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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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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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My Favourite Baseball Photos Of 2016

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My Favourite Baseball Photos Of 2016

With the Major League Baseball Playoffs getting underway last week and the country getting caught up in Toronto Blue Jays fever once again, I started to think about the baseball season that was and the photos that I was able to capture. 

Here, in no particular order, is a look at some of my favourite baseball photographs of 2016. They won't be gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated or ESPN The Magazine any time soon and I am doubtful that a service like Getty Images or the Associated Press will be picking them up. I know I have a lot to learn yet in sports photography but each one of these images has a story to them or a specific detail about them that make them stick out to me. 

There is value in photographing sports. Whether it is minor baseball or at a recreational level, it is always awesome to see photos of what happened. They share a little story about that moment that someone looking at the photo in a year, five years or ten years down the road might enjoy and spark a conversation or debate. Baseball is a sport that is rich in history and photographs help preserve that history for others to experience. 

I hope you enjoy the photos!

 

Bryan Toles of the Camrose Axemen hits a single (a career defining Texas Leaguer) against the Sherwood Park Athletics in what very well could be the last at bat of his career (2004-2016). The longtime player/coach of the Axemen has been contemplating retirement | July 20 at Footz Field, Edmonton

Armena Royals shortstop Jordan Hoover hits a three run home run in game three of the Powerline Baseball League Championship. The home run would be one of two for Hoover in the game | August 9 at Anniversary Park, Armena

A very cool moment after Winkler (MB) won the 2016 Peewee AA Western Baseball Tournament. All the parents and volunteers who travelled the roughly 1,342km from southern Manitoba to St. Albert joined in the celebration | August 14 at Legion Memorial Ballpark, St. Albert

This was the last play of the Ryley Rebels 2016 season. Rebels shortstop Dylan Solberg valiantly attempts to get to first base. Headfirst slides have been scientifically proven to not get a runner to first faster......but sometimes it sure feels like it helps | July 26 at Rosalind Ballpark

The definition of a play at the plate in baseball has changed recently, for player safety reasons. No longer are runners allowed to go through catchers and catchers can no longer block the plate. Sometimes though, things just kind of happen. Like this collision between the Camrose Cougars (blue) and the Edmonton Angels (black) at Midget AA Provincials | July 29 at Four Seasons Park, Beaumont

Showcasing the vastness of playing the outfield was what I was trying to capture with this photo. There is a lot of green for one guy to cover and there is often no one behind you to help if you make a mistake | August 6 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

As you can see on the scoreboard the Peewee AA Western Canadian Championship game was a little bit of a runaway. In fact this home run was a walk off mercy win for Winkler (MB) over the Camrose Cougars. The crowd beyond the fence was watching in amazement at the distance and the intrigue to see who's vehicle it would land on | August 14 at Legion Memorial Ballpark, St. Albert

A member of the Grande Prairie Reds Pee Wee AA team gets mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning run against the Sherwood Park Athletics | August 5 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

Edmonton Primeaus shortstop Kyle Fagnan throws across the diamond in a game versus the Camrose Axemen in North Central Alberta Baseball League action | July 13 at Harry Andreassen Field, Camrose

The South Jasper Place Jays would fall behind against the St Albert Cardinals in the championship game at the 2016 Mosquito AA Provincial Tournament. The Jays would rally to within one run in what seemed to be a miracle in the making (the Cardinals would hold them off to win 8-7). Most people feel that the power of the rally cap and whatever it was that this young man was doing, had a big role in keeping his teammates loose and having fun | August 7 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

Sherwood Park Athletics catcher Mike Falkins (white) would be thrown out twice at home plate by Camrose Axemen centre fielder Jordan Riopel in the same game. This is a shot of the second time there was a play at the plate which was just before Falkins was ejected for arguing with the umpire | June 8 at Harry Andreassen Field, Camrose

A preseason tournament for the Camrose Cougars Mosquito AA team had some tense moments that required the use of the rally hat. The Cougars would end up winning the game versus the Fort Saskatchewan Red Sox | April 29 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

Camrose Axemen second baseman Ryan Petryshyn is in the process of throwing out an Edmonton Primeau hitter while first baseman Joe Pasychnyk sets up at the bag | May 17 at John Frye Park, Edmonton

Tom Shulba of the Ryley Rebels gets down a text book sacrifice bunt against the Leduc Milleteers. The little things in a baseball game are often the things that end up having the biggest impact on the outcome | June 16 at Ryley Ballpark

The Camrose Cougars Midget AA team would go on to win silver at the 2016 Provincial Tournament. This is a photo of pitcher Ty Twitchell pitching against the South Jasper Place Jays in the semi-final | August 1 at Millwoods Park, Edmonton

Game one of the 2016 Camrose Axemen season saw Blair Mulder kick up a dust storm sliding head first into third base against the Edmonton Athletics in the top of the first inning. | May 8 at Footz Field, Edmonton

This was the winning run for the Camrose Cougars AA Midget team against the Edmonton Angels in the Midget AA Provincial Tournament. Lying almost completely on his back allowed the Cougars runner to avoid the tag of the Angels catcher | July 29 at Four Seasons Park, Beaumont

Ryley Rebels short stop Dylan Solberg turns at first base and is looking for extra bases at the Ballpark in Ryley. The small village's ball field has the iconic trees beyond the outfield fence along with an old windmill in the background. Plus that flow | July 21 at Ryley Ballpark

The small village of Rosalind played host to game two of the Powerline Baseball League Championship this season as their Athletics took on the Armena Royals. The small ballpark affectionately known as 'the Homer Dome' due to it's small field dimensions is home to baseball fans in the area | August 4 at Rosalind Ballpark

