Well the Sagamok Family Hockey Tournament has come to an end this year, and all fundraising goals were met, I am proud to say my photography booth contributed $250, half the days work to our LNHL teams. Once again I have to thank you all for the advice and guidance. I'd like to contribute to the forum discussion on hockey with regard to my experience over the weekend.
*The abundant technical advice here is awesome, so I do not think I need to add anything else to that but in terms of tips here is what I have to say!
1. Fans are an integral part of the hockey experience, I regret not taking the time to mingle amongst the audience and capture all the drama and emotion they exude with every puck pass and goal!
2. Depending on how much access you have, try and get shots of the players on bench. For this tourney I had unrestricted access all around the arena. Side portraits of players on bench is great because you witness the exhaustion, will power and mettle these players have. You can lower you shutter speed because they are not moving at 20km/h It is also a great way to break up a couple hundred photos of people wearing helmets and skating real fast.
3. Take the time to get comfortable with "Register Camera settings" which designates the settings for "C1" C2" and "C3" on your mode dial. I had my camera settings prepped for three different lighting conditions, those being "on ice" bench/audience bleachers and inner hall/cafeteria. You be far more productive this way, instead of constantly switching up lighting, aperture, speed and iso as you move about the arena.
4. This pointer maybe specific to my case of total unrestricted access, switch sides of the arena half way through each period to provide both sides the opportunity to be photographed "in action"
5. Did not do this shot this year, but I like to do one behind the goalie and behind the protective glass, where it is a long exposure where the goalie is motionless and the players are a blur either in the distance or coming his/her way.
6. Make use of any opportunity for a new angle or perspective. A goalie was injured during one of the games(nothing serious), so I went on ice and got photos of the two teams mingling with their friends, family, team mates and fellow players.
7. Some of the best photos occurred during warm ups. Such as father providing his daughter a crash course in hockey scrapping. Just to note fighting is banned at the tourney but this mock scrap with a daughter trying to tune her dad up was fun to catch on camera.
8. When players exhale their breath turns to mist and can either add some atmosphere to your photo or.....add this layer of grey that kinda kills your portrait. Get your timing down!
Things to note, I did not shot raw for this tourney as I had my wife manning the print station and she was feeling intimidated by the software. She got over it by day 2 but for expediency sake I stayed with JPEG for action shots and shot RAW for team photos. The first day was in regards to selling prints a flop. No one wanted action shots, they wanted team photos and players themselves did not stay when their game ended. This is a fundraiser tourney and many of them had work in morning, so I can't blame them. All our sales came on the last day when everyone was at the tourney for the finals and we had lots of team photos. A great inefficiency to profit was actually "action shots" where we would have a customer search for over 5- 10 minutes for a good photo of themselves or a relative on ice, thinking a separate PC and printer for those photos in the future.
One of the best take aways for this event for me was that it killed my lingering case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I shot the entire thing with a 6d/70-200mm and a flash without a fancy diffuser. I am way more interested in refining my technique with what I have and not thinking about how a new piece of equipment will make me a better photographer. That is where this forum came in, so once again thank you! Chi-Meegwetch