With 3 different writers, The Third Intermission offers the best in Houston Aeros coverage from multiple viewpoints. They offer home game-recaps and interviews, player transactions and photos from yours truly from the Midwestern games. Easily one of my favorite blogs, but I'm probably biased.
While the site's focus is the AHL photography that I have taken, I thought that I would share some of my approach to shooting properly exposed images. These principles are nothing earth-shattering if you've mastered the controls of your camera, but is written with a focus on novices.
I prefer to shoot in Manual (probably listed as the "M" setting on your camera), as it gives me the most control in the results. This allows me to adjust the shutter speed (1/xxx), aperture (f/x.x) and sensitivity (ISO xxx), while most other modes rely on the camera's computer to determine one or more of these 3 settings.
Why Manual? If you were to shoot with another setting without adjusting exposure compensation (EC), the images would turn out too dark due to the white ice. While you could adjust the EC to correctly expose for the ice, but the results may not be consistent if there is a varying about of ice in the image.
Check the Histogram
Reviewing the histogram on the back display of your camera will help adjust the settings to the correct exposure. This is usually found by cycling through the display formats on the back screen.
A properly exposed image with create a histogram pattern similar to the image below, with a spike almost at the right edge representing the white from the ice.
If the spike is at or exceeds the edge, the photo will be overexposed and too bright, while having the spike towards the middle indicates that it is underexposed.
Working on the right settings
Set the aperture as wide as your lens allows, which will let the camera receive as much light as possible offering the highest possible shutter speeds eliminating blur. Also, with larger apertures such as f/2.0 and f/2.8, it helps isolate the target from the background of the image. (Remember: larger apertures are smaller numbers, aka f/2.8 >> f/32)
Shutter Speed and Sensitivity (ISO)
After setting the aperture, the shutter speed and sensitivity will be a bit of compromise depending on your camera and location that you are shooting.
Higher ISO sensitivity: On older cameras, higher ISO results in poorer image quality High Shutter Speed: Allows the ability to stop action and eliminate motion blur
In the example below, the Rockford Metrocentre's lighting is so poor that I had to push my then seven-year old Canon 1D Mark I to its limits using a sensitivity of ISO 3200. Note the graininess in the jerseys and other dark areas.
Low ISO sensitivity: Increases image quality Low Shutter Speed: Creates motion blur, which can potentially be distracting or ruin an image if too blurry
Obviously an extreme example, but this shot at 1/50 shutter speed is doing anything but stopping motion.
The best option is to find a medium that lets you to be happy with the results that still maintains a proper exposure of the image. Because I like to print 8x10 and larger images, I tend to try to stay around ISO 800 and adjust the shutter speed accordingly, typically varying between 1/400 and 1/640 depending on arena.
Finally, I want to note that I use the "AI Servo" tracking, which allows me to track the players or objects as they move. Additionally rather than letting the camera decide where to auto-focus, I change the AF to a single point to the center and try to target the player's crest or place it where the player's head is to keep their face in focus.
In the next installment, I will comment on a couple lenses that I have used while shooting hockey.
One of the most venerable blogs relating to the Milwaukee Admirals, dating back to their IHL days, has been MilwaukeeHockey.com. While the blog is not necessarily updated daily, it provides links to excellent reading material along with outstanding Admirals photography from a different perspective. In addition to the current news and photos, his History and All-Time Uniform Number sections have been invaluable for reference that cannot be found anywhere else besides old programs.
This week, AHL in Photos will move slightly away from photos during the calm before the storm that is the 2011/12 American Hockey League season and offer up some various AHL related blogs that I personally enjoy checking out on a daily basis. All of these blogs can be accessed at anytime on the right-hand side of the site.
Today's recommended blog is The Peoria Rivermen Blog. If the name did not already give it away, the blog covers everything and anything related to the Peoria Rivermen. A rather new blog, started back in March of this year, kept fans up to date with the scenarios required for the 2011 Calder Cup Playoff hunt, offered game previews and recaps, and everything else that a Rivs fan needs to know.
Easily my favorite shot of the season as Texas Stars forward Travis Morin #23 celebrates one of his goals leading to a Stars victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 2 of the first round of Calder Cup playoffs, as some of the crowd shares in his excitement.
Hope that you enjoyed the Top 10 run-down from the 2010/11 season as we get closer to the 2011/12 season, and look forward to bringing more photos next season!
Slotting into the 3rd position is this shot of Houston Aero Casey Wellman's celebration contrasting the disappointment seen in Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith. This goal would prove to be the series-winner in Game 7 on May 10, 2011.
Stay tuned each weekday this week as we count down to #1.
From way back in October comes my favorite fight shot, as Scott Ford of the Admirals went looking for a fight and ended up taking a couple fists before he expected it from Chicago Wolves forward Andre Deveaux on October 15, 2010 at the All-State Arena.
Stay tuned each weekday this week as we count down to #1.
Next on the list of Top 10 is fellow Milwaukee Admirals player Roman Josi who slide the puck by Rockford Icehogs goaltender Hannu Toivonen stick-side for the game-winning shootout goal on December 10, 2010.
Stay tuned each weekday in the next two weeks as we count down to #1.
With the start of August, AHL in Photos will finally present the Top 10 from the 2010/11 AHL season.
Mike Barlett beats Peoria goalie Jake Allen five-hole as the Peoria Rivermen visited the Milwaukee Admirals on March 13, 2011 for the #10 spot on the list. Stay tuned each weekday in the next two weeks as we count down to #1.