HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Archive for April, 2011

Looking back

What a season.

The Pen’s quest for a fourth Stanley Cup ended last night with a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a real heartbreaking loss.  Not that all playoff losses aren’t heartbreaking, but you just had the feeling that the Pens were just one lucky bounce away from moving on to the next round.  I do have to give Tampa Bay some credit.  They played a solid series, fueled by 41 year old Dwayne Roloson in net and by all accounts derserved to win the series.  They capitalized on chances nearly every time they got them and Pittsburgh didn’t.

The lone goal was scored by Sean Bergenheim, on an absolute identical play that they scored on in Game 6.  With Dominick Moore going around the net, he dropped a blind pass back to Bergenheim who, with Marc Andre Fleury moving to the far post, slammed it into a half empty net.  Not that the Pens didn’t have their chances.  They finished the game 0-5 on the powerplay, including a six on four for the final two minutes of the game, making them an abysmal 1-35 on the man advantage in the series.

I don’t want to talk too much about last night, just wanted to touch on it.  This has been one hell of a season with a lot of ups and downs along the way.  CONSOL Energy Center opened this year, replacing the Civic Arena, where the Pens called home for over 40 years.  Although we lost the inaugural game to hated cross-state rivals the Flyers, you could just feel the excitement in the building.  The consecutive sellout streak also rolled on, eclipsing over 200 at the end of the season.  That just shows the support and the dedication of the fans in Pittsburgh.

We hosted the Winter Classic this year at Heinz Field against another rival, the Washington Capitals, as well as being featured in the HBO special, “24/7”.  Again, the game didn’t turn out exactly as hoped, as the Pens were handed a 3-1 defeat, but that was an experience like no other.  The game was supposed to be played in the afternoon, but inclement weather pushed the game into the evening, underneath the lights, and with 68,000 plus fans screaming, it didn’t matter if there was a monsoon, it would have still been incredible.

However that game will live in infamy, as that is the game where Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion after he took a blind side hit from David Steckel that ended his season.  The injury most likely occurred during that hit, but ironically, it was a hit the following game by Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning that sidelined him for the next three and a half months, the same Lightning that just ended the Penguin’s season last night.

Sid wasn’t the only one to get hit by the injury bug this year.  Evgeni Malkin took a hard hit by Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres that tore a ligament in his knee.  Jordan Staal, out the first few months after recovering from foot surgery from an injury suffered in last year’s playoffs, got sidelined again in late October by a broken hand in practice.  Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey suffered knee injuries as well, and Arron Asham and Eric Tangradi both, like Crosby were victims of concussions.  The final count in man games lost due to injury was nearly 400, yet they were still able to get within 13 victories of the Stanley Cup.

All in all, it was a great season, a fun season to watch and be a part of as a fan.

About the shots in this post, all taken last night.  The top shot is one that I’ve been trying to get for a while, and I finally got it last night.  I had been trying to get a silhouetted fan waving their rally towel and I think that this one game out pretty good.  The next one is someone holding up a beer toasting the Pens, and this one will be my post on flickr today.  The next two are both from after the game, one during the handshake between the two teams after the series and the other of the Pens holding up their sticks in salute of the fans after the game.  Lastly, I threw on in there from the walk back to the car, because I like how the bokeh turned out.

One more time…Let’s go Pens.


Colorfully optimistic

Well, tonight is the big game.  Game 7.  Pens-Bolts.  I’ll be there, losing my voice.  That’s all I’m going to say about that right now.  Though I just have a feeling…

A few more to round out the Allegheny College tour.  I’ll tell you what.  Meadville, the northwestern PA town where Allegheny is located, may not be much to look at it, but the actual college in the fall is just incredible.  I was actually a bit worried when I was going up to Allegheny to shoot this series that the trees wouldn’t have enough color on them for me to get the shots that I wanted.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Above is the administration building close to the center of campus, Bentley Hall.  I loved the way that the trees faded in color across the scene from green to red with just a hint of sunlight peaking in.

Next is one of the many colorful paths at on campus, this one right between the campus center and the library, which you can see off in the distance.  I was able to get to this location early enough in the day where the sun was still low in the sky, so half the path was in light and half in shadow.  The leafs laying on the hill next to the path added a nice element as well.

