Training Fire in Whatcom County North of Bellingham, WA

***Update: Discovered the Whatcom Sheriff’s report about the arrest of two former residents on the home. Follow the link at the end of the blog.

On my way to shoot a soccer game, I notice a column of thick black smoke rising in the distance. Being the fire chaser I am, I noticed it was on the way to the game.

Watching the Show:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Several Whatcom County firefighters take a rest as they monitor a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Several Whatcom County firefighters take a rest as they monitor a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

As I drove, I turned on my scanner app on my phone and tried listening to see if I can pinpoint the address. I didn’t hear anything so I drove along the main routes towards the rising column.

Letting it Burn:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A house and garage go up in flames during a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A house and garage go up in flames during a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

As I drove north on Cordata Parkway, I could tell it was east of Guide Meridian and north of Horton Road. So first chance I had, I headed east towards Meridian then headed north. As I was driving north, the column was becoming thicker and more pronounced. Still nothing on the scanner.

Watching the Show:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A woman holds her child while watching a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A woman holds her child while watching a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

When I reached Kline Road, the column was directly to my right so I turned. About 3/4 of a mile down the road, I saw cars lined up along the road and a sign stating it was a training fire for the fire department. I stopped and shot a few frames, nothing really important. But my two favorite ones are the three firefighters kicking back watching and the woman holding her child as they watch the structure burn.

Monitoring the Blaze:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A Whatcom County firefighter monitors a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A Whatcom County firefighter monitors a controlled training fire on Kline Street one mile east of Meridian Avenue north of Bellingham on Saturday afternoon April 12, 2014.

 While I was shooting, I asked a few people about the house. In other training fires I photographed, the houses donated to the fire department are condemned and will be torn down. This particular house had an alleged meth lab in the garage and the house smelled so bad  of  chemicals the materials are not salvagable. I’ll keep you posted when I find out more.

Here’s the link to the report on the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office website concerning the home: Two Arrested for Methamphetamine Distribution

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
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Sedro-Wooley at Meridian HS soccer

The past few days I have been busy shooting Meridian High School sports. Soccer, baseball, and golf were all on the agenda.

But first, I’m going to show a few soccer photos from a few weeks ago I failed to upload. Sometimes I forget the social media aspects of photography. I love to shoot and document peoples lives.

Heads Up!!

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

Landscapes, scenics, urban, macro, and such are fine genres of photography, but I prefer sports, photojournalism, portraiture, and street. There’s more a challenge to me capturing fleeting moments.

Yes, I have been more disappointed than satisfied with what I get, but that keeps me pushing harder, learning more, trying new angles, and stretching myself to keep improving.

Up For Grabs:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

I’m still sorta old school in that I prefer to “stop & pop” and not “spray & pray.” Read the game, find a good position to shoot from which has a clean background, and anticipate moments.

Stopping the Attack:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

“Stop & Pop” is taking the time to learn what’s going on. It relies on your knowledge of the sport and players, anticipation by following the action, a cool head, and prefocusing. You get better images. Most sports photographers learn that the hard way.

Sliding Tackle:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

I think this technique harkens to the days of film and early digital. Back a few years to 2002 when cameras were barely breaking the 5fps limit. You had to learn the game, learn patience, and learn the limit of your camera.

Saving a Score:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

My first digital camera was the Nikon D1. Slow, very slow. About 4fps. Yes, two frames per second. But not as bad as the NC2000E. That was 1 frame per 2 seconds. Seriously, it was super slow. And you had to wait a long time if the buffer filled.

Chest Stop:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

My second was the D1H. Not much faster at 5fps but to get it you had to have fully charged batteries. Then I bought a D200. That was a whopping 5fps. Although they were rated at that, the cameras very rarely pulled it. I think mine averaged 4, and sometimes even 3fps on bad days.

Pulling a Foul:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

With that being said, I am one who believes that it’s not the camera but the photographer who makes great photos.

Practice is what matters. And a lot of practice. Not how fast your camera shoot, how big of a lens you have, how many frames you shoot, or how many card you fill.

No Harm, No Foul:
© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley High School boys take on Meridian on Friday afternoon Mar. 28, 2014. The visiting Cubs defeated the Trojans 2-1.

What matters is that you capture good storytelling moments, you keep pushing yourself, keep learning.

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.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Pablo Conrad Photography

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