baseball

Using simple #Lighting for a #Baseball #Portrait

On Sunday I had an assignment to shoot 3 team members of the Ferndale U11 Cal Ripkin All-Stars.

As part of the assignment for The Bellingham Herald, I was to meet three standouts and photograph them at practice. To be safe, I met the three early for a quick portrait session.

Always thinking on a larger scale, I kept picturing 3 major leaguers and wanted to light them as if I was working at Sports Illustrated. Hey why not think big. They may be 11, but why let that limit how you shoot it.

Using my set Nikon SB-910 speedlights and Phottix Odin TTL flash trigger and remotes, I set up a simple “studio” at home plate.

Three All-Stars:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Evan Rehrberger, Ethan Brooks, and Greg Roberts of the Ferndale 11-U Cal Ripkin All-Star team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Evan Rehrberger, Ethan Brooks, and Greg Roberts of the Ferndale 11-U Cal Ripkin All-Star team.

As a safety, I asked one of the dads to be a test subject so I can get the light placed correctly and power output set properly. I like my strobes at a 1:2 ratio.

The main light I place on the right at about 90 degrees from the camera-subject line. The secondary fill light, at a 45 degree angle on the left. I switched the main from left to right while keeping the 1:2 ratio. This gave me lighting choices to keep me from second guessing myself during the editing process.

With the sky dark from clouds, I tried to set my exposure to underexpose the ambient light by one stop.  But in retrospect, I should have underexposed the ambient by 2 stops. Live and learn I guess.

For the three youths in one shot, I kept the lights simple: placed each strobe at a 45° angle and evenly lit.

One Shot:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -(l to r) Evan Rehrberger, Greg Roberts, and Ethan Brooks,  of the Ferndale 11U All-Star baseball team during practice at Pioneer Park on Sunday afternoon July 6, 2014,  in Ferndale, Wash.. Catcher Greg Roberts, first baseman Ethan Brooks, and second baseman Evan Rehberger featured.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -(l to r) Second baseman Evan Rehrberger, catcher Greg Roberts, and first baseman Ethan Brooks, of the Ferndale 11U All-Star baseball team during practice at Pioneer Park on Sunday afternoon July 6, 2014, in Ferndale, Wash.

  • 2 SB-910 Speedlights placed about 5 feet from subject(s). IMPORTANT!!! Set the mode for the strobes to manual.
  • Phottix Odin TTL triggers used to control light output. They give you the ability to control the light output from the camera.
  • Have subject turn to their left towards the main light to give dimension to the face.
  • Adjust lighting as needed using transmitter.
  • Swap the lights between subjects for variety. Place the left at 90° and the right at 45° for variety.
  • I did not use a tripod to be more fluidlic. But my camera position was in a general area about 5 to 7 feet from the subject.
  • For the 3 Subject photo, I placed each light at 45 degrees and set to full.

Here’s a couple of tips, which I went over in a previous blog Intro To Creative Flash: Balancing Your Flash with Ambient Light

  • Because the flash duration is so short (1/100th of a second or shorter), the aperture controls the amount of light when your flash is set on manual. Keep in mind this only works on manual. If you have your flash on auto , TTL, program, or whatever, this won’t work and you’ll get more confused. It must be on manual mode.
  • The shutter control the ambient light for the most part. Use the FP mode on your strobe if you need to go higher than the camera’s highest flash synch speed.

Simply: aperture for your flash, shutter speed for the ambient. It takes some practice, but it’s well worth it and gives you more tools for your photographic toolbox.

Simple lighting Set-up:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Using just two strobes with diffusers place about 5 feet from subjects. Radio remotes to trigger. Simple and easy.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Using just two strobes with diffusers place about 5 feet from subjects. Radio remotes to trigger. Simple and easy.

Practice! Practice! Practice!!!

Photography is NOT a Spectator Sport!!

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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Meridian HS Loses to Faith Life Academy in Playoffs

On Saturday, my assignment for The Bellingham Herald was to cover Meridian High School against Life Christian Academy during the 104 Tri-District 1A Baseball Tournament.

