Ferndale

On Assignment: #Sports and #Features from the Week

It’s been a busy week shooting sports and feature assignments: Soccer, Football, and a few Superheroes.

Here are some of my favorites.

Over the Shoulder –

Squalicum wide receiver Ben Peterson (5) stretches to catch a 20 yard pass from quarterback Garrett Sorenson for a first down late in the second quarter on Saturday evening Oct. 10, 2015, at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Squalicum wide receiver Ben Peterson (5) stretches to catch a 20 yard pass from quarterback Garrett Sorenson for a first down late in the second quarter on Saturday evening Oct. 10, 2015, at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash.

That was a lucky shot, but a play I intended to get. I was focused on the quarterback. He was having a hard time finding an open man. As I was photographing him, I saw him turn towards me and then set his feet to throw. I quickly looked over my camera and noticed the receiver break free from the line of scrimmage.

As I was watching the receiver, he turned and then I saw the quarterback throw. I focused on the receiver and when he raised his arms up to catch, I started taking photos.

***TIP: Watch the quarterback for a pass play and pay attention to where they look. This will give you a second or two to find the receiver and get the shot of them catching the ball or not.

Zipping Away

Addison Jager, 7, of Belingham races down the zipline at Squalicum Creek Park before the 3rd annual Everyday Superheroes 5K Run & Walk on Sunday morning Oct. 10, 2015, in Bellingham, Wash. Coordinator Michele Medlen of Bellingham says over 200 people registered for the fundraiser. She said about $5 thousand was raised that goes to hospital caregivers and staff in need of financial assistance. Medlen said the monies raised are a source of financial support for hospital caregivers and employees in times of financial stress due to illness, injury, tragedy or death of a family member. Medlen added that the goal of the race was to

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Addison Jager, 7, of Bellingham races down the zipline at Squalicum Creek Park before the 3rd annual Everyday Superheroes 5K Run & Walk on Sunday morning Oct. 10, 2015, in Bellingham, Wash.

It was just a fun run so my feature experiences kicked in. I saw the kids playing and knew I could get some decent features for the online gallery. I panned for this shot to get her sharp with the blurred background.

Missed Opportunity –

Lynden defensive back Drew Krause (21) attempts to tackle Burlington-Edison running back Taran Lambert (3) during the second quarter on Friday evening Oct. 9, 2015, at Lynden High School in Lynden, Wash. Krause missed the tackle as Lambert ran it in for a touchdown making the score 13-7 Burlington-Edison.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Lynden defensive back Drew Krause (21) attempts to tackle Burlington-Edison running back Taran Lambert (3) during the second quarter on Friday evening Oct. 9, 2015, at Lynden High School in Lynden, Wash. Krause missed the tackle as Lambert ran it in for a touchdown making the score 13-7 Burlington-Edison.

This was an unexpected play by everyone. The running back, Taran Lambert, was caught at the line of scrimmage, but then he somehow broke through and bolted. Drew Krause saw this and dove to stop him to no avail.

Continuing to follow the action when it seems it’s over gives you an opportunity to capture good action.

Foul Play –

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian's Emily Brackenreed (2), right, protects the ball from Sehome's Fiona Dawson (8) during the first half in varsity girls' soccer on Thursday evening Oct. 8, 2015, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. Sehome defeated Meridian 2-0.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian’s Emily Brackenreed (2), right, protects the ball from Sehome’s Fiona Dawson (8) during the first half in varsity girls’ soccer on Thursday evening Oct. 8, 2015, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. A foul was called on the play resulting in a score by Sehome. Sehome defeated Meridian 2-0.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you when shooting soccer is: Find a pair that are just aggressive towards each other and follow them as you shoot the game. You’ll get good images from it.

Missed it By That Much –

Squalicum wide receiver Noah Westerhoff (7) dives for the goal over Ferndale defensive back Sky Freeman late in the first quarter on Saturday evening Oct. 10, 2015, at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash. Westerhoff failed to make the touchdown as time in the first quarter ran out. Squalicum failed to capitalize on their position losing the ball on downs during the first minute of the second quarter. © Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Squalicum wide receiver Noah Westerhoff (7) dives for the goal over Ferndale defensive back Sky Freeman late in the first quarter on Saturday evening Oct. 10, 2015, at Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash. Westerhoff failed to make the touchdown as time in the first quarter ran out. Squalicum failed to capitalize on their position losing the ball on downs during the first minute of the second quarter.

When I shoot football, I pay attention to field position and how strong the teams are. As the teams approach the “Red Zone,” I position my self near the goal post and switch to my 80-200 for versatility. That way I can get the corners plus when the team runs the ball down the center.

