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Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship

On Saturday the 14th, I covered the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., for the Bellingham Herald.

Bagpiping For the Dancers:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Bagpiper Andrew Lee of Port Coquitlam, B.C., plays for the 14 & Under 16 Years division Sword Dance championship during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.  Competition chair Heather Richendrfer says nearly a hundred dancers from as far away as eastern Canada participated in the event sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation and the Clan Heather Dancers. The championship is sanctioned by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing and is only one of two held in the Pacific Northwest. Winners in each division receive a cash prize and a hand blown glass, heart-shaped award.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Bagpiper Andrew Lee of Port Coquitlam, B.C., plays for the 14 & Under 16 Years division Sword Dance championship during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., INFO: Camera D300s, 17-35mm f/2.8 at f/4 at 1/250th

It was fun and challenging. The stage was well-lit to the point it was over-lit. They kept everything in lights and it was difficult to find angles to differentiate the dancers from the background. But that’s understandable as it is a competition not a play.

Overlit Stage:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  A youngster uses an iPad to photograph competitors during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A youngster uses an iPad to photograph competitors during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D3s at 1/200th, 80-200 at f/4

 

The key to this competition is that all the dancers in an age group, danced individually 3 at a time to the same music. The judges then rated each one on how well they performed the traditional dances. So although they danced together, they were judged separately. In other words, not much variety.

Practice Makes Perfect:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Whysker of Surrey, B.C., left, and  Brielle Thibaudeau of Langley, B.C., practice their Strathspey & 1/2 Tulloch dance moves as Kate Bonar, all 9, of Surrey, B.C., observes their moves backstage during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.  Competition chair Heather Richendrfer says nearly a hundred dancers from as far away as eastern Canada participated in the event sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation and the Clan Heather Dancers. The championship is sanctioned by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing and is only one of two held in the Pacific Northwest. Winners in each division receive a cash prize and a hand blown glass heart-shaped award.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Whysker of Surrey, B.C., left, and Brielle Thibaudeau of Langley, B.C., practice their Strathspey & 1/2 Tulloch dance moves as Kate Bonar, all 9, of Surrey, B.C., observes their moves backstage during the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D300s at 1/50th, 17-35 at f/4

 

After a few “stage” shots from the audience point of view, I went backstage to find moments and ultimately something different. This also afforded me opportunities to see things you wouldn’t see from the seats.

In Synch:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the  Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance part of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D3s at 1/400th, 80-200 at f/4

 

One of the first things I do when covering something I’ve not covered before is to just observe. I think it’s important to just spend a few minutes just watching things and formulating compositions. Since the dancers performed the same dance, it was easy finding repeat moments to photograph.

Kicking High:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Brielle Thibaudeau, left, of Langley, B.C., competes in the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Brielle Thibaudeau, left, of Langley, B.C., competes in the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash. INFO: D3s at 1/200th, 80-200 at f/2.8

To compensate for the overly lit stage, I found angles so I was shooting the dancers with a dark background. I then underexposed my meter reading by one stop to attempt to drop the background out thereby making the highlights, the faces, stand out more.

My Workflow (Single Images):

  • Iingested images in PhotoMechanic to rename files and add basic IPTC and caption information. Using color coding, culled about 4 images for print. Added names and more info in IPTC. My file naming is detailed here: Keeping It Simple: My Workflow
  • Chose about 18 photos for online gallery which included the top picks for paper publication.
  • Edited the 4 photos I chose in Photoshop by opening the RAW and adjusting the white balance and reducing the noise by increasing the Luminance in Noise Reduction to 30%, cropped image, added a touch of Clarity (about 10%) then opened.
  • In Photoshop, created a new layer from background (for burning and dodging). Dodged and burned what was needed. Used a Curves layer to darken shadow areas and brightened midtones. Duplicated the Burn/Dodge layer, used High Pass filter at 4.5 pixels to sharpen, set layer mode to Vivid Light (more on using High Pass to sharpen here).
  • Checked caption information (PM sometimes changes names spellings) to ensure names properly spelled and info is correct. Saved as a PSD in new folder removing the “raw” and renumbering as 1, 2, 3, etc . 
  • Flattened image and then resized to 12″ at dpi. Saved as a jpg at 8 in new folder.
  • Back in PM, I took the 18 photos I edited down to, added more caption info checking name spellings, and then saved those as high res jpegs into the Jpeg folder. I then delete the repeat images keeping the new edited one.

