Dean O'Brien's Blog

Photo Shoot with Coventry Blaze ice hockey team…

with 4 comments

Professional experience is going to come to me in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Today I was shooting images of the Coventry Blaze ice hockey team.  I wont make any secret of it that sports photography is not my bag.  I am keeping an open mind to all types of photography at the moment and I wanted to attend for the whole experience.  I was expecting to take the usual fast moving, high energy type shots that you would expect when photographing this type of sport.  However, this was not to be.

Due to low light conditions in the ice rink and not being allowed to use flash, the only option was to bump the iso up.  I had to take this to 3200.  To make things worse I was using a 100-400mm lens which whilst great for getting in real close, was just no good at catching any sharp fast moving shots.  I would have had to use a shutter speed of around 1/1000 of a second to get anything near sharp.  This was near impossible.  In situations like this I have learnt to adapt to my surroundings and found that I was going to be better off going in for portrait shots.

Taking portraits does seem to be an area which I seem to be strong in, so I decided to crack on with those.  There were some great opportunities and I managed to catch a few great moments.  These have been edited and will be forwarded on for possible use in future promotional material.

My ‘money shot’ of the day had to be the player blowing a kiss to one of the girls also shooting with me (or was it at me?).  That shot made the whole thing worthwhile.

The learning outcomes from shooting Coventry Blaze were eye opening. I had never seriously shot a sporting event before and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Trying to predict which direction the player would go in was essential. I now know why photographers who shoot sporting events have to have a great understanding of the sport in which they are shooting. Too many of my shots were hit and miss. Not acceptable if I was being commissioned to shoot for a paper or magazine.

My successful shots were the portraits as this is an area which I feel that I am strong in. Even simple things such as the cold were affecting how I shot. I was getting uncomfortable and better preparation could have ensured that I stayed shooting longer. This however was still a great learning curve and any mistakes made have been taken on board.



Written by Dean O'Brien

October 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Hi Dean,
    Were you given a brief or any idea how your pictures would be used before you got there to shoot?
    It’s frustrating when environments dictate and knock preconceived ideas on the head, but that’s always the way and being able to adapt comes with experience as you obviously did after judging the situation.
    In low light where getting frozen images (forgive the pun) were out from the question, what about getting shots with loads of motion using slower shutter speeds?

    david procter

    October 20, 2010 at 9:34 am

    • We were just told that they wanted a wide range of shots for various things.
      I did think about using a slower shutter speed to catch motion but decided on the portraits as I think others were trying the slow shutter stuff and I wanted my images to be different.
      All in all it was a great experience and I came away having learnt a few things.

      Dean O'Brien

      October 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

  2. Great stuff Dean – but not #phonar, please keep #phonar tags to links related to Photography and Narrative, transmedia story telling, behavioural economics or work that’s to be mashed up.



    Jonathan Worth

    October 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

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