lynden

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!!!

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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

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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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