In Lightroom (for the gallery):

  • Imported (Added) the images from the Jpeg folder I selected for the online gallery and the ones for print.
  • Darkened the background and increased midtones a touch by using curves if needed, adjusted the white balance a touch, added about 10 to 20% clarity, sharpened about 90 at 1px, reduced luminance noise to about 30%.
  • Exported these to a new folder titled Web at 900px long side at 8 jpg.

 Just One More:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the  Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., on Sat afternoon Feb 14, 2015.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Mackenzie Cleaves of Duncan, B.C., competes in the Sword Dance portion of the Celtic Arts Highland Dancing Championship at Syre Center on the campus of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Wash., INFO: D3s at 1/400, 80-200 at f/4

The gear (check photo captions for each individual picture):

  • Lenses:  Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8 AI, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D
  • Cameras: Nikon D3s and D300s with ISO set to 1600, and White Balance on manual set to Tungsten
  • Shutter and aperture varied. 

To view more images from this event, visit the gallery Celtic Arts Highland Dancing.

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 and internationally published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Wash., north of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazine throughout the United States and in Europe.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.

His specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.

The 2014 October Challenge Swim Meet

Sometimes, the most seeming disorganized event can be the pearl in the oyster when it comes to images. Case in point, the 2014 October Challenge Swim Meet in Bellingham, Wash., at the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center on Saturday Oct. 11th.

The Bellingham Bay Swim Team sponsored meet featured over 300 swimmers in five teams from the Pacific Northwest. Swimmers in high school and below competed in many different events.

Butterfly:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Cole Avery, 17, of Bellingham, Wash., competes in the 200 yard butterfly during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hannah Aquatic Center  in Bellingham on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014. Avery ended with a time of 1:57.16 winning the event.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Cole Avery, 17, of Bellingham, Wash., competes in the 200 yard butterfly during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hanna Aquatic Center in Bellingham on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014. Avery ended with a time of 1:57.16 winning the event.

The first thing I did was find and introduce myself to one of the hosting coaches. It’s a good idea to let them know you’re there and shooting. Make sure you get a roster and list of events from the coach. You need to keep track of the races you shoot and the competitors names.

Warming Up:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Swimmers warm up during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hannah Aquatic Center  in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014. Over 300 swimmers up to age 18 from four swimming teams in the Pacific Northwest participated in the competition.The annual event is hosted by the Bellingham Bay Swim Team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Swimmers warm up during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hanna Aquatic Center in Bellingham, Wash.

What I usually do is take a photo of the scoring board before the event starts so I know what event and heat number is competing. Then I focus on the faster swimmers to see who is more aggressive. Those are the ones that will get you a good facial expression as they are trying harder.

Breast Stroke:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Rowan King, 15, of Bellingham, competes in the 200 yard breaststroke during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hannah Aquatic Center  in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014. Over 300 swimmers up to age 18 from four swimming teams in the Pacific Northwest participated in the competition.The annual event is hosted by the Bellingham Bay Swim Team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Rowan King, 15, of Bellingham, competes in the 200 yard breaststroke during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hanna Aquatic Center in Bellingham, Wash.

As I shot, I circled the name of the competitor I concentrated on then verified the name with the coach when I had a few moments. I also shot the scoring board after each event to get the time. And then when it switched I shot another. Doing that bookmarked the series of images so I could get the correct identity of the event and swimmer.

Cheering:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - As their teammate Rowan King, 15, approaches the edge, Cole Avery, 17, of Bellingham, left, and Kean Rouse, 16, of Ferndale, cheer him on as he competes in the 200 yard breaststroke during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hannah Aquatic Center  in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – As their teammate Rowan King, 15, approaches the edge, Cole Avery, 17, of Bellingham, left, and Kean Rouse, 16, of Ferndale, cheer him on as he competes in the 200 yard breaststroke/

Here’s a few tips:

Get Low: Don’t be afraid to get a little wet. Lay down at the edge of the pool where the swimmers turn around. Laying down gives you a better angle to capture the faces as they swim. Except the backstroke swimmers.

Protect Your Gear: This may sound like common sense but keep your camera bag and extra gear to the side away from the pool and away from the swimmers. Make sure your bag is closed. I inadvertently left mine open and a swimmer who had just finished, began to drip water in it. They were unaware. Luckily, just a few drops made it in. But keep it closed, covered, and on a shelf away from spectators and swimmers.

