Technique

Blazing Glory!! Sunsets in Bellingham, Wash.

The past few weeks have offered some blazing and glorious sunsets here in Bellingham, Wash. One of the things I like to shoot during sunsets are something different than what everyone else shoots: the sunset. It’s nice to get something better. During one particular evening, the sight of the setting Sun was too much to bear. I just had to shoot it.

Bellingham Waterfront

Sunset over the Georgia Pacific Paper Mill - Steam from the Puget Sound Energy Encogen power plant is lit by the Sun as it sets behind the old Georgia Pacific paper mill on Tuesday afternoon Feb. 7, 2017, in Bellingham, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Sunset over the old Georgia Pacific Paper Mill – Steam from the Puget Sound Energy Encogen power plant is lit by the Sun as it sets behind the old Georgia Pacific paper mill in Bellingham, Wash. Prints are available for purchase. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

 

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An Afternoon at Mt. Baker Ski Area: It’s Black & White

Went up on Friday to #OptOutside to the Mt. Baker Ski Area east of Bellingham. Fact is, I needed to feel the crisp cold air in my lungs, view the snow-capped peaks, and hear the crunching of ice and snow underfoot.

Plus, I wanted to get the alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan. It was a beautiful clear day so no clouds in the west could block the light from the setting Sun. A LOT of people were up in the area. I would say most of them weren’t there for the skiing.

Last Rays

Sunset from Picture Lake with a view of Mount Shuksan on Friday afternoon Nov. 27, 2015, at the Mount Baker Ski Area in western Whatcom County, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

The last rays of the Sun ignite Mount Shuksan on Friday afternoon Nov. 27, 2015, at the Mount Baker Ski Area in western Whatcom County, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

In fact, many people were just enjoying the view with some sledding on the slopes of Picture Lake. Just a fun post-Thanksgiving romp in the Pacific Northwest Winter Wonderland.

Click Here for more & to Learn an Easy Way to Convert to B&W

#Supermoon over #Bellingham

It was the Supermoon on the horizon that had me rushing all over. This year’s “Supermoon” was actually one of the largest. 14% larger than the Moon when full at apogee.

The so-called Supermoon is technically a full moon when it is at perigee. Or the point closest to Earth in its orbit. On top of that, the Moon was full less than 30 minutes before it reached perigee.

First Shot – Moon Over Museum:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014. If it weren’t for the power lines, this would’ve been the shot. I think they’re incredibly distracting.

Using both The Photographer’s ephemeris and Sun Surveyor by Adam Ratana. I use both apps on my smart phone. The ephemeris is used to help me find a spot during the day time to line up a foreground subject. Then I use Sun Surveyor to find the near exact spot I should be. The big advantage SS has over TPE is that it shows the real path of the Sun or Moon as it transits the sky. TPE is a good general tool and not much else.

Second Shot – Moon Over Museum:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rising over Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Although very similar to a photo I shot last year of a supermoon, I like this better because there are no distracting power lines.

My subject was the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash. It was built-in 1892 and is a beautiful red brick building with white trim. It was formerly the Whatcom County Courthouse, but a new courthouse was built and so the old one became a museum and local landmark.

One problem: getting a clear view of the museum and moon. Because of all the power lines, it’s difficult to get a good shot of the museum and moon in a line-free photo.

So as I set out looking, I came across a great view of the courthouse and I could see a touch of the moon. ONLY problem was all the power lines in the way. I was on a hill just east of Squalicum Harbor watching the Moon rise over the distant ridge line just behind the museum. I stay and shot some frames anyway for posterity. I like it at it shows the size of the moon, but the power lines are annoying.

Just One More:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rising over Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – I like the glow from the Moon on the haze behind the museum. Adds a sense of mystery.

I then drove to the one spot I planned to shoot from. Clear shot of the museum and the moon. But it’s also very similar to another Supermoon shot from last year. But the big difference in this is that the moon rise was just before sunset. So the exposure was more workable. Plus, I imported into Lightroom which made the post-processing of the image even easier. I was able to get the Moon to look more natural against the tower of the museum.

Not like they’re actually rare events, I’m hoping on the next one to find a better spot. Perhaps the Twin Sisters would be a great shot with the Moon rising over them?

Prints of this image and many others available for purchase on my website Supermoon Over Museum.

