Last week I was assigned to shoot the Baltimore City Track Championships at the Fifth Regiment Armory. Because of the extreme low light in the facility after dark, the Armory is a less than ideal location to photograph a sporting event. Sports photography usually requires fast shutter speeds to freeze the action, so shooting indoors can sometimes be difficult.
The first rule for indoor sporting events is to manually raise the camera’s sensitivity to light by adjusting the ISO. A higher ISO allows you to increase the camera’s shutter speed. The higher the shutter speed the easier it will be to capture sharp action pictures with little or no blurring.
I prefer to shoot sports at a minimum shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second whenever possible. The one downside to raising the sensitivity is that you start to lose some quality the higher you go. I adjust my sensitivity setting up or down, so I can get to the desired 1/1000th of a second. When shooting indoors I am less concerned about quality and more concerned about making sure I have the proper shutter speed to freeze the action in my photographs.
Most of the images I shot at this track meet were at an ISO of 16,000, which is getting very close to my cameras maximum setting. In comparison, I usually use an ISO of 400 when shooting sports outside. Not all cameras and lenses work the same in low light, so you will have to make adjustments based on the equipment you are using.