Finally, today’s shot.  This is Carr Hall, the math building on campus.  This is another one that I had originally passed up while processed this series with HDR Efex, but went back at it one more time with Photomatix.  I thought it that it was pretty cool how the sky seems to just continue around the building when you look at the reflection.  I normally don’t oversaturate colors like I did here, but for some reason I did, and I am happy with the result.

I’ve gotta feeling…that tonight’s gonna be a good night…


Going back to school

I was really hoping to post some Pittsburgh Penguin pictures today and tell all about how they clinched the series last night.  Instead, they came out hot but then fell flat for the remainder of the game, as the Lightning evened the series at 3.  Game 7 on Wednesday.  I’ll be there and will be very loud.  Let’s go Pens.

Now, I’ve loved processing and sharing all the pictures of Carrie Furnace with all of you, but I thought that it was time for a bit more color on my flickr stream and my blog.  Like I said yesterday, I’ve been tinkering around with Photomatix 4 and am pleasantly surprised with some of the results that I am getting.  I went back through a set of shots that I took on a photowalk at my alma mater, Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, last fall, and I think that Photomatix really does them justice.  It was right in the middle of fall, when the campus looks really beautiful.  The above shot was my post today on flickr of the Tippie Alumni Center, a new building in the last five years or so.  This particular building as really made its rounds at the school, as it once had a bowling alley in the basement, was the post office, the English department and now the Alumni Center.  This is the rear view from the patio, where they host various events.

Above is a shot from a similar location (and will be today’s post on flickr), as you can see the Alumni Center on the right hand side of the shot.  This is walking towards the Campus Center, where they have a cafeteria, an auditorium, the activities office, mail, student government and some other various offices and departments.  This is another building that was redone in the last eight years or so, as they are trying to upgrade the campus.  On the left you see Alden, which houses the geology and computer science departments.  This shot was also processed with Photomatix.

One more view of the Tippie Alumni Center, this time from the front, just across the street.  This was my favorite shot that I took during my morning photowalk there and I have it hanging on my wall at home.

Finally, just a few steps from the last shot, we have Brooks Walk, which runs through the middle of campus and right up to Brooks Hall, which houses the girl dormitory as well as the buffet style cafeteria.  Brooks Walk plays host to concerts, Greek events, random campus activities, and for the few warm days that there are during the school year, it almost resembles a beach, with people throwing around Frisbees, girls sun tanning and all the laughing and happiness you would expect from a tropical getaway.  Except you’re in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Thanks for the visits everyone.


Outlawed

Little bit of a late post today, it’s been a crazy start to the week that’s for sure.  It’s always a little bit harder to get out of bed on the Monday following a nice long weekend.  I hope all of you who celebrated Easter yesterday had a nice day, at least the rain held off here for part of the day.  Today is warm and sunny, so maybe we are finally shaking the last bit of winter off.

A couple more shots from Carrie Furnace today on a quick blog and run post.  Above is from one of the control rooms there, though I can’t be 100% that that is what it is.  The graffiti tagged along the top of the locker like terminals is what really caught my eye.  For those of you with a keen enough eye you will see that this one has been processed with Photomatix 4.  I finally took the plunge and upgraded to 4 and will be using it alongside HDR Efex.  Not that I still don’t love HDR Efex, it’s just that it’s good to have as many tools in your toolbox as you can.

Next is one that was processed with HDR Efex from one of the many ladders that are around Carrie.  Again, I thought that the graffiti really stood out, more so as I have been looking through the pictures than I noticed when we were there.  You can really see the decay in this shot as well, as the rust and what little paint is left is really peeling away from the old cylinders.

Quick post today, more tomorrow.  Big game tonight, game 6 between the Pens and Lighting.  Pens win, they move on.  If not, game 7 on Wednesday.  Let’s hope for a win.

Let’s go Pens.


Lucky 13

Well, you know I have to do it.  Ok, so maybe you don’t know what “it” is, especially if you aren’t a hockey fan.  But if you have been following my blog you know I’m kinda sorta a big Pens fan, and you would also know that they are in the first round of the playoffs right now.  And last night’s game…well…it was awesome.  And while you can read recaps on about 50 different websites, I still can’t help but at least tell you how exciting it was.

