How I Shoot Hockey Games

Many times, no one asks me what I use and how I photograph hockey games.  Well, finally, here is the answer to the questions no one asks me.

Before this year, I would take two cameras to a game, a Panasonic point-and-shoot like the Lumix ZS20, and a bridge camera (between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR), such as the Panasonic DMC-FZ28.  I like the Panasonic because their photos looked great for the camera.  They weren’t high-end cameras, but they worked well enough.

Now I have a  DSLR and I love it.  I got the least expensive Nikon, the D3300.  It doesn’t have some of the features of the higher end models, but it does a great job.  It’s 24MP, which is a ton.  Since I am not very close to the action, I use that resolution to crop the photos to a better size and framing.

Professional photographers set up their shots so they don’t need to fix it with cropping later.  They also have big and expensive zoom lenses that are super fast and multiple cameras to put them on.  I don’t have that luxury.  I have four lenses that do the job.

a Nikon 18-200mm VR general purpose zoom

a Nikon 50mm fast fixed lens

a Nikon 35mm fast fixed lens

a Tamron 10-24mm superwide lens

The main lens I use for game action is the 50mm.  The reason is it has an f1.8, which means it can capture a huge amount of light.  That means I can get a really fast shutter speed, which stops the motion of the game.  What I can’t do is control how close the action is.

If I can take two lenses in, it’s the 18-200mm zoom and the 50mm.  If I can get the 10-24mm in, great.  If I could only take one, probably the 35mm.  But the 50mm is the one I take for action.

For camera settings, I use an auto-ISO, set the minimum shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second, and the max ISO to 1600.  That keeps the shot mostly noise-free and the shutter is fast enough to freeze the action.  It also means I don’t have to do as much work to keep the shutter speed fast.  The knob on top is set to P (Program mode).  I use a center point for auto-focus, rather than a multi-point AF setting.  I have burst mode on, and can usually get six pictures off before the buffer fills up.  Also, I shoot in RAW, and not JPG format.

For processing, I haven’t used Photoshop in a little while.  I use DxO OpticsPro 10.  It does all the usual photo processing tricks, but it also corrects for lens distortion (when a lens warps the image).  It’s really neat stuff, and brings the details out of the photos.  What it does to the ice is simply amazing.  It can be hard to get the right exposure of the players on the bright ice.  DxO makes this easy.  Software doesn’t usually make me say wow.  This software does.

Here is an example.  The first image is an unprocessed image converted to JPG from a RAW image format.  The second one was corrected with DxO.  You see a lot more detail in the ice and the colors pop more in the second one.  It also looks a little sharper.  In the upper right corner of the picture, you can see how the distortion was corrected in banners on the wall.



The last thing is that for game action, I crop photos.  A lot.  I use the 50mm lens for its speed, but that means I can’t get the exact framing I want.  I crop and adjust the framing on a lot of the photos, again in DxO.  I export with the biggest side of an image at 1500px wide at 72pixels per inch (standard non-retina display resolution).  That keeps the file size down, but it still looks good.

For example, this is converted to JPG from RAW with no corrections.


This is the corrected version:


Then I cropped it down to get this:


I almost went with this, but chose the first one instead:


I like both of the cropped versions.  I just wanted something a little different and wanted to highlight the puck under the pad.

My photos are nowhere near as good as the ones real sports photography pros get.  I don’t have their gear nor their experience.  As my gear shows, you don’t need super expensive gear to get decent results.  My 50mm lens cost $216 new.  That’s dirt cheap.

But also, I’m going for something different.  I’m not looking for the perfect photo.  I’m not going for that one moment.  I like to get a sense of the place, the crowd, and the game.  I want to capture the experience.  I want to take people to the arena.

Hopefully, you enjoy coming along for the ride.

