HELP for shooting ice rink ASAP!!!!

enice128

EOS T7i
Just need some quick advice on a last minute engagement shoot i have tonite! I'm shooting in an indoor ice rink for a friend for about an hour or so which i know can be difficult due to the white ice! I have used Kelvin in the past on my past camera bodies but unsure if my 1Dx has this? If so then i would say thats the way to go...but if not should i simply use AWB & shoot in RAW rather than jpeg? Thanks in advance for any help &/or camera settings!!!!
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,599
2,054
At my local rink, I typically use a 70-200/2.8 at ~f/3.2, 1/400 s in M mode with auto ISO and +2/3 stop EC (to compensate for the ice). My ISO generally ends up in the 2000-4000 range. I shoot RAW and use DxO Prime NR.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,579
396
Germany
neuroanatomist said:
At my local rink, I typically use a 70-200/2.8 at ~f/3.2, 1/400 s in M mode with auto ISO and +2/3 stop EC (to compensate for the ice). My ISO generally ends up in the 2000-4000 range. I shoot RAW and use DxO Prime NR.
+100% to this.
As you have a 1DX you can use EC in M mode as neuro recommended.
The other way would be Tv mode (shutter priority) with EC as I would do on my 5D3.
Do some test shots in advance to find the right EC. This might also end up with +1 to +11/3 depending on the specific lighting conditions at your ice rink.
(The brighter the lights the more reflections from the ice overexpose the main subject and mislead the exposure control to make it darker)
 

enice128

EOS T7i
Thanks for all ur input! I forgot to mention that primarily most if not all I will be shooting tonite will be stills...whether candid or posed but not much or if not any action shots. My older bodies I was able to set the K degrees in live view mode which was so helpful! And I typically don't shoot in RAW but I know for this type of setting it's a must for post editing! So typically I like to underexpose when I'm shoootng weddings & sweet 16s, etc....but u recommend to overexpose? And just to let u guys know...I pretty much shoot in M so I have full control! What about ISO...put on auto?
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,599
2,054
enice128 said:
So typically I like to underexpose when I'm shoootng weddings & sweet 16s, etc....but u recommend to overexpose? And just to let u guys know...I pretty much shoot in M so I have full control! What about ISO...put on auto?
Underexpose relative to what? The point is that on an ice rink, the camera will meter based on lots of white in the frame, and this your subjects will be underexposed quite a bit. I find that (in my local rink) a +0.67 EV still leaves the subject better exposed without blowing out the ice. I still usually need to lift shadows a bit in post.

I like auto ISO in M mode on the 1D X, given that I can set EC. I'm usually shooting in daytime and there's outdoor light at one end of the rink, so lighting changes as subjects move...auto ISO is helpful. If the only light is artificial and it's fairly even, you could likely just set it manually.
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,213
398
With the 1Dx you can set the white balance in Kelvin or even a white balance correction.

Also consider the effect of fluorescent lighting where the cycling can result in spurious under-exposures in individual frames. The 1Dxii has anti-flicker mode but unfortunately not the 1Dx.
 

Dantana

EOS RP
Jan 29, 2013
235
80
Los Angeles, CA
www.flickr.com
I would echo what has been said about settings in previous posts, as it all seems like good advice.

I'll add that if you own an incident light meter, it might help you get a proper exposure, as it won't be trying to turn ice gray.
 

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
528
5
St. Paul, MN
As the resident photographer for my daughter's figure skating club, this question is right up my ally. Use your 1Dx with the 70-200 2.8. I suggest the following:

