equipment

Yosemite Wasn’t Built in a Day …

… And neither should you attempt to photograph it in one day either.

Earlier this week, I returned from a great trip to Yosemite with my best friend Gary whom I’ve known since I was 16. I flew to Santa Rosa, Calif., The next day we headed to Yosemite National Park. It was a nice drive and great time to catch up with him.

Grand Entrance:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The View of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The View of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., from the Tunnel View overlook.

The best part was hanging out with Gary and catch up on everything in our lives. It was also fun just helping him learn how to use his gear get a decent exposure, and post processing in Lightroom.

The night before leaving, we finalized plans on what we wanted to shoot. Basic stuff like a full Moon rising over Half Dome, the “Tunnel View,” El Capitan in morning light, Yosemite Falls lit with the full Moon. A fairly rigorous itinerary.

To help us plan our trip, Gary downloaded Michael Frye’s iPhone app The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite. Very handy as you can plan your trip no matter the time of year. You can select what you want to shoot by month and place. It also has many photo tips. I fully suggest it for your trip to Yosemite.

We arrived at Yosemite about 3:30 or so. Our first stop was the famous “Tunnel View.” This is the view that looks down the valley and you can see all the major formations: Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and so on.

Rainbow in the Mist:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The late afternoon Sun creates a rainbow in the mist of Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The late afternoon Sun creates a rainbow in the mist of Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

Afterwards, we checked in at the lodge about 5:30, unloaded our bags, took a breather, then headed out again. We wanted to be in a good spot as the full Moon rose over Half Dome. As the Sun set, I realized we were a day late. The Moon would be in stark contrast to Half Dome.

TIP: To capture a really good photo of the full Moon rising over a landmark, you really need to shoot it a day or two before full. That way the setting Sun lights the monument/mountain/landmark AS the near full moon rises over it. Apps that help you plan your landscape photography are Sun Surveyor and The Photographer’s Ephemeris.

Moon Shadow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A full Moon begins to rise near Half Dome in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The full Moon creates a shadow as it begins to rise near Half Dome in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif..

Even though the scene had too much contrast, we still shot it from Sentinel Bridge so we can get the reflection of Half Dome and the Moon in the Merced River. We did do a walk around as the banks were closed for revegetation. We wanted a clear shot from down low but that wasn’t going to happen.

While finding a location for that shot, we discovered a great view of Yosemite Falls from the meadow. The full Moon lit the northern side of the valley beautifully. But, to get the Upper and Lower falls lit, we needed to wait at least until 9. At moonrise, the falls were in shadow.

Starry Night and Falls:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Yosemite Falls under a full Moon Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Yosemite Falls under a full Moon in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

After the Moon rose over a ridge south of Half Dome, we headed for the meadow to photograph Yosemite Falls in moon light. And it turned out, they became our favorite images.

While shooting, I saw three barren trees against a ridgeline. While checking them out, I noticed how they repeated the pattern of Sentinel Rock. The trees were lit by the Moon and the pines behind them were in shadow. This added some contrast to the scene.

Sirius Repetition:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Three trees appear to mimic Sentinel Mountain in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Three trees seem to mimic Sentinel Mountain in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

After our adventures, we headed back to our room Yosemite LodgeOur plan was to get up super early and photograph El Capitan and the Merced River. So we edited a few photos, posted a few on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

We arrived at our spot along the Merced River with about 45 minutes to spare. This gave us a little time to get a little picky on our composition. I had one big problem: my wide-angle was not wide enough. Ugh.

White Gold:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Morning Sun lights El Capitan as it's reflected in the Merced River in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Morning Sun lights El Capitan as it’s reflected in the Merced River in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

So, I opted to get creative. I found a patch of grass that was near the bank of the river. It was covered with frost and looked pretty cool. I composed my photo so the grass patch was between a tree and El Capitan in the reflection.

I worked it as the Sun began lighting the ridge of El Capitan. With my camera on a tripod, I made small moves and worked fast. I think I got something relatively good.

Gary Enjoying the View:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Gary under Yosemite Falls in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Thursday Mar. 5, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Gary enjoying his coffee under Yosemite Falls in Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

 

My equipment was the usual: Nikon D300s, 17-35 f/2.8, 80-200 f/2.8, Manfrotto 055 XproB tripod, some head I’ve had for a dozen years, and a cable release. Pretty simple.

Honestly though, I feel I didn’t get but one or two images, but I don’t care. Sometimes hanging out with your best friend is makes it all worth it.

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.

Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship

On Saturday the 14th, I covered the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., for the Bellingham Herald.