Trapped in a Lockout (based on R. Kelly’s Trapped in a Closet)

If you aren’t familiar with R,. Kelly’s hip hopera Trapped in a Closet, I am not all that surprised.  It was only brought to my attention this past year.  Most people I ask refer to the South Park episode where R. Kelly tries to get Tom Cruise to literally come out of the closet.  No, that was referencing R. Kelly’s series, which was picked up by IFC and continues.  Each episode is short, and increasingly ridiculous.  It takes a real turn around episode eight, but you have to start somewhere.

This is part one of Trapped (there might be some NSFW language):

 And so it begins.  But if you watch just one episode, I recommend episode 9.  It’s so over the top it’s genius, and so bad it’s good:

You can thank me later.  No, really. 

So with this in mind, I present Trapped in a Lockout.  The end of the lockout R. Kelly style. Because some things just belong together.


Trapped in a Lockout Part 1

(sung by Gary Bettman)

5 AM and I’m sitting across from a man that I knooOOooww…
He looks at me with a look that says he knows me toooo…
He has a pen in his hand and he looks like he’s going to sign.
He looks at the paper once more, checking the figures a final time.

He looks at me and looks back and looks at me another time. (Oooh)
This whole damn thing has taken way too much tiiIIiimmee (Oooh)
Now he looks at the first page
Now he looks at the next page
Turns over the next page
What’s he see on the page

He puts down his pen and puts on his reading glasses
I say “Don, can we get this done, we’re tired off our asses.” 
He looks down his nose and says it’s just this one thing.
I say, what thing, he says Don’t worry, it’s not a real thing.

One! I reach in my pocket.
Two! I pull out by blood pressure meds.
Three! I take off the cap.
Four! I take out a pill.

Now my mouth is dry and and I’m looking around
And there’s no water to be foooOOouund.
I’m going to have to dry swallow this pill
Now I know how the fans feel. 

I look at the water cooler and look back
And Donald put down his pen
I think, “He didn’t sign it,
Oh no, here we go again.”

I look for the smirk on his face, the one that says, “I got you”
He’s had it on his face ever since November two.

But I look at the paper.
Looking down at the paper.
Bring my eyes to the paper.
Looking close at the paper.
There’s ink on the paper.
He put his name on the paper.
There’s his name on the paper.
He signed his name on the paper.
Then he hands me the paper.
And I pick up the paper.

And this lockout….
Is going… to… end….


Trapped in a Lockout Part 2

Now there’s a contract with the players 
Sitting in front of meeee…  *
What am I do?
I’m feeling kind of loopy.

This lockout could end any moment and I’m ready to go home.
My wife and kids keep wondering when I’m going to be done. 

Then Don looks at me and says
“Oh wait there’s one more things.”
My heart sinks wondering
What’s this s#$@ he’s going to briiIInngg…

Don says did I put the date next to my name?
I think to myself, this guy is playing some f@%$#ing game.

I look at the paper and see the date is there.
I tell him it’s on the sheet and he say, are you sure.
I say “Yes,” he say “No,” I say “Yes!,” he says “No!”
I scream “Look right here,” He calmly sits back and he says “Oh.” 
I want this done, I hate this man,
I’d sign just about anything.

Now I’m picking the pen up
Pick the pen in my hand up
Now I’m signing the paper
Put my name on the paper
My first name on the paper
My last name on the paper
Put the date on the paper
What’s the date on the paper
I just signed the paper. 
Did I just sign the paper?

Bill Daly sneaks up behind me and says,
“What do you want me to do?”
I say, “Bill, it’s time,
Get the Podium out.”

Bill’s jaw goes slack and he doesn’t know what to doOOooo….
Last time we got the Podium, it was a circus, and he knows it tooOOO…..

I say “Move.”
He says “No.”
I say “Move!”
He says “No!” 
And then….

He looks at the tech guys
He walks to the tech guys
Get close to the tech guys
Now he talks to the tech guys

NOW PAUSE THE MOVIE because what I’m about to say to y’all is so damn random
Into the room bursts our old friend, Brendan Shanahan! 


