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Hockey Photography Gear

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Hockey Photography Gear

The second half of the hockey season is kicking off this New Year and I wanted to take the opportunity to show the camera gear I use when shooting hockey action. I'll get the occasional question about a camera body or camera lens that I am using, but mostly there are a lot of glares and staring from fellow photographers or hockey parents eyeing up the gear. 

In full disclosure, there is better camera equipment available then what I am using but I have found success with this setup I have been using. An example would be in camera bodies where the gold standard for Canon is the 1DX Mark II. It is a full frame professional body that shoots a decently with a fast frames per second rate, quick focusing system, higher dynamic range and larger sensor size while handling low light situations extremely well. This of course carries a large price tag with a new Canon 1DX Mark II sale priced currently at $7,699 at McBain Camera for the body only. Nikon and Sony will also have some high end camera bodies which will definitely satisfy the needs of sport photographers.  

So here it is, my list of equipment;

CANON 7D Mark II & CANON 5D Mark III

'll start with the 7D Mark II as it is definitely my work horse when it comes to sports photography. The 7D II is a crop sensor camera meaning it will take a 70 - 200 mm lens and essentially make it a 112 - 320 mm due to the 1.6 crop factor. The added length that it provides lenses means that I can get a tighter shot on the defencemen at the blue line in the offensive zone, stretch across the ice on a forward breaking into the zone or filling the frame up with a tight shot of a goalie. The 7D II also shoots a pretty fast frames per second at 10.0 FPS in continuous shooting, which is nice to try and capture a burst of shots during a play. The 5D II has a 6.0 FPS in continuous shooting. Along with the higher FPS, a couple more advantages the 7D II has over the 5D Mark III is the autofocusing seems to be a little faster and the buffer is definitely faster, which allows those bursts of images to be written to the memory cards faster. The biggest advantage of the 7D Mark II over the 5D III is the anti-flicker feature that helps significantly with the fluorescent light flicker of hockey rinks and gymnasiums. The anti-flicker isn't as useful in extremely well lit LED lit rinks and gyms but those are fairly hard to come by when shooting amateur sports right now.

A couple noticeable short comings for the 7D II compared to the 5D Mark III is the performance in low light situations, like a community arena, and the dynamic range. The 5D Mark III can easily be pushed to 5,000 - 6,400 ISO in order to keep a fast shutter speed, but the 7D II seems to peak around 3,200 - 4,000 ISO before getting a little more digital noise then I would like. The 5D III also has a noticeably better dynamic range, so the dark colours are deeper and the colours more vibrant. This helps a lot when shooting a set of photos in a JPG format for a quick turnaround when getting things looking as perfect as possible in camera is essential. 

Both cameras are weather sealed, have the same ergonomics when holding it, same battery size and both have duel memory card slots (one CF card and one SD card). The Canon 7D Mark II is a terrific sports camera, and wildlife camera, while the Canon 5D Mark III has been a phenomenal portrait, wedding, landscape and event camera to have. I typically will have a 70 - 200 mm lens on my 7D II and then a 50 mm lens or 24 - 70 mm lens on my 5D III for a hockey game. 

CANON 70 - 200mm IS II 2.8 LENS

This has been a fantastic lens for sports, as well as for weddings, portraits and landscapes. It is what I shoot the majority of my hockey images with either from a spot on the bench or through the glass in the corners. It is primarily attached to me Canon 7D Mark II camera body which then turns it into a 112 - 320 mm lens. The image stabilization doesn't play a major role in shooting sports action, in fact I often have it turned off, but is amazing for other types of photography. It also a great low light lens with a wide open aperture of f2.8 which helps significantly in arenas compared to the Canon 70 - 200 mm f4 lens. It is a tank of lens weighing just over 3 lbs, which doesn't sound like a lot but over the course of a game you can really feel it. I like the heaviness to it as it makes it feel durable and strong while still being easy to handle and zoom quickly when needed. 

CANON 24 - 70mm 2.8 LENS

A versatile zoom lens that lets me grab shots of action that happens right in front of me or wide angle shots of a large portion of the ice. I will typically have this on my 5D III and get those nice wide shots or some between action shots on the bench with it. The lens is a workhorse in most of the photography I do, including weddings, landscapes and events. It is a decently fast focusing lens, not quite as fast as the 70 - 200 mm lens but still can hold it's own. Again, an aperture of f2.8 helps immensely in arenas where lighting is often less then desirable. 

