By a nose

travers 2010 photo finish


Check out the photo finish image from the Travers this past weekend: Afleet Express defeated Fly Down by just a nose. Here's video of the race.

Attendance and handle (the amount bet) were way up for this year's Travers, compared to last year. NYRA reports that 45,764 were at The Track on Saturday, up more than 33 percent from last year. A little more than $8.2 million was bet onsite that day (up almost 20 percent). Of course, last year's Travers Day was rainy -- and this year the weather was gorgeous.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel Superstar horse Rachel Alexandra ran at the Track on Sunday in the Personal Ensign -- and lost. A horse called Persistently passed RA down the stretch. Persistently was 21-1 and paid $45.00 on a $2 bet to win.

By the way: in the crowd this past weekend at The Track -- a three-month-old (human) named Rachel Alexandra. After the horse. [Saratogian]

photo: NYRA


Just wanna say, I was at the Travers for the first time, and I bet the winning horse.


Drinks are on Erik!

WOW, that's less than a nostril! What a picture.

Does anyone in the know understand the horizontal striping effect? It seems to me that a picture to analyze which horse finished first should be taken with respect to a fixed Earth, not fixed horses. In English, that means I'd expect the horses, and not the ground, to be blurry.

> should be taken with respect to a fixed Earth, not fixed horses

Huh wha? I'm pretty sure the camera was not on a horse:) Given the proper shutter speed, it wouldn't be a problem to have sharp horses *and* sharp ground at the end of the track, but you would have to know when to take the photo (unless you have a sensor to trigger it), so I guess this above is a video frame instead (duh?). For this type of high-caliber event, I would hope they have high-speed cameras.

If that can help, as a photographer, a slight horizontal pan would lead to a similar effect for artistic purposes, with a blurry background and a (mostly) sharp subject. AOA regular Rob/chimpmitten did just that in a very nice photo a few days ago. Those lines above are too pixel-perfect to be pans though, or at least human-driven pans, so I'm curious too now. Actually I remember seeing videos of dog races, where the camera is on a high-speed rail parallel to the track, following the dog. That could explain the frame above and the perfect panning lines. Some de-blurring techniques do involve combining multiple frames to create a sharper one, could be that too.

Actually I believe the "camera" is a sensing element more similar to that in a flatbed scanner. What we're actually seeing is a line-by-line -- vertical -- view as the horses cross the finish line. Anything not moving across the sensing area is going to then be the same color the entire time, which, when you piece the vertical strips together to get this image, make it look like a horizontal stripe.

Basically, there's a large vertical sensing device at the finish line that takes very fast one-pixel wide images, which are then "built" into the image you see here. If you did it other ways, there's a possibility that distortion or angle of view changes could lead to confusion.

I've seen images taken in subways with a similar method, and they look the same; you only "see" what moves past the sensing device. I'll give a link if I can find those.

Here we go. I believe the technique is very similar to that described for these pretty awesome urban time-lapse images. File under the "wish I thought of it first" category.

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