Endurance

50th Annual Chuckanut Foot Race

I’ve been a bit busy with assignments and personal projects. I’ve a lot of blogs or maybe just a few big ones to write so I can play catch-up. First, I’ll post a few quickies from weekend shoots.

On Saturday July 9, 2016, I photographed the 50th annual Chuckanut Foot Race for The Bellingham Herald. It’s a 7 mile run that starts at Fairhaven Marine Park and ends at Larrabee State Park. The faster runners do it in about 35 minutes, while most average about an hour.

Synching Timers –

Dillon Quintana (291), left in orange, and other competitors start their personal timers at the beginning of the 50th annual Chuckanut Foot Race on Saturday morning July 9, 2016, in Fairhaven, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Dillon Quintana (291), left in orange, and other competitors start their personal timers at the beginning of the 50th annual Chuckanut Foot Race on Saturday morning July 9, 2016, in Fairhaven, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

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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.

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
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  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.

Photos of the Year: My Favorites from the past 12 months.

2014 turned out to be a good year for me. Not only have I shot more Getty Images assignments, more newspaper assignments, but I’ve also had the privilege to photograph many sporting and news events, a wedding, and a few portraits.

On top of that, I also went out of my way to practice more landscape photography shooting at night, using ND filters to get 4 minute exposures in daylight, and getting out of my comfort zone hiking into remote places.

These are my favorites from the year. There are more on my site in the gallery 2014 Year in Photos – My Favorites from the Year to view more exciting images from the year 2014.

Get Outta My Way:

© 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.

Incoming Storm:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Long exposures of incoming storm over Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday October 28, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Long exposures of incoming storm over Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday October 28, 2014.

Don’t Get It In Yer Eyes!!

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Natalie and Codey's wedding and reception at the Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park, Colo., on Saturday afternoon Dec. 13, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The flower girls getting prepped for Natalie and Codey’s wedding and reception at the Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park, Colo., on Saturday afternoon Dec. 13, 2014.

 

That Low Sinking Feeling:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Bellingham High School senior Christian Amano of Bellingham, Wash,. lands in the pit during his attempt at the long jump druing the NWC Track & Field competition at Civic Field in Bellingham. Amano ended 8th overall with a distance of 18 feet, 11 inches.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Bellingham High School senior Christian Amano of Bellingham, Wash,. lands in the pit during his attempt at the long jump during the NWC Track & Field competition at Civic Field in Bellingham. Amano ended 8th overall with 18 feet, 11 inches.

Squalicum Harbor at Sunset:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sunset at Locust Beach and Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday evening July 15, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sunset at Locust Beach and Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday evening July 15, 2014.

Mt. Baker & Refinery:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Mount Baker is illuminated by the setting Sun as the lights at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., turn begin to illuminate the petroleum plant.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Mount Baker is illuminated by the setting Sun as the lights at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., turn begin to illuminate the petroleum plant.

Rain? What Rain?:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Valerie Snelling of Bellingham takes in the surroundings during the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival at Fairhaven Village Green in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday afternoon July 19, 2014. Snelling says this was her first time dressing in Steampunk fashion and began working on her costume at midnight. Hundreds enjoyed the sights of individuals dressed in Steampunk Victorian costumes, live entertainment, food and vendors .

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Valerie Snelling of Bellingham takes in the surroundings during the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival at Fairhaven Village Green in Fairhaven, Wash., on Saturday afternoon July 19, 2014. Snelling says this was her first time dressing in Steampunk fashion and began working on her costume at midnight. Hundreds enjoyed the sights of individuals dressed in Steampunk Victorian costumes, live entertainment, food and vendors .

Keeping His Eye on the Ball:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Lynden wide receiver Scooter Hastings (88) concentrates to catch a touchdown pass as Hockinson defensive back Quentin Sills (20) attempts to interrupt the play early the second quarter in the Class 2A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon November 22, 2014. Hastings touchdown and resulting extra point a 21 to 7 lead over Hockinson. Lynden defeated Hopkinson 52 to 28 to advance to the semi-final.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Lynden wide receiver Scooter Hastings (88) concentrates to catch a touchdown pass as Hockinson defensive back Quentin Sills (20) attempts to interrupt the play early the second quarter in the Class 2A State Playoffs at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon November 22, 2014. Hastings touchdown and resulting extra point a 21 to 7 lead over Hockinson. Lynden defeated Hopkinson 52 to 28 to advance to the semi-final.