CANON 50mm 1.4 LENS

I will use this lens sparingly as an alternative to the 24 - 70 mm 2.8 lens for when action gets closer than the effective range of the 70 - 200 mm lens. It is an extremely wide open lens with an aperture of 1.4 so getting shots of a dark players bench or poorly lit hallway is a benefit of the lens. It is also great to really blow out the background for close shots between whistles for player portrait style shots. It is extremely small and low weight so very easy to handle, get a couple of photos and move it out of the way. Again, I would use this lens with the 5D III if I was going to use it in a game. 

MEMORY CARDS

Both cameras I use have the ability to shoot to two memory cards. One card slot is for a Compact Flash (CF) card and the other for a Secure Digital (SD) card. Shooting to two cards helps ensure that if something goes wrong, I will have a back up of the images in some capacity right away. I will typically use 32 GB or 64 GB cards, shooting JPG images to one card (usually the SD card) and RAW images to the other card. The SD card allows me to quickly plug it in to my laptop to upload an image or two during the intermission or to ingest the images from the card to a hard drive for a third back up set. Having two or three sets of the images is just something I have grown accustomed to from shooting weddings and not wanting to lose images due to a card failure. I will typically have six to eight different cards, formatted and ready to go, with me should something happen to a card or two at the game. Better safe then sorry. 

The specifics of the cards I use are as follows; all of my CF cards are SanDisk Extreme or Extreme Pro ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB to allow for a lot of photos and fast write speeds and my SD cards are Lexar Professional ranging from 32 GB to 128 GB. 

BATTERIES

I will generally take a total of four batteries with me to a hockey game. Two for the cameras and two for back ups. I always make sure they are charged and ready to go prior to the game, but like memory cards I feel more comfortable being over stocked with batteries should something fail. I couldn't imagine having no battery life left with ten minutes to go in a great back and forth game. For a tournament or back to back games, I will pack a charger or two that I can plug in during an intermission or between games if needed. 

So that's it. That is what I use when I shoot hockey photos. Nothing too intense like strobes, remote cameras or net cameras. Not yet anyways! 

I have included some hockey photos below, but if you would like to see more you can check out the sports section of our site or our sports specific Instagram account @TwoPointPhotographySport

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Our Instagram Best Nine of 2017

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Our Instagram Best Nine of 2017

Well another year has passed us by, this year seemed to go really fast! It seemed like we were just getting to enjoy summer and along came fall and before we knew it Christmas was upon us. The New Year gives us an opportunity to reflect back on 2017 and as such, here are our top nine photos from our Instagram account (@twopointphotography).

#1 - Ashley & Ross' Engagement Session

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#2 - Molly & Steve's Engagement Session

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#3 - Jade's Newborn Session

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#4 - Karey & Kiel's Engagement Session

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#5 - Karey & Kiel's Engagement Session

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#6 - Ashley & Ross' Wedding

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#7 - Charlie's Newborn Session

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#8 - Ashley & Ross' Wedding

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#9 - Karey & Kiel's Engagement Session

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So there you have it! Our nine best Instagram photos from the 2017 year. We had an amazing year getting to meet more beautiful couples and precious little ones. We are excited for another year of amazing opportunities in the 2018 year. 

If you would like to see what your Top Nine Instagram photos are from 2017 you can check it out here | 2017bestnine.com 

Be sure to check us out social media, give us a like or a follow as we continue our amazing photography journey. 

Twitter | @TwoPointPhoto

Instagram | @TwoPointPhotography

Facebook | Two Point Photography

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Favourite Christmas Movies

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Favourite Christmas Movies

Well it's that time of year, Christmas break. We have lots of sitting around time in store with the combination of lack of snow to go sledding and fort building as well as Mother Nature freezing us out with -30 celsius degree weather for awhile after Christmas. So that means most of us will be indoors looking for things to do and nothing beats a Christmas movie. Here are my favourites;

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION

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In my unprofessional movie review opinion, this is the best Christmas movie of all time. It resonates with so many people because every dad can relate to Clark Griswald wanting to provide the best possible Christmas experience to his family. Clark was just over the top and had some bad luck come his way. There are too many great moments in this movie to mention them all but Clark finally getting his lights to turn on after the struggle to get them up, the extended families arriving at the same time and the snow saucer scenes are some of the best. Let's not forget cousin Eddie, Catherine, Ruby Sue, Rocky and Snotz. Anyone who has travelled to stay with family for Christmas or has hosted family for Christmas can surely find something related in this movie. 

DIE HARD

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This 1988 action film has easily become the people's favourite non-Christmas, Christmas movie of all time. It is one of the best action movies of all time. and having Christmas running in the background of the movie plot is terrific. Die Hard doesn't need Christmas for the movie to be great, but the fact that John McClane travels across the country from New York to Los Angeles to be with his family for Christmas before ending up battling terrorists makes it all the better. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is an ordinary dude who gets as much as he deals and Alan Rickman's portrayal of Hans Gruber makes the terrorist one of the best bad guys in movie history. "Yippee-ki-yay, m----------r" turns out to be just as festive as "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho". 

