Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Photographing NHL hockey - San Jose Sharks vs. the Minnesota Wild

On Saturday night I photographed the San Jose Sharks hockey game against the Minnesota Wild. The Sharks are my home team, but I also have good friends on the Wild team, so it was great to capture photos of the game but also see some friends who I have not seen in a while.

In this blog post, I am going to show you some of my favorite photos from the game in sequential order.

I got to the rink around 6pm for the 7:30pm start time. I set my equipment downstairs, under the arena, in the press room and got a chance to hang out with some other photographer friends for a little bit. I brought a bunch of different lenses, since I was not sure where I would be shooting from. As it turned out, I mostly used my Canon 1Dx with the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II lens.

I made my way out to the tunnel , but not before getting this photo of the Wild team coming out of the visiting locker room for warm ups.

(Canon 1Dx, Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/160 sec)

I then went over to the Sharks side and photographed the players warming up.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec)

This gave me a chance to get some individual shots of the guys, and also gave me some warm up time shooting. Just like pro athletes, it si good for us photographers to get in the zone as well.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec)

Before the Sharks come off the ice after warm ups, they always gather in front of the net and shoot against the goalie one last time as a team.

(Canon 1Dx, Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/50 sec) 

While I was shooting warm ups, I saw Joe Thornton's wife and kids come through the tunnel and stand by the glass. I have known them for many years now and had a chance to chat while shooting. After the guys were done with warm ups, I went back through the tunnel to see Joe coming out of the locker room to greet his kids. I quickly grabbed this and some other shots to send to them.

(Canon 1Dx, Canon 24-70mm lens, ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/200 sec)

Then it was game time. I usually get into my photo position (last night was at the other side of the ice) before the game starts, but this time decided to grab some photos of the guys coming out of the locker room and greeting the lucky fans who were escorted downstairs to watch the guys head onto the ice. For these shots, I used my 24-70mm lens on the Canon 1Dx (with the Canon 600 EX-RT flash mounted on the camera), 

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/640 sec) 

When shooting from the corner position, the hole in the glass gives a pretty limited range of shooting, but if I lean hard enough, it allows me to get a view straight down the ice with a view of the benches. Here is a shot of Tomas Hertl working the puck in front of the Minnesota bench. All the game shots were taken with the 70-200mm lens.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/1600 sec) 
Here is a photo of Tommy Wingels working the puck into the offensive zone. (Photographer's note: I usually shoot all my photos at ice level with the 70-200 lens handheld. For bigger lenses, I will use my Gitzo monopod, but not for a smaller lens like this.)

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/1600 sec) 
Brent Burns had a great scoring opportunity in the first period, but as you can see here, the puck rang off the left cross bar. The Sharks could really have used this goal!

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/640 sec) 
And here is Brent Burns working the defense. I love that caveman beard and toothless smile.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/1250 sec) 
When shooting on the defensive side, I like to catch the intensity of the goalie. (Photographer's note: When I shoot through the small hole in the glass, I am always happy to have my Tiffen HT UV filter in front of my lens. This will protect the lens from any ice spray or a stray puck coming my way. Better to break the filter and not the lens!)

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/1600 sec) 
That attention to the puck paid off here. It looks like the puck is going in the net, but it was redirected away from the goal by Martin Jones.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/800 sec) 
 
Vlasic (aka "Pickles") defending.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/2500 sec) 
Mikael Granlund taking a shot on goal.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/1600 sec) 
A face off in the defensive zone, right in front of my shooting position.

And then it was the end of the period, so I headed up into the crowd to say hello to some friends...

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/320 sec) 
...and look who I saw in the stands. Of course, Santa is a Sharks fan.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/125sec) 
 
I went up to him and asked him if I could take his portrait. I would have asked him for some presents, but I have not been that good this year so...

Then I went back to my shooting position to capture the action of the third period.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/3.5, 1/2500 sec)  
Mike Brown had a good scoring opportunity...

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/3.5, 1/2500 sec)  
...but Darcy Kuemper made a nice pad stop. These shots show the advantage of shooting at 12 frames a second. When this action happens I am hammering on the shutter. (Photographer's note: I was not shooting with the stadium strobes, as this limits me to only one shot per every couple of seconds and is reserved for other photographers.)

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/2500 sec)  
Then, not long after the Sharks offensive push, the wild scored to break the 0-0 tie.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/1600 sec)  
You can see the Minnesota team celebrating and the dejection in the face of the Sharks players. (Both of these two shots of the goal and celebration were taken with the Canon 70-200mm lens zoomed all the way out to 200mm and then cropped to give you this view.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/3.5, 1/2000 sec)  
Joe Thornton taking a shot on goal.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/2000 sec)  
Tomas Hertl trying to tie up the score late in the third period.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/640 sec)  
Darcy Kuemper getting a drink during one of the breaks. Yep - I will shoot anything. :)

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/1600 sec) 
Patrick Marleau watching the play in the offensive zone.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/640 sec) 
Here is a tight shot (crop) of Darcy Kuemper as he skated towards me during one of the breaks.

(Canon 1DxCanon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/1600 sec) 
The Wild scored an empty net goal to beat my home team 2 to 0. As a photographer, it is our job to tell the story, so I took photos of the Wild teammates congratulated each other on the shutout. 


This last shot shows me at my hole. And no, I am not shooting at this moment, because the players are too close for me to focus with the 70-200mm lens. Normally I would have another camera body with a fish eye lens to capture these close shots, but I decided to stick with one camera for this shoot. Thanks to Kyle Terada - USA TODAY for taking and sending me this photo.

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3 comments:

Alexander Ignatov said...

Jeff, it was really cool to read your post about NHL game and see all these great pictures! I'm a big sport fan and so much appreciate a great work that you and all guys who shoot sport do for we could see every moment of our favourite games. Thank you! That's a pity that guest team wasn't Capitals though :) And I hope that you'll do a post about baseball somedays :)

Mike said...

Hi Jeff,

Amazing shots and post. Thank you.

Technical questions, I hope you don't mind.

For the action shots on the ice, I noticed you often had the ISO around 1600-2000 and then often had the F stop at f4 and then the Shutterspeed seems to vary a little. What mode do you normally shoot these events in. Is it aperture priority with a fixed ISO of 2000 so the SS changes accordingly?

And would you use a single point backbutton focusing to ensure the players were focused the way you want?

Thanks for your reply and tips! :)
Mike
www.mikecleggphotography.com



Jeff Cable said...

Mike - I usually shoot in Aperture Priority or manual (depending on the consistency of lighting. I like to shoot between f/2.8 and f/4, again depending on how much light there is. I prefer f/4 to get a little more of the athletes in focus, but watch my shutter speed to make sure that I am fast enough to freeze the action. And yes, mostly in back button focus mode with the center point as my primary focus point.

I hope that helps. :)

Jeff