Trapped in a Lockout Part 3

Brendan looks around the room and says, How’s it going, friends? **
Bill say’s “Hey, what’s up, what can I do for you, Bren?”

Brendan say he’s been watching a lot of ESPN.
Did you know there’s thing called football, what will they think of next.
Everyone looks at Shanny wondering what he’s going to say.
He looks like he hasn’t shaved in one hundred and thirteen days.

Then Brendan pulls out his Beretta and he he’s waiving it around!
He screams “This lockout better end, and it better end RIGHT DAMN NOW!”
Now Daly is on the floor, covering up his head,
But Donald just sits in his chair, and says, “Listen to what that fool said.”

Now the room is silent, you can barely hear a tech guy cry,
But Don holds the CBA up to Shanny, and says, “Looks, the ink isn’t even dry.”
Brendan can’t believe it, did he just hear what he heard,
He looks at the contract, but he can’t read a word.

Tears stream down his face, and he say, Gary, what am I going to do?
And I look at Brendan and say, “Get to work, pal, I still have a job for you.” 

Now I’m ending the lockout
I just ended the lockout
Why did we have a lockout
Never needed a lockout
This is my third lockout
I just love the lockout
No games for the lockout
Relax for the lockout
Gave the fans a lockout
It’s entirely my fault

Ten years from now, when it’s someone else’s problem
I won’t have to worry about this, let the new guy solve it
I’ll be on a beach, away from the ice, where I belong,
Basketball on a TV as I like it, wearing my bikini thong (sorry)

And I won’t worry about Donald Fehr or his brother Steve
Hockey will be a distant memory, one I’ll be happy to leave.
I like hoops the best, that I can’t deny
I never cared for hockey and that’s no lie.

I look at the Podium
Walk up to the Podium
Get close to the Podium
Put my hands on the podium.

And all I can think about is my wife and kids and my dog Rover

And tell the press, The lockout..
Is finally…


(Over… over…. over…) 

*- continuity error, he has the CBA in his hand at the end of the last part, here it starts on the table – INSANE!

**Bonus points if you hear Brendan Shanahan’s voice in the style and drawl of the Cop’s wife in Episodes 8-10.

Best. Protest. Ever.

It certainly beats the “C’mon, Mets” protest of 1968.

Let's Go Pens

Good to see they are all on the same page.

Watch the video clip here

I think they should hold the G20 in Detroit. It would certainly give the participants a look at a third world area, and the protesters could do whatever they wanted, and no one would know the difference afterwards.

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Mock Coyotes Auction: Final Verdict

First off, let me state that this was not an easy decision to come to. Not everyone is going to be satisfied with the decision. While a bankruptcy court may only have the creditors to consider, a MOCK court is not beholden to such things. Therefor, there were many factors to take into consideration:

  • Creditors
  • Ownership
  • The League
  • The Fans (yes, both of them)
  • The Sport

Let us consider some of these bids:

@scottywazz had perhaps one of the most intriguing bids (a buck-three-eighty, some poutine, and the rights to the RTB bio-pic, Added Sega Saturn gaming system, three games (all Sonic the Hedgehog), and some Beaver Buzz energy drink), but his desire to move the team to Barrow, Alaska doesn’t show a sustainable line of income to satisfy the creditors. Barrow, in case you did not know, was the scene of the movie “30 Days of Night,” in which vampires took over the entire town, and killed most of the population. This does not show a continual availability of fans to support a team, as they would all be killed and eaten every year.

@dchesnokov had a bid of one Russian Ruble, and while enticing, had some questions surrounding the location of the team (moved to the KHL?).

@bzarcher had a bid of one timex digital watch, one unused prophylactic, one black suit jacket, one hat, $23.07, and one pair sunglasses. While he may have acquired the items by mugging a Blues Brother, his statement of “I’m thinking of just running the team into the ground as-is and claiming it against my taxes. Stay the course!” while spoken like a true Columbus Blue Jackets fan, was a bit of a slip. It would be irresponsible if the court to turn over ownership to him.

