Penalty Box Productions PRO 1:23pm, 26 October 2009
My husband and I have been shooting ice hockey photos for my son's team and are not pleased with the results so I'm looking for a few tips on manual settings.

We have a Canon 30d using a 70-200mm 2.8 lens uutilizing a monopod at times.

I'm trying to determine the best settings to maximize stop action, close ups & white balance all with the interference of horrible rink lighting and scratched plexiglass.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. We've fiddle with a lot of different settings and still struggle to get a pleasing result on a majority of shots.
nathanrhoades PRO 9 years ago
I didn't see any responses so I thought I would try to throw you a couple tips from trying to shoot basketball and volleyball in dim gymnasiums. I think you have the right glass, but obviously if you could get your hands on a f2, f1.8, or f1.4 you could get more light and speed things up. Unfortunately the larger the appeture the more $$$ you have to spend. I bought a 50D this spring and use a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 most of the time. I got the 50D for the expanded ISO range and the burst speed. I find lots of situations where I have to shoot ISO2000 - 3200 in order to be able to keep the shutter speed at a respectable 1/500 sec. I certainly sacrifice picture quality in the form of "Noise" when using this high of ISO, but it is worth it to me in order to stop motion. This is also done without a flash since flash is typically frowned upon. If you can use flash, then I would suggest looking into the "Strobist" or "Sports Strobist" groups and websites.

Here is how I set up my camera:
If light is constant, I set my camera to Manual, Appeture to f2.8, and shutter speed to 1/500. Then I adjust my ISO up until I get the proper exposure.

If the light varies from spot to spot, I use Appeture Priority set to f2.8, set the ISO high enough to get a shutter speed of around 1/500 when focused on a likely area. Then I let the camera adjust the shutterspeed to maintain exposure while tracking the action.

Hope this helps a little, give me a shout if I can explain something further.
GillianSpring Posted 9 years ago. Edited by GillianSpring (member) 9 years ago
Nathan and Penalty: Have you ever used Al Servo focus mode for sports? or do you stay on One Shot? (and I can't think of the other focus mode). I can't say I have used it enough to judge the difference, but shooting rugby, I, too, use the same settings as Nathan, though outdoors I can get away with slightly slower shutter and lower ISO.
Also, it seems the scratched plexiglass adds another issue?
Good Luck!
nathanrhoades PRO 9 years ago
Good Call Gillian..... I always use AI Servo focus while shooting sports. The only exception is when I switch to manual focus to get a burst of shots durring a free throw or swing of a bat where the subject stays in the same spot and I'm trying to get the path of the ball or form of the swing in a series. I would also get above the plexi-glass. I take a small step ladder to baseball games to get above some of the taller fences, it's a pain in the butt, but it eliminates all of the issues around shooting through things with auto-focus.
Thank you all for your replies. We do use AI Servo focus. In hockey, it's not possible to get above the plexiglass because there is a net about it, which is worse to get pictures through. I will double check out settings to see if we are using the same one.

Thanks all :)
nathanrhoades PRO 9 years ago
You might try doing a search on hockey both for tags, and in groups. I saw some great hockey photos yesterday but cant remember where they were, find a good shot and ask the photographer how he got it! I've had really great luck simply asking people how they shoot!
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