Faceplant:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Hannah Scarth of Arlington, Wash., dives head first into the Holee Kow mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Hannah Scarth of Arlington, Wash., dives head first into the Holee Kow mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

Teaching Art:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Senior instructor Amy Hill of Bellingham, Wash., demonstrates a brush stroke technique while teaching a class at Uptown Art painting studio on Bellwether Way in Bellingham, on Friday evening December 5, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Senior instructor Amy Hill of Bellingham, Wash., demonstrates a brush stroke technique while teaching a class at Uptown Art painting studio on Bellwether Way in Bellingham, on Friday evening December 5, 2014.

Out of the Trap:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - John Milkotic drives from a sand trap at the 9th green during the final day of the 40th Bellingham Amateur Golf Tournament at Lake Padden Golf Course on Monday Sept. 1, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – John Milkotic drives from a sand trap at the 9th green during the final day of the 40th Bellingham Amateur Golf Tournament at Lake Padden Golf Course on Monday Sept. 1, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash.

A Head Above

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Whatcom Community College freshman forward Canyon Silliman (18) goes above Shoreline Community College jufreshman defensiveman Ryan Anderson (12) during the first half on Orca Field at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 4, 2014. The visiting Shoreline Dolphins defeated the WCC Orcas 1 to 0 by a last minute second half goal.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Whatcom Community College freshman forward Canyon Silliman (18) goes above Shoreline Community College freshman defensive man Ryan Anderson (12) during the first half on Orca Field at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 4, 2014. The visiting Shoreline Dolphins defeated the WCC Orcas 1 to 0 by a last-minute second half goal.

Piping:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Bellingham Pipe Band member Gary Griffiths practices in the men's locker room during commencement services for graduating Western Washington University students in Carver Gymnasium at Western Washington University on Saturday morning June 14, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Bellingham Pipe Band member Gary Griffiths practices in the men’s locker room during commencement services for graduating Western Washington University students in Carver Gymnasium at Western Washington University on Saturday morning June 14, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash.

Vampire’s Delight:

© 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.

Getting Energized:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Ian Murray of Canmore, Alberta, hydrates prior to the start of the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Ian Murray of Canmore, Alberta, hydrates prior to the start of the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

The year 2015 is looking to be another fantastic year. I hope to continue my personal projects as well as take on more assignments and clients.

I am now booking for the upcoming wedding season, family and senior portraits. Send me an email at paulconradphotography@gmail.com or check out my wedding and portrait information pages.

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.

Dirty Girls & Boys: Whatcom County’s Most Fun Mud Run

I had to write a catchy headline to get folks onto my blog. After all, sex does sell.

This past weekend the local chapter of Muds to Suds held their 3rd annual Muds to Suds Race at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Almost 2000 people participated in the fund-raiser. This year, the recipient was the Girl Scouts of Western Washington. It was an assignment for The Bellingham Herald.

Slated as “Whatcom County’s Most Fun Mud Run,” just observing and documenting it made me chuckle. It was an awesome event to cover.

Splish Splash!!!

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Hannah Scarth of Arlington, Wash., dives head first into the Holee Kow mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Hannah Scarth of Arlington, Wash., dives head first into the Holee Kow mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

For large events like this, I like to do some research. I focus on the course and what other elements are planned. There was to be a food court area, a kids mud pit, and a bouncy castle.

Naptime:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Ty Warner, 9, of Ferndale, Wash., lies in foam at the Suds Box obstacle during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Ty Warner, 9, of Ferndale, Wash., lies in foam at the Suds Box obstacle.

One of the things I paid particular attention to was the course map. I needed to find know where the good obstacles were so I can capture the best images. Certain ones were boring, others hinted of great photo opportunities.

Many of the racers were there for fun. Dressed in some form of costume or outfit. There was multiple Wonder Women, The Flash, a drove of pigs, men and women in tutus, and even one dressed as the Heinz Ketchup bottle.

Wonder Women:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Racers climb out of the Holee Kow mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A team of Wonder Women climb out of the Holee Kow mud pit.

And as per my modus operandi, I follow the old axiom: Arrive Early, Stay late. This gives me time to survey the scene, find out who’s in charge so I can ask questions, and a time to decompress a little so I can put my game face on.

Crown of Foam:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nympha Evans (cq) of Oak Harbor, Wash., plunges into the Mud Pit Swim & Slide during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nympha Evans of Oak Harbor, Wash., plunges into the Swim & Slide.

I talked with asst. race coordinator Sara Buchanan about the course, how many participants, who is the recipient of the raised funds, average time to complete the course, and any other questions that arose.

Superwomen:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Lexi Warnke, left, and her mother Jessica Warnke of Mt. Vernon, slide through the Suds Box during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Lexi Warnke, left, and her mother Jessica Warnke of Mt. Vernon, slide through the Suds Box at the end of the course.