The battle between @shellieshel and @voteforgrant was admirable in it’s ferociousness, but lacked solid structure. The ownership of a 1990 Ford Probe that was submitted by @voteforgrant was in dispute from the beginning. @shellieshel wished for the team to be relocated to her basement, and while flaunting and disputing the ownership rules of the NHL is certainly acceptable, the rules as to rink size is not up for debate. There is no way a 200′ X 85′ rink would fit in her basement. It would be impossible to fit the entire team into that location, and the lawsuits that could arise from the dressing room behavior alone would bring the league to it’s knees.

@Yotesgurl offered her first born child and her right arm to keep the team in Arizona. Um, awkward.

@tKWE (the Kyle Wellwood Experience) made a compelling argument, but had to lower his offer to a box of timbits (cruller and chocolate), large double-double and a sausage biscuit. This doesn’t speak well of his resources to float a team in it’s bad times, and could herald in a new era of depression and starvation to the Portland, OR area, where he wishes to move the team.

@BluelandOutsidr must have thought this was The Price is Right, because he placed a bid of one dollar. One. Once he realized the folly of his ways, he added to his bid a vintage Admiral Ackbar action figure & a singing dancing James Brown doll. Also, this was the most reasonable relocation bid yet (“we feel Atlanta is a market that deserves an NHL team”). It was difficult to turn away such an offer, but the unwillingness to deal with a relocation fee was less than dazzling. I would call this the runner-up bid.

@Lighthousehockey offered up “One Rick DiPietro Contract.” Enticing, but something that has a depreciating value over time (and by time, I mean the next season). Also, he was going to keep the team in his back pocket in case anything happened to the Islanders. This court believes that John Tavares should be enough for an Islanders fan right now.

The winning bid, while not setting the world on fire, was the RCOM, a dual ownership of @ryanclassic and @OdinMercer. Their initial offer of One (1) turkey sandwich and a pudding cup (brand unspecified) was underwhelming, but with the addition of Rob Schremp and “a dozen from DD since there are no TIms here. As well as a In-n-Out Double Double,” this started to make sense. Also, this offer was one of the few that was designed to keep the team in Phoenix, and also has secured corporate sponsorship (ACME, who will be providing the new arena name and sandwiches), which seems to be one more sponsor than the Coyotes currently have.

While this may seem like this is a complete victory for the RCOM team, it is not. The court orders RCOM to submit paperwork to the court showing that they have made a profit within two years time, or the team will be auctioned off again. They should not be protected from the same process that they participated in to acquire the team. If they are not able to sustain the team on their own, the team should be set back into the auction process.

Also, since this is a mock court, and not beholden to the rules of bankruptcy court, I order the NHL to expand their league next year, into two new markets, one in Hamilton, and one in a western conference market to be determined. In one years time, there will be a mock expansion draft held in this very courtroom (twitter). Ownership of the two franchises will be determined at a later date.

While this decision will not satisfy all the parties involved, the ruling had to go in favor of the best possible outcome for the creditors, hockey and the fans of the great sport. It must be a great sport, to survive the people who sue each other over it.

Thank you all for your time. You all battled well.

Final bids can be found here

You can see the process carried out on twitter here.

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Coyotes Mock Auction

Sure, the NHL is fighting the epic battle of Goliath vs. Poorly Run Goliath today in court, and Gary Bettman is on the stand (where he has to tell the truth, so that should be fun). All eyes will be on the courts in Arizona.

But there is another court in session today, with the bidding for the Coyotes already taking place. The twitter mock draft is currently taking place, with the bids coming in fast and furious.

@ryanclassic and @OdinMercer have submitted a bid of one turkey sandwich and a pudding cup to keep the team in Glendale

The KYLE WELLWOOD EXPERIENCE has placed a bid of one Tim Horton’s gift card, valued at $40. I’m not sure where the money is coming from for that.