Life Christian was off to a good start with 3 runs scored in the second inning. Not a good start for junior Tanner Tutterrow. Meridian attempted to play catch-up the rest of the game, but just could not get it going.

Safe Slide:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School senior Josh Hosick (5) slides safely into 2nd base as Life Christian Academy sophomore short stop Sam Absten (2) comes down with the ball during the fifth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School senior Josh Hosick (5) slides safely into 2nd base as Life Christian Academy sophomore short stop Sam Absten (2) comes down with the ball during the fifth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

Throwing errors and poor judgement cost Meridian a playoff spot in the state championship. One error which could have been avoided is pull the pitcher after the opposing team score so quickly. Life Christian read the pitcher like a grade school book.

Back To First:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Life Christian junior Sam Absten dives back to 1st base during the first inning of  in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Life Christian junior Sam Absten dives back to 1st base during the first inning of in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

Bobbling the Ball:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School senior David Anderson (2)  bobbles the ball as Life Christian Academy junior Sam Absten (2) slides into 2nd Base during the fifth inning in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School senior David Anderson (2) bobbles the ball as Life Christian Academy junior Sam Absten (2) slides into 2nd Base during the fifth inning in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

Off the Tips:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Life Christian Academy senior pitcher Taylor Roelofs goes against Meridian High School during the second inning on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in the 2014 Tri-District 1A Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1 to advance.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Life Christian Academy senior pitcher Taylor Roelofs goes against Meridian High School during the second inning on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in the 2014 Tri-District 1A Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1 to advance.

Strong Pitching:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School sophomore relief pitcher Devyn Holmes (3) throws against Life Christian Academy during the sixth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School sophomore relief pitcher Devyn Holmes (3) throws against Life Christian Academy during the sixth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

On The Bat:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School senior Jamison Hodge (17) bats in the fourth inning against  Life Christian Academy in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School senior Jamison Hodge (17) bats in the fourth inning against Life Christian Academy in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

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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Lynden High School at Meridian Baseball – From The Dugout

As I continue to shoot Meridian High School for the Northwest Conference Athletics, I feel like I’m getting back in my groove. Sports is fun to shoot.

Not because it’s easy, but because it is difficult. Especially with baseball or fastpitch softball. You must anticipate the action, and when there is none, still make photos. You cannot just sleepily take a photo here and there, you must find the story of the game.

First Pitcher:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

One of the things I’ve learned when shooting baseball or fastpitch is to begin with the pitchers. Yeah, you have to shoot through a fence or net, sometimes you’re lucky and get a small hole which to shoot through. But if the game turns into a pitcher’s war, getting good images of them is imperative.

So you need to work the pitcher a few innings to get a few creative and good shot showing their throwing skill. Some of the iconic photos are the moment the ball rolls off the finger tips, or when they are fully extended and the ball is halfway to the plate.

Stealing Third:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

Paying close attention to the game is also necessary. I know it can be easy getting distracted, to get caught up chatting with folks as you shoot, but you must pay attention. One errant throw, a stolen base, a triple can change the momentum of the game. It’s also a fast play which you can miss if you are not paying attention.

Because that momentum can change in an instant, being distracted can kill your chances at getting that storytelling shot. So it is vital you follow the game, watch the players, and keep an eye out for that play.

Sacrificial Bunt:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

For example, if you have a player at first, where will the next play be? Most probably second base. However, if the batter makes a sacrifice fly to center, expect that runner to take it to third. So pre-focus on second, but be prepared for a play at third.

Classic Ump Conference:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Umpires confer on a play at home during the 4th inning during the Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

If that player is safe at third? The play will be at home. There’s no doubt about it.

But pay attention to how many outs the team has. If you have a player in scoring position, they most likely will not run or attempt to steal if there are no outs.

New Pitcher:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – The relief Meridian Trojan pitcher re-energizes his team against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

New Pitcher, Different Version:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – The relief pitcher for the Meridian Trojan boys re-energizes his team against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

Which suggests that learning how the team plays, coaches coach, players interact, is a good way to get the best images from the game. It may take a few games, but it’s worth sticking it out.

Another is to get rosters. Identify the players in the photos. It adds a dimension to them by personalizing the images.