ELF

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Will Ferrell is a comedic genius. Taking the concept of a human raised by elves at the north pole travelling back to New York to find his family over Christmas is the type of role that solidifies Ferrell as a funny man and his previous roles in Old School and on Saturday Night Live made the story work well. Underneath of the chugging of two litres of Coca-Cola or snow ball fight insanity to the special syrup in the mail room coffee, is a nice little story about a family coming together in the spirit of Christmas to make you feel all those warm feels. But Elf is more about the absurd comedy of Ferrell, but not going too absurd to be funny. Just the right about of absurd like buying your long lost father lingerie because he is someone special or answer other people's phone calls with "Buddy the Elf. What's your favourite colour?"  

HOME ALONE

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When I was a kid Kevin McCallister was an icon. He was an eight year old surviving by himself in his house, doing cool things, while setting traps for would be burglars all in the spirit of Christmas. "Merry Christmas ya filthy animal" has become a pop culture Christmas staple these days with a massive resurgence as my generation is in need of social media memes and ugly Christmas sweater/shirt designs. This movie still has an effect on kids these days. My ten year old nephew was setting traps, although not as elaborate as Kevin's, around the house before Christmas this year. There is a touching story of a mother doing all she can to get to her son for Christmas, although she originally left him alone so....lets call it a wash at best. The movie seems slightly unrealistic as you age and grow more mature, but when you were 8-12 years old, Home Alone was awesome!!!

THE NIGHT BEFORE

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The most recent addition to my Christmas movie list is The Night Before. I like Seth Rogen, he seems like he would be a cool and normal guy to hang out with. While not a stoner myself, I enjoy his average guy comedy and The Night Before is no different. The story follows Rogen, Anthony Mackie (Falcon from the Avengers) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) on their last fun Christmas night out adventure. It all starts with the trio partying on Christmas after Gordon-Levitt's character having his parents die and without family his best friends decide to take him out every year at Christmas. As they become older and more career/family oriented they start to feel more pathetic about still doing this so agree this is the last year. I think a lot of people can relate to this scenario, maybe minus the drugs and massive hidden night club party with Miley Cyrus, as coming home for Christmas often meant partying with friends at one point. But then as life takes over, the fun times with friends get more and more limited. This movie tackles this issue. 

BAD SANTA

A dark comedy about a despicable thief who dresses like Santa to rob shopping malls. It is rude and crude with Billy Bob Thornton perfecting the alcoholic jerk role and Tony Cox doing a tremendous job as the accomplice. Santa is foul mouthed and doesn't like kids, but struggles through the role of mall Santa for the big pay off of a job once the mall closes. This was actually John Ritter's last movie role as he plays the mall manger who gets his head of security, the late Bernie Mac, to keep an eye on Santa. There is a nice little story, kind of, about Santa helping a kid who is named Thurman Merman, to enjoy the Christmas season and shows that Santa isn't complete bad. It is an incredibly funny, but crude so don't let the kids watch, take on Santa and Christmas. After watching Bad Santa you can't help but think of what mall Santa's really go through on a daily basis during the holiday season. 

Some honourable mentions for good Christmas movies are Die Hard 2, Just Friends, Why Him?, Lethal Weapon and Office Christmas Party. In full disclosure I have never watched Christmas movies like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street and Love Actually. I am sure they are great, I've seen them on a lot of Christmas movie lists and maybe one day I will get to them. 

SEINFELD | The Strike from season nine

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First off, Festivus. If there is one fake event that I had to put money no becoming the next real event/holiday, it would be Festivus. The Festivus holiday on Seinfeld was created by Frank Constanza, George's dad, as an alternative to the commercialization of Christmas. The holiday is on December 23 and contains a Festivus meal with family and friends, an undecorated aluminum pole as opposed to a Christmas tree (tinsel is distracting), the airing of grievances, the feats of strength and acknowledging normal occurrences as Festivus miracles. Festivus is wildly popular these days with social media blowing up every December 23 as people recognize the day and take the opportunity to wish others a festivus for the rest of us or air some grievances that have been building. We can all relate to the pressures that Christmas brings, the commercialization of Christmas (decorations are available before Halloween these days) and frustrations with people that need to be vented. 

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Not to be forgotten In the episode are the other great storylines. Jerry is dating a two-face, someone who looks completely different in different lighting conditions, Kramer is ending a twelve year strike from a bagel restaurant and George is handing out donation cards to his fake charity, the Human Fund. 

