deadline

A vs B: Making Deadline. Did I Choose Wisely?

On Saturday evening I covered two final matches in the 2A Northwest District varsity girls’ basketball tournament. As I was covering this for The Bellingham Herald, meeting the tight deadline was imperative.

One minor problem: I had a 9:30pm deadline with one game starting at 6pm and the other promptly at 8. This meant I had to come up with a plan and execute it without a hitch. But that’s for a later blog.

A: What I Sent to the Paper

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Emily Holt (25), center, and the rest of the Lynden Lion varsity girls react to winning the 2A Northwest District girls' basketball tournament final against Burlington-Edison  at  Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Wash., on Saturday evening Feb. 21, 2015. Lynden defeated Burlington-Edison 67 to 55 to win the district title with both teams advancing to the regional playoffs.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Emily Holt (25), center, and the rest of the Lynden Lion varsity girls react to winning the 2A Northwest District girls’ basketball tournament defeating Burlington-Edison 67 to 55 at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Wash. INFO: Nikon D3s with WB set on fluorescent light, and shutter at 1/250th, 17 to 35 f/2.8 set at 5.6.

 

With this, I had my edited images to the paper for the first game by the time the second game started. I also had the online gallery posted. I shot the first half of the second game, worked on my images, then uploaded my 5 edits from the first half.

It was 9:10 and the game was still going so I called the paper to let them know Lynden was ahead and that I was going to shoot the reaction of them winning the District Title.

B: The Second Choice

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Emily Holt (25), center, and the rest of the Lynden Lion varsity girls react to winning the 2A Northwest District girls' basketball tournament final against Burlington-Edison  at  Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Wash., on Saturday evening Feb. 21, 2015. Lynden defeated Burlington-Edison 67 to 55 to win the district title with both teams advancing to the regional playoffs.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Emily Holt (25), center, and the rest of the Lynden Lion varsity girls react to winning the 2A Northwest District girls’ basketball tournament defeating Burlington-Edison 67 to 55 at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Wash. INFO: Nikon D3s with WB set on fluorescent light, and shutter at 1/250th, 17 to 35 f/2.8 set at 5.6.

At 9:15 the game ended. I rushed onto the court and began shooting. After a few minutes the celebration calmed down so I went back to my workstation, ingested the images, then chose one for sending. I made the deadline with 4 minutes to spare.

Sometimes in the stress of making a deadline, we can choose the wrong photo. I think each of these has their merit.

The strengths of A are: You can see all their faces, it’s a little cleaner, it’s easier to read, and overall a touch sharper.

The strengths of B are: The raised arms show celebration, the girl is framed by the arms, the couple in the back hugging (which I missed in the first edit), and the overall excitement.

If you were an editor and had to choose which one to put in print, would it be A or B and why?

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Paul “pablo” Conrad

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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.

Sprint Car Racing!!! The 2104 Clay Cup Nationals in Deming, Wash.

The smell of gasoline and odor of burnt rubber permeated my nostrils. The roar of the engines deafened me as the midsummer heat bore down.

Sprint car racing. I had an idea what it was, but actually had to go online to look at a few races to get a feel for it.

On of my assignments this week for The Bellingham Herald was to cover the first night of the night of the annual Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Deming, Wash.

At the Wheel:

Spencer Constance, 16. of Snohomish, Wash., prepares for his time on the track during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. Constance races in the 600-Restricted divsion in the races.  The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Spencer Constance, 16. of Snohomish, Wash., prepares for his time on the track during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. Constance races in the 600-Restricted division in the races. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

Sprint car racing is different from NASCAR or Formula 1 in that the track is much shorter, the races are held in heats of 6 to 8 cars, and the winner based on best lap times.

Losing Control:

Michael Faccinto (7J) leads the pack around turn 1 as Spud Allen (right) begins to lose control during the 600 division race of the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014.  The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Michael Faccinto (7J) leads the pack around turn 1 as Spud Allen (right) begins to lose control during the 600 division race of the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

So honoring the old photojournalist adage “Arrive Early, Stay Late,” I got there about 5:45 or so about an hour before the main races. I had no contact at the course and didn’t have a pass, but using honesty and charm, I was able to get a pit pass for access in the center of the track.

Tire Change:

Kurt Erickson of Port Orchard, Wash., struggles to change a tire during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Kurt Erickson of Port Orchard, Wash., struggles to change a tire during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

I wanted more than just “cars going around a track” photos. I wanted some personal, intimate images of people working in the pits fixing cars, drivers preparing for the race, and general activity.

The Stands:

The crowds watch the qualifying races during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – The crowds watch the qualifying races during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

A shot I tried to get was the cars as they pass in front of the stands, I wanted the stands sharp but the cars blurred to show how fast they were going.

I tried various shutter speeds, but the cars were so fast, that even at 1/500th, they were really blurred.

 

One word of advice: Pay Attention To Your Surroundings.

While shooting the portrait of the kid in the cockpit, when he started his car, it was still in gear and it jumped hitting my shin. Yep, I have a slight bruise. But it was a little wake-up call, so to speak, for me to pay attention.

Line-Up:

Scenes from the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Scenes from the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

While in the pits, I also worked the cars on the track. They were running time trials so only 2 cars at a time were racing.

Using panning to accentuate speed, I spent about 20 minutes shooting cars. It quickly got boring and in reality, how many shots of cars do you really need? As I had no specific subject, I paid attention to who the leaders were and made sure I had images of them as backup.

Rescue:

Carson Trigueiro is helped out of his wrecked racer by rescue personnel during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Carson Trigueiro is helped out of his wrecked racer by rescue personnel during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

My deadline also prevented me from staying the entire race. It’s a 45 minute drive from Deming to downtown Bellingham. I had to leave by 8:30 to leave me plenty of time to download, edit, caption, and input the photos.

I barely made deadline. But I made it.

Stacked Up:

Kris Labree (13), left, and Dahnelynn McKay (79M) lead the pack as they come down the track during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Kris Labree (13), left, and Dahnelynn McKay (79M) lead the pack as they come down the track during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

After spending most of the time in the pits, at about 8:00 I crossed over during a pause in the racing. I also wanted to get a few photos of racers sliding around the far corner, stacked up after restart, and any other action not visible from the pits.

The pit is surrounded by a 7 foot chain-link fence and according to safety rules, you can’t get on the blocks to get a clear view. There were a few spots you can stand on to get over, but the safety officials were adamant you didn’t lean on the fence.

Sun Beams:

The Sun filters through trees while a racer rounds the course during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash.,  on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint  races continue through Saturday July 19th.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – The Sun filters through trees while a racer rounds the course during the 2014 Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway in Everson, Wash., on Thursday evening July 17 , 2014. The Clay Cup Nationals mini sprint races continue through Saturday July 19th.

At about the time I was leaving, the Sun began shining through the trees at the other end of the track. I worked a few frames and as I was shooting, the sun began to reflect off the track itself. It was rather cool looking.

To view more images of the race, visit the gallery 2014 Clay Cup Nationals on The Bellingham Herald’s website.

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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