Almost:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – The shortstop for the Meridian Trojan boys attempts to stop a Lynden runner from stealing second at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

As you shoot, don’t forget about sequences such as the following photos of a collision at home plate which resulted in a Meridian score. Sure they’re easy to capture, but they can also be a powerful storytelling component.

Collision at Home:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian runner collides with the Lynden catcher during the 4th inning at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian runner collides with the Lynden catcher during the 4th inning at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian runner collides with the Lynden catcher during the 4th inning at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian runner collides with the Lynden catcher during the 4th inning at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Lynden Lions at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – The home plate umpire looks for an out as a Meridian runner collides with the Lynden catcher during the 4th inning at Meridian High School in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon April 9, 2014. The Lions defeated the Trojans 6-4.

As you learn to shoot sports, your senses will hone in on the key moments which to capture. You’ll learn to START shooting at the peak and trail off therefore enhancing your chances to capture a great moment.

There is extreme value in learning to anticipate moments and not rely on the speed of a motor drive to capture peak action. I know from shooting World Cup Ski racing, just because you have a fast motor, doesn’t mean you’ll capture the moment the racer will hit the “gate.” Timing is more critical.

With that said, the only thing keeping you from learning is a heavy shutter finger.

For more Meridian High School sports, follow this link: Meridian High School Sports

For my sports portfolio: Paul Conrad Photojournalist – Sports: The Games We Play

To contact me to cover your assignments, please fill out my contact form

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

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Pablo Conrad Photography

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Meridian HS baseball: From the Dugout

One of the fun jobs I get to do is to photograph Meridian High School varsity sports. As part of the North West Conference Athletics team of photographers, my home team is Meridian.

Off The Tips:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

One of the things I missed most while working for a newspaper is covering prep sports. Not just because some people think it’s easy, but because the kids really got into it.

Safe at Home:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

These kids have heart. They have passion and drive. They have desire. Every game counts.

Out at Second:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

And you weren’t stuck in one spot to photograph. You can move during the game. Find a better angle. Talk with the parents. Listen to fun stories. You get to really enjoy the soul and spirit of the game.

Comparing HS football, college, and the NFL ( I shot the Tennessee Titans during their first year at Adelphia Stadium in Nashville as well as other pro sports), I believe you can get just as good of photos from any of them. You get good action and reaction. You just have to pay attention.

A Hit at Bat:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

Three rules simple rules to help you capture great sports action/reaction photos:

  • Know the sport. Understand simple things like if there is a runner on 2nd, they may attempt to run to 3rd or home when they hear the crack of the bat. Where is the smartest play?
  • Know the Team. Is the quarterback going to throw long to the wide receiver or hand it off?
  • Know the player. Is the left winger fast and aggressive? Do they pass a lot or great at footwork or both?

This is why large metro newspapers have dedicated sports photographers. They not only are great photographers, but they also know the sports and teams they cover.

Relief Pitcher:© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

Learning sports does take time, and with High School, the teams constantly change. Unlike pro sports where you may have several years with minimal roster change, every year the team changes. You can take that as a challenge or an obstacle, I take it as a challenge.

I played baseball and soccer in High School so I know the sports and positions. I like watching both on TV on occasion. But would love to attend regular Seattle Mariner or Sounders games. To be honest, knowing baseball did not help the first time I shot a minor league game.

At Bat:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

Shooting my first pro game was in the mid 80s at the Denver Zephyrs (which moved to New Orleans in 1992). I honestly had no idea what to shoot. I just bought a used 300 f/4 for $100, called the main office and said I wanted to shoot some baseball, they said OK show up at this gate at this time and they’ll escort me to my spot. I was near 3rd base sitting in a patch of grass. I didn’t have a clue at what to shoot. I shot 1/2 a roll of Tri-X and got crap.

Will He Make It?© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojan boys against the Brewster Bears at Meridian High School in Bellingham on April 2, 2014. Meridian lost 5-4.

But as you progress, you learn about the game, what’s the best angle, how to stretch your creativity, how to become a better photographer. Give it time and you will see improvements.

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 various Social Networks:

Follow Me on Google+

Pablo Conrad Photography

“Like” my Page on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

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