1.19.2008

Central Vermont Saturday night: Harwood vs. Northfield (hockey)

Vermont in January: It's cold and dark. There was a huge thaw that melted most of the snow and now the weather is turning dry and sharply (as in below zero) colder. It's not very pleasant to be outside.

With this in mind, I took my new camera to the local ice hockey arena for a high school game tonight. It was pretty fun even though compared to the division 1 college hockey games I used to see when I lived in Burlington, it seemed like the game was played in slow motion.

My new camera (Pentax K100d Super) works well in low light (it can practically take photos in the dark) but fast ('fast' = wide apertures that let in lots of light) telephoto lenses are very expensive....so the $140 Tamron lens I bought from Amazon is just plain 'slow'. So these images are my testing the slow telephoto lens vs. high camera sensitivity in a demanding environment -- the lights in these arenas are pretty funky and do strange things to cameras, and hockey -- even relatively slow hockey -- is a fast moving game.

The home team, Harwood Union, is in yellow. They lost 4-0 (I didn't stay til the very end) despite having many more shots on goal than Northfield.

Kind of a funny photo as the goalie hunkers down while a Harwood forward crashes the net, no penalty was called.


The Zamboni -- an object the camera could get a lock on with no problem. Most of the game photos were taken at ISO 1600 and with a shutter speed of 1/125 (not really fast enough, even for hs hockey) and a f-stop of between 4 and 8 depending on how much zoom was being used. I found that ISO 800 required too slow a shutter speed to be practical.

A crowd shot, I used Auto white balance, it worked OK, but the light did unhealthy things to skin tones, it looks like night of the living dead.

How to take photos at a hockey game: 1) Bring a ladder so you don't have to shoot through the glass (like I did) 2) Use a Canon system with a fancy, fast lens -- which alone probably cost more than all the camera gear I have ever bought in my entire life.

Size does matter: The Pentax kitted out with the very plasticy but affordable Tamron 70-300 lens. There's some photos taken with this lens in natural light (it works better) posted here and there are more images from this game posted here as well.

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