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Spring Daffodils at Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham

Low to the Ground with Fill Flash © Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) along the trail around Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Wednesday afternoon March 26, 2014.

With beautiful puffy white clouds in the skies, intermittent sunshine, and fresh daffodils growing everywhere, I headed to Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash.

Nice Bokeh and Shallow Depth of Field: Cropped Version of the Last Image© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) along the trail around Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Wednesday afternoon March 26, 2014.

As I was driving past the harbor a few days ago, I saw them growing alongside the trail. However, the day was gray and cloudy and has been since. A typical Pacific Northwest spring. Today, the gray made way for blue. Since I’ve wanted to at least get a shot, I drove down there and to my surprise, plenty more were growing.

Squalicum Harbor Boats © Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) along the trail around Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Wednesday afternoon March 26, 2014.

The first few shots I used my 80-200 at f/4 on my D300s to get shallow depth of field. This to show a hint of the boats in the background. They were OK, but not what I wanted. So I set up my tripod, placed my 17-35 on the camera, used my B+W ND64 (6 stop) neutral density filter, and stacked that with my polarizing filter. I used the ND to get a longer shutter speed and the Polarizing filter to get deep blue sky to add contrast with the white clouds.

Using various shutter speeds, I played with the exposure. After a few shots, I added my SB800 Nikon flash using generic Best Deal radio triggers. I then removed the ND and used just the polarizing to keep the contrast in the sky. Then I laid low on the ground and shot up to the blooms to make them seem huge. To emphasize one of the blooms, I moved in close and shot wide open to narrow the depth of field.

Getting Low and Using Fill Flash © Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) along the trail around Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Wednesday afternoon March 26, 2014.

A nice day to play with a little color and have some fun. And in typical Northwest fashion, the clouds roll back in and here comes the rain. The second image in  this post is a cropped version of the one below. I’m debating which one I like better. Both have their merits. Which one do you like and why? Post your choice and reason below.

Full Frame version © Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) along the trail around Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash., on Wednesday afternoon March 26, 2014.

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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© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming in Skagit County in the Northwestern part of Washington State.

Tip Toeing Through The Tulips

It is the Tulip Festival in Skagit County near Mt. Vernon, Wash.

Being as the weather is unpredictable in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, I headed down there on a whim when it was a sunny day last week. I didn’t want the chance for the clouds and gray to roll in. It was a glorious sunset but lacked some clouds to break up the monotony of the sky. It’s a quick half-hour drive from Bellingham.

This is just a quick posting of some of the images I shot.

As I drove around, I stuck with the Roozengaarde Farm as it was easy to get to without any parking issues. However, I will say that after about 5 or 6, traffic is very light and there usually are not parking problems.

Feel free to leave comments about which one is your favorite, and just don’t excite you.

1. From low, with the Sun back lighting the bulbs:

Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013. (photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

I laid low on the ground for this while adding a bit of overexposure. It’s different and looks good. Although it looks good, this is not my favorite.

I used my 80-200 and zoomed in while laying on the rain-soaked ground. It was hard to shoot, especially trying to keep the horizon straight. I also focused further away to make the closer bulbs out of focus.

Trying a more artistic approach than usual.

2. Low, off camera flash, Sun backlighting the blooms:

Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography-Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.(photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

For the above photo, I again was low to the ground and used my strobe on a mini-tripod and radio slaved so as not to worry about the cord. It was my first time using the triggers and I think they worked well.

My main goal was to capture a “starburst” coming through the tulips. I have one and it’s posted below. I created the starburst using a time-honored method of tenacity, luck, and patience. Here’s a link to an earlier posting about how to create one: Capturing a Sunburst: A Few Tips

I also posted another photo with a starburst coming through the tulips. Some like this version without the starburst, some like the starburst. Which is your favorite and feel free to leave a comment about what you think.

3. A vertical utilizing the strong back light of the setting Sun:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography-Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

Again, a little overexposure and utilizing the lens flare helps create this low contrast image.

4. A lone red tulip amidst a forest of yellow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.
There is a saying in photography: Repetition is a great compositional tool. However, repetition without opposition is boring.

With the Sun getting low to the horizon, it made for some sweet side lighting. I found this lone wolf and shot it from different angles. I liked it when the Sun was not directly behind, but slightly off to the right.

5. The Sun sets beyond the sea of yellow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

For this image, I exposed for the setting Sun to get a nice exposure on the sky but still allowing for some detail in the farmhouse. To get the tulips lit,  I remotely triggered my speedlight using radio slaves.

So I set my shutter speed to synch with my speedlight and used my aperture to properly expose for the sky. I then set my speedlight on manual and set it for what the aperture was on my camera.

6.   Red Tulips, Blue Sky, and a Starburst:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash.

Same photo as the second one. But to capture the starburst, I moved until just a pinpoint of light shone through the tulips. Being as I was stopped down to f/22 on my lens, the refraction caused by the aperture blades created the starburst.

Hint: older lenses have straight blades which create a polygonal shape. These make for better starbursts. The new lenses have a more circular aperture and do not create a starburst.

I think now matter what the skill level of the photographer is, as they continue to grow, the continue to ask questions about how to improve. My question to you is what is your favorite and why? AND what is your least favorite and why?

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:
Pablo Conrad Photography

“Like” my Page on Facebook

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My Page on 500px