- If the lighting is relatively even throughout the rink, shoot in full manual. I don't like using an AE mode because skaters can negatively affect the meter when some are dressed in black and others in lighter attire.
- Set the shutter speed at 1/500 for younger skaters, 1/800-1/1000 for more advanced skaters who are doing double jumps (or hockey).
- Aperture at f2.8 to f3.5. I generally shoot at 2.8, but sometimes that little extra DOF can help with active skaters.
- ISO from 1,600-4,000 pending lighting. In my rink, I often shoot at 3,200-4,000. Don't be afraid to shoot at 6,400 or 8,000 with the 1Dx.
- Expose to the right. 1/3-2/3 over-exposed is better than under exposed.
- I generally use Evaluative or Center Weighted then do the following tip.
- Set your highlight warning on. Take test shots of skaters and the boards. I often start with 1/800 and f2.8, then raise the ISO until I start to see the black highlight blinking on white skates, white dresses, uniforms, or the white boards. Then I back off 1/3 to 2/3 stops. Some parts of the ice that reflect lights will still blink and that's ok.
- SHOOT RAW
- If the rink has florescent lights, you can try setting the WB to White Florescent. Alternative, take a test shot off the white boards, then set custom WB.
- Use Color-Checker if you have it.
- Chimp once in a while to make sure things look right and look for the highlight blinker.
- Set AF to center-point with 8 expansion points. AI Servo is assumed.
- AF Case 5. I like to set tracking to -1 and AF point auto switching to 2.
- If you can move the focus point to the skater's head, great. But, with most routines, it's safest to focus on the middle torso. The skater's head will, most often, be in the same plane. But, there are some elements where this isn't the case.
- If the skater is in black attire, look for some element of contrast. I sometimes have trouble staying locked on to skaters in all black attire.
- AI Servo works best if the AF button is triggered a split second or more before you trigger the shutter. This gives the AF some time to track the skater. But, don't sit on the AF button too long. The AF tracking can get confused with erratic movement. It often helps to let up on the button momentarily when the skater changes direction.
- For jumps (and I assume you're shooting figure skating), shoot the approach, the apex of the jump, and the landing. This may mean sitting on the shutter during the apex through the landing. If you do this, sit for two more frames than you think you need. With the 1Dx, I often confuse the last mirror slap for the shutter and think I got the landing only to discover later that I let up too early.
- As with any other action, pan with the skater and pan through your shots.
- With the 1Dx, I love the fact that you turn off some exposure mode options and use the M-fn button to cycle through the available ones. I set mine to M, then save to C1, C2, and C3. At the rink, I only make M and C1 available. M is full manual and for shooting the skaters on the ice. I set C1 to 1/200, f2.8-4.0, and Auto ISO. If there is something off ice to shoot, I can quickly switch modes.
- If you can, shoot by the boards from a player's box (again, assuming figure skating).
- Practice shooting during warm-ups.
- Last note. If you are shooting figure skating, shoot full body shots. Skating is about the skating, not just the expression. Skaters want to see where the feet are in their photos. You will have to anticipate jumps that may take the skater's head or hands out of the frame. Do the close-ups during the final pose.

I hope these tips help.
 

rfdesigner

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 12, 2014
876
0
New Forest, UK
sites.google.com
FTb-n said:
As the resident photographer for my daughter's figure skating club, this question is right up my ally. Use your 1Dx with the 70-200 2.8. I suggest the following:

- If the lighting is relatively even throughout the rink, shoot in full manual. I don't like using an AE mode because skaters can negatively affect the meter when some are dressed in black and others in lighter attire.
- Set the shutter speed at 1/500 for younger skaters, 1/800-1/1000 for more advanced skaters who are doing double jumps (or hockey).
- Aperture at f2.8 to f3.5. I generally shoot at 2.8, but sometimes that little extra DOF can help with active skaters.
- ISO from 1,600-4,000 pending lighting. In my rink, I often shoot at 3,200-4,000. Don't be afraid to shoot at 6,400 or 8,000 with the 1Dx.
- Expose to the right. 1/3-2/3 over-exposed is better than under exposed.
- I generally use Evaluative or Center Weighted then do the following tip.
- Set your highlight warning on. Take test shots of skaters and the boards. I often start with 1/800 and f2.8, then raise the ISO until I start to see the black highlight blinking on white skates, white dresses, uniforms, or the white boards. Then I back off 1/3 to 2/3 stops. Some parts of the ice that reflect lights will still blink and that's ok.
- SHOOT RAW
- If the rink has florescent lights, you can try setting the WB to White Florescent. Alternative, take a test shot off the white boards, then set custom WB.
- Use Color-Checker if you have it.
- Chimp once in a while to make sure things look right and look for the highlight blinker.
- Set AF to center-point with 8 expansion points. AI Servo is assumed.
- AF Case 5. I like to set tracking to -1 and AF point auto switching to 2.
- If you can move the focus point to the skater's head, great. But, with most routines, it's safest to focus on the middle torso. The skater's head will, most often, be in the same plane. But, there are some elements where this isn't the case.
- If the skater is in black attire, look for some element of contrast. I sometimes have trouble staying locked on to skaters in all black attire.
- AI Servo works best if the AF button is triggered a split second or more before you trigger the shutter. This gives the AF some time to track the skater. But, don't sit on the AF button too long. The AF tracking can get confused with erratic movement. It often helps to let up on the button momentarily when the skater changes direction.
- For jumps (and I assume you're shooting figure skating), shoot the approach, the apex of the jump, and the landing. This may mean sitting on the shutter during the apex through the landing. If you do this, sit for two more frames than you think you need. With the 1Dx, I often confuse the last mirror slap for the shutter and think I got the landing only to discover later that I let up too early.
- As with any other action, pan with the skater and pan through your shots.
- With the 1Dx, I love the fact that you turn off some exposure mode options and use the M-fn button to cycle through the available ones. I set mine to M, then save to C1, C2, and C3. At the rink, I only make M and C1 available. M is full manual and for shooting the skaters on the ice. I set C1 to 1/200, f2.8-4.0, and Auto ISO. If there is something off ice to shoot, I can quickly switch modes.
- If you can, shoot by the boards from a player's box (again, assuming figure skating).
- Practice shooting during warm-ups.
- Last note. If you are shooting figure skating, shoot full body shots. Skating is about the skating, not just the expression. Skaters want to see where the feet are in their photos. You will have to anticipate jumps that may take the skater's head or hands out of the frame. Do the close-ups during the final pose.

