000
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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You are in the right direction talking about shutter speed. You need a camera capable of high shutter speeds and so you are looking at high ISO settings as well. A camera with at least 1/8000 shutter speed should do it with an ISO of around 200. Perhaps 1/4000 with ISO 400 or 800. I am trying to remember what I used with film cameras back in the day. A very fast long lens is helpful but as the other contributor said, that will be expensive. A 300mm 2.8 lens will cost you some money. You can use slower lenses obviously but you will have to compensate for that light loss with in-camera settings.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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You are in the right direction talking about shutter speed. You need a camera capable of high shutter speeds and so you are looking at high ISO settings as well. ....
Sorry... but this is, in my opinion going down the wrong track....

------------

@OP: You are never going to match the photography you see from an NHL game.... the one thing those official photographers have is access to the strobes. There are strobes tucked up here and there that the official photographers fire remotely.

You also are going to find that the glass barrier is a problem if you use an on-camera flash .... and if you are far enough away to a view-line above the glass, you are too far from the action for any on-camera flash (external or internal) to work.

So.... you're best bet is to learn a copy of old-fashioned, but very effective, techniques that will work with any camera - basic or fancy.

Panning: Simply follow the action with the camera as file the shutter. Practice practice practice. When you do it well the subject appears sharp (mostly) and the background is streaked.

Peak Action: For any kind of rhythmic motion (up/down, left/right, back/forth) there is a moment when - just for a fraction of second - the subject stops moving before changing direction. That's all you need. For example... when your kid winds up for the snapshot the stick goes up up up... pauses ... and then rockets down. That pause is the peak action. Practice practice practice.

Use a high ISO setting... some cameras have better quality images at high ISOs than others... The higher the ISO the faster you can set the shutter speed. But... things can get really grainy at a high ISO.

Use a lense that is 'fast'. Fast means that the f/stop number at the low end is very smaller .... so an f1.4 lense is 'faster' than an f/2.8 lense. The faster the lense, the faster the shutter speed you can use. In the example above, f/1.4 is 2 stops faster - very very significant as that means it lets in 4x as much light, and allows you set the shutter speed 2 stops faster (1/250 sec instead of 1/60 sec). Do a little reading on Photographic Stops of Light. Short answer is that one stop of light is either twice as much, or half as much.

Know also that the longer the lense (i.e. a telephoto) the faster the shutter speed has to be to minimize blurring due to camera shake.

Instead of buying a lense, rent it. Much much cheaper if you aren't going to use it again.

Practice practice practice.

Have a great time.
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 08:10 PM   #5
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Check out Jared polin on YouTube ( fro knows photo) he has a few videos on shooting hockey
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 09:45 PM   #6
baypharm
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snberk103:

I said the same thing you did - without all your extraneous chatter....
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 10:03 PM   #7
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snberk103:

I said the same thing you did - without all your extraneous chatter....
Not quite. I offered ways to get the photos with low ISO and slow shutter speeds too. You don't need 1/8000 shutter speeds. Lots of good sport photos are taken at 1/250 or even 1/60. I was talking about techniques... which is good for any camera, and you were talking about technology.

I then added the bit about high ISOs and shutter speeds incase their budget stretched to upgraded technology. I also added the background info incase their photography knowledge was still shaky. There is enough info there for someone to start reading up on their own.

I'm sorry, but I thought your advice was contradictory and not entirely accurate. impo, only of course....
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Old Nov 5, 2012, 10:17 PM   #8
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Follow snberk's advices. Those strobes make all the difference, so don't expect to duplicate their pictures.

Since your going to New York, have you considered renting from B&H? You could get yourself a 5D/7D or D700/D600 + a 70-200 2.8 and shoot some high ISO but clean photos.

Have fun
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 12:48 AM   #9
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Never shot hockey but snberk's recommendations are what I use for motorsports photography. Another issue with some cameras is autofocus time. By the time the camera locks on focus, you have lost the shot. Since I was shooting cars at a fixed location I switched to manual focus and didn't have to worry that the camera could keep up.

When I want a good pan shot I have to reduce shutter speed to 1/60 or 1/30 to get the background blurred to show the speed. Takes practice to track the cars well.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 03:08 PM   #10
mrfrosty
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Thanks for the advice folks.

From my side I'm not trying to emulate the Pro shots from the NHL games. It's under 10's I'm snapping so 1/8000 isn't needed 1/1250 or so should be plenty.

To sum up though you all confirming my expectations.....so thankyou.

