Need help from photography experts

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Bobby Wasabi, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    I am trying to get decent photos of my sons playing hockey. It's hit-and-miss. Pictures are usually blurry and can sometimes be yellowish. If the subject is close to me, they actually turn out fairly crisp with decent whites. If I'm trying to capture a further distance away (e.g. 25 meters), it's virtually impossible for me to get a nice shot.

    I'm using a Sony DSC-H7 that I've had for a few years. IMO, it's a decent point-and-shoot with manual capabilities. I'm not looking to buy a new camera at this time. From what I've read, whether I have a nice DSLR or a point-and-shoot is somewhat irrelevant...what is more important appears to be technique and how to set up the camera for the shot. In other words, buying a $2000 camera doesn't guarantee great shots, you have to know how to use it.

    What are some good starting points for camera settings (e.g. shutter speed, aperture, etc) for a camera noob taking pics of hockey players in an arena (indoor hockey rink)? (please don't do a google search for me...I'm looking for some "real world" experience from the TGPers)
     
  2. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    25 meters? You need a DSLR and some long glass...probably 300mm or so. As for shutter and aperture, put it on shutter priority, set it at 1/500 second and let it pick the aperture. You'll also want to pan with the action...
     
  3. mango

    mango Member

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    add to pete's post bump the ISO settings up to 400 - 800,this will in effect give you faster shutter options.

    you should also try and set your camera for the lighting type,eg florescent,flash,daylight etc
     
  4. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    25 meters was my best guess from the outside the glass in the corner to the high slot or even blue line. I understand even that is a stretch with my camera.
     
  5. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    Thanks guys, I'll play around with these settings.
     
  6. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    It's not entirely irrelevant, because a point and shoot might not allow you to set up the camera for the situation. Also, you're dealing with low light indoors and you have to combine that with the need for a higher shutter speed when you're shooting sports action. This creates problems that the camera has to allow you solve in certain ways--being able to select a low number (meaning more wide open) aperture, and having a higher ISO setting that also gives you reasonably good looking pictures.

    The whites in your pictures shouldn't be affected by the distance from the subject if you are using a preset color balance. If you're farther away the camera is seeing a different set of information in the frame as a whole, specifically a lot more ice, and auto color balance and auto exposure can be affected by that.

    If you can get down by the boards, you can do fine just shooting stuff in the end of the rink that you are near. NHL arenas are set up with little holes in the glass to shoot through, and many of the positions don't allow an angle down ice. Shooting through glass, you can't shoot at too much of an angle because the greater the angle, the more glass you are shooting through, and it gets blurry and distorted. So NHL photographers shooting from ice level are mostly shooting in their end, and some of them do pretty well! You don't need a long lens for that either, moderate telephotos are very useful. Most of the NHL pics you see are with a 70-200mm zoom (not sure how that translates to your camera) and some with wider lenses when they are really close.

    High shutter speed minimum 1/500th, as high an ISO as your camera allows with acceptable results, try and set the color balance and the exposure manually. And if you're shooting through glass, the more of an angle through the glass the more bad effect that will have.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  7. MBT74

    MBT74 Member

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    If your subjects are in motion, then you'll need a camera that has a continuous autofocus mode. Use this setting for sports so the camera adjusts its focus to track the moving subject. You want a fast shutter speed and use a spot metering mode to improve your white balance. Look for subjects with good contrast to give your camera a better chance to focus accurately.
     
  8. Fantom1

    Fantom1 Member

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    Just go for %100 manual (normally the "m" setting). There are no lighting condition changes in 90% of the ice rinks. Set the aperture as wide open as you can (lower the f number), 1/500, and put the ISO at the appropriate level for the exposure, probably in the 800-1000 range.

    If your camera has it, play around with the auto-focus options too. Normally there is an action setting.
     
  9. mango

    mango Member

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    If you are trying to shoot through the glass around the boards you will probably want to focus manually,the glass will mess up the auto focus.
     
  10. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    Guys, Stevie knows of what he speaks...Bobby, just do what he suggests and you'll get quality images...
     
  11. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    Great advice, thanks! My camera does indeed allow for manual setting of ISO, shutter, and aperture. Looks like the highest I can go is ISO 400 though. It does have a "sports" mode too, although I've tried that with less than stellar results. During games I'm limited to shooting through glass, as most rinks have netting all around now. The ones that don't, I try to shoot from the stands.
     
  12. wahfreak

    wahfreak Silver Supporting Member

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    A good DSLR vs a point and shoot is totally relevant.

    Your camera (Sony DSC-H7 has an f stop of 2.7 (lets in more light) to f4.5 (lets in less light) at least according to this. The zoom range is 31mm-465mm (btw, that's long!). What this means is when zoomed all the way out (31mm) you get a max f stop of 2.7. Great for taking general "wider" pics in average to lower light. The problem is when you zoom in (465mm) to take that close up shot, your f stop decreases with your zoom length. That sucks because whenever you zoom in you need to increase either the ISO or decrease shutter speed to make up for the smaller aperature. This will restrict your ability to use a fast shutter speed to take a sharp action pictures.

