February 2010
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Taking great photographs of a hockey game (contd..)

Tip 586 (White Balance setting): Given the types of light in the playing arena, you may want to setup the white balance to be different from the normal Auto White Balance. The lights can be of gas-vapor type, and in such situations, it is better to set the White Balance as fluorescent in order to get better images. Or, if you shoot in RAW, then you have the liberty of being able to make changes later.

Tip 587 (ISO levels): With the light levels and shooting at fast speed, you may need to shoot at higher ISO levels. With advanced cameras, shooting at higher ISO levels does not lead to much noise, but can increase the noise at higher ISO levels. One option is to use a noise reduction filter while post-processing.

Tip 588 (Check for equipment allowed): It is absolutely essential that you check about the types of equipment allowed before going for the game. In many games, only the professionals are allowed to use DSLR’s, and if you are the casual user, and have taken the DSLR, there can be a chance that you will not be allowed to use it. In such cases, it would have helped if you had a compact camera, so that you could have taken some photos at least.

Tip 589 (Keep enough memory cards and spare battery): When shooting in an interesting game, especially if you are shooting in RAW, you can quickly run out of both memory space and battery power (even with today’s large memory cards – for example, I recently used a 8 GB card with the Canon EOS 50D, and the memory card gives around 400 photos and battery to last around 500-600 photos). This may not be enough.

Tip 590 (Don’t even think about a flash): I have seen people using a flash from long distances, thinking that maybe the flash will solve all low light problems. However, consider the fact that a Flash has a limited range and may not be allowed in sporting avenues because of a distraction to the players.

Book: Digital Sports Photography Made Simple (DVD) –

3 comments to Taking great photographs of a hockey game (contd..)

  • I don’t remember if you’ve posted this, but I found with the last game I went to I had to increase the exposure in all my shots by at least one stop. So, if the glass is fast enough and the iso is high enough, ev+1 might be good. If not, better to freeze the action and add a stop in post.

  • Rudy Chimal

    Thanks dude, that is very good info, cheers.

  • Hey terrific blog post, i recognize that this is a touch off article nevertheless is the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5 L USM Macro Lens any good? i’ve come across a few comments but i do not want to squander $500 on it. also are there any beneficial discussion boards that i could join in Wedding photography many thanks James from the great britain…english is not my first language

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