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Author Topic: Tips on shooting hockey?  (Read 14845 times)

ahsanford

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Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: October 30, 2012, 04:56:04 PM »
Hello Canon folks,

I thought I'd dabble at some sports work.  My friend plays hockey in a local rec league, so I thought I'd give that a go.

It's a small local rink, and I have free access to about 80% of the glass' periphery and can walk right up to the glass.  Also, being a new rink, the glass is nearly perfectly clear (though it does reflect lights).

Here's what I am doing...

Gear:
  • 5D3
  • 24-70 Mk I, 70-200 F/2.8 IS II
  • UV filters only (for front element protection), not using polarizers as I want as much light as possible
  • Not using hoods as the slightly elevated standing space behind the boards is really small and the hood would lean to a risky balancing act as it would push me back three inches from the glass.

Method:
  • Most of the shots are standing behind the glass in the corners of the ice, I can comfortably pan with the 70-200 or zoom out with the 24-70 to see from the entry of the zone to the net without hitting a glass seam.
  • Not using a monopod -- just handholding
  • Using IS mode 1 on the 70-200.  I'm not just panning at guys skating by.  Some guys are coming right at me.
  • I'm generally trying to freeze motion, so I've been in the ISO 1600-3200 range, and F/3.5 or so as both lenses sharpen up when slightly stopped down.  I'm happy to net 1/500s exposures, but would love to shoot more quickly if it didn't generate much noise or drive a softer large aperture.
  • Using level one out of three of high ISO noise reduction.
  • Shooting JPEG only to keep the buffer manageable -- more consecutive shots.
  • AI Servo used, chose mode 4 in the menu system.  Generally using the center point only, but I also use single point off-set right or left to track the puck handler with space in front of them, rule of thirds-style.... sort of.
  • As I am shooting JPEG, I'm using the florescent white balance as that's the lighting in this rink.
  • Pushing EV +1 to get the ice truly white (it's gray at normal exposure) -- this is like shooting snow, right?

Results:
  • I'm seeing a lot of slightly cloudy looking shots.  Levels work can manage some of this, but I'd like to get it right in camera if possible.
  • Much like shooting portraits of someone in front of the ocean, I often mess up and shoot out-of-level with the boards & dasher.  Any tips on this?  Monopod, maybe?
  • Sharpness is good, not great.  Nothing, not even still shots of guys at a faceoff, resembles the razor sharpness I see on a sports website.  Short of stopping down further, what can I do here?

Samples -- see attached / below.

...Now, please tell me what might put me in a better position to succeed! 

Thanks, team.  It's awesome to learn from you all.

- A

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Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: October 30, 2012, 04:56:04 PM »

PackLight

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 06:36:01 PM »
Looks fun;

I think your pics are a bit cool though, to blue. I took one of them in LR and adjusted the temp up +20 or so and it made a world of difference.

tbadowski

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 06:43:09 PM »
I've been shooting hockey for several years with a 30D, and now, most recently with a 70-200 2.8 IS II.
(which would be better with a FF, cause it's sometimes too much zoom for the 1.6 crop factor.)

Shooting thru the glass is like shooting thru a big stack of cheap filters- even if the glass is clean, it's going to
dull the image- so I try to get in the penalty box and shoot from there, but I have to duck a lot.

I'm always fighting the metering on the 30D; while the 5DmkIII should be better, the biggest problem I found was when I was shooting the home jerseys, which were navy. So, the meter would be trying to make the ice an 18% gray, or the jerseys an 18% gray; I finally gave up and went to Manual, and set the exposure that way. Also, you might consider a custom white balance- different rinks have different - but always low cost- lights, that have there own color cast.

I'm saving my pennies for the 5D, and hope to see how much better it is, but, maybe there's a couple things to try.



TexasBadger

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 06:56:44 PM »
I have shot a lot of have hockey and I would recommend the following.  Shoot straight raw, not jpeg.  Shoot manually.  Take a meter reading off of a player and go with that.  Use a monopod.  It will help a lot.  Try to get a SS of 1000/sec.  Shoot from the penalty box if possible and shoot over the glass, not through it.  Use your lens shade, it will protect your lens from a flying puck.  Use servo on your autofocus so that you can track a moving player.  Most important, shoot raw and clean up in pp.  You will get plenty of shots in your buffer.  Only use your cf card (no sd) and your buffer will write and clear faster.  Have  fun!
5DC, 5D3, Elan7, G12, 28 1.8, 50 1.8 II, 85 1.8 USM, 135 2.0 L, 24-70 2.8 L, 70-200 2.8 L, 560 EX, 580 EX II (2) --- all Canon.

ahsanford

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2012, 07:31:31 PM »


Great feedback, all.  Will try to get above the glass, but it will be a challenge in this small arena.

