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Thread started 26 Dec 2013 (Thursday) 02:17
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High School Hockey - Looking for some true suggestions and answers PLEASE HELP

 
Mtjtc4
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Dec 26, 2013 02:17 |  #1

All the pictures were taken with a Canon 30D (yes I know that is my first problem) using a Sigma 70-200 2.8mm lens. They were shot on RAW Manual setting (ISO: 800, EXP 1/1000), also used custom white balance by taking a picture of the ice before they cleaned it. I was positioned either above the glass or with the safety net pulled against the lens hood. None of them were shot through the glass. I used Canon's program that the camera came with to somewhat brighten them up and fool with the color. Used Picasa to crop and then ran the images through "Neat Image" to try and fix the noise. I know the images are slightly out of focus, don't know if its the old camera or operator error.

My question with these is when shooting hockey, and putting the images through post processing how much brightening is acceptable before the picture is too blown out. Also area these cropped too much, is it ok to have more open space in the image. Feel free to rip these images apart. I can and want all the critiques and suggestions that I can get.

Last question regarding my camera...I am only a hobbyist and shoot for my sons HS hockey team and take pictures of my daughters gymnastics and dance. I cant afford the dream cameras (1Dx or 5DMIII) but don't really know which of the next three would best suit taking pictures of these low light, no flash allowed high action shots. I know I wont get the shots that the 1Dx or the 5D would give me but the next best is better than what I am getting from the 30D.

Sorry for the long thread, but I am getting frustrated with every aspect of doing what I love

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Darsk47
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Dec 26, 2013 09:08 |  #2

Here's my two cents, hope some of it helps.

Mtjtc4 wrote in post #16554296 (external link)
All the pictures were taken with a Canon 30D (yes I know that is my first problem)

Nonsense. 30D is a nice camera. I used one for years and loved it. Took great shots with it. High ISOs are a bit noisier than newer models, but this will work fine. Are there better? Sure, but it's a poor carpenter who blames his hammer and saw.

using a Sigma 70-200 2.8mm lens.

Don't know it, but have read many on here who love it and have seen many examples of it in use in these sports threads.

They were shot on RAW Manual setting (ISO: 800, EXP 1/1000), also used custom white balance by taking a picture of the ice before they cleaned it.

You don't need 1/1000 s/s. Hockey is fast but 1/640, maybe 1/500 will stop the action. For little kids you can even get away with 1/400. Forget that it's hockey in a dark barn for a minute, and ask yourself a photographic question - my subject is moving, how fast a s/s do I need to freeze it? Then set your camera up to use that s/s giving yourself as low an ISO as possible. It will likely get you to f2.8, which is fine. You may see some loss of sharpness on surrounding players not on the same plane as the subject at f2.8 due to the short dof. There's always a trade off.

You have one shot of a player standing still at a face off - shot at 1/1000. Not necessary. If you want shots like this, 1/200 or maybe 1/160 will work. Any slower and you get long lens shake issues. You have all kinds of possibilities for these shots. It's not hard to freeze a player that isn't moving.

Use center point focus & Ai Servo. Learn to use back button focus. On the 30D, it's a custom setting. It may help you focus faster.

I was positioned either above the glass or with the safety net pulled against the lens hood. None of them were shot through the glass.

Can you get lower? The best looking shots are from just above the boards. Look where the pros shoot from - photo holes in rinks that are about a foot above the top of the boards. Chances are your rinks don't have photo holes, but can you get in the penalty box? or on the bench? Depending on the quality level of the hockey, many coaches don't mind. If not, ask the coach if you can shoot a practice from the bench. That way it can be practice for you too as you find settings with which you can get comfortable.

You may have to go through the glass (ttg). Bring a rag to wipe it off. There are areas on the glass that are cleaner than others like on the sides just before the curves and about 0-8 inches up from the dasher. Behind the net is the worst - zillions of puck marks. I have taken and have seen posted on here from others, many shots ttg that are very nice.

If you do go ttg, keep the lens hood on and pressed up against the glass to reduce and hopefully eliminate glare.

I used Canon's program that the camera came with to somewhat brighten them up and fool with the color. Used Picasa to crop and then ran the images through "Neat Image" to try and fix the noise. I know the images are slightly out of focus, don't know if its the old camera or operator error.

Sorry don't know this program. I use CS6 after years of Elements.

They're too dark. Oof never makes the cut in my opinion - straight to trash. Keep horizons level. Sometimes you can get fooled by the curves of the boards - but remember verticals are always vertical. And there's lots of them in a rink - glass separators, board cuts at doors etc.

