ice hockey

Discussion in 'Sports' started by brian_mchattie, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Hello folks.................. Can anyone give me advice on best camera settings for ice hockey... Taking hockey photographs has been a hobby of mine for the past 3 years or so and whenever I manage to get a good photgraph, I always want to "get better"...........
    I have just upgraded to the Nikon D700. I have a Nikkor 70-200 lens. I normally shoot in manual mode with an iso setting at 1600. Shutter speed, 640................
    Any advice would be gratefully welcomed...
  2. You're on right track. If the hitogram is little to the left....underexposed...bump up the ISO. You'll get less noise with a nearly correct exposure.
    If you get down behind the cage, put a 50 1.8 on and shoot.
  3. I don't shoot ice hockey but I do shoot figure skating -- same rinks with skaters moving very fast under low light. Sounds like you've got the right gear. I use a D200 with 70-200 2.8 VR Nikkor. I use 1600 but if your D700 can go to 3200 without bad noise I would do it. The conventional wisdom in shooting fast moving sports would be to use shutter priority to set a high shutter speed and let the aperture fall where it may. But I do the opposite since I have yet to be in a rink where there's enough light to do anything other than shoot wide open. (Have not shot in a professional rink lit for TV, which would presumably be a whole different story.) I use aperture priority at 2.8 and hope for the best on shutter speed. I also use the metering compensation to open up probably two thirds of a stop from what the meter is telling me, otherwise the brightness of the ice causes the camera to underexpose. You have to experiment to get just the right amount of compensation. If you do too much, your shutter speeds get too slow. You can also go into LCH in Nikon Capture and drag the right-side triangle back to the edge of the histogram to brighten things up. That achieves correct exposure after the fact without costing you shutter speed. For figure skating, I shoot from the box where the hockey players would normally sit, so I don't know where they put photographers during an actual hockey game. You have to be there on the ice and not shooting through the glass to get serious pictures. I do know of one rink where there is a balcony level where you could shoot over the glass but lots of sight lines would be obstructed and it would be pretty challenging.
  4. Typically with sports - you want a shallow DOF so as to blur any distractions out of the background. So shoot A mode with an aperture of f2.8.
    For hockey - If I'm the photographer for an event - I get on one of the benches before the game and ask the coach if I can stand in a spot - out of the way of the players - and shoot from there. Some hockey arena's will have photo pits where they have either clear glass or no glass in front. If I'm not the official photographer - then I either find a spot in the stands that gives a good view or get behind / near the net.
    I use the 70-200 f2.8 most of the time. Much easier than the foot zoom of the 50mm.
  5. Thank you people for your quick responses.. I am very lucky in that I have access to the players box during games for all the local teams in my home town of Stavanger, Norway. from young kids to juniors to seniors.... The enclosed photographs were taken last week in raw with my nikon d90, 70-200 lens. Converted and tweaked with photoshop. I normally shoot with the advance mode dial in "S" Should I shoot with the setting at ch? I would be really interested in comments about "my comments" (if that makes sense).
    Is is possible to shoot the perfect ice hockey photograph with my equipment. Or am I asking too much?
    In picture "18" the result is strange because the referee is very clear but I really wanted to focus on the player!!
    Photo "38" I am reasonably happy with but I would like to improve!
    Picture "47" the players face is out of focus.
  6. Your photos look pretty nice to me - try using the CENTER focus point and use AI Servo or whatever focus tracking method Nikon uses to track a moving object. on Canon, you can set the * button for focus lock, so that the shutter isnt re-focusing each time. I bet your camera has a similar feature.
    Once you get the settings the way you want, go MANUAL so you get consistent results for that arena. And as you are shooting RAW, take a test shot for custom white balance.
    Looks like you are doing well so far! Also a monopod will help keep the camera stable.
  7. Thanks Mark..... I usually do go manual because for some reason I am comfortable with that mode. I do have a good quality monopod. Centre focus point and AI servo?? I know there is something about that in the instruction manual (I read through the whole thing) so I will read again.
    p,s. Looked at your album from the U.S. open tennis! very impressive. That is the type of result which I would love to have. Fantastic clear colours............
  8. Brian -
    I don't have a d90 - so I can't tell you exactly which switch it is - but on every nikon Dslr there is a switch or menu setting to change between Manual and Auto Focus. On the Consumer models - it is a menu setting - I - think to allow continuous versus single AF. Continuous means that the AF tracks a moving subject until the shutter actually fires. Single means that when you push the shutter release half way - the af locks in on the target and stays there - even if the subject moves.
    D90 and the lens you have will get you great results - unless you're shooting 15,000 photos a weekend - then the D90 will do fine for you.
    The challenge you will have is that the lighting in most hockey arena's is not the greatest - so you will be dealing with High ISO, Slower Shutter Speeds and / or Low Apertures (f2.8) - It becomes a matter of trade - offs - you can kick the ISO up - and get higher shutter speeds and apertures (for a better depth of field (more things in focus) - but then you get more noise. Or you can lower your ISO and then you lose the shutter speed and aperture. It really becomes a choice you have to make. Most of the time - I go with low aperture (f2.8) higher ISO 1600 +, and a 1/500 shutter speed.
    The Ch setting is what controls the burst rate of your camera - set on Ch - that is continuous High speed - which means that you can hold down the shutter release and get a 12-13 frame burst. When set on S - that is single frame - you push and hold the shutter release - you get 1 and only one photo. You could hold the shutter down for an hour - you'd still only get 1 photo. Cl - is kind of an in between setting (somewhere between 1 frame and full burst rate) - it really doesn't serve any propose other than to save film - oh wait... nope - no purpose at all... For me - at sports shoots - I'm on Ch full time.
  9. Have to use some auto modes because - the lights power on and off the whole time giving you diff light conditions during the game.
    1. ISO auto control on - the range goes from 1600 - 3200 while shooting in low light.
    2. RAW
    3. Mode "S" at 320/sec+ this will give you wide open 2.8 most of the time - the iso does most of the adjusting. (I increase to 400 or 500 -depending on the light, and the ISO which I am getting) speed has more effect then DOF most of the time.
    4. exp comp +.7 with full meter - that way I hope not to get whites blown out, or grey ice.
    5. use the back AF-on for focus on the back of the camera - and shutter release only to take the picture. That way you are always have focus on your subject waiting for the right shot. Single focus point on the face - and I move it up and down depending on how far away they are on the ice from me.
    6. CH all the time as well, and C for shutter release - never S or M. this way your camera will take pictures even if not in focus - While in S - the shot has to be in focus for the shutter to release.
    Also focus tracking with lock on "short"- this one I am still playing with.
    The best thing is getting into a nice arena with lots of light - I never get there - always super dark ones.
  10. thank you all for your helpfull responses..... Our hockey season has now ended so I will be searching for "something else" to photograph during the coming summer months.

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