Bagpiping For the Dancers:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Bagpiper Andrew Lee of Port Coquitlam, B.C., plays for the 14 & Under 16 Years division Sword Dance championship during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.  Competition chair Heather Richendrfer says nearly a hundred dancers from as far away as eastern Canada participated in the event sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation and the Clan Heather Dancers. The championship is sanctioned by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing and is only one of two held in the Pacific Northwest. Winners in each division receive a cash prize and a hand blown glass, heart-shaped award.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Bagpiper Andrew Lee of Port Coquitlam, B.C., plays for the 14 & Under 16 Years division Sword Dance championship during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., INFO: Camera D300s, 17-35mm f/2.8 at f/4 at 1/250th

It was fun and challenging. The stage was well-lit to the point it was over-lit. They kept everything in lights and it was difficult to find angles to differentiate the dancers from the background. But that’s understandable as it is a competition not a play.

Overlit Stage:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  A youngster uses an iPad to photograph competitors during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A youngster uses an iPad to photograph competitors during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D3s at 1/200th, 80-200 at f/4

 

The key to this competition is that all the dancers in an age group, danced individually 3 at a time to the same music. The judges then rated each one on how well they performed the traditional dances. So although they danced together, they were judged separately. In other words, not much variety.

Practice Makes Perfect:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Whysker of Surrey, B.C., left, and  Brielle Thibaudeau of Langley, B.C., practice their Strathspey & 1/2 Tulloch dance moves as Kate Bonar, all 9, of Surrey, B.C., observes their moves backstage during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.  Competition chair Heather Richendrfer says nearly a hundred dancers from as far away as eastern Canada participated in the event sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation and the Clan Heather Dancers. The championship is sanctioned by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing and is only one of two held in the Pacific Northwest. Winners in each division receive a cash prize and a hand blown glass heart-shaped award.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Whysker of Surrey, B.C., left, and Brielle Thibaudeau of Langley, B.C., practice their Strathspey & 1/2 Tulloch dance moves as Kate Bonar, all 9, of Surrey, B.C., observes their moves backstage during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D300s at 1/50th, 17-35 at f/4

 

After a few “stage” shots from the audience point of view, I went backstage to find moments and ultimately something different. This also afforded me opportunities to see things you wouldn’t see from the seats.

In Synch:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the  Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance part of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D3s at 1/400th, 80-200 at f/4

 

One of the first things I do when covering something I’ve not covered before is to just observe. I think it’s important to just spend a few minutes just watching things and formulating compositions. Since the dancers performed the same dance, it was easy finding repeat moments to photograph.

Kicking High:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Brielle Thibaudeau, left, of Langley, B.C., competes in the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Brielle Thibaudeau, left, of Langley, B.C., competes in the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D3s at 1/200th, 80-200 at f/2.8

To compensate for the overly lit stage, I found angles so I was shooting the dancers with a dark background. I then underexposed my meter reading by one stop to attempt to drop the background out thereby making the highlights, the faces, stand out more.

My Workflow (Single Images):

  • Iingested images in PhotoMechanic to rename files and add basic IPTC and caption information. Using color coding, culled about 4 images for print. Added names and more info in IPTC. My file naming is detailed here: Keeping It Simple: My Workflow
  • Chose about 18 photos for online gallery which included the top picks for paper publication.
  • Edited the 4 photos I chose in Photoshop by opening the RAW and adjusting the white balance and reducing the noise by increasing the Luminance in Noise Reduction to 30%, cropped image, added a touch of Clarity (about 10%) then opened.
  • In Photoshop, created a new layer from background (for burning and dodging). Dodged and burned what was needed. Used a Curves layer to darken shadow areas and brightened midtones. Duplicated the Burn/Dodge layer, used High Pass filter at 4.5 pixels to sharpen, set layer mode to Vivid Light (more on using High Pass to sharpen here).
  • Checked caption information (PM sometimes changes names spellings) to ensure names properly spelled and info is correct. Saved as a PSD in new folder removing the “raw” and renumbering as 1, 2, 3, etc . 
  • Flattened image and then resized to 12″ at dpi. Saved as a jpg at 8 in new folder.
  • Back in PM, I took the 18 photos I edited down to, added more caption info checking name spellings, and then saved those as high res jpegs into the Jpeg folder. I then delete the repeat images keeping the new edited one.

In Lightroom (for the gallery):

  • Imported (Added) the images from the Jpeg folder I selected for the online gallery and the ones for print.
  • Darkened the background and increased midtones a touch by using curves if needed, adjusted the white balance a touch, added about 10 to 20% clarity, sharpened about 90 at 1px, reduced luminance noise to about 30%.
  • Exported these to a new folder titled Web at 900px long side at 8 jpg.