THE OFFICE | The Christmas Party episode from season two

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I think everyone who has worked in any sort of professional office setting can relate to the Office in some capacity. The Christmas party episode truly captures the joy and excitement of more office parties, especially when you have a boss who is desperately trying to be the coolest and most liked boss ever. This episode shows that the office Christmas party is the best place to show how great of a boss you really are. The episode comes in right from the pre-credits scene of Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute trying to get a massive tree into the office. Fans also get a "that's what she said" when Kevin asks Michael why did you get it so big as well as what happens when a disappointing secret Santa gets turned into a gift exchange because of one hot present that everyone wants. 

Here is an extremely vague tie in to photography for the article, Michael Scott walks around with a digital camera trying to capture out of control moments, promising the craziest photo to be placed in the company newsletter. 

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So there is my little list of movies that are a terrific break during the Christmas season for me. Let us know what your go to Christmas movie is in the comments below. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

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EGHA vs Harbin Sport School

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EGHA vs Harbin Sport School

Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to capture game action between the Edmonton Girls Hockey Association (EGHA) and Harbin (China) Sport School in exhibition hockey. EGHA would have the PeeWee Swarm, Bantam Sabres and Bantam Inferno take on the young Chinese hockey team who were also involved in attending Wickfest, the Canada vs United States women's hockey game and various hockey sessions such as skating with Serdanchy Power Skating in Edmonton. 

Harbin is located approximately 1,200 kilometres north east of Bejing in the Heilongjang province.  The capital city of the province is home to 10,500,000 people with hockey becoming a growing interest in the area.  There is a good relationship between Canada and China in terms of hockey development with various Chinese teams training and playing games in Canada to develop their hockey skills for events as big as the Olympic games and international junior hockey tournaments. There are multiple news stories about the game of hockey growing throughout China, moving from something people did on frozen lakes, to now most large cities having multiple hockey rinks like the 14 spread out across Beijing accommodating 2,500 hockey players. The 2022 winter Olympics are right around the corner and China is looking to groom skilled hockey players for the event. The National Hockey League held their first ever games in China this season, as the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings played a couple of exhibition games in September. 

 

It was amazing to be a part of the exhibition series and capture the joy of amateur hockey at a grass roots level. Skill development and knowledge of the game are two things that are at the forefront of coaches minds at this level of hockey, but the passion and excitement for the game is as high as it is in any level of hockey I've seen.  

Below are some of the images from the exhibition games between EGHA and Harbin. More photos can be found in our Sports gallery and the EGHA gallery on our site. 

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Celebrate The Season | Alberta Legislature

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Celebrate The Season | Alberta Legislature

Tis the season to be merry! On December 7th the Alberta Legislature Grounds turned the lights on for their annual Celebrate the Season event. Until December 23rd people can head down to the grounds and check out the light displays, performances and you can even take your skates and go for a spin on the outdoor rink. There isn't snow right now, it is more of a wavy hard ice/snow mixture with patches of grass sticking through, but when there is snow on the ground, I am sure you can take a rip on your GT snowracer, saucer or crazy carpet down the hills. 

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The key attraction to the light display this year is at the front steps of the Legislature building where you will find a giant 150 display for some photo opportunities. Not to be out done is the giant Christmas tree that is in the middle of the fountain area. It is always worth just standing and watching the lights trickle down a massive Christmas tree.

At least once a day, somedays up to three times, the grounds host performances from various musical groups and a full calendar of these performances can be found at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta website or check it out below. 

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So pick a nice evening, bundle up and head over the Legislature Grounds for some Christmas cheer. If you want to extend your evening out the High Level Bridge is right there and always lit up in various colours, Constable Enzio Park is across 109 street and offers a great view of the High Level Bridge at night and Jasper Avenue is only two blocks away for some food (and/or drinks). 

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Molly & Steve's Wedding

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Molly & Steve's Wedding

Our last wedding of 2017 was Molly & Steve’s beautiful Edmonton fall wedding on September 30th. This beautiful couple combined with the fall colours, gorgeous venue and out of this world fun group of family and friends to celebrate the wedding made this a date we won’t soon forget. Thank you for having us capture your amazing day!

Flowers | Studio Bloom (www.studiobloom.ca)

Photo Locations | Varscona Hotel on Whyte (http://www.varscona.com) | Millcreek Ravine (https://www.edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/parks_rivervalley/mill-creek-ravine.aspx)

Venue | ATB Financial Arts Barn (https://www.fringetheatre.ca)

Hair & Makeup | Blush Artistry (http://blush-artistry.ca) | Robyn (https://www.instagram.com/robynhairnmakeup/) | Heather (https://www.instagram.com/franklinmakeup/)

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