For your CWB shot of the 'dirty' ice - take it at 1/60 s/s. Use the Tv setting in the camera. At this speed you won't catch a light cycle to tint what is supposed to be a white shot.

Photoshop Elements is a great program - you can pick one up for about 60 bucks on Amazon. Try it or Lightroom. ( I don't know LR that well, but it seems about a third of the members on here have it) . You'll notice a big difference.

My question with these is when shooting hockey, and putting the images through post processing how much brightening is acceptable before the picture is too blown out. Also area these cropped too much, is it ok to have more open space in the image. Feel free to rip these images apart. I can and want all the critiques and suggestions that I can get.

Don't blow out the ice. If you can't see markings on the ice, like paint and skate markings, you're too hot and you need to reduce your highlights. Sometimes lightening shadows and bumping saturation helps after a reduction in highlights. You're shooting RAW, so you have all kinds of latitude.

Long focal lengths, high ISO and heavy crops make for a noisy image you're sure to dislike. As with any shot, if your subject is moving in a direction, you have to give it somewhere to go. Your third shot is a bit wide, there's lots of room to move, but if you crop back to just get his whole stick in the frame, the space between his body and the edge of the frame should be sufficient.

Shoot tight and crop tighter is a rule of sports. Hard to follow sometimes with hockey if you want all of the stick and puck because the stick extends from the body 5 feet.

Face-puck-net is the trifecta. 2 of the 3 are usually needed in a decent image.

Last question regarding my camera...I am only a hobbyist and shoot for my sons HS hockey team and take pictures of my daughters gymnastics and dance. I cant afford the dream cameras (1Dx or 5DMIII) but don't really know which of the next three would best suit taking pictures of these low light, no flash allowed high action shots. I know I wont get the shots that the 1Dx or the 5D would give me but the next best is better than what I am getting from the 30D. Sorry for the long thread, but I am getting frustrated with every aspect of doing what I love

As I said, I loved my 30D. After about 150K images, the shutter went wonky. I upgraded to a 7D. Much better at higher ISOs. Individual back-button focus, faster tracking, reasonable price. A 1Dx would be nice, but the price is steep.

Most of all - practice a lot, change your settings, change your shooting position, change from landscape to portrait...no two rinks are the same. Often the light changes from one side of the rink to the end. Just keep shooting to see what works best.

Go to NHL.com and look through their galleries. See what the pros see.

It'll come....

Cheers !


Darcy
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tomd
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Dec 26, 2013 09:14 |  #3

Darcy has great advice.

Your shots look too dark and the WB looks a tad yellow on my monitor.


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cstewart
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Dec 26, 2013 13:08 |  #4

Mtjtc4 wrote in post #16554296 (external link)
...My question with these is when shooting hockey, and putting the images through post processing how much brightening is acceptable before the picture is too blown out. ...

You may have heard the term "shoot to the right"? In hockey is is especially true and refers to ensuring the peak of your histogram is well to the right when you look at it..ie that the image is overexposed to compensate for all the white ice and boards that fool your camera.

Here is a recent image I have that I feel is well exposed (might be a bit dark even)

IMAGE: http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v105/p279407822-3.jpg

If I go look in Lightroom at the histogram for the image...see below (all programs should have a way to look at this data)

IMAGE: http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v130/p630347662-11.jpg

You can see the peaks are well to the right but not blown out. Generally bump up exposure until you are close to blowing out whites and then pull back a tiny bit and you should be good.

Lightroom also has another tool I find useful. If I bump up exposure to get faces perfect and the ice is too blown out, I use the Graduated filter tool and pull this up from the bottom of the image about 1/4 of the way and then decrease the exposure setting on the filter a tiny bit as needed. This bring highlights back to the ice without impacting the faces and jerseys.

My settings are usually 1/500 or 1/640, ISO 2500 aperture of 32-4 depending on light etc.

Also agree with pretty much everything Darsk said. Get lower, use proper AF and exposure and keep shooting!

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Novy
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Dec 26, 2013 13:58 |  #5

I'm just curious, when you say you shoot for the hockey team do you have an arrangement of sorts or just doing it for fun to give them something more engaging than the usual cheesy posing photos teams get ever year? I've often thought of going down to the rink on my boring days off just to see what I can get, not for the sake of making money but if I could get some nice action shots to pass them along to the kids.

The timing of this thread is great, I play rec hockey and plan to take my camera on the bench to get some shots of the team while I'm resting.




