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Photography Question 
Pam S. DeGraaf

How to Stop the Puck in Hockey Shots

I'm having trouble "stopping the puck" in hockey photos. Occasionally, I get lucky, and the puck is clear, as well as the players. Usually, something is just a little blurred. How do I get the clean crisp shot seen in Sports Illustrated or in newspapers? I'm using 800 speed film for action (and the unreliable lighting in most rinks), usually a 70-210 lens, and a Canon AE-1 Program (it's old but reliable). I've tried different settings, but so far none seem any better than the "program" setting. Looking at the photos, it almost seems it's a lighting problem, but how do I fix that? You can't use flash in the arena, it reflects off the glass anyway, and sometimes the distance is too far for it to help.

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5/21/2004 1:51:05 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The professionals for SI and newspapers are no doubt using f/2 and f/2.8 lenses, where your maximum aperture is probably f/4 or f/5.6. So where you might be getting only 1/60 shutter speed, they can get 1/125-1/500.

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5/21/2004 6:24:08 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  SI use flashes mounted up in the ceiling. Some newspapers do too, depending on the paper. But in a pro game, the arena is bright enough to get 1/250 or 1/500 from a 2.8 lens, so a newspaper could get pictures if they aren't able to use strobes.

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5/21/2004 7:34:23 AM

Kai Eiselein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/21/2003
  Fuji 800 has close to a two-stop range. Do some testing, and bump your shutter speed up to find out how fast you can go and still get a good image.

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5/23/2004 3:39:45 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/20/2001
  Change your position to a tighter angle between you and the trajectory of the puck itself. Shooting perpendicular takes the fastest shutter speed to capture. If you "close the gap" between yourself and the puck, the speed decreases. It's all in the physics, brother ... gasp! And we thought we'd never use it...

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6/8/2004 8:40:30 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/20/2001
  I may need to clarify the above. When I say to "close the gap" I don't mean to get physically closer to the action (this would make your problem worse). I meant that you should change your perspective/angle of view so that the puck is coming at you more directly. Moving farther away can help slow down the speed, so you could try this too. Panning with your action will also work, and is how most pros get the sharp action with a blurred background from a side view. Panning takes practice. Be sure to set your camera to focus properly when panning. Some cameras have settings that allow you to follow and continually focus on the closest object in the field of view. This can be really helpful.

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6/8/2004 8:47:30 PM

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