As the racers were started every 20 minutes, I had a chance to get different starts. But those tended to be boring so I walked the course backwards. This allowed me time to find an obstacle that would get me good visuals. Plus, with starts every 20 minutes, I didn’t have to wait long to photograph a group of competitors splashing in the mud.

FLASH!!!

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - The Flash runs the obstacle course during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – The Flash runs the obstacle course. His time was too fast to record.

It took photographing one group of people for me to realized the toughest part of this job will be to get names. As I shot the participants, they would run past me on their way towards the finish line.

Big Splash:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - A competitor plunges into the deep foam of the  Mud Pit Slip & Slide during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A competitor plunges into the deep foam of the Slip & Slide. This is one instance where I didn’t get a name due to the number of people I was photographing. However, it’s still a pretty good image for an online gallery.

As these were for publication, I needed to get names. You can publish photos of people without using their names, papers do it all the time. However, I believe it’s not only ethical, but just plain polite to get names. After all, if you saw your photo in the newspaper and your name was missing, wouldn’t you be a little upset?

So I’d photograph a few people then chase them down, write a quick description of what they were wearing, and then their name. For multiple people, I’d line them up in the order I wrote the names.

Anticipation:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - A competitor dives into a mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A competitor dives into the Slime Time mud pit. Another instance where there were som many people it was difficult getting names. I heard him whooping and hollering as he was running up before the dive in.

That’s the beauty of digital: you can shoot a quick photo of them to make sure you can correlate the name with the correct people. No ambiguity.

Not only that, you can quickly preview what you shot to see if you even want to use the photo. It sorta goes against what I believe in not editing in camera nor during a shoot. But in circumstances such as this, it’s almost a necessity.

Leader of the Pack:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Ty Warner, 9, of Ferndale, Wash., leads his team , USTA Martial Arts, out of the Holee Kow (cq) mud pit during the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Ty Warner, 9, leads his team , USTA Martial Arts, through the Holee Kow mud pit.

Unfortunately, upon editing the photos, there’s always a few that you missed. Those can be reserved for the online use in slide shows with creative captions.

With so much going on, it’s best to focus on only one aspect. Concentrate on just one obstacle. Another reason it’s important to arrive early to an event. Get your bearings and make a plan. If you go in blind, you will shoot haphazardly and will end up missing some great shots.

End of the Line:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Tonia Altinger, left, and Caelyn Pfarc, both from Camono Island, celebrate completing the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Tonia Altinger, left, and Caelyn Pfarc, both from Camano Island, celebrate completing the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race.

What are some of you tricks or techniques you do to make shooting an event easy? Do you pre plan? Or wing it when the time arrives?

Resolution of Endurance:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Images from the 3rd annual Mud to Suds race on Saturday morning August 16, 2014, at Hovander Park in Ferndale, Wash. Nearly 2000 people ran the 2.5 mile course negotiating 22 obstacles including mud-filled pits, hay bales, and a soap foam tunnel. The event raised funds for the Girls Scouts of Western Washington.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A competitor celebrates with oy at the end of the line in the Foam Box.

For more Muds to Suds photos, visit my gallery 3rd annual Muds to Suds

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 published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, Wash., 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 short-term and long-term assignments.

Ski to Sea: A Challenge to Cover the Cross Country Biking Segment

I was cold, muddy, sweaty, and exhausted when I walked into The Bellingham Herald’s newsroom. My feet were soaked, my pants from my knees to my boots slathered in mud, and every bone in my body ached.

It was a good day. A very good day. Shooting the Ski to Sea endurance race with hugely satisfying.

Energizing For His Turn

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Ian Murray of Canmore, Alberta, hydrates prior to the start of the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Ian Murray of Canmore, Alberta, hydrates before the start of the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

It began about 10ish when I arrive at Hovender Homestead Park in Ferndale. My job is to cover the sixth leg, cross-country biking, of the race. I was so early, only volunteers and a few hardy racers were there. Although the race was officially underway, there was an expected wait of nearly two hours before even the fastest racers would arrive.

Free Inspections and Tune-ups:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Josh Poulsen with Brown Dog Bikes of Belligham adjusts the front derailleur of a bike while giving courtesy inspections during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Josh Poulsen with Brown Dog Bikes of Bellingham adjusts the front derailleur of a bike while giving courtesy inspections during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

While waiting, I chatted with race officials and volunteers. One of the topics of conversations was how high the river is. Usually, the canoers had at least 100 yards of a sandbar to land on for the exchange to take place. However, this year the landing spot was less than 10 yards of shoreline which would make it a tough challenge when more than two or three canoes arrived at one time.