 Just One More:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the  Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., INFO: D3s at 1/400, 80-200 at f/4

The gear (check photo captions for each individual picture):

  • Lenses:  Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8 AI, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D
  • Cameras: Nikon D3s and D300s with ISO set to 1600, and White Balance on manual set to Tungsten
  • Shutter and aperture varied. 

To view more images from this event, visit the gallery Celtic Arts Highland Dancing.

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

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.

A vs B: Which One Would You Choose?

As part of the ongoing process of evolving and improving my blog, I’m going to start an “A vs B” post each week. This will be two photos that I have a hard time choosing which one I like better.

But, it is something I’m flexible on. I know I don’t make the right editing choices especially on a deadline. We all make mistakes. But that’s the beauty of digital: We can go back and

This week’s choice is a pair of photos from an assignment for the Bellingham Herald. Over the weekend I shot the Celtic Arts Highland Dance Competition in Bellingham, Wash. Rather than just stay in front of the stage and shoot, which was rather boring, I headed backstage to find better photos and moments.

A – Edited after

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the  Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

While shooting the competition, I moved from the front, to stage left, then stage right, to see what I could get. The sword dance was fun to watch but I noticed their feet and decided a detail shot of them would be a great addition to the standard shots.

First, a bit about how the competition is held. The dancers are not dancing together, rather they dance in groups of three for the judges. Each dancer is judged separately although they’re on the stage together.

B – Published

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Jenna Fox of Port Moody, B.C., dances the Sword Dance in the 14 & Under 16 division of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015. Competition chair Heather Richendrfer says nearly a hundred dancers from as far away as eastern Canada participated in the event sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation and the Clan Heather Dancers. The championship is sanctioned by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing and is only one of two held in the Pacific Northwest. Winners in each division receive a cash prize and a hand blown glass heart-shaped award.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Jenna Fox of Port Moody, B.C., dances the Sword Dance in the 14 & Under 16 division of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

After editing down to create the online gallery, I find myself moved towards A rather than my first choice of B.

Why A?  Her shoes are more sharp, I like the slightly lower angle, the legs are more in alignment, the kilts are visible.

Now your turn. Which one do you like better and why? What would you have done different?

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

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.

 

#MountBaker vs #Montesano #Football in #District1A #Playoffs

Just a quick post with a few photos.

This past Saturday I photographed Mount Baker Mountaineers as they soundly defeated the Montesano Bulldogs 41 to 28 in the first round of the Washington state District 1A playoffs. It was a cold bitter night as the Mountaineers took control of the ball from the start.

Missed Opportunity:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Mount Baker running back Johnny Mata (23), right, evades an open field tackle by Montesano linebacker Logan Truax (5)  during the first quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mount Baker running back Johnny Mata (23), right, evades an open field tackle by Montesano linebacker Logan Truax (5) during the first quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

The Mountaineers play Saturday Nov. 22, 2014, and I’m looking forward to seeing them and their powerhouse offense against Eatonville.

You can view more images in the gallery Montsano vs Mt. Baker in District 1A Playoff

 

Behind the Line:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Montesano running back Tanner Birdsall (22) is tackled behind the line of scrimmage by Mount Baker linebacker Jed Schleimer (4) for a loss of yards during the second quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Montesano running back Tanner Birdsall (22) is tackled behind the line of scrimmage by Mount Baker linebacker Jed Schleimer (4) for a loss of yards during the second quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

 

Interception:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Montesano's Logan Truax (5) intercepts a Mount Baker pass  during the final minute of the second quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Montesano’s Logan Truax (5) intercepts a Mount Baker pass during the final minute of the second quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

 

Line Dancing:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Mount Baker running back Jed Schleimer (4) attempts to stay inbound after Montesano line backer Jake Herzog (9) misses the tackel during the second quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014. Schleimer was called out of bounds by the sideline referee.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mount Baker running back Jed Schleimer (4) attempts to stay inbound after Montesano linebacker Jake Herzog (9) misses the tackle during the second quarter. Schleimer was called out-of-bounds by the sideline referee.

 

Barreling Through:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Mount Baker running back Jed Schleimer (4) barrels through Montesano's Tanner Birdsall (22), left, Cole Nleson (10), right, and Sawyer Rhoden (8) for a five yard gain during the second quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mount Baker running back Jed Schleimer (4) barrels through Montesano’s Tanner Birdsall (22), left, Cole Nelson (10), right, and Sawyer Rhoden (8) for a five yard gain during the second quarter.