Squalicum had a good running game going, but failed to capitalize on several red zone opportunities. Had I stayed at the sideline like a lot of photographers do, I would’ve missed this photo.

Not This Time –

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian goalkeeper Sydney Gospodinovich (1) dives for the ball to stop Sehome's Hannah Moore from scoring in the second half in varsity girls' soccer on Thursday evening Oct. 8, 2015, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. Sehome defeated Meridian 2-0.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian goalkeeper Sydney Gospodinovich (1) dives for the ball to stop Sehome’s Hannah Moore from scoring in the second half in varsity girls’ soccer on Thursday evening Oct. 8, 2015, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. Sehome defeated Meridian 2-0.

In addition to shooting the action, I also had a few players on each team I needed to photograph. Sydney Gospodinovich in one of the best goalkeepers in the Northwest Conference. I shot from midfield so I could get some good action shots of her.

A Friend to Carry You –

Tammy Bennett of Bellingham laughs as she carries Sharon Jensen across the finish line during the 3rd annual Everyday Superheroes 5K Run & Walk on Sunday morning Oct. 10, 2015, at Squalicum Creek Park in Bellingham, Wash. Bennett says the

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Tammy Bennett of Bellingham laughs as she carries Sharon Jensen across the finish line during the 3rd annual Everyday Superheroes 5K Run & Walk on Sunday morning Oct. 10, 2015, at Squalicum Creek Park in Bellingham, Wash.

As part of any feature hunt, look for fun images. I liked this moment because it says it all.

Attempted Interception –

Burlington-Edison defensive back Joe Daniels (21), right, attempts to break up a pass intended for Lynden wide receiver Jordan Wittenberg (1) in the end zone during the third quarter on Friday evening Oct. 9, 2015, at Lynden High School in Lynden, Wash. Wittenberg caught the pass for a touch down and with the extra point the socre 27-13.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Burlington-Edison defensive back Joe Daniels (21), right, attempts to break up a pass intended for Lynden wide receiver Jordan Wittenberg (1) in the end zone during the third quarter on Friday evening Oct. 9, 2015, at Lynden High School in Lynden, Wash. Wittenberg caught the pass for a touch down and with the extra point the score 27-13.

Another photo I would’ve missed had I stayed on the sideline. Lynden was in the Red Zone so I switched to my 80-200 for the versatility. I kept my eye on the quarterback and when he dropped to throw and looked right, I focused on Jordan Wittenberg. I began shooting when he turned around and lifted his arms. I just wish you could see his face, but this also shows how well defensiveman Joe Daniels plays.

For more photos from these shoots, visit my galleries:

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Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Paul Conrad is an award-winning, nationally and internationally published freelance editorial photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, AirBnB, 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.

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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.

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

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

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Meridian Fastpitch Softball: Building a Cohesive Team

Over the past few months I’ve covered prep sports at Meridian High School in Laurel north of Bellingham, Wash. Overall it’s fun and yet challenging.

But I must apologize to the Lady Trojans softball team for not making it to enough games. Unfortunately, due to circumstances like rain, schedule conflicts, and more rain, I missed out on covering the Lady Trojans softball games. The games were postponed or scheduled when I had other plans.

For the Cure:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian Lady Trojans wore pink to support the fight against breast cancer as they hosted the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

As a result, I missed all but their last two home games. It would have been nice to be able to attend more and give them better photographic coverage.

Photographing fastpitch softball is like baseball: you have to be on our toes, be mobile to move to different spots, and pay attention to the game.

Watching The Runner:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian High School girls fastpitch softball hosts visiting Ferdale High School at Meridian HS in Laurel, Wash., on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian pitcher keeps an eye on the Ferndale runner during the 4th inning on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

This is the first year for the new head coach Jordan Chambers. Being as it’s the coach’s first year, so it’s a building year. New teams tend to take a few seasons to work the bugs out. But I believe with a little extra hard work, the team can become contenders.

As the games tend to be high scoring, you have to concentrate more on the game when runners are on base. They tend to defy logic and run full tilt to home when given a chance. So paying attention is extremely important.

Great Form:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian player smacks on into center field as the Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

Two major challenges I had to overcome: lack of rosters and a 7 foot high silver fence around the field.

As I don’t like not having names for people in photos as I think it looks like sloppy and lazy journalism. Having a roster would be nice so I can at least identify the girls. Who doesn’t like their photo in the paper and not their name?

