Munich Ice Hockey on film

There is quite a large following of Ice Hockey in Germany and with standing room tickets in Munich’s hockey arena available at €18 this was a great opportunity to go with the lads and enjoy a good night out, accompanied by some Kodak Portra 800 and Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

I have seen the Red Bull Munich supporters on the U-Bahn many times before and figured I should organise a night out with the lads and use it as a good excuse to take some good photos. The team play in a 6,000 capacity arena in the Olympic Park , which is very close to my house. At €18 a ticket (and the ticket includes public transport) is a steal! The game was Red Bull Munich vs Augsburger Panthers, and judging by the spectators this was going to be a vibrant match.

About the film and camera

I have been thinking about shooting some high speed sports scenes on film for a while, initially thinking about shooting Tri-X pushed to 1600. I ended up deciding (wisely) that the best camera for the job would be my pretty undestructible Nikon L35AF point and shoot. Ice hockey in Germany is actually pretty rowdy, suprisingly beers are allowed, so I did not want to risk anything more expensive. I also figured the flash would be a good addition, and I was right.

Film-wise I decided for Kodak Portra 800, a really great relatively high ISO colour negative film. I also liked the idea of the challenge of shooting black and white film for a high speed sports event, so I opted for Kodak Tri-X 400 (shot at box speed).

Pre-game music and entertainment.

Warm-up. I like how the colour shots came out, funny how some are really bright and clear and others have a distinct personality to them. I think flash vs no flash makes a big difference. At ISO 800, Kodak Portra is fast enough to be shot without flash at times.

A packed standing area.

Lots of players in one scene!

Just before the starting bell. Despite having a strange colour and overall focus, I really like this shot. The Nikon is a great camera with a tack sharp lens but the results can be a bit hit and miss, which I also like - nothing like a good surprise.

Another warmup shot. There are 3-20minute slots with 10mins break between each.

I managed to get a bit further down to get a closer shot.

I love the action in this shot, even more so because it is black & white.

The bright ice plays havoc with the camera’s exposure meter, with a lot of the black & white shots being under exposed as a result. This shot saw quite a bit of over exposure.

Just after a goal was scored - it was LOUD! By the way, Munich won 4-1: it was a rowdy night for sure.

I wanted to frame the shot with the security guards on either side, I wasn’t expecting it to blow out the flash and reflect like that - I still like the shot though!

The lads, pre-game (oh and we totally ignored the sign’s rule!).

Another great action shot.

Yep there was some fighting too!

I was trying for ages to get this shot with the flag in focus.

I don’t know if I prefer action shots in colour or black & white…both are good!

Enroute to the game.

This one looks like it is black & white but it is actually a very dimly lit colour shot.

The challenge with a non-zoom camera is getting close enough to get different types of shots.

The man of the hour - beer!

A closer black & white shot - I really like how the good ones came out, although I had a lot of bad shots.


I quite like how the flash blurred the background, not the effect I thought I was going to get!

Another dimly lit shot - the camera seemed to jump from flash to non-flash a lot.

Based on the score I believe this was the start of the last period.

Mr. Popular!

Missed focus due to the flash, but I like the blurry effect.

I like how attentive the players are in this shot - ready to go!

I love how much is going on in this scene.

Overall observations

The game itself was a fantastic experience and great value for money too! I was surprised as to how rowdy it was with an overall great atmosphere, I really recommend it.

I was also very pleased with the photographs I got, given my limited perspectives and angles I managed to get quite a few decent shots. It was also a good idea to bring both colour and black & white film, although the black & white film was much harder to expose for. I think that is due to the bright scenes as a result from the ice, not helped by relying on an automatic point and shoot. I am always pleasantly surprised by how sharp the lens is on the Nikon L35AF, even though the autofocus does not always work, when it does it creates some really great shots.

Next time I will push the film to 1600 and use a non automatic camera, this might produce some interesting and very grainy results.

I hope you enjoyed this short insight into a German ice hockey game and some expermentation with shooting a high speed sport on an automatic point and shoot film camera.

See you next time,