I hope these tips help.
+1 on the full Manual if you can. Set for not quite clipping hi-lights and with lighting being fixed you're done (although the ice will be the brightest bit, so clipping that isn't necessarily an issue), I've been going this way for family shots indoors for quite a while now, much more consistant.
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
992
97
FTb-n said:
As the resident photographer for my daughter's figure skating club, this question is right up my ally. Use your 1Dx with the 70-200 2.8. I suggest the following:

- If the lighting is relatively even throughout the rink, shoot in full manual. I don't like using an AE mode because skaters can negatively affect the meter when some are dressed in black and others in lighter attire.
- Set the shutter speed at 1/500 for younger skaters, 1/800-1/1000 for more advanced skaters who are doing double jumps (or hockey).
- Aperture at f2.8 to f3.5. I generally shoot at 2.8, but sometimes that little extra DOF can help with active skaters.
- ISO from 1,600-4,000 pending lighting. In my rink, I often shoot at 3,200-4,000. Don't be afraid to shoot at 6,400 or 8,000 with the 1Dx.
- Expose to the right. 1/3-2/3 over-exposed is better than under exposed.
- I generally use Evaluative or Center Weighted then do the following tip.
- Set your highlight warning on. Take test shots of skaters and the boards. I often start with 1/800 and f2.8, then raise the ISO until I start to see the black highlight blinking on white skates, white dresses, uniforms, or the white boards. Then I back off 1/3 to 2/3 stops. Some parts of the ice that reflect lights will still blink and that's ok.
- SHOOT RAW
- If the rink has florescent lights, you can try setting the WB to White Florescent. Alternative, take a test shot off the white boards, then set custom WB.
- Use Color-Checker if you have it.
- Chimp once in a while to make sure things look right and look for the highlight blinker.
- Set AF to center-point with 8 expansion points. AI Servo is assumed.
- AF Case 5. I like to set tracking to -1 and AF point auto switching to 2.
- If you can move the focus point to the skater's head, great. But, with most routines, it's safest to focus on the middle torso. The skater's head will, most often, be in the same plane. But, there are some elements where this isn't the case.
- If the skater is in black attire, look for some element of contrast. I sometimes have trouble staying locked on to skaters in all black attire.
- AI Servo works best if the AF button is triggered a split second or more before you trigger the shutter. This gives the AF some time to track the skater. But, don't sit on the AF button too long. The AF tracking can get confused with erratic movement. It often helps to let up on the button momentarily when the skater changes direction.
- For jumps (and I assume you're shooting figure skating), shoot the approach, the apex of the jump, and the landing. This may mean sitting on the shutter during the apex through the landing. If you do this, sit for two more frames than you think you need. With the 1Dx, I often confuse the last mirror slap for the shutter and think I got the landing only to discover later that I let up too early.
- As with any other action, pan with the skater and pan through your shots.
- With the 1Dx, I love the fact that you turn off some exposure mode options and use the M-fn button to cycle through the available ones. I set mine to M, then save to C1, C2, and C3. At the rink, I only make M and C1 available. M is full manual and for shooting the skaters on the ice. I set C1 to 1/200, f2.8-4.0, and Auto ISO. If there is something off ice to shoot, I can quickly switch modes.
- If you can, shoot by the boards from a player's box (again, assuming figure skating).
- Practice shooting during warm-ups.
- Last note. If you are shooting figure skating, shoot full body shots. Skating is about the skating, not just the expression. Skaters want to see where the feet are in their photos. You will have to anticipate jumps that may take the skater's head or hands out of the frame. Do the close-ups during the final pose.

