Saturday, December 19, 2009

PSA Hockey

Tonight I went to the Sportsplex to shoot my nephew Matthew`s hockey game. He was playing in a tournament and this was the last game of the tournament. Although, I`m told they`re playing in a game tomorrow, and I`m planning to attend to take more pictures so obviously this wasn`t the last game. I think I heard something about the game tomorrow being a championship game.  Maybe I should pay more attention to the details if I`m going to be writing about them. :-)

Matthew Hoffarth - Number 15, playing for PSA 
Click on the picture to see the gallery.

Read more after the link.

I was able to shoot the game from the players bench, which was a good place to shoot from. When I first got there Wayne asked if I wanted to shoot from the bench. I initially thought I`d be more interesting to walk around the outside of the rink behind the glass to get different angles so I said no thanks. As I was checking it out I found that the back side of the rink was blocked by a locked gate so I wouldn`t be able to walk around the ice like I`d thought. I rushed back to the change room and and asked if I could get on the bench. Luckily they hadn't locked the change room doors yet and I was able to get through.

I used my 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens and I set the camera for shooting at f3.2 and a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second with iso1600. I was worried that they'd turn out grainy and blurry - 1/200th can be a bit slow for freezing action now that the kids are older and can skate, and I automatically think that iso1600 will be too grainy.

I read somewhere recently that having sharp / grainy photos was better than blurry / non-grainy photos. I wanted to test this theory so after the first period I tweaked the settings on my camera by bumping the iso to a maximum of iso3200 and picked a shutter speed of 1/400th of a second. By increasing the iso, the sensor becomes more sensitive and you get more light. I was able to use a faster shutter speed, which reduces the amount of light, The net effect is that the overall exposure is about the same. The faster shutter speed helps to freeze action and also reduces the effect of me waving the camera around all over the place.

I was a little anxious about using iso3200 thinking that the noise would be terrible but when processing the images I found I was pretty impressed with the way they were turning out. Also, I was cropping the pictures for 4x6 at 300 pixels per inch, ( 1800x1200 pixels ) which is about 1/3rd the size of the original image. Compressing down the image also helped increase the quality.

So that`s that, by the end my fingers were a little bit colder that I expected. I took a total of 331 pictures, and after reviewing them about 86 were interesting enough to process and post. I was looking for some specific things in reviewing the photos:

  • pictures that tell a bit of a story.
  • pictures that had some interesting action.
  • shapes that are formed in the composition.
  • uncluttered compositions
  • shots that included the puck.
  • shots that had a view of the players eyes.

I think I was able to find a few like that..

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy the pictures.

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