  
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williec
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Dec 26, 2013 21:30 as a reply to  @ Novy's post |  #6

Ditto to Darcy's suggestions with one additional suggestion to try.
My starting rule of thumb is to shoot manual (on action shots) setting the exposure so that the ice is +1.5-2.0 stops (RAW gives you latitude here). This insures good exposure on faces, especially under helmets and face shields and tends to minimize noise in the shadows of faces which is an issue with the 30D at high ISO.
Examples at http://willcimages.com​/p935757433 (external link)


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Mtjtc4
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Dec 27, 2013 04:26 as a reply to  @ williec's post |  #7

First of Thank you, Thank you, Thank you especially to Darsk47 for taking the time to break down each and every line of my thread. Obviously I'm not that great a carpenter...yet, so I will blame my tools just a little bit (we all like to), but I will claim a lot of the issues on myself. I only blame the tools because I am still trying to learn them. Perfect example is my s/s. I only used 1/1000 because I thought I needed the fastest shutter speed possible while still having an image. My Bad. The shot of my son waiting at the face off was shot at such a speed because I get caught too much in the moment that I either forget to lower the s/s before I take a shot like that or more common and worse off, forgetting to change the s/s back after I take the shot. As far as the "back button focus" I don't know what that is, but rest assured after I finish typing this it will be researching just that. I also do use the center point focus and Ai Servo, so I am good their.

As far as the shooting location, that's a hard one in local rinks. The glass around the rink is not great but not bad either considering their are 5 local high schools and a youth organization that use the same rink. The issue comes from the stands run the full length of the dasher on one side of the rink so its glass from the walk way up. On the other side is the two benches and the scores/penalty boxes, leaving only behind the net and the corners as fully accessible locations without having to sit on the metal walkway in-front of the stands. And the coach is very protective of his bench.

I was shooting my CWB using the setting I though I would be using, so yet another thing learned. Thank you. As far as the program I use. The canon program works ok, I just don't really know how to adjust setting, although I am starting to figure it out. That doesn't mean that I want a new program. By the time I had the money to buy lightroom 4 it went unavailable and because Lightroom 5 wont run on my computer (windows vista) I would have to go with Elements 12 which is a possibility since I am in need of a camcorder for a whole set of other reason and they have $20 off Adobe software and they have both the video and photo elements as a bundle.

I asked about the ice because I have seen some pictures posted where the ice looked too blown out...pure white and some that were what I would call perfect white where it still looked like an ice rink. I have been working on the trifecta even though it may not seem like it. Last year, for some reason I took a lot of pictures of backs, why I don't know other than I put my finger over the shutter button and the little voice in my head says go ahead you know you want to press it. Even with this set I still found myself taking some backs but not as many as last year.

I too am starting to have shutter problems with my 30D. On occasion I push the shutter button and nothing happens and sometime I have no problem at all. So an upgrade of the camera has to be in the future sometime and yes a 1Dx would be very nice, but you may have answered a research question that I did not ask. If I were to upgrade, is the 7D the camera you suggest over the 70D or even the 6D? The best part of my sons high school team is they play 13 out of 20 of their games in this rink because they have to play 3 of the other 4 teams that share the rink its just a different color jersey.

TO: cstewart
The histogram of the images is nerve racking for me. I have the image review on the view finder set to display the white histogram and I try to get it to the right side but can't seem to get it their. Maybe with this new found help, maybe I can get closer. Unfortunately I cant reach that high of an ISO with the 30D. If I remember correctly, I think it only goes to 1600 with a push to "H" which I am afraid to shoot in due too even more unwanted noise. I know I said this up above, but I wish I could get LR, but because my computer runs on Vista and LR5 will only run on Windows 7 or 8 and I can no longer buy LR4 I am out of luck without buying a new computer. Personally I would rather buy a new camera.

TO: Novy
I don't have an arrangement per se. It may drive my wife crazy that I take the pictures and don't ask for money but it serves three purposes. First, I just like to take pictures, with I knew more, but its a learning curve and with criticism like this I can learn a lot. Secondly I do it for the parents and the players. They all like seeing pictures of either themselves or their kids. They know that if they want the professional picture they can pick the perfect shot and buy what they can afford on Maxprep. I know my picture taking may hurt his business a little but I consider my pictures more along the lines of the average everyday picture quality they might try and get with their camera only a little better. I would never tell anyone to use my pictures as a supplement to the professionals because they are much much better, but their are some like me, that just can't afford the price of one 5x7 or 8x10 of their child. Plus they use my pictures for the end of year hockey book given to the players. I set up a picasa site for the team and they put a link to it on the teams website so anybody can download them. Thirdly, I take the picture because it is probably the only thing that keeps me calm and not thrown out of the rink for yelling at the refs. I grew up on going to AHL games in New Haven and growing up around professional hockey, you can yell at the ref's all night long and its like yelling at a wall. Try doing that at the youth or high school level, you might as well be right in there face yelling. Only managed to get tossed once in 10 years of watching my son play travel hockey. (I didn't have my camera at that game)

TO: williec
Thank you, I will try to figure out how to do that also.