I hope these tips help.
Wow, thanks for sharing. Some good advice in here - definitely will consider this moving forward. I don't have any skating shows coming up any time soon but having shot a few in the past, this is what typically worked for me (I don't have a 1DX, so I'm not able to take advantage of say, EC in M mode even though that would help quite a bit):

My experience is limited mostly to Crop-sensor cameras, although I got to use my 5D3 at practices for the world championships earlier this year.

- Lens: 70-200 2.8 II. Lightweight/Smaller Alternatives: 200 2.8 II, 135 2, 100 2.
- I shoot full manual - aperture 2.8, shutter speed between 1/500 and 1/800, and ISO 3200 (typical - depends on lighting). If the lighting is really bad and I have the 135, I'll use that lens instead and take advantage of the extra stop to keep the ISO from rising above 3200.
- I try to shoot RAW if/when possible. There have been times in the past where my card neared full and I was forced to switch to JPG - thankfully now with 128GB cards and dual slots that no longer happens!
- For AF (still trying to work this out, the above advice was very helpful to me): For singles skaters I've leaned toward Servo, 4-point AF expansion (or center point on cameras where AF expansion isn't available), case 5 (default settings)...although I think in some instances, case 6 tracks a little better (specifically if the skater is constantly changing directions, spinning, etc.). For pair skaters, I prefer Zone focusing. I've experimented with using all AF points, but often times I find the AF system will get confused and "drift" onto a face in the crowd instead, or other like object, and I miss my shot...so I wouldn't recommend that.
- I agree about shooting full-body shots in general. Although it's nice to get that occasional close up shot when they skate right past you...or perhaps during an opening pose, etc.
 

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
528
5
St. Paul, MN
Act444 said:
Wow, thanks for sharing. Some good advice in here - definitely will consider this moving forward. I don't have any skating shows coming up any time soon but having shot a few in the past, this is what typically worked for me (I don't have a 1DX, so I'm not able to take advantage of say, EC in M mode even though that would help quite a bit):

My experience is limited mostly to Crop-sensor cameras, although I got to use my 5D3 at practices for the world championships earlier this year.

- Lens: 70-200 2.8 II. Lightweight/Smaller Alternatives: 200 2.8 II, 135 2, 100 2.
- I shoot full manual - aperture 2.8, shutter speed between 1/500 and 1/800, and ISO 3200 (typical - depends on lighting). If the lighting is really bad and I have the 135, I'll use that lens instead and take advantage of the extra stop to shoot at 2.0 to keep the ISO from rising above 3200.
- I try to shoot RAW if/when possible. There have been times in the past where my card neared full and I was forced to switch to JPG - thankfully now with 128GB cards and dual slots that no longer happens!
- For AF (still trying to work this out, the above advice was very helpful to me): I've leaned toward Servo, 4-point AF expansion, case 5 (default settings)...although I think in some instances, case 6 tracks a little better (specifically if the skater is constantly changing directions, spinning, etc.).
- I agree about shooting full-body shots in general. Although it's nice to get that occasional close up shot when they skate right past you...or perhaps during an opening pose, etc.
The 5D3 is a great option for figure skating. My upgrade progression was 60D-7D-5D3-1Dx. The 7D added better AF tracking, but I was cleaning images in post more than I wanted. The 5D3 improved on the AF and significantly improved on high ISO.

I rarely use an AE mode, but when I do, Auto ISO with the 1Dx is the most reliable and the EC is a big plus. The 1Dx has better metering, so this should be no surprise. I know another pro who shoots ice shows in AV mode. It works for him. But, I still don't like any auto mode for on-ice shots -- especially for ice shows under spotlights. One skater may be in black and the next in white. One element can be performed in center ice with lots of white ice in the background, the next can be performed against the dark purple curtain. These drastic changes messes wildly with an auto exposure mode.