As for using the penalty box, it's at center ice, which is great for looking at goalies and defenders, but poor for looking at offensive players.  What do you do to capture shots of shooters and guys attacking the crease?

eli72

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 07:39:13 PM »
It's much easier if you can shoot from over the top of the glass, but they may have nets in that rink. Shooting through the glass, as someone pointed out, is like shooting through a hazy window, and it's going to keep you from getting sharp shots (the pros at the NHL rinks shoot through holes in the glass, so they don't have that problem). I found that using an Expodisc to set a custom white balance was by far the best way to go (although I also shot RAW+JPEG just in case). Shoot manually, because the brightness of the white floor of the rink will tend to cause your meter to underexpose. Biggest thing to remember is to anticipate when something is going to happen so that you can start tracking the player before you're ready to shoot - that gives the focusing a chance to settle down on the player you're following.

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2012, 07:39:13 PM »

eli72

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 07:42:57 PM »
One other thing that you might try is to get a rubber lens hood so that you can put your lens right up next to the glass - that will cut down on some of the reflections from the glass. Just remember that the boards and the glass give, and if a couple of players run into the glass right in front of you, your camera is going to get shoved back into your face, so it's good to shoot with both eyes open so that you can try to see them coming.

krjc

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 07:51:14 PM »
Not 100% of the time but mostly shoot at 2.8, 1/800, +1 EV and let the ISO be what it may (These shots between 4,000 and 12,800). Of course I have a 5D3 so it is not a problem. Most of the time I shoot RAW to adjust the WB, but these shots were taken JPEG and they came out fine I believe. I don't see the need for IS or a tripod if you are shooting at 1/800. Hockey is a fast sport so you need to shoot fast. Of course it helps if the arena is well lit, which is often not the case for minor league rinks.I like to get low and an angle where there is no glass. Personally I don't like to shoot downwards.

 I just wish I could of had a camera like this 10 years ago when my kids were just starting to play hockey.  :-[
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 07:52:53 PM by krjc »
Now-> Cameras: 7D, 5D3, T4i, G12 Lens: 24-105, 10-22 EFS, 17-55EFS, 50 1.4, 100 2.8 macro IS, 70-200 2.8IS II, 100-400, TC 2 III, MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x, 16-35 F4 L

ahsanford

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2012, 09:29:47 PM »


Awesome tips, gang.  Keep 'em coming.

Thoughts:

@KRJC:  I have a 5D3 but try to keep the ISO 6400 or under.  But I'll give your higher ISO recommendation (would be needed for 1/800s) a go.  I'd AUTO ISO that to key to a minimum shutter speed if it would let me -- right now 1/250s is the fastest it will Auto ISO to on my 5D3.  That seems to be something they could easily rev in firmware...

@Eli72:  Indeed, they have nets above the glass.  But at such a small DOF, provided the focus doesn't re-track on the net (something tune-able in the menus), shouldn't I be able to shoot through the nets?  Or will it give me a light cast on the subject?

Also, to everyone -- no commentary on *type* of Servo AF to use?  The 7D and 5D3 (I believe) have similar 'cases' for different sports.  I was using type 4, defined as "Subjects accelerate or decelerate quickly", intended for soccer, motorsports or basketball (according to hitting info for added detail on that mode).  Good / bad call?

Also, for 5D3 users, let's talk about AF point selection -- go with the single point, 5 pt (cross) cluster, 9 pt (3x3) cluster, the huge 9 zone selection, or the auto select?  I have been using the single point with good success, but I am choosing fairly bunny targets like a man in the clear with no one around him.  My hit rate is okay in crowds but could be better.  Ideas?