There is nothing like support from a teammate. In this case Camrose Axemen outfielder Blair Mulder (5) gets encouragement all the way down the third base line from reliever and third base coach Kyle Muzechka | June 1 at Archie Jenkins Field, Bon Accord

The Winkler (MB) third baseman would be almost completely horizontal when it was all said and done but despite the effort, the ball would evade the youngster at the hot corner | August 14 at Legion Memorial Ballpark, St. Albert

A baseball fan gets a video of some baseball action. It doesn't matter what camera a person has, it is all about the moment that they are capturing | August 5 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

Pregame hype for the South Jasper Place Jays | August 5 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

Getting hit by a pitch sucks some times. Getting hit by a pitch and not being awarded first base because the ump didn't feel like you made enough of an effort to move out of the way sucks every time | August 2 at Anniversary Park, Armena

When you are a kid playing baseball, having a good coach who helps you mentally prepare before stepping into the batter's box goes a long way to help a young player enjoy the game and have success. Here a coach from the Calgary Bandits talks to a hitter during a mound visit | August 6 at Rudy Swanson Park, Camrose

Rosalind Athletics second baseman Matt Enright begins to lay out for a chance at a line drive. Unfortunately for Enright the ball would get by the out stretched glove for a base hit | August 4 at Rosalind Ballpark

And to answer your question, yes I am still living the dream and playing baseball. Every once in awhile I even get lucky and a pitcher will throw a ball right where my bat is like this seventh inning double against Kirk Smith of the Beaumont Angels in Powerline Baseball League action - we would go on to lose 8-0 (Photo Credit....someone sitting on the bench)  | May 26 at Four Seasons Park, Beaumont

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Football Night In Saskatchewan

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Football Night In Saskatchewan

On Friday night we were thrilled to be able to capture the Macklin Sabres taking on the Hague Panthers in Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association football action. With the season winding down each game has playoff implications as both the Sabres and the Panthers are battling for a playoff berth and home field advantage. Friday night's game was extra special for a few Sabres' seniors who, depending on the playoff schedule, may have played their last high school football game in their hometown of Macklin. 

The Hague Panthers would walk away with a commanding 66-22 victory over the Sabres but the large home town crowd did not leave disappointed as the effort by both teams made it a great football game to watch.

It was my first time getting to watch six man football which is unique as the Canadian Football League (CFL) plays with twelve players on the field per team and the National Football League (NFL) has eleven players per side on the field. Depending on the eligible population of the school they could be in six man football, nine man football or twelve man football. Games are often high scoring with teams getting six points for a touch down, three points for a field goal, two points for a successful point after attempt and a single point for a missed point after attempt. 

For a quick look at the game of six man football check out this YouTube video of the 2015 Can Am Bowl XIX

We hope you enjoy the images that we captured! For more images please visit our online gallery where you are free to download web sized images of the game. 

For details on how we can cover your event | info@twopointphotography.com

Macklin Sabres vs Hague Panthers Full Game Gallery 

 

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2016 First Truck Drive Fore A Cure Golf Tournament

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2016 First Truck Drive Fore A Cure Golf Tournament

This week I was given the opportunity to photograph the 2016 First Truck Drive Fore A Cure Golf Tournament at the Belvedere Golf and Country Club in support of the MS Society. The tournament raises money for multiple sclerosis research in the fight to cure the disease that affects over 100,000 Canadians. Funding is needed for researchers to continue their work to find a cause of multiple sclerosis, develop better treatments for managing multiple sclerosis and to ultimately cure the disease. Events like this coupled with the continuous generous support of Albertans is moving researchers closer and closer to their goals.

One of the most impactful things that I got to witness at the tournament was the research that the University of Alberta is conducting in the search of the cause of multiple sclerosis. Prior to teeing off on the tenth hole, golfers were given the opportunity to discuss research with a pair of University of Alberta researchers and how their work is impacting the search for the cure. It gave golfers and donors a way to see the impact that their generosity has in a local research environment like the University of Alberta. 

Prior to the start of the tournament the area experienced some intense lightning and rain but about an hour or so before the shotgun start, the skies cleared up and the morning was perfect for golf. Hitting the course in support of the MS Society was 144 golfers who would be treated to a great day of golf followed by an amazing steak supper and a auction that included items generously donated to support multiple sclerosis research. 

Photographing the days events was awesome! The joy of the golfers, even the ones who may have spent more time in the rough then the fairway, the enthusiasm of the volunteers and the hole sponsors made the day on the links that much more enjoyable. 

Here are some of the photos I captured from the day, hopefully capturing what a great event this was. 

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2016 Powerline Baseball League Championship

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2016 Powerline Baseball League Championship

The Powerline Baseball League (PBL) is a senior men's baseball league with roots that date back to the 1930's in the east central Alberta region. 

On Tuesday August 2, the league began it's 2016 Championship Series as the Rosalind Athletics took on the Armena Royals. The best of three series was won by the Rosalind Athletics, giving the small hamlet south east of Camrose it's first PBL Championship. 

The highlight of the series was the deciding game three which took two days to complete due to darkness and was dubbed 'The Greatest Game Ever Played' on the league's website. A total of sixteen innings were played over the two days with the Rosalind Athletics finally emerging with the 9-8 win and the championship. 

Game One | Rosalind Athletics (9) at Armena Royals (6) 

Game Two | Armena Royals (6) at Rosalind Athletics (0)

Game Three | Rosalind Athletics (9) at Armena Royals (8) F/16

The link below will direct you to our online gallery of images captured during game one, game two and the first day of game three. We hope that you enjoy the photos and get a sense of what the great game of baseball looks like in these small communities in Alberta. 

Click Here For Game Photo Galleries

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