For ice shows under spot lights, I attend dress-rehearsals and practice. I will often shoot between 4,000-8,000 ISO and shutter around 1/800. It get's easy to see that if four spots are on a soloist, I can shoot at 1/1,000. If this drops to two spots, then I bump the shutter wheel to 1/800 or 1/640. If there's a group, typically only one spot will be on any given skater and i'll bump the shutter down to 1/640 or 1/500, occasionally chimping to look for highlight clipping.

You're right that you can get some great closeups as the skater gets close to you, between elements. If your shooting from the boards with a 70-200, this may be your only shot.

If you can make the 135 2.0 work, you can get some great images at f2.0, but I fear the shallow DOF would lower my keeper rate. If you are using a 5D3 or a 1Dx, don't limit yourself to 3200. With the 5D3, I won't hesitate to use 6400. I've found that I can push the 1Dx about 1/3 stop higher to 8000.

In my experience, the 5D3 is an underrated sports body and works great for figure skating. But, you need to concentrate on timing that first image and not rely on burst mode. For me, this helped make me a better photographer. This means that timing is critical for spins and the like. However, rotational jumps can still be a challenge.

It is very difficult to consistently time a double jump to get a shot of the skater's face (or at least one eye) during the apex of a jump. (Note that most of the shots before and after the apex can be rather unfaltering.) I've also found that the 6 FPS of the 5D3 and that the 8 FPS of the 7D are too slow to capture this moment. But the 12 FPS of the 1Dx will give me one keeper for most double jumps.

Another challenge that I had with the 5D3 is that it can lose focus during a rotational jump. If you think about it, your subject is not only moving in a straight line, but the AF point is trying to follow a focus point on the skater that is rotating toward the camera, then away, as the skater is spinning. This is where the 5D3 can lose it.

I've had good success with Case 6 as well. But, during a few practice sessions, I did more experimenting with both Case 5 and Case 6 during rotational jumps. I landed on Case 5 as the better choice. Ultimately, I upgraded to the 1Dx to improve my keeper rate for these jumps and for the better low-light tracking during ice shows. On paper, there may not seem to be much difference between the two bodies for focus tracking. In practice, I see a noticeable improvement which I attribute, in part, to a stronger battery that drive the the lens a little faster -- plus separate, dedicated processors.
 

scottkinfw

Wildlife photography is my passion
enice128 said:
Just need some quick advice on a last minute engagement shoot i have tonite! I'm shooting in an indoor ice rink for a friend for about an hour or so which i know can be difficult due to the white ice! I have used Kelvin in the past on my past camera bodies but unsure if my 1Dx has this? If so then i would say thats the way to go...but if not should i simply use AWB & shoot in RAW rather than jpeg? Thanks in advance for any help &/or camera settings!!!!
You can adjust according to Kelvin. Be sure to shoot Raw so you can adjust in post if needed.

Scott
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
992
97
FTb-n said:
The 5D3 is a great option for figure skating. My upgrade progression was 60D-7D-5D3-1Dx. The 7D added better AF tracking, but I was cleaning images in post more than I wanted. The 5D3 improved on the AF and significantly improved on high ISO.

I rarely use an AE mode, but when I do, Auto ISO with the 1Dx is the most reliable and the EC is a big plus. The 1Dx has better metering, so this should be no surprise. I know another pro who shoots ice shows in AV mode. It works for him. But, I still don't like any auto mode for on-ice shots -- especially for ice shows under spotlights. One skater may be in black and the next in white. One element can be performed in center ice with lots of white ice in the background, the next can be performed against the dark purple curtain. These drastic changes messes wildly with an auto exposure mode.

For ice shows under spot lights, I attend dress-rehearsals and practice. I will often shoot between 4,000-8,000 ISO and shutter around 1/800. It get's easy to see that if four spots are on a soloist, I can shoot at 1/1,000. If this drops to two spots, then I bump the shutter wheel to 1/800 or 1/640. If there's a group, typically only one spot will be on any given skater and i'll bump the shutter down to 1/640 or 1/500, occasionally chimping to look for highlight clipping.

You're right that you can get some great closeups as the skater gets close to you, between elements. If your shooting from the boards with a 70-200, this may be your only shot.

If you can make the 135 2.0 work, you can get some great images at f2.0, but I fear the shallow DOF would lower my keeper rate. If you are using a 5D3 or a 1Dx, don't limit yourself to 3200. With the 5D3, I won't hesitate to use 6400. I've found that I can push the 1Dx about 1/3 stop higher to 8000.

