I had the opportunity to go and photograph a professional Hockey match last evening. A big step in my path to becoming a full-time sports shooter. I had never photographed Hockey before, and to be honest I don’t think I had even seen an entire Hockey match before, but I jumped at the chance to go. The fact that Elitserien is the top league in the country and one of the better Hockey leagues in the world certainly didn’t hold me back any.
Seeing my first Hockey match from the sidelines was really an amazing experience. The photographers are normally placed to the side of the players on the bench. You need to wear a helmet while you are there photographing. You have no plexiglass between you and the ice rink, and for the entire match you are under threat of being smashed into by the players and punk. I found myself instinctively turning and cradling my camera as players and hockey sticks smashed into the wall directly in front of me.
Aside from being my first Hockey match it was also the first time I put to use my new Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8 IS II lens. With impeccable timing I purchased this (very expensive) lens as the Swedish football/soccer season came to a close. So I had yet had the opportunity to put it to use in a rather high speed shooting situation. I was very impressed with the focusing speed of the lens, it’s incredibly fast. The lens is super sharp, and shooting on a hockey rink really makes things easier as the ice makes it possible to easily hold a decent shutter speed without raising your ISO to the maximum. Low light levels were a huge problem for me late in the Swedish football season when the days got drastically shorter, so getting such good light levels last evening was a huge relief. I’m looking forward to shooting as much of the remainder of the Elitserien season as possible, so you can expect a lot more pictures here and on Hockey Sverige in the new year. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures.