Other than a couple of my daughter's track meets, I haven't shot any sports photos since my days as the photographer for my high school's newspaper. Back then I shot with a Yashica twin-lens reflex, which had a fixed 80mm (normal) f/3.5 lens. It was a real challenge to shoot a night time football game on Tri-X film. Occasionally we photographers became part of the action when we weren't able to get out of the way of a tackle after getting the shot.

So I was a bit skeptical about what I'd be able to do at a youth league hockey game using my Fuji X-T1 and a 50-140mm f/2.8 lens. I figured the autofocus just wouldn't keep up with the action, so I used the same strategy I used in high school, focus on a particular spot and wait for the action to hit the mark. I also figured I wouldn't have much depth of field, but there was enough light at the rink that I was able to shoot f/4 with a shutter speed of 1/500 sec at ISO 6400. Since I was shooting black and white JPEGs, I didn't worry about sensor noise.

I was very surprised that I ended up shooting most of my photos at the short end of the zoom range. I needed the wider field to show enough of the scene to tell a story. The shorter focal length and my focus strategy seemed to work pretty well as a very high percentage of my shots were in focus. I think I made some pretty good action photos, and I had a great time. I plan on continuing to shoot as much as possible for the remainder of the season.

Past Their Prime

I do occasionally make photographs in color. In fact I've been doing so quite a bit lately, mainly thanks to the Classic Chrome emulation built into the Fuji X100T, so I'm planning to post quite a few more here in the near future. As noted in the caption, though, I shot this photo with my X-E1, which doesn't include a Classic Chrome emulation, so I shot in raw mode for a change.

Fuji X-E1; Fujinon XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 50mm; 2x LumoPro 160 flashes; 1/125 sec @ f/9, ISO 400; Adobe Lightroom 5.7, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Nik Color Efex Pro 4

Fuji X-E1; Fujinon XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 50mm; 2x LumoPro 160 flashes; 1/125 sec @ f/9, ISO 400; Adobe Lightroom 5.7, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Nik Color Efex Pro 4

My goals for this photograph, other than capturing the subject, were threefold: (1) to use my 60" bounce umbrella as a soft box as described by Zach Arias in his One Light videos, (2) to test my LumoPro 160 flashes in slave mode, and (3) to continue experimenting with lighting glass objects from below. My efforts toward all three of these goals seemed to have worked well, and I'm very happy with the photo.

As I'm sure you can tell, the umbrella is above and to the left of the subject and provides the main light. It's flash is set to slave mode. The vase is sitting on a transparent plastic cube, about three feet long on each side. The top is covered with parchment paper, for diffusion, and then a length of dark blue velvet was wrapped around the vase and allowed to cover the sides down to the floor. Inside the cube, pointed straight up, is another flash. This one is connected to a radio popper, and is the master. There's also a large white bounce card to the right and a black card in the background, as far back as I could get it.

I processed the photo in Lightroom to do some straightening (I guess the floor isn't quite level, as my camera was), cropping, and initial white and black levels. I then sent it to Photoshop, created a mask, and replaced the background with pure black (the background card didn't quite fill the entire cropped frame). I also added a bit of glamour glow using Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Finally I sent it back to Lightroom and added a vignette (which only affected the foreground velvet) and to set final levels.