In my experience, the 5D3 is an underrated sports body and works great for figure skating. But, you need to concentrate on timing that first image and not rely on burst mode. For me, this helped make me a better photographer. This means that timing is critical for spins and the like. However, rotational jumps can still be a challenge.

It is very difficult to consistently time a double jump to get a shot of the skater's face (or at least one eye) during the apex of a jump. (Note that most of the shots before and after the apex can be rather unfaltering.) I've also found that the 6 FPS of the 5D3 and that the 8 FPS of the 7D are too slow to capture this moment. But the 12 FPS of the 1Dx will give me one keeper for most double jumps.

Another challenge that I had with the 5D3 is that it can lose focus during a rotational jump. If you think about it, your subject is not only moving in a straight line, but the AF point is trying to follow a focus point on the skater that is rotating toward the camera, then away, as the skater is spinning. This is where the 5D3 can lose it.

I've had good success with Case 6 as well. But, during a few practice sessions, I did more experimenting with both Case 5 and Case 6 during rotational jumps. I landed on Case 5 as the better choice. Ultimately, I upgraded to the 1Dx to improve my keeper rate for these jumps and for the better low-light tracking during ice shows. On paper, there may not seem to be much difference between the two bodies for focus tracking. In practice, I see a noticeable improvement which I attribute, in part, to a stronger battery that drive the the lens a little faster -- plus separate, dedicated processors.
My upgrade path is identical to yours - minus the 1DX portion (and I started out with a Rebel T2i prior to the 60D). I was actually considering a 1D, but, you know, the shows just don't come around here often enough for me to justify that move...I think a good compromise may to swap one of my 5D3s for the new 5D4 which can work well as an all-rounder, and get me a few more pixels on target which will help offset the loss of reach that resulted from my switch from crop to FF. Having tried one out recently, the AF seems a bit more consistent as well so (crossing fingers!!!) there may be an improvement here as well? The 5D4 also has the EC in M mode, and the nifty option of assigning different modes to different buttons (being able to switch between AF servo cases on the fly could be a game-changer!).

The 3200 limit is a holdover from 7D days...that was the absolute ceiling for me on the crop-sensor cameras, so this is where the superior high ISO performance of FF is really nice to have. I'm fine with 6400 on the 5D3 (that's where I cap auto ISO), and perhaps even 8000-10000 for "emergency" situations if needed. In fact, that extra latitude will be very nice to have as I can have more room to increase shutter speed if necessary.

The use of the 135 f2 was necessary specifically at one ice show where the lighting was so poor (dim) that with the 7D, I needed that extra stop to keep the ISO at 3200. If I had the 5D3 at the time, I would have probably just kept the 2.8 and climbed up to 6400. 135 on FF would probably be too short TBH.

I totally agree about timing, too - actually when I was using the 60D, burst shooting in RAW really wasn't an option due to the limited buffer, so I just used single shot mode and relied solely on timing to get the shot. I was able to get some moments while missing a few others, but overall I'm generally happy with the result.

As for jump shots, I actually prefer when the skater has her face to the side (rather than looking at the camera head-on) because the faces they make tend not to be so flattering ;D If I fire a burst during a jump, I'm usually successful in getting that shot, but I still miss occasionally (mainly due to AF being off a bit).

I still have yet to find an answer for the skater that wears black or shiny under the spotlight at an ice show. Hit rate drops frustratingly low when I use normal center-point tracking...
 

FTb-n

Canonet QL17 GIII
Sep 22, 2012
528
5
St. Paul, MN
My first few ice shows were shot with a Rebel XT, which has a max ISO of 1600, and a 70-300 4-5.6 lens. Sometimes I used the 50 1.8. But, my subject was primarily my daughter and her skill set at the time worked well with slower shutter speeds around 1/200. I was pleased with the results, but my frame of reference was still my film experience. After borrowing a friend's T2i and another friend's 70-200 2.8L mk1, everything changed for me. This is when I realized that I can do a lot better. My daughter was improving and 1/200 was now inadequate. Things snowballed from there with my gear and my opportunities to use it. I now shoot all of the club skaters for most club events.

I think the 5D4 would be a great option. It should focus lock better than the 5D3 and may have better luck with black attire.