View more of my images from the Bellingham area at Urban Scenes: Bellingham, Wash.

Which photo is your favorite? And why? Let me know in the comments below.

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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Anchor’s Aweigh: The Bellingham Youth Regatta

Saturday was a fun day. I hit the road for a shoot down in Lake Samish south of Bellingham, Wash. The 34th annual Lake Samish Swim. It’s not a big crowd draw but it was fun to shoot. Challenging, yet fun. I’ll post something Thursday about it.

Then after that, I headed to Squalicum Harbor to meet with the organizers of the 2014 Bellingham Youth Regatta. I called on Friday to secure a place on a boat. This was so I didn’t shoot from shore and get a lot of relatively lame, distant photos. Both assignments for The Bellingham Herald.

Forgive me if I get the sailing nomenclature wrong. I was in the Navy, but my ship was huge and we used different terms. I was also an electrician, not a boatswain’s mate.

Every Other One:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Racers in the FJ class turn towards the second marker after completing their turn from the first during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Racers in the FJ class turn towards the second marker after completing their turn from the first during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

From the shore, I wouldn’t have been able to get any good images. Especially close-ups showing the faces of the competitors. The regatta was held pretty much in the middle of Bellingham Bay. I would’ve needed a super-telephoto lens to even get close. I’m glad I took the initiative.

Ahead of the Pack:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Will Beckman and Cale Simms lead the course toward the last marker in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Will Beckman and Cale Simms lead the course toward the last marker in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

Another fortunate thing: I was placed on a boat with “The Two Bruces.” They were hilarious and gave me a few laughs. Their camaraderie was refreshing. The pilot Bruce made sure I was in the spot to get the shots I needed. Because of this I was able to get those tacking shots where the sailors really leaned over the side to make sure they didn’t tip over.

Really Leaning:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Eliza Dawson of Port Townsend leans hard while tacking during the second race of the Laser class during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Eliza Dawson of Port Townsend leans hard while tacking during the second race of the Laser class during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

During the races, I noticed on sailer on a Laser Radial really able to complete a rolling tack by flopping to the other side of his boat. I paid close attention to him as he tacked his way towards the finish line.

Sailor Drew Bennett really pushed hard to turn his boat. He went from one side to the other like a rabbit being chased by a fox. His technique was flawless. At one point, we all thought he may go a bit too far and end up over the side.

Really Leaning Two:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Drew Bennett leans hard while tacking as he competes in the second race in the laser category of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Drew Bennett leans hard while tacking as he competes in the second race in the laser class of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

It wasn’t until I downloaded my images back at the herald that I noticed some shots I hadn’t before. I didn’t feel comfortable chimping through my images in a small rocking boat. My mind was more focused on shooting frames and staying steady. Plus the glare off the water made it impossible.

Finding His Spot:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Casey Pickett looks for an open spot as he finishes a rolling tack during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Casey Pickett looks for an open spot as he finishes a rolling tack during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

I think the hardest thing to do was not only get in a spot, but also get a good exposure. It is the main reason in general why I shoot in RAW. I know the old, tired argument, but the reality is, RAW gives you more latitude and for all intents and purposes, you just get a more workable file.

Against the Harbor:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Youth in the Opti racing division begin their approach to the finish line during the first race of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Youth in the Opti racing division begin their approach to the finish line during the first race of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

Case in point: the ability of the camera to record detail is greater than what it will write in a jpg format. This shoot made it necessary as the Sun glinting off the waves would trick the meter.  And for me to combat the tricky light, I shot on manual using the good ol’ Sunny 16 and underexposed by one stop.

For the images, I used my 80-200 exclusively. There was no need for me to bring my 17-35, but I had it in case. I really should have shot a few photos of The Two Bruces for this blog at least. Without their help, the shoot would’ve been impossible.

Full On Racing:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Will Beckman and Cale Simms lead the course in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A plane takes off from Bellingham Airports as Will Beckman and Cale Simms (hid by sail) lead the course in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

More images can be found on The Bellingham Herald’s website at 2014 Bellingham Youth Regatta.

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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Photographing a Gun Defense and Knife Fighting Seminar – Part 1

On Sunday July , Sifu Cory Walken with the Seattle Close Range Tactics martial arts studio invited me to document a few of the seminars.

