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Hockey in 3D

April 1, 2010

If hockey action photos in 2 dimensions don’t cut it for you anymore, check out the 3D stereogram images below. I took them at the New York Rangers’ 5-0 win over the New York Islanders, the first North-American sporting event broadcast live to homes in 3D. The game was broadcast by MSG Network, which is often ahead of its time. Back in 1998, it was the first regular provider of high-definition sports coverage, and 12 years later you’d be hard-pressed to find a sports broadcast not in HD. Will all sports broadcasts in 2022 be available in 3D? Time will tell.

To view the 3D effect of the photos, move several feet back from your computer screen and slowly cross your eyes until the two images merge. If you’re not an expert eye-crosser, try following these instructions from a website about molecular modeling:

Gaze at the stereo pair, keeping your eyes level (don’t tilt your head left or right), and cross your eyes slightly. As you know, crossing your eyes makes you see double, so you will see four images. Try to cross your eyes slowly, so that the two images in the center come together. When they converge or fuse, you will see them as a single 3D image. The fused image will appear to lie between two flat images, which you should ignore. When you are viewing correctly, you see three images instead of four. The center image is three-dimensional. At first, the 3D image may be blurred. Keep trying to hold the stereo pair together while you focus. The longer you can hold it, the more time your eyes have to adjust their focus. Usually, even before you begin to get the hang of focusing, the two central images lock together, because your mind begins to interpret them as a single 3D object.

Having trouble? Here’s another approach. With your head level and about 2.5 feet from the screen, hold up a finger, with its tip about 6 inches in front of your face, and centered between the stereo pair on the screen. Focus on your finger tip. Without focusing on the screen, notice how many images you see there (they will be blurred). If you see four images, move your finger slowly toward or away from you eyes, keeping focused on your finger tip, until the middle pair of images converge. With your finger still in place, partly covering the converged pair, change your focus to the screen. The image partly hidden by your finger should appear three-dimensional. Your finger should still appear single, but blurred. With some practice, you can remove your finger and still keep the screen images converged into a stereo image.

Chris Drury of the Rangers handles the puck as teammates Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist, and Michael Del Zotto look on:

Brandon Prust of the Rangers fires a shot against Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson:

Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson makes a save against Rangers star Marian Gaborik:

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