I admit to being a photo opportunist. Alex wanted to follow his beloved Yalies to the ECAC Hockey Championships. It was held in AC, Atlantic City. It’s hilarious because Alex and I don’t gamble. The venue was where they used to hold the Miss America pageant. And no camera; I was stopped as soon as they saw my serious camera gear. I think it was the 80-400mm lens that really scared them. Other people got in with medium teles. So I fell back on my Canon G11 point and shoot. Now that’s a real challenge. There’s a shutter lag, you shoot, and a few milliseconds go by before the image is captured. At that lag, how in the whole wide world do you capture the action. Lighting is horrible and everything is moving to say nothing of the glass that surrounds the rink. You might as well not turn on the camera. So I just sat there and experimented. As with anything, I figured you have to follow the action. That means the puck is where the action is. Yup! I got a few with the puck headed past the goalie. Not great but not bad. You have to look close but that puck is in the frame.
As I said, I am a photo opportunist. My friend Alex suggested that we go to the ECAC Hockey Championship in Atlantic City a few years back. He’s a fan. I’m casual, as in I would not go unless otherwise asked to attend to support a friend’s interest. I tried to bring in my big old 80-400mm camera lens and was turned away at the entry. So I shot three days with a point and shoot. There are issues. First you can’t zoom nearly close enough. And then there is the issue of shutter lag. You press the button and a moment later the image is captured. Hockey is otherwise pretty straightforward. They move up and down the ice. You can’t get anything decent when the action is at the other end. And then the object of the game is have the puck in photograph at a critical moment, such as when you are about to score. Lighting is poor and shutter speed is usually going to be too slow. With all of that you still get a few shots. In this case it wasn’t Alex’s team (Yale). But hey, he liked to watch the whole series and I was challenged to get that puck in the shot.
Atlantic City, New Jersey. The ECAC Men’s Hockey finals were in May 2011. I have a friend Alex who is a Yale Alumnus. His team did win the whole thing. Horray! Sports photography is difficult in fluorescent lighting. Worse the light is not too bright. So the action is often blurred by slow shutter speed. You can compensate by increasing the ISO but then there is noise on the image. Everything is a compromise. Now, with all that, the ticket folks took one look at the gear in my camera bag and immediately said, “No go.” It’s a college hockey game for goodness sake! So Alex and I trudged all the way back to the parking lot, dropped off the Nikon and walked back with the Canon G11. Yeah, they let me bring that back in. So for the weekend and all the games, I used the G11. Surprisingly, with just a bit of luck, I got some decent shots. It wasn’t professional, just for fun. Here you can see Cornell and Dartmouth playing. The puck is right there bouncing along toward the crease. Cornell is quite a physically imposing team and did win. Yale is also a smaller team, but quicker.
Anyway the object is to catch the action and the puck. Not bad, also, because we were up in the stands and I couldn’t be down near the glass. But the glass would have been another problem.