One was “Gun Defense” with Arjhan David Brown from Houston, Texas. The other, a knife fighting seminar also with Arjhan David and Kru Yai Katherine Holmes.

Arjhan David Brown

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Arjhan David Brown, center, helps students learn the fine points of gun defense at Seattle Close Range Tactics in Seattle, Wash.

As I have shot many seminars and classes with Total Confidence Martial Arts here in Bellingham, Wash., I was quite familiar with Master David and his teaching techniques. But I wanted to try something a little different.

Sifu Cory Walken

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sifu Cory Walken instructs students during gun defense class at Seattle Close Range Tactics in Seattle, Wash.

Rather than stay back a little and shoot with medium and telephoto lenses, I wanted to add some intimacy so I used my 17-35. I wrote in an earlier blog  the “3 I’s of Good Photojournalism: Intimacy”  how a wide-angle forces you to get close to your subject and adds depth to the image.

Layers

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sifu Cory Walken demonstrates gun defense during class at Seattle Close Range Tactics in Seattle, Wash.

Also, using this lens gave me a little range in focal length. If I needed to get a touch closer, then I could zoom in. I did use my 80-200 for a few shots,  but those were more for close-ups of some of the participants. I used it outside at Gasworks Park to get some sense of place with the Space Needle in the background.

Layers 2

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Arjhan David Brown, left, teaches weapon removal at Seattle Close Range Tactics in Seattle, Wash. I liked how the one student was holding the gun so I focused on it and used Arjhan David and the student on the left to add depth.

Using a wide-angle lens properly can give you a dominant subject in the foreground with a contributing background. This can also be called “layering ” or “adding depth.” Photojournalist Stanley Leary writes about this in his blog Visual Storytelling called “Depth of Field is More Than Aperture.”

 Mirror Mirror

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Rather than view the mirrors as a distraction, I worked them to find an angle to add depth to a few images. I waited for a moment when all the views had a bit of action.

The key is to use a large aperture of f/4 or f/5.6 so you leave the background a little out of focus which allows the viewer to discern what the image is about. Give hints and clues, but don’t tell the complete story. Let the viewer find out for themselves.

As the participants formed teams of two with Masters David and Sifu Cory observing each, I also looked for patterns to use these in the layering. In a close space such as the studio where the gun defense seminar was taught, it wasn’t too difficult. In the open space of Gasworks Park, it was more challenging.

There was a mirror in the room that at first I thought would be a distraction. But while shooting one set of participants, I noticed I could use it to add depth by getting in more participants. For the result, see above.

Mixed Lighting Sources 1:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sifu Cory Walken demonstrates gun removal techniques to a student at Seattle Close Range Tactics in Seattle, Wash. The left side of the frame is lit by a large, south-facing open window, and the right is lit by various other sources. As the faces on the left are most important, I color corrected for them and let the other elements shift to warmer tones.

But the biggest challenge was getting correct white balance. The mixed light on the students was mind-boggling. There was indirect sun coming into the studio from a big picture window, the lights were a mix of CFLs, tungsten, flourescent, and LEDs.

As I shoot in raw, I opted for auto so I can get close and then fine tune it in Lightroom. Plus shooting at ISO 800, I wanted the raw because if sway from “correct” exposure just a little, the image can look quite ugly.

As I imported the image into Lightroom, I set the white balance to get the best skin tones. This made some of the picture have a touch of funky color. Some had blue caused by daylight entering the room, or some had yellow caused by the mixed artificial light.

Mixed Lighting Sources 2 (A Better Photo):

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown teaches weapon removal on Sunday afternoon July 27, 2014, at CRT and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sifu Cory Walken demonstrates a technique during a gun defense seminar at Seattle Close Range Tactics in Seattle, Wash. This doesn’t show the mixed lighting as well as the above photo, but I cropped in a little and it’s a better moment.

But the skin tones are the most important part of the photo, so I adjusted for the main subject and the dominant light hitting their face. Challenging, but worth it.

Tomorrow for Part 2, we head to Gasworks Park in Seattle.

Do you or someone you know someone in the Seattle/Bellingham area who needs teaching seminars photographed for their business website? Feel free to contact me or pass on my information onto them. My email is paulconradphotography@gmail.com

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:

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