krjc

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2012, 10:38:59 PM »
For hockey I feel comfortable all the way up to 12,800. I rarely get good photos under 1/800 when the puck is in play. Try M with aperture and shutter set and ISO on ISO with a max of 12,800 ISO set. Focus point I set in middle with 8 surrounding points. Also good to put on high speed continuous. I have never tried any of the special modes for focusing. I guess I should give it a try.
Now-> Cameras: 7D, 5D3, T4i, G12 Lens: 24-105, 10-22 EFS, 17-55EFS, 50 1.4, 100 2.8 macro IS, 70-200 2.8IS II, 100-400, TC 2 III, MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x, 16-35 F4 L

scotthillphoto

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 11:25:13 PM »
When I used to work for a university I shot hockey all the time the normal for us was 6400 iso, 1/800th and 2.8 a custom WB but every rink is lit differently and when shooting through the glass you need to be right on it almost touching it with your lens... I have a few shots attatched below shot with a 1D3 and 7D with 70-200L 2.8 and the 300L 2.8
Bodies: Canon 7D and 5D Markiii - Lenses: 70-200 2.8L, 50 1.2L, 30 1.4, and 10-20 3.5 - Then flashes, strobes, stands, etc....

ahsanford

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2012, 01:06:16 AM »
For hockey I feel comfortable all the way up to 12,800. I rarely get good photos under 1/800 when the puck is in play. Try M with aperture and shutter set and ISO on ISO with a max of 12,800 ISO set. Focus point I set in middle with 8 surrounding points. Also good to put on high speed continuous. I have never tried any of the special modes for focusing. I guess I should give it a try.

You can go Auto ISO in full manual?  Didn't know you could do that.  Will try, thx.

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2012, 01:06:16 AM »

FTb-n

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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2012, 02:03:05 PM »
I shoot a lot of figure skating in hockey rinks with a 7D and a 70-200 f2.8L II.  Several random tips:

1. Shoot RAW or JPG, but not RAW+JPG.  The latter will burn your buffer.

2. If shooting JPG (I often do), use custom white balance.  Try taking your WB shot off the white boards.  In some rinks, setting WB to white fluorescent will also work.  Don't rely on AWB.

3. Set ISO from 3200 to 6400.  Your 5DIII can handle this with greater ease than my 7D.  Go for shutter speeds above 1/500, closer 1/1000.   A little noise is better than motion blur.

4. If you have noise to deal with, use NoiseNinja to clean it up.

5. Set your 70-200 IS to pan mode 2 and use a mono-pod with the lens' collar mount.  I once believed I didn't need the IS or added support with fast shutter speeds, but every little bit helps.  Plus, the 5DII/70-200 2.8L is heavy.  Fatigue will set in when hand-holding for a while.  The mono-pod takes the weight for you and makes it far easier change focus points or other camera settings on the fly.  I shoot a lot of sports without a mono-pod, but with figure skating, I find it invaluable particularly for the fatigue factor.

6. I assume that the 5DIII has focus point expansion, use it.  With the 7D, it helps with tracking.  Use AI Servo mode.

7. Don't be afraid of f2.8 with your 70-200 II.  It's very sharp.  But, you may want to move the focus point around so it's at face level.  Just keep it on something with contrast (and not solid color jerseys).  Be aware that 2.8 isn't very forgiving on out-of-focus shots.

8.  Shoot in manual and find an ISO/shutter speed/f-stop combination that works.  Lighting is likely to be somewhat consistent throughout the rink.  You may end up bumping the shutter speed up and down a bit as players move in and out of dark spots.  Trust your eye and periodically check the preview.  But, don't rely on an auto exposure mode.

9. Avoid shooting through the Plexiglas.  Since shooting from the players box means the players are skating away from you, this likely means shooting from the top of the stands.

10. Practice.  Practice.  Practice.
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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 04:13:08 PM »
For hockey I feel comfortable all the way up to 12,800. I rarely get good photos under 1/800 when the puck is in play. Try M with aperture and shutter set and ISO on ISO with a max of 12,800 ISO set. Focus point I set in middle with 8 surrounding points. Also good to put on high speed continuous. I have never tried any of the special modes for focusing. I guess I should give it a try.

You can go Auto ISO in full manual?  Didn't know you could do that.  Will try, thx.

With a 5D3 yes, but then I'm not sure you can EC +1.  I know you can on 1D bodies, but not sure about 5D3.  For 1D body I set max aperture f/2.0, min f/4.0, Tv mode at 1/1000s, ISO=auto, ISO safety shift ON, and EC +2/3 or +1.  Volleyball usually +2/3 is about right, with custom WB about 3200-3500.  Hockey I agree +1.  I keep my colors cooler when shooting because the warmer colors seem to generate more noise than cooler channels with regards to WB.
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Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 04:13:08 PM »