    Not only that, when you're zoomed in it's really hard to hold the camera steady. It's nearly impossible to hold a camera steady at 400mm if doesn't have a decent image stabilization. So now you're zoomed in to 400mm, with a f stop of 4.5, and not very steady. Bad combo!

    You can bump up the ISO (I think you're camera says it goes to 3200) to compensate but it may not be enough and if the camera isn't very good at high ISO it just ends up looking grainy and ugly.

    My suggestion (as Stevieboy said) is get as close to the glass as possible. Increase the ISO to max (to start) and a shutter speed of about 1/500 sec and try to keep the zoom at a minimum. If the pics come out sharp, start to decrease the ISO.

    Please disregard if this doesn't apply.
     
  13. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    No, that's great info wahfreak. I think you recognize that I'm trying to get the best picture I can with the camera I have. Boys have practice tomorrow, I'll do some practicing of my own.
     
  14. GAD

    GAD Wubbalubbadubdub Silver Supporting Member

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    Indoors?

    Nothing beats fast glass. There's a reason pros use expensive lenses. You generally want a high shutter speed to freeze the action, and that's tough without fast glass. Yes, high ISO will get you there, and with modern cameras, you can get some seriously high ISO, but high ISO means more noise. The simple truth is that nothing beats fast glass.

    That said, there are lots of articles out there about shooting Hockey:

    http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/shooting-tips-on-capturing-hockey-moments.html

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/photog...-capturing-stanley-cup-winning-hockey-photos/

    http://shutterspeak.net/everything-you-need-to-know-about-shooting-ice-hockey/

    I can tell you from experience shooting sports both with low-cost cameras and high-dollar rigs, that taking a lot of pics is a good thing. If you camera can do rapid-fire, turn it on and go to town. If you're shots come out blurry, remember the reciprocal focal length rule of thumb which states:

    The shutter speed should be the reciprocal of the focal length in order to keep camera-shake from blurring your shot. In other words, if you're at 300mm, you need a shutter speed of 1/300th to keep the camera steady. When you're indoors, getting the shutter up that high can be a challenge, which is where high ISO and fast glass becomes important. The easiest way to solve this on a variable aperture lens is by pulling back on the zoom since you'll get a faster lens and thus a higher shutter speed.

    Don't be afraid to crop in post. I've got some great shots that are crops.
     
  15. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    Bad advice !!
    Use the shutter priority mode Tv, set at about 1/125, and crank the ISO to 800. YOu camera will open the aperture for you.
    However, your lens is too slow.
    You need to buy a DSLR that will take a f2.8 70-200 lens. Canon or Nikon will do, the lens is pretty much identical between those 2 brands. Personally I use Canon, but Nikon is as good, it's just that once you commit to a brand, nothing is inter-changable. It's not like guitar gear, where you can plug a Gibson into a Fender amp.
    Yes, it's gonna cost you, but you won't get good shots otherwise. It's a fantastic lens, and will last you a decade of intense use and you will never regret it if you are serious about getting great shots of your kids.
    You will also need to adjust the colour temperature for different places, depending on what type of lighting they are using, and how much ice is in the shots. There is probably a forum that will give you good advice about that.
     
  16. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Hockey arenas are usually not very well lit. Probably more dimly lit than high school basketball courts. Here are some helpful hints for you:

    1. Use the widest aperture possible. Think someone identified your camera's lens as f/2.7. Wide open.

    2. To stop movement and get sharp shots for slower moving young hockey players, 1/500 - 1/640 shutter speed is necessary.

    3. Use an ISO setting that allows proper exposure at the shutter speeds stated in item #2. Shooting indoor basketball, ISO settings could be as high as 4000. Proper exposure + digital noise is better than underexposing and pushing levels in post-processing.

    4. Try either fluorescent (first) or incandescent white balance settings and see if this doesn't help with your colors. If you do any post-processing work, an inexpensive tool like a Whi-Bal card to correct white balance is really useful.

    Good luck and share some shots when you can.

    dave
     
  17. dave s

    dave s Member

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    1/125 is way too slow for any sports shooting. Also, not many people can track action and keep the camera steady enough to get a sharp shot at 1/125.

    The reason his shots are blurry to begin with is because the camera is in full-auto (I'm guessing here, but also probably right!) and the camera is choosing 1/40 or 1/60 shutter speeds to let in enough light.

    Putting the camera in full MANUAL mode is good advice and a better choice given indoors, low light which the OP is dealing with here.

    dave
     
  18. Craig Allen

    Craig Allen Member

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    I think this is a little unrealistic for a non-professional. As someone with 20 years of experience at some pretty high levels, I use shutter priority for all sports. I'd recommend OP does the same.
     
  19. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    You are correct. I was using the "sports" mode.
     
  20. Bobby Wasabi

    Bobby Wasabi Member

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    We all have to start somewhere. I'm not looking at becoming a professional, but I'd like to take as good of shots as I can with the camera I have. As others have also recommended, I'm going to try shutter priority with a higher ISO and let the camera set the aperture.
     

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