 

Reaching:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Montesano defensive lineman Taylor Ruper (52) nearly blocks an extra point attemt during the first quarter of the 1A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening November 14, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Montesano defensive lineman Taylor Ruper (52) nearly blocks an extra point attempt during the first quarter. Due to an earlier blocked kick by Montesano, I positioned myself next to the goal post to get another one. Almost did. Almost.

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

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, Wash., Whatcom County in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe.

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.

Solar Eclipse and the Apocalypse in the Pacific Northwest

Yesterday, Thursday October 23, 2014, was apocalyptic. The weather we had here in the Seattle area was remarkable and unprecedented.

We had thunder and lightning, heavy rain, high wind, flooding, and a tornado. Yes, a tornado. The second one in a month. First was a waterspout in south Puget Sound. The second was in Longview, Wash.:  Tornado on KIRO TV

And during all this, a Solar Eclipse.

 Just Peeking:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The horns of a solar eclipse peek over the flag flying at the intersection of Northwest and Birchwood Avenues in Bellingham, Wash., during the partial solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The horns of a solar eclipse peek over the flag flying at the intersection of Northwest and Birchwood Avenues in Bellingham, Wash., during the partial solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

Yep, A Solar Eclipse.

I didn’t expect to see it. The clouds and rains continued throughout the morning. I thought my plans to shoot it were thwarted so I opted to get caught up on house chores.

While doing laundry, I kept an eye out for the clouds to part. Oddly enough, the rain stopped and the sky cleared just as I put in the last load into the dryer. Sweet.

Must put my plans back into action. To save time, I preset my D300s with my 80-200 f/2.8

First Attempt at the Cross:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Walnut Street in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. While shooting this, I realized a thin veil of cloud would help bring the foreground object and eclipse into the dynamic range of the camera.

Lacking the phone and my computer as they were in the house, I grabbed my B+W ND3 neutral density filter to look at the sun. The eclipse hadn’t started yet.

As I didn’t know the weather would cooperate, I hurriedly finished the laundry (ie threw it on the bed. LOL) and headed out to check on a few spots I planned out.

So, I headed out to my first place: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at the intersection of Walnut and Eldridge Avenues.

While driving there, I saw how the wind was whipping a large U.S. flag on a tall pole as I passed it. So I turned around to photograph the progressing eclipse.

But, after shooting a few frames, I looked at the photos and saw how over exposed the images were.  With that, I chose to use my ND2 neutral density filter with its 6 stop loss of light. This allowed me to shoot at a high shutter speed while maintaining a wide aperture..

In It’s Glory:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A seagull lands on the flag pole at the intersection of Northwest and Birchwood Avenues in Bellingham, Wash., during the partial solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A seagull lands on the flag pole at the intersection of Northwest and Birchwood Avenues in Bellingham, Wash., during the partial solar eclipse on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

Plus it cut the light to protect the interior of the lens and lessen the intensity of the light hitting the sensor. With a few better exposed frames, I left then headed to my original place.

Upon arriving, I found a parking spot that gave me great flexibility to move, but I couldn’t align the cross with the eclipse. The positioning required me to shoot through a tree. But I was able to frame the duo with the branches of the tree.

However, I couldn’t get a decent exposure. Either the eclipse was blown out, or the foreground was black. Very difficult to expose for it well.

Requiem II:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Walnut Street in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Walnut Street in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

As much as I hated it, I needed clouds. Thin clouds would cut down the light and allow the eclipse to show. This would help balance the exposure.

After 10 minutes, I decided to drive to Assumption Catholic Church. This also allowed the eclipse to progress and the clouds to move in. When I got to the church, it was clear it wouldn’t work.

By this time, the clouds were moving in rather quick. I headed back to the parking lot by the Episcopal church. When I arrived, the eclipse was lower to the horizon and the clouds were cooperating. The tree was no longer a bother.

Requiem I:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Walnut Street in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Walnut Street in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014.

While shooting, I noticed how the cross would silhouette against a bright cloud that also dimmed the eclipse. The clouds were moving fast, so I needed to move fast. And what do you know?

A pickup truck was parked right where I need to be. So with me running around this truck in the parking lot working the eclipse before it disappeared, I’m sure it looked weird to anyone watching as I ran around the truck pointing my lens towards the heavens.

My favorite photo is the one titled “Requiem I.” It’s simple and clean

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

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

  1. Follow Me on Google+
  2. “Like” my Page on Facebook
  3. Follow me on Twitter
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Paul is a Seattle-based photojournalist specializing in news, sports, feature, travel, and portraiture. He also photographs weddings and portraits in Bellingham, Whatcom County, and Skagit County.

He is available for assignments in the Pacific Northwest. Contact him at paulconradphotography@gmail.com or (206) 450-8632 for availability.