lynden christian

Freezing the Ball: Catching the Pitcher’s Pitch

There’s nothing more satisfying that capturing a photo you’ve wanted to get for a long time. For me, it was freezing a ball tack sharp between the pitcher and the batter with both out of focus. On Thursday I shot the Blaine vs Lynden Christian varsity boys baseball game for The Bellingham Herald. There was not a lot of action on the field, so I concentrated on the pitchers.

Total Concentration

Blaine pitcher Brandon Watts (12) pitches to Lynden Christian third baseman Colby Flint during the first inning on Thursday afternoon Mar. 30, 2017, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Blaine defeated Lynden Christian 12 to 5. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Blaine pitcher Brandon Watts (12) pitches to Lynden Christian third baseman Colby Flint during the first inning on Thursday afternoon Mar. 30, 2017, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Blaine defeated Lynden Christian 12 to 5. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

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Be Smart While Photographing on a Tight Deadline

With the first game starting at 6:30, the second at 8, and my deadline at 9:30, making deadline would be tight. How I beat the deadline with time to spare.

Time Management is crucial. Simply, during some assignments, I do not have the time to pause and watch the games, chat with other photographers, or drive to a local coffee shop to meet the deadline. I had to edit and submit while sitting courtside.

The Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic was at Lynden Christian High School last week. I covered the Lynden Christian boys and girls games on Tuesday and Wednesday for The Bellingham Herald.

Fighting for the Rebound

Lynden Christian's Grant Rubbert (35) captures a rebound against Granger's Jake Slade (22), left, and Jay Ramirez (1) during the second quarter in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lynden Christian’s Grant Rubbert (35) captures a rebound against Granger’s Jake Slade (22), left, and Jay Ramirez (1) during the second quarter in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian defeated Granger 65 to 33. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

More Basketball Photos Here!!!

From the Dugout: Meridian High School Baseball Hosts Burlington-Edison and Lynden Christian

Meridian High School baseball hosted Burlington-Edison  on Monday afternoon April 28th and then on Wednesday April 30th hosted  Lynden Christian. Although the Trojans played well, they lost both games 4-1 and 5-4.

Back to First – 

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A Lynden Christian Lyncs runner jumps back to first base to avoid a tag during the 5th inning against Meridian in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

Tough losses as they have the passion to play in their hearts which shows on the field. Senior David Anderson (2), and sophomore Devyn Holmes (3) consistently throw well. It just seems the opposing  teams find their pitches quick.

Recently I was asked what my camera and gear is when shooting sports. I use my Nikon D300s as my main body, a 17-35 f/2.8 and 80-200 f.2.8 Nikon lenses as my main glass. The telephoto is obvious why: to bring in the action.

Warming Up –

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian High School baseball hosts Burlington-Edison on Monday afternoon April 28. 2014. The visiting Tigers defeated the Trojans 5-1 with 4 runs scored in the 6th inning.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian High School sophomore Devyn Holmes warms up before the 5th inning as the Trojans host Burlington-Edison on Monday afternoon April 28. 2014. The visiting Tigers defeated the Trojans 5-1 with 4 runs scored in the 6th inning.

The wide-angle is for more creative shots like those from the dugout or during practice and warm-up. But what I look for in the game are those subtle moments that can make or break the play and help define the game.

To get those, I can’t be relegated to one spot. Usually that is at the first base line just inside the fence. You can change between innings, but you can’t move. So to solve it, I just shoot from the outside over the fence.

This allows me to shoot behind home plate to get photos of the pitcher in action, to a position near Third base, then move back to the First base line. The freedom of movement and short fences make it a bit better than being stuck in one spot 2 feet closer.

On The Bat –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian High School senior David Anderson makes contact during the 3rd inning as the Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

Of course, I must mention the fencing at Meridian is just at 42 inches. So peering over is no big deal. The only issue I have is the black netting behind home plate. I shoot through it but I am careful to keep the lens centered at one of the holes.

This is obvious in some of the shots as you look at the pattern in the specular highlights you can see the lines created by the netting. No big deal.

Barely Makes It –

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian High School baseball hosts Burlington-Edison on Monday afternoon April 28. 2014. The visiting Tigers defeated the Trojans 5-1 with 4 runs scored in the 6th inning.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian High School sophomore Brady Moore reaches for the ball as a Burlington-Edison player slides into third base on Monday afternoon April 28. 2014. The visiting Tigers defeated the Trojans 5-1 with 4 runs scored in the 6th inning.

I usually place my self in a position where I think the next big play will be. But I continue to watch the game and adjust. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

For example: If there is a runner on first with no outs, I keep focused on Second base and anticipate the run and slide. If there are two outs, then I focus on 3rd BUT keep an eye on Second.

High Fives –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian senior Jamison Hodge (17) gets high fives from teammates after scoring Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

While in college, I interned at the Ogden Standard-Examiner in Utah for six months. My editor August Miller taught me this simple philosophy when on an assignment: Start with Wide, Medium, and Tight shots. Get the basics out-of-the-way, and then stretch yourself.

Simply, watch your compositions as you shoot an overall, move in a little more, and then some nice close shots. While doing this, pay attention to various compositions you can exploit and get creative. it let you explore with your camera.

Learning the Timing –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian High School sophomore Dakota Jones (12) practices as his team-mate bats during the 6th inning against Lynden Christian on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

Too many photographer I know just stand around and wait for something to happen. When you do that, you end up missing fun compositions and capturing great moments. Not just in sports, but in everyday life events.

The “Wide, Medium, Tight” doesn’t always mean shooting an over all with a wide-angle, or a tight shot with a telephoto. It means using the best tool to say what you feel.

Celebrate Good Times –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Lynden Christian Lync’s bench celebrate their victory against the Meridian Trojans in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

Let’s take a crowded street during a festival. You can get above the crowd and shoot with a wide-angle. But this will also increase the distances between the close up subjects. However, a telephoto from the same perspective will compress the individuals to a single mass, therefore enhancing the feel of the crowd.

The same can be said of “Tight.” You can move i close to a subject and use a wide-angle lens to tighten the composition of your subject. Understanding the effects of focal length, distance to subject, and aperture are a key step in helping you improve your photography.

Lyncs Pitcher –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Lynden pitches against Meridian during the 3rd inning during high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

 

Safe or Out?

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Meridian High School senior Davis Philips makes the play at home as a Lynden Christian runner begins his slide into home plate on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

 

One tip I can give you while shooting sports like baseball: Pay close attention to the game every minute. Anything can happen in the blink of an eye. From a runner stealing base to an errant hit that comes your way.

Close Call Sequence-

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A Lynden Christian Lyncs second baseman bobbles the ball while Meridian High School senior Kyle Linderman (12) runs in during high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

 

Diving In:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Lyncs second baseman attempts to recover the ball while Linderman (12) runs in during high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

 

Obscured by Dust:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Lynden Christian Lyncs second baseman continues to bobble the ball as Linderman (12) slides in

.

Showing the Ball:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian Trojans host the Lynden Christian Lyncs in high school baseball on Wednesday afternoon April 30, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. The visiting Lyncs won 5-4 in a tight game.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Lyncs second baseman shows the ball to the umpires while Linderman (12) kneels on the base. The umps called Linderman out.

 

Personally during the play and after editing the images, I think Linderman was safe. But there is no crying, nor replay, in baseball.

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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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

Follow me on Twitter

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