This game had just about everything that makes hockey exciting (aside from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, still out with injuries).  The Pens went up 2-0 in the first 1+ period of the game on goals by Tyler Kennedy (pictured above in warm ups earlier this season) and Arron Asham, who is having an incredible post season.  TK’s goal was huge because it snapped the 0-Forever powerplay drought the Pens were on.  Early in the second Asham tallied his to double the lead.  But again, the Lightning fought back.  Martin St. Louis took a beautiful area pass, scorched past Ben Lovejoy and buried it to the far side past Fleury.  I’m not a fan of St. Louis at all, but damn that was one hell of a goal.

Pittsburgh made it out of the second up 2-1 and looked like they were on their way to a victory by the same score until Sean Bergenheim found the puck in a scrum in front of the Flower and shoveled it home, knotting the score at 2 with just 3 minutes left in regulation.  The first overtime came and went, but not before we had some more excitement.  Craig Adams was called on a terrible interference penalty (one of many terrible calls by the referees in this series) that put the Lightning again on the man advantage.  But then Pens held strong killing off all 4 Lightning powerplays last night.  Max Talbot, Tyler Kennedy and Craig Adams all had odd man chances to score but couldn’t put it behind Dwayne Roloson.  The defensive play of the night, however, was Paul Martin’ play on Lightning superstar Steve Stamkos.  Stamkos took a pass up the middle and had a breakaway, but Martin smoothly came up behind him, lifted his stick and poked the puck away.  Crisis averted.

NHL playoff overtimes are the full 20 minutes, with no shootout and a full intermission in between.  There are also no TV timeouts, so the players can get very tired very quick.  This is a factor, since this game went into the second overtime.  The Pens owned the puck for most of the fifth total period played, and it led to the play of the night.  Jordan Staal won the offensive zone faceoff and James Neal (second and third pictures above) got a shot on net, which was turned aside by Roloson.  The puck was swept around the end boards, and Kris Letang made a nice play to keep it in.  Staal corralled it with his stick and through it behind him against the boards, where it was picked up by Neal who just tossed it on net.  At the same time that announcer Bob Errey was saying “He just needs one” (referring to the fact that Neal hadn’t scored in 21 games) the puck zipped over Roloson’s shoulder for the game winning goal.  3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead as Game 5 rolls back to the ‘ Burgh on Saturday.

So why Lucky 13?  Since there are no first round byes in hockey, a team needs 16 wins to capture the Stanley Cup.  The Pens have won 3, so just 13 more.

I’m feeling lucky.


Chugging along

Big game tonight.  Pens vs. Lightning, Game 4.  Pens win, they go up 3-1 with a possible clincher at home on Saturday.  Would be nice to get these next two and have a nice little break until the next round.

Couples more shots from Carrie Furnace for you today, though one does not feature the actual blast furnace.  Above is a shot of one of the railroads that runs right next to Carrie, which is still in use.  I took this shot while we were pondering whether or not to trek into the abandoned warehouse or simply be happy with our pictures from afar.  For as many train tracks as there are in and around the city of Pittsburgh, I have only ever taken one other shot where I was near the tracks and none like this.  I know that this is a fairly common picture to take and now I can say I have mine.  Would have been pretty cool to see a train coming right at your though.  Snap the seven brackets then run like hell.  Maybe next time.

Today’s shot is from inside what looked to be some kind of pump room at Carrie.  The coolest thing about this room was the stairs in the back of the shot.  You can see water full to top of the stairs, meaning the entire basement was flooded and that is the top of the water level.  I was going to go over and get a closer shot of this, but there was some kind of green liquid dripping from the ceiling that I didn’t particularly want to get all over me.  Again, next time for sure.

Both of these were processed in HDR Efex under the “Crisp” Method.  For the train tracks shot I had to do a bit of masking above the tree line, as that particular HDR Method gives a slight halo.  Applied an overall S Curve to give it some more contrast and finally a Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex.  For the one of the pump room I applied the Tonal Contrast filter, then did some selective coloring to bring out the colors that I wanted, like the graffiti on the back wall.  I also maked in part of the -2 exposure to help recover some of the blown out highlights.