I'm thinking of a 60D or a D7000 but frankly i don't know enough to choose between them. As far as glass goes i have to get something i can use back home in the rinks too, i can get up quite close and the plexi glass doesn't cover most rinks in UK so i think something like upto 150mm should be quite enough.....

It's just tough you know, when you don't know so much and it's quite alot to lay out !!
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 03:52 PM   #11
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Since you're coming to NYC. For $110, I can rent nearly $4,000 worth of equipment; Canon 5D II and 70-200mm IS f2.8 for a 3 day weekend.

http://www.adoramarentals.com
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 05:25 PM   #12
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I'd suggest looking into practicing your panning. Some research into shooting soccer and other sports might help you get your photo settings down. I've also shot motorsports using similar ideas that snberk puts forward, and it's sound advice. I'd be tempted to try out a polarizer to see if that will cut down on the plexiglass glare.
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 11:26 PM   #13
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Some how i dont like ice hockey photography that much
nets on top and glass all around. My 7d+70-200 2.8 IS has some problem focusing through glass because of reflection. And my thumb is stuck on the back focusing button for ai servo...

maybe because of bad lighting in the stadium
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 07:39 PM   #14
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hockey through glass is generally a load of work. I usually end up shooting at 1600ISO so I can get up to 1/1000 of shutter with a 2.8 lens. Auto focus is tough with glass scratches too. I have found that a fast prime stopped down does the trick, so an 85 1.8 stopped down to 2.8 allows for enough DOF that I can capture the entire player but still give me enough light to play with. Again at a higher ISO.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 02:28 PM   #15
14thegipper
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Nominate yourself to be the team photographer.

You may be able to sit behind the bench, or in the penalty box.

Share the pics with coaches & parents from both teams.

For my kids hockey, I set up a full tripod in the penalty box - with 7D and 2.8 70-200 - pics still come out crappy.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 02:37 PM   #16
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Since I don't have a 70-200mm I skipped out on playing one of my games to shoot with a 50mm f/1.8. Obviously with this lens the results aren't great at all but I did it just for the heck of it.

The rink I play at is fairly dim but I found myself going no lower than 1/800. I read that you don't want to go under 1/1250 but 1/800 was adequate in most cases.

Here's some shots:



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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:40 PM   #17
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Why does everyone knock the 50mm f/1.8 II? It comes with IS, while the 50mm 1.4 doesn't.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 08:50 PM   #18
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the 1.8 tends to be slow to fucus and its plastic and I have had 2 break on me. For me it was worth the upgrade to the 1.4.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 02:41 AM   #19
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Why does everyone knock the 50mm f/1.8 II? It comes with IS, while the 50mm 1.4 doesn't.
First off the 50mm 1.8 II definitely does not have IS. Otherwise it would be much more expensive and would be included in the name. I'm not sure where you heard that or who told you that, but you have been misinformed.

Second, I've heard very few people knock the 50mm 1.8II because for the price it's pretty much a no brainer for what you get. The people that do are comparing it to the 1.4 and 1.2 (which isn't a fair comparison considering the price difference). Just like any other beginner lens once you get used to it you start to see where it falls short (autofocus, corner sharpness, bokeh quality, and overall handling and build quality) and once you've noticed them most people have a tough time going back.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 01:36 PM   #20
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As a few others have said, RENT!

I would add lensrentals.com to the previous suggestions of B&H (they are in NYC) and Adorama
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 01:43 PM   #21
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hockey through glass is generally a load of work. I usually end up shooting at 1600ISO so I can get up to 1/1000 of shutter with a 2.8 lens. Auto focus is tough with glass scratches too. I have found that a fast prime stopped down does the trick, so an 85 1.8 stopped down to 2.8 allows for enough DOF that I can capture the entire player but still give me enough light to play with. Again at a higher ISO.
Most (all?) longer lenses (now that I think about it maybe even the normal/wide lenses too?) will typically have a switch that limits the focus range from either its min focus distance to infinity OR between some given point beyond its min focus distance and infinity. The idea being it won't lock on to things right in front of you that you want to shoot through such as glass, nets, etc. It also speeds up the autofocusing since its working within a narrower range. Look at your lens and see. It helps me a lot on my 135L.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 02:11 PM   #22
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yeah I have that but it still tries to move around a bit.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 06:23 PM   #23
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It's not so much the equipment as the talent really in getting the right shot, from the pictures you seem to know what your doing. Maybe a guide or a small course would help boost up some mental angles in your next photo. Google has a lot of questions answered on sport photography. Also there's a good review about the Trick and Effects book at MajRev Here.

Hope that helps!
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 06:32 PM   #24
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my only other critique would be to get lower. chin level if you can.
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