HDR Photography and More by Dave DiCello

Stepping up to the plate

A couple more shots from the Bucco game that I went to this Tuesday this time with some action shots thrown in with an HDR. 

The shot above is the view from the rotunda over left field that leads up to the multiple levels of PNC Park.  We got there a little late, about midway through the bottom of the first, and seeing as I have never had my D700 at a Pirate game I wanted to get this shot.  I was a little disappointed that the sky wasn’t clearer when I took this shot, but that’s the beauty of HDR: It can take a flat, otherwise uninteresting sky and turn it into this.

The shot above is probably one of my favorite from the game.  The Pirate pictured is first baseman Steve Pearce, who I had never heard of before this very at bat.  I know, I know, it’s a bit sad, but my favorite MLB team is the Atlanta Braves, so I can’t keep up with the merry-go-round of prospects/rookies/no-names that the Pirates parade through year after year.  Anyways, Pearce hit a soft grounder up the middle of the infield and legged it out for an infield hit.  I was able to capture him JUST as he was hitting first base, with the ball clearly still in the air.  What I found most interesting however, is that you can’t see a single other player in the frame.  It looks like they are all alone on the field.  Didn’t plan it like that, but that’s how it came out.

The next action shot is of catcher Ryan Doumit, who is having a modestly productive year after a couple of slow ones.  A lot of people were calling for his departure from the Bucs, but they kept him around, and he has been consistent so far.  This was one of the last shots that I took, and it shows Doumit just before he made contact.  He didn’t get a hit on this pitch, but he scorched a line drive to the outfield that was caught.

On to the processing.  The HDR is a 5 exposure handheld HDR processed with Photomatix.  As with the last couple, I masked in the entire crowd to get rid of the ghosting.  I also did a bit of masking on the lights, as I was metered on the dark stands (d’oh) and they were a bit blown out.  I added a blue curves layer to the sky to enhance what little blue sky there was, and also a green curves layer to the field to help it stand out.  In Color Efex I used the Tonal Contrast filter, and in onOne PhotoTools I added a Turbo Boost.  What a cool effect name.  Turbo Boost.

I processed the action shots similarly.  Both were opened in Camera Raw where I increased the clarity and desaturated the images.  Moved them over the CS5 where I added a Tonal Contrast later to both of them, increased then vibrance, and opened them in onOne PhotoTools.  They both got the same Progressive Sharpening, and I added an extra filter to the second one of Ryan Doumit at bat, the Hollywood Intensity.  Pretty happy with how they turned out.

That’s all for this week folks.  Hope you all have a great weekend.  See you on Monday.

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16 responses

  1. Great set of shots. The last ballgame I was at I spent several innings trying to snag a shot of the batter hitting the ball. Crazy how much work that really is. Nice job man!

    May 13, 2011 at 7:21 am

  2. Thanks Chris! This was the result of many, many attempts, but I was never able to catch the ball hitting the bat exactly!

    May 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

  3. Looks like you got some great shots. Nice job on the last one catching the ball in the frame.

    May 13, 2011 at 8:15 am

  4. great shots Dave, love those clouds man! have a great weekend! Jim

    May 13, 2011 at 9:02 am

  5. That 2nd is my favorite. Great timing to catch that! You did a great job processing al the images!

    May 13, 2011 at 9:11 am

  6. I’m always impressed with how your sports photos turn out. Those ones at the Penguins games were just as awesome as these. Makes me want to hit a D’backs game with my camera…

    May 13, 2011 at 9:32 am

    • Thanks Jason! It certainly would be a dream job working for SI or the AP, maybe one day! I am going to try to go to more Bucco games, they are so cheap! Have a great weekend man!

      May 13, 2011 at 9:56 am

  7. Great shots today man! That guy is soooo safe, lol. talk about releasing the shutter at the right moment.

    May 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

    • Sometimes being lucky is better than being good! I had a beer in my hand when I saw it was going to be close and just took one shot, it happened to be this one!

      May 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm

  8. Wow, great action shots Dave! What lens are you shooting with here? It’s always fun getting those action shots. Love the framing on both. I really like that HDR shot too. Great sky!

    May 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    • Thanks a lot Chris! These were taken with the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII. I originally wasn’t going to get it when I ordered my D700, but glad I did!

      May 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

  9. Nice sports action shots!

    May 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

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