Iconic is the theme to be captured here—because nothing is more iconic than a Canadian hockey arena. If sports venues interest you, check out the Q Centre in Colwood, the second largest arena on our island and home to the Victoria Grizzlies and the Westshore Wolves. The site has much more to offer than an ice rink and bleachers. You will find an abundance of sports fields to explore—the green of the Juan de Fuca Lawn Bowling Club (Juan de Fuca Lawn Bowling Club), a lacrosse field (Juan de Fuca Lacrosse), a BMX dirt track (BMX Track), and football and soccer fields.
If you want to catch some sports action, click on the links above for dates and times. If you just want to explore, that’s fine, too; you might capture something quintessentially Canadian and get some great sports shots.
The Q Centre is usually open 7 days a week from morning to evening and there is no charge to enter if no games or events are scheduled. (Games and planned events usually occur in the evening and a ticket purchase is required. Otherwise, you are free to wander around almost everywhere.) The best time to go is mid- morning. Sometimes there is absolutely no one around so you are free to shoot away at whatever you want, inside and outside the arena. Sometimes you will find little kids on the ice practicing their skating—a lot of fun to watch—and sometimes a few guys playing a pickup game.
You will need to use your imagination to frame your shots. Perhaps bring a wide-angle lens if you plan to shoot inside where the structural symmetry could make for an interesting capture. Monochrome shots could also be effective. Shooting in an ice rink, however, is a challenge because of the very white ice and the very fast action. See below for some tips for getting better shots in an ice rink.
Rilla and her field trip team are attempting to arrange a trip to the Q Centre. In the meantime, if you want to get there on your own, the address is 767 Island Highway. The Q Centre is located behind the Juan de Fuca Recreation Center.
Tip #1: Shoot RAW.
When you shoot in JPG your camera compresses the image and throws away important data such as exposure and white balance. This is information you could use in postproduction to adjust your photo. RAW gives you more power to edit than does JPG.
Tip #2: Use a high shutter speed and wide aperture.
If you want to photograph a serious game with good players, you will need a fast shutter speed—at least 1/500. Start with the widest aperture possible—2.8, 1.8, or wider—and watch your depth of field as it becomes tricky at wider apertures.
Tip #3: Watch your ISO.
Your ISO setting depends on shutter speed and aperture setting but you will want to use an ISO of at least 1600 or 3200. Although high ISO numbers can create noise and affect image quality, this is not a major problem with newer cameras.
If you want in-depth guidelines to shooting sports in general here are two helpful resources: Action Sports Mode.pdf and Photographing Action.pdf. You will find them very handy for any fast-moving image you are shooting. (Thanks to VCC club member Dave Cox for these recommendations.)