Let’s.  Go.  Pens.


On the rebound

You hate to call a game where the best of seven series is tied 1-1 a must win, especially in the first round.  But that’s what last night was for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  After a gem of a Game 1 by Marc Andre Fleury, the Pens collapsed in Game 2, losing 5-1 and looking terrible in doing so.  Tampa Bay seized all of the momentum and they were playing Game 3 on their turf.  The Pens needed to respond by being physical, putting goals up early, and staying off the penalty kill.  They did two of those three things, and the one they didn’t (putting Tampa Bay on the power play) almost did them in.

The Pens opened up the scoring early with Max Talbot and Arron Asham scoring just minutes apart to stake Pittsburgh to a 2-0.  That would hold up until the Lightning were the beneficiaries of an atrocious penalty called on Alexei Kovalev for goaltender interference when in reality it was the defenseman who checked him into the goalie.  Martin St. Louis scored in the waning seconds of the powerplay to cut the lead in half.

In the third, the Bolts again went on the man advantage after a questionable interference call on Paul Martin.  Once again, St. Louis came down from his position on the point, corralled the puck with his skate and buried it between the pad and glow of a sprawling Fleury.  The Pens needed to answer quickly, and just 31 seconds later, with Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson looking for the puck between his legs, Tyler Kennedy scooped it out from right in front of him and put it home.  Pens win, 3-2 and take a 2-1 series lead.

Last night was a huge win, not just for the fact that the Pens did win, but because they got some of their swagger back.  Kris Letang (first picture above) had one of the worst games I’ve seen him play in the loss last Friday, but looked very solid last night and earned the #1 Star of the game.  Brooks Orpik (second picture above), known for his physical play, was back at it last night, sending players all over the ice.  Game 4 is Wednesday night, and I think the Pens will be ready.

Until tomorrow.


Follow the rules

I was looking back through some of my recent posts over the weekend and saw that a few times a couple weeks ago I said that I was just going to do a quick post and run and ended up rambling on for a page or so.  Well, today is a true post and post, I’m still feeling a bit under the weather and have had a crazy start to the week already.  Is it Friday yet?  Still Monday.  Huh.  Well that’s no good.

More Carrie Furnace today.  I mean, you talk about a place made for HDR, look no further than the old blast furnace along with Mon River in Homestead.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never been to a place like that before that was so appealing to me, but every time I open up iPhoto to pick out some more picture to process I just keep seeing different angles that I want to shoot it from next time I am there.  Today we have a view shots from the same room (understatement of the day).  The first is a list of safety instructions that workers were to follow accompanied by a huge Steelers logo.  Now, It was a bit creepy looking at this area, because, as Kurt on my flickr page pointed out, at one point there was someone standing up on that staircase, giving instructions to the workers who were all looking up towards this sign.  Now…emptiness.  Kinda eerie.

The second shot is from the view of the of the person who would have been giving those instructions.  This shot is equally as eerie, because 30 years ago from this view we would have seen huge equipment, people running around working, smoke, heat…but again, now…emptiness.

Both of these shots were processed with HDR Efex under the “Crisp” Method, which is fast becoming one of my favorites.  For the one with the Steeler logo, I did selective coloring on the reds and blue to help the graffiti and the diamonds in the logo stand out.  There also was a hazy green color cast over the shot, so I did selective coloring to desaturate all the greens, since I didn’t really need them in the shot.  I also enhanced the blues and red in the second shot to make the tags on the wall stand out, as well as mask in the windows and the door opening on the far side of the building, since they were a bit blown out.

Speaking of blown out, that’s what happened to the Pens on Friday.  Let’s hope tonight yields a better result.  Let’s go Pens.


Unbeatable

And that is what Marc Andre Fleury looked like in last night’s playoff opener.  It was possibly the best performance I have ever seen out of a goalie since I can remember, he was that good.  Didn’t matter who was shooting from where, the Flower was making kick saves, glove saves, blocker saves, pad saves.  I mean, it was just unbelievable to see.  Obliviously the Pens won, 3-0, as Fleury earned his fifth career playoff shutout.

