Shooting The Rangers Game From The Canon Suite with a 5D Mk II

The other night Canon invited me and a few other media people to kick back and relax with them in their private suite at Madison Square Garden. I took my 5D Mk II with 80-200mm F2.8 L along to catch some of the action. I can’t thank them enough as I haven’t been to a game in a while due to being very busy with life and other things. My photos aren’t the greatest, they’re far from it actually. However, I may soon be shooting an Islanders game with the 1D Mk IV.

In which case, you can possibly expect a nice field report to come. More photos after the jump. They’re large too.

Shooting from a suite should be done with a very long lens or a cropped sensor DSLR. All of these were shot at 200mm at various F stops and cropped in pretty heavily. The large file sizes though are proof of how great the 5D Mk II is with capturing high resolution images while allowing generous support for those that love to crop their images.

I’ve seen the camera used before for sports. If I were closer to the action, perhaps I would’ve been able to pull off better shots.

Using the center autofocus point is actually pretty useful. Many consider the 5D Mk II’s center focus point to be the best for shooting. This helps even more when in post production you’ll want to crop your images to make your subject off center. It works well for high ISOs like 3200 and 6400 as well. You’ll have to do some minor corrections for luminance and color noise (especially in the and blue red zones, such as on the Rangers’ jerseys) but they’re corrected easily for the most part in camera RAW. Depending on how your focusing was, you may also want to do a bit of sharpening as well.

I haven’t shot sports in a while (around a year and a half), but the photojournalism skills do help quite a bit in terms of anticipating the action and looking for intensity.

In a situation like this though, I really wish I had a 7D or 1D Mk IV. Those would’ve given my lens better reach as well as allow for easier autofocusing. Putting the 5D Mk II in AI Servo focusing mode and shooting at burst helps capture great photos though.

Other factors were the white balancing. The automatic white balance mode didn’t work out so well, and you can see examples of these in the first two photos below. They were a bit too warm for my liking.

Putting the battery grip on the Mk II works well for balancing purposes because the 80-200mm F2.8 L is very heavy.

Too bad the Rangers lost as well. It was a very well played game. I’m quite positive though that I will be able to deliver better results with the 1D Mk IV or a 7D.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.