Event photography is my bread and butter. Sporting events in particular can be very exciting, if not challenging, to cover. These two combatants were captured during the 2006 Alberta Winter Games. Hockey is a very frustrating sport to photograph. It’s not so much the action – although hockey is a fast sport.
It’s the lighting – most arena’s lighting sucks.
First off, the typical area is not very bright at all. One must shoot at a high ISO and open up your aperture in attempt to get a barely acceptable shutter speed. Even then, you’re lucky to get a shutter speed somewhere around 1/400. Further, when shooting with a zoom lens, a smooth technique becomes very important.
Even more frustrating is the slow lights. The white balance will change with every frame. In a burst of 4 photos, one will likely have a magenta cast, the next a yellow, the next blue, then maybe, if you’re lucky, no cast at all. Although you’ve got good focus and desired composition, this will result in many unusable shots.
As the player wearing the blue jersey had a couple of physical shifts, I was sure to train my camera on him as he left the bench. With my focus long locked, it didn’t take long for him to deliver another hit and this photograph. It’s always satisfying to capture an iconic moment.