Covering the Chuckanut 50K Ultramarathon

Saturday was fun. Got a nearly last-minute phone call to cover the Chuckanut 50K Ultramarathon for The Bellingham Herald. The 31.5 mile race was phenomenal to shoot, but a logistical nightmare.

Sandaled Feet:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Jason Loutitt, 40, of Vancouver, B.C.,  ran the entire 50 kilometers in socks and sandals during the 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Loutitt won 4th place overall with a time of 3:53:58. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Jason Loutitt, 40, of Vancouver, B.C., ran the entire 50 kilometers in socks and sandals during the 2015 Chuckanut 50K on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Loutitt won 4th place overall with a time of 3:53:58.

The race started in Fairhaven, went onto the Interurban Trail where it paralleled Chuckanut Drive, then split into 4 different courses on Fragrance Lake Trail checkpoint, those then wound back to that same checkpoint with the final leg as the reverse of the first.

Around The Corner

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Competitors turn the first corner after leaving the 2015 Chuckanut 50K start at 6th and Harris in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Competitors turn the first corner after leaving the 2015 Chuckanut 50K start at 6th and Harris in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015.

The start was easy. Just waited for the runners to begin coming at me. I did plan on shooting wide while using a flash to light them as it was dark and gray. So I got on the ground and worked a few images.

Setting His Timer:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  David Laney (92) of Ashland Ore., yellow shirt center, sets his time as he leads the pack from the start line of the 2015 Chuckanut 50K at 6th and Harris streets in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Laney won the race with a time of 3:40:27.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – David Laney (92) of Ashland Ore., yellow shirt center, sets his time as he leads the pack from the start line of the 2015 Chuckanut 50K at 6th and Harris streets in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Laney won the race with a time of 3:40:27.

After shooting the start, I drove to Cleator Road and waited for the first group of runners so I can get some on one of the trails. While waiting, I tested out the exposure settings my Nikon SB-810 Speedlight mounted on the paper’s D3s. But I could not find the rear curtain sync. After about 10 minutes, I headed to the checkpoint.

Pretty in Pink:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Care Nelson of Victoria, B. C., runs along the Interurban Trail during the 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Care Nelson of Victoria, B. C., runs along the Interurban Trail during the 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015.

At the checkpoint, a group of 100 supporters and spectators cheered each racer as they ran by. I liked the camaraderie so I stayed and shot the cheering.

“You Paid for This?”

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Trudy Marino of Ferndale, left, cheers runner Benjamin Perri of Seattle as he nears the first checkpoint at the intersection of the Interurban and Fragrance Lake Trails during 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Marino says she was waiting for her friend Jesse Lenley as he was competing in the ultra marathon. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Trudy Marino of Ferndale, left, cheers runner Benjamin Perri of Seattle as he nears the first checkpoint at the intersection of the Interurban and Fragrance Lake Trails during 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Marino says she was waiting for her friend Jesse Lenley as he was competing in the ultra marathon.

After about half an hour, it was time to head back to the finish line. There was a good hour and a half wait until the first runner finished. His finish was not as fast as his other races.

Exhausted!

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  First place winner David Laney of Ashland Ore., left, is comforted by his girlfriend Jana Suddock, right, as a medical technician asks questions about his condition after he completed the course with a time of 3 hours, 40 minutes and 21 seconds in the 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Laney won with a time of 3:40:21 and continues to hold the course record he set in 2013. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – First place winner David Laney of Ashland Ore., left, is comforted by his girlfriend Jana Suddock, right, as a medical technician asks questions about his condition after he completed the course with a time of 3 hours, 40 minutes and 21 seconds in the 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Laney won with a time of 3:40:21.

One this I make sure I get: reaction. Whether that reaction is good or bad, I try to get it. Plus, I look for congratulatory moments.

First & Second

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  First place winner David Laney (92) of Ashford, Ore., left, is congratulated by second place winner Andrew Benford (410) of Flagstaff, Ariz., after the two completed the 2015 Chuckanut 50K  in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Laney won with a time of 3:40:21 followed closely by Benford with a time of 3:40:34. Laney continues to hold the course record he set in 2013. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – First place winner David Laney (92) of Ashford, Ore., left, is congratulated by second place winner Andrew Benford (410) of Flagstaff, Ariz., after the two completed the 2015 Chuckanut 50K in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday morning Mar. 21, 2015. Laney won with a time of 3:40:21 followed closely by Benford with a time of 3:40:34.

So a big tip for everyone out there: Learn your camera settings and what buttons to push. I’ve never used flash on the D3 so I was in the dark as to where to set the rear curtain synch. If I had cell service, I would’ve googled it.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

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Paul “pablo” Conrad

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

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Paul Conrad is an award-winning, nationally and internationally published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Wash., north of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.

His specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

A vs B: Which One Would You Choose for the Front Page?

On Saturday, I shot the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade for The Bellingham Herald. They needed me to choose one for the front page and then 5 more for the inside on A2.

A- It Isn’t Easy Being Green:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Bennett Burke, 3, right, leads his mother Corrie Burke and Sarah Fowler during the St. Patrick's Day Parade along Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Mar. 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Bennett Burke, 3, right, leads his mother Corrie Burke and Sarah Fowler during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Wash.

First, I had to make sure I got the names of the subjects. Second, find one that was symbolic in some form. Many of the images the participants in the parade lacked flair or symbolism.

B- Follow The Leader:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Sherman leads his owner Mary Tully of Bellingham as Cadence Osage Testa, center, and Milagro Mauricio, both 6, chase them down during the St. Patrick's Day Parade along Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Mar. 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Bennett Burke, 3, right, leads his mother Corrie Burke and Sarah Fowler during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Wash.

For the front, I chose A as I like the kid on the bike, the flow of the image, and the obvious St. Patrick’s Day feel. The other one is nice, but the dog is too prominent, the background is distracting and there isn’t really a good moment other than the two girls.

Had I had the names of the people in the photo below, It would’ve been a strong contender. I like the moment, composition, and their outfits. But since the parade was moving along somewhat quickly, it was difficult to get their names.

C- The One That Got Away:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Images from the St. Patrick's Day Parade along Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Mar. 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A band plays during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Wash.

 

Tips for Photographing Parades:

  • Get INTO the Parade: have fun and shoot from the street. It will help you stay mobile and agile. Trying to shoot from the crowd is very limiting.
  • Move between the entrants. Get low on the ground, shoot a few “Hail Mary’s.” Don’t just shoot from eye level.
  • Use a wide-angle and get close. This adds intimacy and keeps your main subject large in the photo.
  • Keep a telephoto on a 2nd body. It’s faster and easier to switch bodies than lenses. I dropped a lens and broke it doing this.
  • Keep a notepad and pencil/pen ready to get names. It helps when editing if you have names.
  • Pay extra attention when floats with horses come along. They can get spooked and stampede. Best to just go to the edge of the crowd and let them by.
  • Just pay extra attention. Sometimes the drivers may not see you as they’re watching the crowd.

Which one would you choose and why? Would you submit the one of the band and use a generic caption? Or would you chose another one? Here is a link to the gallery from the parade: St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Bellingham, Wash.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section. Sign up for updates so you don’t miss on other postings.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

  1. Follow Me on Google+
  2. “Like” my Page on Facebook
  3. Follow me on Twitter
  4. Follow me on Pinterest

Paul Conrad is an award-winning, nationally and internationally published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Wash., north of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.

His specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.