Sliding In:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian runner begins her slide into home plate in the 6th inning as the Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

Over the past few years, Meridian invested in improvements to the field. One of them is a new galvanized fence. Unfortunately, the fence is still shiny silver and very difficult to shoot through. It is 7 feet high so photographing over it is nearly impossible.

To get around it somewhat, I step into the dugout and shoot through the open door. Gotta try to get clean photos. For the photos I do end up shooting through the fence, I just burn the flare down in Lightroom or Photoshop. Just enough to get rid of the spot and add contrast.

Taking Aim:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian pitcher taking aim at a Sehome player as the Lady Trojans host the Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

I think next year I’m going to bring a ladder and hook it to the top of the fence so I can shoot over it. I’ve had to do something similar when I was in college at Western Kentucky University. My friend Daniel Wallace (he now works at the St. Petersburg Times) and I put a picnic table against the fence so we can stand on it. We were shooting the game for the College Heights Herald and the Bowling Green Daily News.

We got the same photo, but since the Herald published that night and the Daily News was an afternoon paper, his was published first. As a result, the editor at the BGDN saw it and pulled mine. We had nearly the same photo. Here it is: Western 2nd Baseman Jumping.

Ready For Action:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian 2nd baseman prepares for a hit as the Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

One of the things I do when covering sports, I just don’t wait for action. I find compositions for players as they wait, seek subtle moments, and keep focused on the game. Again, you never know when the play happens that changes the game.

Intense:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The short stop for the Meridian Lady Trojans prepares for a hit as they host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

Another Serious One:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The short stop for the Meridian Lady Trojans prepares for a hit as they host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

For the above two photos, I can’t decide which one I like better. In the top she has an intense look on her face, in the other she is ready to pounce.

Which one do you like better and why?

Concentration:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian High School girls fastpitch softball hosts visiting Ferdale High School at Meridian HS in Laurel, Wash., on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Ferndale pitcher goes against Meridian fastpitch softball action as the Lady Trojans host the Golden Eagles at Meridian HS in Laurel, Wash., on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

I see a lot of potential for Meridian as they begin to coalesce into a well-rounded team.

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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NWC Track & Field Championship in Bellingham, WA

This past Friday, Civic Field in Bellingham, Wash., was host for the Northwest Conference Track & Field Championships. All the High Schools in the area participated. The field filled with students from all over the Northwest.

Synchronicity:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Lynden's Hannah Hommes, left, Anacortes' Lexia Hall, and Nooksack Valley's Alex Parson trail in Section 2 of the Girls 300m Hurdles during the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday April 25, 2-14.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Lynden’s Hannah Hommes, left, Anacortes’ Lexia Hall, and Nooksack Valley’s Alex Parson trail in Section 2 of the Girls 300m Hurdles during the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday April 25, 2-14.

As a volunteer photographer with the Northwest Conference Athletics, I had a front row seat to the organized chaos. Luckily I’ve shot events like this before, so putting my “Press Hat” on, I rambled off to find my assignment: Long and Triple Jump with some track as they circled passed my position.

Amano Landing:

© 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.

As I was shooting this not as a photojournalist but as an event photographer, my goal was to get as many of the kids as possible. Afterall, who doesn’t want photos of their kids as the land in soft sand while making funny faces.

Beautiful Backlighting:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Burlington-Edison High School senior Megan Wilburg of Burlington, Wash,. lands in the pit during her attempt at the long jump during the NWC Track & Field competition at Civic Field in Bellingham. Wilburg ended fifth overall with a distance of 15 feet 8.75 inches.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Burlington-Edison High School senior Megan Wilburg of Burlington, Wash,. lands in the pit during her attempt at the long jump during the NWC Track & Field competition at Civic Field in Bellingham. Wilburg ended fifth overall with 15 feet, 8.75 inches.

There were multiple challenges I had to overcome: Backlighting of the competitors, and the girls and boys competing at the same time.

When I arrived at the long jump pits, I saw that they had two parallel stations: one for boys and the other for girls. My thinking was they would rotate girls competitors then boys. But, no.

Hard Landing:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Burlington-Edison's Luke Tackett lands in the pit during the first Flight of the boy's long jump at the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA. Tackett did not qualify for the finals.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Burlington-Edison’s Luke Tackett lands in the pit during the first Flight of the boy’s long jump at the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA. Tackett did not qualify for the finals.

They ran both at the same time and I was hoping at least the competitors would be staggered. But, no. One competitor down each lane at the same time.

So I had to go from one lane and shoot them as they landed, swing my lens to the next lane and hopefully catch that competitor as they landed. Not too difficult. Unless they ran at EXACTLY the same time, then I just concentrated on one.