Don't worry about "loss of reach" from not shooting crop. I was concerned about this when I migrated from the 7D to the 5D3. When I first got my 5D3, I attended an ice show practice under full arena lights. I did extensive testing with the 70-200 2.8 on each body at ISO 2000-3200. Then, in post with Lightroom, I compared FF images cropped to the same field of view with 7D images. I found that the cropped FF images were as sharp or sharper than the 7D images. Part of this is due to the extra noise from the crop body and part is due to the fact that FF will produce sharper images than crop given the same lens (at least with most Canon lenses).

When shooting figure skating, the "ideal" shot that I want to capture is the classic mid-air apex of a rotational jump with a smile on the skater's face. But, you're right, facial expressions during jumps vary widely and most are not flattering. Yes, I'm also happy with profile shots. I just want at least one eye in view. I often wonder if Olympic skaters' training includes smiling during jumps because Olympic cameras are not very forgiving.

Frankly, the most photogenic elements are the spiral and a split jump where skaters often give you a little hang time to capture the apex -- and smiling is often easier for them. Sometimes you luck out with a death drop like below (shot from the ice with a 1Dx and a 70-200 2.8, ISO 8000, 1/1000, f3.2 ).
 

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Valvebounce

EOS 5D SR
Apr 3, 2013
4,239
183
52
Isle of Wight
Hi FTb-n.
That is a really nice shot, and the facial expression is good too, at least I think so, strong concentration shows the effort being put in to nailing the landing, sometimes the face is just too contorted like someone gurning! ;D
Lots of interesting information here, I'm not likely to shoot skating any time soon, but the conversation here has been very well informed.

Cheers, Graham.

FTb-n said:
Frankly, the most photogenic elements are the spiral and a split jump where skaters often give you a little hang time to capture the apex -- and smiling is often easier for them. Sometimes you luck out with a death drop like below (shot from the ice with a 1Dx and a 70-200 2.8, ISO 8000, 1/1000, f3.2 ).
 

Northstar

EOR R
Mar 31, 2012
1,673
0
105
US - Midwest
enice128 said:
Just need some quick advice on a last minute engagement shoot i have tonite! I'm shooting in an indoor ice rink for a friend for about an hour or so which i know can be difficult due to the white ice! I have used Kelvin in the past on my past camera bodies but unsure if my 1Dx has this? If so then i would say thats the way to go...but if not should i simply use AWB & shoot in RAW rather than jpeg? Thanks in advance for any help &/or camera settings!!!!
How did it go enice?
 

enice128

EOS T7i
First off, i would like to thank everyone for their input & advice (Northstar especially for asking lol)! It actually went better & easier than i thought it would but for some reason pretty much everybody who posted in response to my question gave their input for shooting action such as in AI Servo mode...even though i could have sworn i mentioned i would be taking still photos for an engagement shoot! But i am still very appreciative & will definitely refer back to the tips when the moment arises since i love the sport of hockey...both playing & photographing! I will post the link on my website to the photos when they are all edited & uploaded in a couple of days or so. It's pretty cool since the groom is a friend of mine & wanted these photos for his weeding announcement & "save the date" photos as well as for his huge sign-in board at his actual wedding!
 

tonyespofoto

1DS Mk III
Sep 8, 2014
19
0
My only experience at ice rinks has been shooting hockey,but I have done quite a bit of it. On the surface, you might think this is a difficult shooting environment, but because they are essentially skating on a white fill card the contrast is low and at most rinks, the exposure is essentially the same all over the rink, not including the the stands, of course. I usually shoot at ISO 3200 and f/2.8@1/250 or something close to that using a 70-200 f/2.8 Canon lens. I set the exposure by reading the ice and setting that at about Zone 6 1/2. Whatever that reading is, I lock it in and do not vary for the entire assignment unless I am shooting spectators in the stands or the something similar. Essentially, it amounts to a 1 1/2 stop over exposure. You could also set your exposure using a grey card. For sure, I would not let the camera take charge of the exposure as if sees too much of the ice, it will underexpose your image by at least 1 1/2 stops. Because the ice is such a good fill reflector, I see good detail even in the shadows under the helmets. I set a custom white balance using the ice. You will need to shoot RAW. That is essential. The custom white balance will get you close, especially if the rink is lit with fluorescent tubes. If lit with some form of sodium or mercury vapor lamps, accurate color will be more difficult, which is why you will need to shoot RAW. RAW will also help you with noise, which may be a factor depending on your camera. Good Luck!!