I started playing hockey this year. Let's just say I'm not ready for the NHL yet, not even the one with 6 year olds. The NCHL starts up in September and I've been drafted onto one of the expansion teams, lucky for them (insert sarcastic voice). Having said all that, I love sports photography and keep hearing how hard hockey is, especially in the poorly lit Frank Crane Arena. White balance goes goofy, you need at least 1600 ISO and a fast fast lens. I decided to go out and photograph some of my future opponents both to scout the competition (I'm going to be be in real trouble here) and to try out my current gear to see if it was suitable for that environment.
Now zoom seems a bit overated in Hockey, especially when you can get nice and close in a community rink. I brought my new zoom lens and wish I hadn't as it isn't near as fast as my other lenses. At ISO 400 I was able to get barely usable shots. I really would like ISO 800 or 1600 and a 100mm f2.0 for this sport but until my wallet fattens up a bit I'll have to be happy with 400 ISO and a 50mm f2.8. I tried flash, and while it plays absolute havoc to bring in yet another light source to play with your white balance it sure makes the photography easy. If only the Clippers would agree to me strapping my wireless flash unit under the centre ice scoreboard. That would make life very very easy.
So I can do it. Would it be nice to have that E3 and nice SWD lens I've been drooling over for a while? Yes. But certainly my hockey shots were better than my play. Which isnt' saying much I suppose.