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Old Jan 27, 2011, 12:11 PM   #1
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Default Help with ice hockey - how to set up

Hi,

First of all I am a hobbyist that likes taking photo's of my kids playing hockey. I have set up my camera a few different ways (from forums) but want to ensure I am getting the optimal photos from the equipment I have.

I am shooting 9 and 5 year olds hockey using a 30D and Sigma 70-200 lens. Typically I'm in the stands which are quite low to the ice and on occaision I will sit in the penalty box (if there is no glass). Lighting is pretty typical of older ice rinks and on occaision they play in a newer arena that has better lighting. I set the WB using a photo of the ice prior to cleaning and set in manual mode, ISO 1000, 2.8 and shutter speeds from 320 to 500 focus is set on the "o" - can't remember what its called. Typically I take some test shots while they are warming up and take a look at the pics themselves and the histogram.

Overall I'm pretty happy with my results, but it would nice to get them a little sharper. I would post a few samples but I'm not at home right now.

2 Questions
- Is there a better way to set up my camera
- What is the best way to check IQ while shooting
- while there are many variables - can someone tell me the general settings of their set up with a similar lens/camera

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 2:24 PM   #2
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The good news is you're doing everything you said correctly. If possible when you get back, post a couple photos that are unedited (only resized) - the original framing and exif will help us determine what some of your problems might be. Some thoughts before seeing your photos:
  • Make sure focus mode is AI-Servo
  • Make sure only center focus point is selected (and not all points or not a non-center point)
  • When you acquire the subject you need to track them for a second before you start taking photos - the camera will allow you to take the shot before focus is achieved
  • make sure you're shooting in bursts - usually about 3-4 shots per burst. You will find that 1 or 2 of the shots are sharper than the others
  • make sure you're not heavily cropping - this is the single biggest problem. Your subjects should be filling 3/4 of the vertical frame IN CAMERA - any less and you're not framing tightly enough in camera.
  • Realize you need to apply some Unsharp Mask (USM) or other smart-sharpening to the photos - 30d photos won't be sharp out-of-camera.
I can give some more information after seeing some sample photos (remember though - it's no good if you've cropped the photos or applied other types of adjustments beyond a simple re-size).
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 3:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
The good news is you're doing everything you said correctly. If possible when you get back, post a couple photos that are unedited (only resized) - the original framing and exif will help us determine what some of your problems might be. Some thoughts before seeing your photos:
  • Make sure focus mode is AI-Servo
  • Make sure only center focus point is selected (and not all points or not a non-center point)
  • When you acquire the subject you need to track them for a second before you start taking photos - the camera will allow you to take the shot before focus is achieved
  • make sure you're shooting in bursts - usually about 3-4 shots per burst. You will find that 1 or 2 of the shots are sharper than the others
  • make sure you're not heavily cropping - this is the single biggest problem. Your subjects should be filling 3/4 of the vertical frame IN CAMERA - any less and you're not framing tightly enough in camera.
  • Realize you need to apply some Unsharp Mask (USM) or other smart-sharpening to the photos - 30d photos won't be sharp out-of-camera.
I can give some more information after seeing some sample photos (remember though - it's no good if you've cropped the photos or applied other types of adjustments beyond a simple re-size).
Hi John, thanks for your quick and informative reply. I typically don't do any editing to my photos...can you recommend a free/simple program that will sharpen them up? Thanks Rob
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Old Jan 27, 2011, 7:00 PM   #4
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 6:42 AM   #5
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Seabird,
The exif data has been stripped from the image so I can't tell what settings were used. The first thing that jumps out is the image is very underexposed. The most important part is the FACE - and the faces are in deep shadow here. Typically you'll want to shoot with manual exposure so the ice or uniform or background doesn't throw the exposure off. Hockey isn't one of the sports I shoot (though I shoot a lot of different sports). Here's a link to another forum - just to show you what I mean about getting faces exposed properly and what a difference it makes:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/973229
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