2005-10-27 - In Step

For the first time since I joined my hockey club and started playing in the First Division, we didn't make it to the Grand Final. Considering we'd won 9 out of the last 10 premierships, this was quite disappointing but that's sport... One consolation was that I was able to relax more and try my hand again at some night time action photography. I haven't had a lot of experience with this sort of photography but on previous attempts, my results have been less than impressive. The biggest problem is that although the lights look reasonably good, there just isn't enough light to freeze motion and get a decent exposure. Then again, if it was all so easy, where would the fun be?

For this attempt, I came armed with a lot more knowledge and some better gear; most notably a borrowed Nikon 80-200 F/2.8 push/pull zoom lens and a Nikon SB-800 flash. Having the F/2.8 lens helped a lot - not only for the extra light it gathers but also for the more accurate focusing it allows (again, thanks to the extra light). Although my results were still quite hit and miss, I found a combination of panning, fill flash and high ISO (~800-1600) gave the best results.

This particular photo is significant to me because it was my first (along with two other shots) to be published in a newspaper. The photos appeared in colour over a two page spread, which was great. They even gave me credit and spelt my name right - a real bonus for this paper! Despite all this, I was left a bit disappointed with the final result. Without putting too fine a point on it, they butchered my photos with some of the worst crops imaginable. This shot suffered the most, having one player chopped in half and the ball cropped out of the frame. Arrrgggh!!!