May 12, 2011

Straight-Away Center


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Well, not quite straight-away, but close.

Monday night I watched the Red Sox take on the Twins from the Green Monster Section at Fenway Park. Sitting in that section marked the completion of my (over) 30 year mission to sit in every section of this classic ballpark. I don’t mean Section 1, Section 2, etc., but bleachers, grandstand, field box, luxury box … You get it. Hell, I was even on the right field roof of Fenway Park, long before there was a Right Field Pavilion (but that’s a long story).

The Green Monster seats were added a few years ago. Before you could sit there, the Green Monster (Fenway’s 36 foot high left field wall) was topped by a big net designed to protect pedestrians and automobiles from the fireworks exploding from the bats of legends like Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice — as well those from losers like Bucky (F’ing) Dent.

Whenever I go to Fenway I bring my camera. Taking a DSLR into the park seems to be a non issue. Between people packing 5MP smartphones and 12MP compact cameras that zoom from 20mm to Mars, that old “no cameras allowed” thing is pretty unenforcible. Still, I don’t tempt fate by carrying a tripod or a bag loaded with gear. I bring the camera body and one compact lens. This time, given the seats, the fisheye lens seemed the obvious choice.

Going into the game, I wanted to shoot from the very front row of the Monster Section. I had a shot in my mind and went for it. After reviewing it on my camera’s LCD, I found it lacking. Not bad, but not good either. I started to question my fisheye decision, but I was stuck with that lens. I took it as a challenge. I kept wandering and shooting. Then I found this shot.

Its from the top of the stairs leading up to the Monster Section. The railing, brick wall and bleachers below, provided some nice layering to help pull the eye across the field.

I hadn’t planned on posting this image until next week. Then I saw my friend, Peter Talke’s take on PNC Park (home of the Pittsburgh Pirates) yesterday. So thanks, Peter, for forcing me to process this!

For those interested … It is HDR, 9 brackets, hand-held. I wanted to shoot around f16 in order to get some star bursts from the lights, so I had to crank the ISO up to 800 (hate that).

After running the brackets through Photomatix (which definitely helped pull the hand-held brackets together), I did some masking on the ghosted portions of the image, did some noise reduction, then finished it up in OnOne’s PhotoTools 2.5

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  1. Bob, that is sweet!!!!!! Thats the first view I have ever seen from up there! Good luck Sox!!! The little alley in Center Field is cool from here!

  2. Great photo, makes me want a fish eye more and more, though for now, I will stick with my 12mm wide angle.

    Great composition and effect with the location of the shots. I am loving all the baseball themed photos lately, I actually just posted one from Turner Field in Atlanta on my blog. Definitely glad to have baseball back so we can enjoy photos like this!

  3. Whoa, This is SICK! What a view! Awesome processing! It must be a baseball day today, I just posted a shot of PNC Park from my blog!

  4. Seems like a baseball themes day for posts 🙂 Great shot, the fisheye was the perfect choice, you can see everything.

  5. Great shot! Go Sox! I love sitting on the Monster, although it was only once. Good to know you can bring a real camera into Fenway. They wouldn’t let me bring the Canon into TD Bank the other night for a Celtic game.

  6. Fantastic shot dude…how on earth did you get 9 brackets handheld at night? Either way, absolutely love this…been to Fenway too many times to count, so brings back memories!

  7. Just friggin awesome, well, except for the game. The Sox shouldn’t be picking on minor league teams like that!

  8. You’re dong with the fisheye just what you did some time back with the 24mm tilt-shift: tempting folks to spend hard-earned money on new gear. Here is another perfect example of the great stuff one can create with such a lens. Luckily I already have a fish, so your dastardly plan will not work on me! 😉 Well done, Bob!

  9. Lots of people hitting up ballgames recently. Definitely going to have to sneak a wide angle into the field here and get in on photographing America’s favorite pastime.