This was a really important game, more so that a normal Game 1 of the first rounds of the playoffs.  With no Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in the lineup, it was vital that the Pens were able to establish their game early and often against the high powered Lightning offense.  Pittsburgh came out hitting, with Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Vincent Levacalier getting the worst of it, especially Stamkos, who got absolutely destroyed by Brooks Orpik.  The best part about watching that hit was the fact that everyone saw it coming.  Everyone except Stamkos that is.

As solid as any goaltender is, a team still needs to score goals.  Even though the Pens were peppering the Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson with nearly 30 shots through two periods, they still weren’t able to put one in the back of the net.  Then, about six minutes into the third period, Alexei Kovalev (pictured above from a game last week) changed all that.  After he appeared to be tripped (with no penalty), he layed on the ice for just a second.  When the defenseman drifted away, Kovy jumped up, took a shot-pass from James Neal, and buried it in the back of the net.

Just 18 seconds later, Pens fourth liner Arron Asham (above, from last night’s game) streaked down the right side of the ice, faked a shot to draw Roloson away from the net, wrapped around the net and tried to bury one.  It bounced off a stick, came right back to him, and he buried it in the open net.  We were still going crazy from the Kovy goal, that half the arena didn’t even realize we’d scored again.  Asham is one of those roll players I talked about yesterday who, if the Pens are going to win the Cup, needs to step up, and he did just that.  Chris Kunitz added an empty netter to seal the game.

Overall the Pens looked great.  Hard hitting, great penalty killing, beating the trap that the Lightning play is what led to the Game 1 victory.  The important thing is sticking to their game for the rest of the playoffs.

Game 2 is tomorrow.  And it can’t come soon enough.


Eyes on the prize

Well it all begins tonight.  The 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs will open with the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the CONSOL Energy Center.  It certainly has been a trying year for these Pens, but they have shown that they have what it takes to win under extreme adversity.  They have only had the combined services of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal for two games this season, with Staal missing the first half due to a broken hand/severed tendon in his foot and Sid and Geno missing more or less the entire second half of the season.  Yet these Pens have fought through rough stretches of poor powerplay performance, low goal totals and a host of other injuries to finish fourth in the conference and gain home ice advantage through at least the first round of the playoffs.

So what is it going to take to win?  The same things that they have been doing all year.  Solid penalty kill.  Team defense.  Brick wall goaltending.  And of course production from their role players, like Craig Adams, Max Talbot, Mike Rupp and others.  I like the Pens in this series in five games because of all these factors, but one thing I think that really sets up apart from the Lightning is our consistency.  We never really let the season get away from us, even with the loss our two biggest superstars.  Yes, we did lose five or six games in a row after Sid was out, but that can be expected when you lose the main focus of your offense.

The Pens are also very versatile while I believe that Lightning are much more one dimensional.  They want to get the puck to Stamkos, St. Louis or Lecavalier and let them shoot.  They rely too heavily on the powerplay and if they aren’t getting the opportunities, then they won’t be effective.  The Pens have scorers on every line and guys that bring a high level of energy to team like Talbot, pictured above.  I took this during a game back in February, and it’s always fun to photograph Talbot, as he seems to always be looking into the camera.  He’s a guy who can win you the faceoff, kill a penalty, and then find himself alone in the middle of the ice for a breakaway.  Max went through a bit of a dry spell early in the year, but the intangibles he brings to the team in the absence of their captain is immeasurable.

Today’s shot is one I took at the last game I was at which was the last regular season home game.  We were in a suite above the single attack zone, which is a great view to watch the game from.  I took this HDR during the national anthem, as you can see by the stars and stripes on the ice.  This is a five exposure JPEG HDR that I processed with HDR Efex under the “Clean” method.  Since the players and scoreboard were both moving, I took the +2 exposure (for the players) and the -2 exposure (for the scoreboard), tonemapped both of those under the Clean method and masked in the respective shots of the picture to give it a crisp look.  I also added a Pro Contrast filter in HDR Efex to give the shot a bit more pop.  As a note, that is also Max Talbot on the video screen here as well.

At the time I am finishing this, 11 hours and 39 minutes until puck drop.

LET’S GO PENS.