The other challenge was the incredible backlighting. As it was mid-afternoon when I started shooting, the sun was about 75 degrees above the horizon and to the left. To overcome this, I used the “Sunny 16 Rule” and overexposed by one stop. This gave me workable highlights without dropping out too much detail in the shadow areas.

During the breaks from the long jump action, I drifted towards the track and shot the runners as they passed me. For the photo below, I panned as they went by. I closed down my aperture all the way down and overexposed by one stop (which only blew out the most extreme highlights) to get a shutter speed of 1/30th. I wanted the background blurred with a sharp runners face.

Panning to Accentuate Speed:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Anacortes High School senior Grace Dzieciuch battles her second lap in the Girl's 3200 Meter Run during the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. Dzieciuch finishied in 13th with a time of 12m51.7s.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Anacortes High School senior Grace Dzieciuch battles her second lap in the Girl’s 3200 Meter Run during the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. Dzieciuch finished in 13th with a time of 12m, 51.7s.

By the time the finals began for the Long Jump, the Sun had settled too low and the light turned horrible. The flare was relentless and ruined most pictures. So to challenge myself and get something different, I shot from the side.

Switching from my telephoto to my wide-angle (17-35 f/2.8), I took a few test shots as the athletes warmed up. I picked a spot on the ground perpendicular from where I thought the apex of the arc the jumpers created as the went up and over the pit.

Sailing Through:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sedro-Woolley's Mason Elms flys over the landing pit of the long jump during finals at the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA. Elms won 4th place with a distance of 20 feet, 3 inches.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Sedro-Woolley’s Mason Elms flys over the landing pit of the long jump during finals at the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA. Elms won 4th place with 20 feet, 3 inches.

Once I figured out where the apex would be about, I placed my camera on the ground right on the edge of the pit, angled it up, and shot a few test frames as to get the crew on the other side of the pit on the bottom of the frame. This helped exaggerate the height of the jumpers and kept them in frame.

As the competitors jumped from the line, there was a distinct “thump” and that was my cue to begin shooting. As they went over I watched then quit shooting before they landed. It worked for a few, but the above photo was my favorite as the athlete had the best “pose.” To me it shows him really pushing it to get the last few inches.

Hand Off:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Sehome's Girls hand off during the final lap of the 4x400m relay during NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA. Sehome won second place with a time of 4 mins, 8.1 secs.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Sehome’s Girls hand off during the last lap of the 4x400m relay during NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA. Sehome won second place with a time of 4 mins, 8.1 secs.

When the Long Jump competition was over, I moseyed to the finish line and began shooting track. There were still a few races left. Mainly the long relay races.

So once again, I used panning to help accentuate the speed of the runners and try to capture the handoff. I got a few photos, but nothing I would rant and rave about. I just like the two I posted.

Reaching:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Lynden Christian's Brianna Bruneau gets the baton from Emily Sytsma during the final lap of the Girl's 4x400 realy at the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. The Lynden Christian team of four won First Place with a time of 4 min and 7.29 secs.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Lynden Christian’s Brianna Bruneau gets the baton from Emily Sytsma during the last lap of the Girl’s 4×400 relay at the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. The Lynden Christian team of four won First Place with a time of 4 min and 7.29 secs.

While I walked around searching for photos, I noticed the reflection of the field in the press box window at the top of one of the westside sections. I liked how you could see the field and the spectators in the stand. I worked it for a few minutes.

Later in the afternoon or early evening, the light on the north side stands was dramatic. I worked it as much as I could to get something nice. But everyone was just sitting in their seats. As I turned to walk away, the little girl on the left started running up and down the stairs. So I shot a few frames.

Running Up:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A little girl runs up the stairs of the east stands during the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash.


After editing the photo in Photoshop, I zoomed in tighter and liked the composition. I just don’t know which one I like better. What do you think?

Running Up – Tight:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A little girl runs up the stairs in the east stands during the NWC Track & Field Championship at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash., during the early evening April 25, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A little girl runs up the stairs in the east stands during the NWC Track & Field Championship at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash., during the early evening April 25, 2014.

In the last shot, I was just waiting for a race to begin when I looked up and saw the reflection in the press box windows. I like it so I found a spot that would give me some balance in the image. It’s a quickie, but after coming home and editing, I really wish I would’ve shot just the windows super tight.

Reflecting:

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, WA.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – The field is reflected in the press box windows of the west stands during the NWC track & field meet at Civic Field and Stadium in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday afternoon April 25, 2014.

Again, which of the photos is your best and why? Do you have a questions about technique such as shooting into the sun? Or Panning? Or keeping sane in all the chaos?

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

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