They actually have a game tonight, I am going to take all of these suggestions and will report back on how I made out.




  
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williec
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Dec 27, 2013 09:15 as a reply to  @ Mtjtc4's post |  #8

Lightroom 4 is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com …Old-Version/dp/B007BG9VLK (external link)

You will find that with LR's exceptional noise handing that you could push the 30D to "H" and might be happy with the results. Unfortunately you won't have the option of a free trial and would have to invest in it to see what it can do. It has made my work much easier, couldn't recommend it more highly.

There are 2 ways to get the histogram to "move" to the right. One is exposure compensation which would allow you to set the exposure to the plus side and bump up the exposure ( see page 93 of your manual...if you don't have one go to http://www4.uwm.edu …r/manuals/camer​as/30D.pdf (external link)). The technique I use is to set the mode dial to M, f-stop to a range of 2.8-3.5, point the camera directly at the ice and adjust the shutter speed to get a +1.5 to 2.0 on the exposure meter. If you don't get a reasonable shutter speed (hopefully 640 or faster) then think about setting the ISO to "H" to see what you get. Pushing the histogram to the right will improve your noise situation.

Let us know how you make out. Nothing like ice hockey and realize it's quite a challenge with a significant learning curve!


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pat.kane
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Dec 29, 2013 14:20 |  #9

Mtjtc4 wrote in post #16556662 (external link)
[...] They know that if they want the professional picture they can pick the perfect shot and buy what they can afford on Maxprep. I know my picture taking may hurt his business a little [...] but their are some like me, that just can't afford the price of one 5x7 or 8x10 of their child.

Don't fool yourself on the last statement. If a parent can afford for their kid to play hockey, they can generally afford a 5x7 or 8x10.

"ok & free" vs. "great & expensive" is usually an easy choice for parents (free wins). To get sales, the MaxPreps photographer simply has to provide a MUCH better and/or unique product. If not, he/she will simply stop covering the team as shooting for free isn't a good business model.

As a MaxPreps photographer, I have no issue with parents taking pictures and sharing with the team. When asked, I've offered advice to many parents on the sidelines on how to take better pictures and even loaned one dad a 400/2.8 lens for a series of downs to satisfy his curiosity (he and I had built rapport over several games); however, I do make note of which teams have decent free coverage and pay attention to sales. Even with diminished sales, I've still covered these teams, but with a focus on the opposing team.

Mtjtc4 wrote in post #16556662 (external link)
Thirdly, I take the picture because it is probably the only thing that keeps me calm and not thrown out of the rink for yelling at the refs.

Likewise!


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Jan 04, 2014 12:38 |  #10

As for budget, consider a used 1DMKIII -- I use it, it works well. I also still own a 30D. I promise you, you'll be happier.


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Big ­ Jake
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Jan 08, 2014 20:02 |  #11

There is some great info in this thread. My boys play and shooting hockey can certainly be frustrating. Thanks for sharing




  
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Jan 08, 2014 21:59 as a reply to  @ Big Jake's post |  #12

If you were able to shoot at 1/1000 f2.8 ISO 800, that must be a really nicely lit arena. Your images are underexposed, but they're no where near as underexposed as I would expect to see at those settings. I think they're presently underexposed by 2/3 stop. How much did you adjust the exposure by?

Have you tried using AWB? I always use a gray card, but I don't think it is necessary. In some cases it creates more work for me: when I'm dealing with metal halide lighting that is colour shifting badly. AWB should work fine with fluorescent lighting.

I slightly overexpose my photos when I take them (to reduce noise) and I'm working at 1/640 f2.8 ISO 3200.

I started shooting hockey with a T1i. I got some good shots, but my keeper rate was only around 15%. Had I purchased my 70-200 before my 70D, I might still be using the T1i. Your 30D is much more advanced than that. :)

I played with your image a bit in LR. I changed the WB, increased exposure by +.57, used some more NR, changed the tone curve . . . all really basic stuff that took all of 30 seconds. It isn't perfect, but I think it illustrates that you're not too far off the mark. I think the noise is the big thing to contend with.


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High School Hockey - Looking for some true suggestions and answers PLEASE HELP
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