@voteforgrant has submitted a bid of $27.50 in cash (CDN) and a 30 pack of Molson.

@scottywazz has a bid of “a buck-three-eighty, some poutine, and the rights to the RTB bio-pic.” His east coast charm was not part of the bid.

@bzarcher has a bid that sounds like he mugged a Blues Brother. “one timex digital watch, one unused prophylactic, one black suit jacket, one hat, $23.07, and one pair sunglasses.”

Oh, and I’m the presiding judge in the MOCK case. Will my head explode? Will I go mad with power? Only one way to find out.


If you want to get involved in the fun, go on twitter and use the hashtag #yotesale. The presiding judge’s twitter is @Tapeleg All bids submitted to the court between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM Pacific will be considered, with a ruling at 5:30 PM Pacific.

Good luck, and happy hunting.

UPDATE: More bids are coming in from all corners of the hockey world.

@Yotesgurl submitted her first born child and her right arm. No word yet on if the child is a defenseman.

@Lighthousehocky bid one Rick DiPietro contract. It doesn’t look good for the future of hockey.

@shellieshel entered “2 nights stay in a fab Park Hill home, unlimited doggie cuddle, 1 bag of Craisins, a photo op w/me & open 12 pk of PBR”  Ulterior motives seem likely.

@dchesnokov put in a bid of One Russian Ruble. The exchange rate doesn’t favor his bid.

@BluelandOutsidr added a bid of one dollar. This may not be The Price is Right, but he does have one good point. In his relocation filing, he states Atlanta as the new home of the Coyotes: “We feel Atlanta is a market that deserves an NHL team.” Buddy, you ain’t alone.

Schedule of the proceedings (all times pacific):

1:00 PM – Relocation fee debate

3:00 – 4:00 PM: Open cross examination by counsel. Keep it civil, and use the hashtag to be entered into the record.

4:30 PM: Closing arguments

5:30 PM: Judgement rendered

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That’s What I Get

I had a quick thought about the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, and wanted to see if there was a quick answer to my question.

And while I can handle ESPN busting on hockey, Google is taking things a little far:

Screenshot 01

That’s just mean. Shame on you google.

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New Gig?

I don’t have anything to say about hockey right now, because I am packing for Florida.

All I want to say is that I think my new blogging endeavor should be live blogging the new Comedy Central show “The Gong Show.”

And I’m not kidding.

Dealing with Figure Skaters

Look, I’m no fan of figure skaters. Instead of doing nice simple skating, they take up the whole ice, take out chunks with their toe picks, and generally behave badly at public skate. And they have something called a Kiss and Cry after they skate (which in hockey, is reserved for Ryan Smyth). When there was the big problem with the Islanders Ice Girls last season, that was my biggest complaint, that they were wearing figure skates on the NHL ice. If I were the goalie, I wouldn’t let them in my crease either.

But is this really how to deal with the problem?


Actually, now that I think of it, I do believe it is. I’d pay 20¢ for that.

Triple Sow Cows Salchows are for the birds.

I got the image from Chris’s Invincible Super Blog, which is the awesome. I wish there was a hockey blog like it.

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NW Goalie Preview: Comic Edition

Everyone is posting their previews, and I feel a little left out. Here is the JAHL Northwest Division Goalie Preview – Comic Edition.

Colorado Avalanche – Jose Theodore

Page 1-1

Page 3-1

Peter Budaj:
Page 4
Page 4-1

Edmonton Oilers – Dwayne Roloson:
Page 2

Vancouver Canucks – Roberto Luongo
Page 3-2

Minnesota Wild – Josh Harding
Page 1-2

Calgary Flames – Mikka Kiprusoff
Page 4-2
Page 4-3

Come on, tell me I’m wrong.

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Avs vs Stars: Burrito-Off

Who’s flying burrito is better?

Avs Flying Burrito
Stars Flying Burrito

I’d say the Avs. Mostly because the wrapping on the Stars’ burrito looks totally fake.

Ah, those were the days.

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