Age is NOT a Barrier:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nick Bauer, left, and Jim Bauer carry their canoe out of the Nooksack River to begin the cross country 3biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nick Bauer and Jim Bauer carry their canoe out of the Nooksack River to begin the cross-country biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

Although I’ve shot many endurance races and competitions when I worked at The Aspen Times in Colorado, Ski to Sea was a completely new thing for me. So the day before the race, I talked with Andy who gave me a few tips on shooting that particular leg:

Up & Over The Bars:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Larson Loeb of OOO-UM-GOW-AH flies over his handlebars as he attempts to ride over obstacles at Hovender Park during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Larson Loeb of OOO-UM-GOW-AH flies over his handlebars as he attempts to ride over obstacles at Hovender Park during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

  1.  Arrive Early
  2.  Shoot the first men’s and woman’s teams as they handed off the timer
  3.  Drive along the bike route and look for angles
  4. Go to Squalicum Park where there is some good vantage points and compositions

Incoming Canoers:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - "Boats & Hose" team members Collin Murphy and Andy Millard paddle towards the end of the canoe leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – “Boats & Hose” team members Collin Murphy and Andy Millard paddle towards the end of the canoe leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

So, I arrived early. While there talked with people and figured out what was going on. Shot what I could of the begging leg of this segment.

Next, I drove along the route finding fields to photograph as the riders went through. I stopped along several spots but found only one that resembled them biking something that looked “cross-country.”

Easy Riding:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham - Dan Garrison of Team Mandelbaums traverses on open field along Labounty Road in the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Ferndale, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham – Dan Garrison of “Team Mandelbaums” traverses on open field along Labounty Road in the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014, outside of Ferndale, Wash.

After half an hour of that, I went to Squalicum Park. Unfortunately, the winding trails usually ridden by the bikers were closed due to construction of new baseball/softball diamonds. But I was able to find a corner they came around at a pretty good speed, so as they rode past me, I used panning to capture that sense of speed.

Speed Demon:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Stephanie Ludlow with Team Anteverted Hipsters screams around a corner in Squalicum Park during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Bellingham, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Stephanie Ludlow with the team “Anteverted Hipsters” screams around a corner in Squalicum Park during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash.

A few tips on panning:

  • Panning takes a bit of practice, but it’s easy to do. First, plant your feet parallel of the direction of travel that your subject is going. Next, use a slow shutter speed and tiny aperture. The key is you want the subject sharp with the background/foreground blurred.
  • You begin following your subject and then when the subject is almost directly in front of you, begin firing off a few frames. The reason you wait is so you can center your subject in the frame and judge its speed better so you get a good image.

After leaving the park, I was driving along Squalicum Parkway and noticed the bikers riding an abandoned set of railroad tracks. As there was nowhere I could park, I drove slow to see if I could find a trail that led to them.

Huffing Up the Last Hill:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Kevin Bowman, right, with 676-GARY crests a hill as Emily Hirsch-Burdick with SFH-GET TO DA DOCTAA! begins her climb along Squalicum Parkway during  the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Bellingham, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Kevin Bowman, right, with “676-GARY” crests a hill as Emily Hirsch-Burdick with “SFH-GET TO DA DOCTAA!” begins her climb along Squalicum Parkway during the mountain biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014, in Bellingham, Wash.

At the end, I noticed the bikers coming up a small hill pushing their bikes. I parked just before that spot and checked it out. I then went to check it out and noticed the long tree tunnel the riders went through.

Tunnel Vision:

©Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Megan Struther with Gates Of Hell, right, rides past Christie Duque of Aint No Mountain High Enough as she carries her bike along Squalicum Parkway during the cross country biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Bellingham, Wash. Duque broke her chain riding the rough railroad tracks along the road.

©Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Megan Struther with “Gates Of Hell,” right, rides past Christie Duque of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” as she carries her bike along Squalicum Parkway during the cross-country biking leg of the 2014 Ski to Sea Race on Sunday afternoon May 25, 2014 in Bellingham, Wash. Duque broke her chain riding the rough railroad tracks along the road.

So I spent a few minutes shooting this beautiful composition of the bikers riding through this section of trail and then pushing their bikes up the muddy hill. While shooting it, I noticed one of the riders carrying her bike. Her chain came off the front sprocket due to the rough trail.

It was an incredibly fun and satisfying day. Which probably explains why I was so tired at the end of the day. That or the 5 miles my pedometer says I walked.

For more photos from this section of Ski to Sea, view this slide show on The Bellingham Herald website: Ski to Sea Cross-Country Biking.

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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