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  1. #1
    wiggy's Avatar
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    Anyone shoot Short track Speed Skating?

    Not sure if this is really the correct place to post this so mods please move it to the appropriate place if necessary but initially am approaching it from film choice and processing options

    I've been co opted as the 'official' photographer for FISS (Federation of Inline Speed Skating) here in the UK. This isn't quite as grand as it sounds being that, even though we have a solid world presence in the sport, it's about as far advanced interms of events as your average primary school sports day - but I digress!

    Outdoor events are not a problem to shoot but the indoor meets are a nightmare with relatively low light levels, mixtures of tungsten and fluorescent lighting, high racing speeds, high contrast ranges and often limitations on the use of flash.

    Probably the nearest comparisons are shooting at ice hockey games and closest of all, short track speed skating events.

    Is there anyone here who has experience of working under these conditions who can offer me some pointers.

    Basic equipment is:

    Motor driven Canon A1
    Vivitar series 1 200 F2.8
    Vivitar series 1 70 - 210
    Canon 35-70
    Tokina 28
    Sunpak 3600 hammer gun with dedicated Canon module
    Canon 300m F4

    Can't really afford to spend much more on equipment.

  2. #2

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    No flash...

    ...no photos! That's what I would tell the federation/venues. I've shot plenty of sports (volleyball, basketball, etc.) in dim arenas and to get consistent, "decisive moment", professional level results you've got to use flash. Especially with a sport as fast as speed skating. That's my experience anyway...

    Best,
    Tom

  3. #3
    wiggy's Avatar
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    I can fully appreciate the no flash rule in a number of events as when skaters are tightly bunch, moving at very high speed a flash could startle one of them and cause a very serious accident (seen it happen when one of the crowd has leaned over the barrier and let a flash off as skaters have come down the straight - instant arc eye and a very nasty crash!)

  4. #4

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    long track speed skating

    I have taken photos at World Cup long track speed skating here in Calgary, as well as ice hockey. You are right that the mixed lighting makes it difficult which is why I gave up colour film. I found that I needed ISO 800 - 1600 to get decent shutter speeds at f 2.8. If you are going for creative blur and panning then lower ISO is possible. I did not find contrast a problem. The main issues were getting the composition, getting focus, and high enough ISO to get 1/250 - 1/500.

    I was mainly using my 70-200 f2.8 lens, using the longer end to isolate individuals and the shorter end to include other skaters or action close to the boards. Most shots were with the longer end so you will likely use your Series 1 200mm most. It is difficult to find places to stand where shorter lenses work and the 300 is usually too long.

    Without autofocus, you will need to pre focus on a spot ahead of the action and shoot when the skaters reach that spot. If you have not had much experience shooting sports, you will need to practice since the action will be faster than you anticipate. With pre focus, you need to release the shutter slightly before the skaters reach your chosen spot - remember that at 30 mph, they will travel approximately 45 ft in 1 second and it is common to have a reaction time of a couple of tenths of a second (10 ft) from the time you think about releasing the shutter to it actually happening.


    As in everything, practice. Take some cheap film to a non critical event and experiment (keep notes so you remember what works) Don't be discouraged if you find you miss more than you get right - you will improve!

  5. #5
    wiggy's Avatar
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    Here's a few scanned straight off the first roll. These are raw scans with no correction, cropping, etc so show exactly what I'll be printing from (that's printing in the proper sense not via an inkjet obviously!)





    Got another two 36 exp rolls to process tomorrow from the same event so will see if any of them are better (def hope so)

    Because, unlike short track or hockey, I am able to work from inside the track I found the 35 - 70 gave me the best all round range and the flash is powerful enough even with a diffuser to get a decent depth of field. I have noticed though that using the bounce diffuser doesn't seem to stop the action as well as an undiffused flash but perhaps that's just me.

  6. #6
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    I went to photoschool with Claus Anderson... London Ont Canada.
    He has photographed every Olympic games winter and summer since late 70's. One of his specialtys is short track speed skating..
    I see him on TV every winter Olympic standing there freezing his ass off taking photos with a big ass Cannon camera.

    You may try googling him and contacting him with some questions, he is a very down to earth guy.
    I see him once every 4 or 10 years and am not in touch with him any more.

    He is considered one of the best .

  7. #7
    wiggy's Avatar
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    Cheers Bob, I'll see if I can track him down (ouch - no pun intended) and pcik his brains.

    Ian

  8. #8

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    I really like using film- I really do! for some things, and mostly just for my own personal work. I really enjoy messing with my cirkut cameras and graflex 5x7 home portrait and other film cameras. But for my business, I use digital mostly, especially in low light situations like what you are talking about, unless the look I'm trying to achieve can only be gotten with a film camera. (Please- no one flame me) From a business point of view I would recommend digital for this. At the moment the nikon D3 is the high ISO king, but canon will likely follow suit. Even the low end digital slrs do a okay job with high ISOs, and electrons are cheap. For what you want to do I think it would make life easier and get better overall results. That said, I bet one could get some cool large format motion shots with a rb graflex. Apologies to the group for the mention of digital cameras. Sounds like a fun project!

  9. #9

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    Dear wiggy,

    Larger stadiums usually have flash systems built into them. All those super shots are due to a large number of strobes placed around the arena and fired by radio control. The array of strobes gives a nice even illumination. Maybe you could simulate that by placing several strobes around the rink

    Neal Wydra

  10. #10
    wiggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie young View Post
    I really like using film- I really do! for some things, and mostly just for my own personal work. I really enjoy messing with my cirkut cameras and graflex 5x7 home portrait and other film cameras. But for my business, I use digital mostly, especially in low light situations like what you are talking about, unless the look I'm trying to achieve can only be gotten with a film camera. (Please- no one flame me) From a business point of view I would recommend digital for this. At the moment the nikon D3 is the high ISO king, but canon will likely follow suit. Even the low end digital slrs do a okay job with high ISOs, and electrons are cheap. For what you want to do I think it would make life easier and get better overall results. That said, I bet one could get some cool large format motion shots with a rb graflex. Apologies to the group for the mention of digital cameras. Sounds like a fun project!
    Hi Jamie

    It really goes against the grain but I think I have to agree with you. I'm going to continue shooting film for the outdoor events but for the couple of major indoor events that form part of then UK calender I'm going to go over to the dark side and hire a Canon EOS1 and image stabilised zoom (I promise to do suitable penance for the rest of the year - suggestions!!!!)



 

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