Breaking Through:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Rowan King, 15, of Bellingham, Wash., comes out of the water as he competes in the 200 yard breaststroke during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hannah Aquatic Center  in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014. Over 300 swimmers up to age 18 from four swimming teams in the Pacific Northwest participated in the competition.The annual event is hosted by the Bellingham Bay Swim Team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Rowan King, 15, of Bellingham, Wash., comes out of the water as he competes in the 200 yard breaststroke.

White Balance: Due to the fluctuating color balance, like in High School football stadiums, leave set it to automatic. This is to get a more correct exposure meter reading and make it easier to keep your colors “accurate” during your workflow.  When shooting, you’ll notice the color change frame to frame as you scroll through your images.

Exposure. Most my images were exposed about 1/3 to 2/3 under. I wanted a fast shutter speed and the pool was dark. It was cloudy out and the windows are on the north side of the pool so it doesn’t get direct sun. So to keep a reasonably fast shutter, I underexposed a touch.

Backstroke:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - McKenzie Pham with the Bellingham Bay Swim Team compets in the 200 yard backstroke during the 2014 October Challenge swimming competition at Arne Hannah Aquatic Center  in Bellingham, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, 2014. Over 300 swimmers up to age 18 from four swimming teams in the Pacific Northwest participated in the competition.The annual event is hosted by the Bellingham Bay Swim Team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – McKenzie Pham with the Bellingham Bay Swim Team competes in the 200 yard backstroke.

Aperture: Keep it around f/4. You want a little depth of field but not too much as you want to keep your shutter speed fast. But don’t forget to get creative and play with slow shutter speeds.

Lenses: I used both my 80-200 and 17-35. The wider focal lengths for features and the longer for competition shots. With the exception of a few shots when I first arrived, I avoided using  the wide lens as that meant getting close to the pool and increasing the chance my gear will get splashed.

******  Waterproof Housing: Although I wanted to, I was not able to use my underwater housing. I have a Ewa Marine U-BFZ100 that I like to take so I can get a few underwater shots. However, as the officials don’t allow being in the pool, usually I lay on my belly, and stick the camera as far down into the water as possible. But the design of the pool dictates that and this pool’s sides were not conducive.

Example of an Underwater Shot

©Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Aspen High freshman Keely Roberts approaches the middle of her 6th lap during the 500 yard freestyle of the Tri-Met at the Aspen Recreation Center in Aspen. Roberts won with a time of 6:53.13.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Aspen High freshman Keely Roberts approaches the middle of her 6th lap during the 500 yard freestyle of the Tri-Met at the Aspen Recreation Center in Aspen. Roberts won with a time of 6:53.13.

 

 

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, and 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 is a Seattle-based photojournalist specializing in news, sports, feature, travel, and portraiture. He also photographs weddings and portraits in Bellingham, Whatcom County, and Skagit County.

He is available for assignments in the Pacific Northwest. Contact him at paulconradphotography@gmail.com or (206) 450-8632 for availability.

#Supermoon over #Bellingham

It was the Supermoon on the horizon that had me rushing all over. This year’s “Supermoon” was actually one of the largest. 14% larger than the Moon when full at apogee.

The so-called Supermoon is technically a full moon when it is at perigee. Or the point closest to Earth in its orbit. On top of that, the Moon was full less than 30 minutes before it reached perigee.

First Shot – Moon Over Museum:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014. If it weren’t for the power lines, this would’ve been the shot. I think they’re incredibly distracting.

Using both The Photographer’s ephemeris and Sun Surveyor by Adam Ratana. I use both apps on my smart phone. The ephemeris is used to help me find a spot during the day time to line up a foreground subject. Then I use Sun Surveyor to find the near exact spot I should be. The big advantage SS has over TPE is that it shows the real path of the Sun or Moon as it transits the sky. TPE is a good general tool and not much else.

Second Shot – Moon Over Museum:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rising over Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Although very similar to a photo I shot last year of a supermoon, I like this better because there are no distracting power lines.

My subject was the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash. It was built-in 1892 and is a beautiful red brick building with white trim. It was formerly the Whatcom County Courthouse, but a new courthouse was built and so the old one became a museum and local landmark.

One problem: getting a clear view of the museum and moon. Because of all the power lines, it’s difficult to get a good shot of the museum and moon in a line-free photo.

So as I set out looking, I came across a great view of the courthouse and I could see a touch of the moon. ONLY problem was all the power lines in the way. I was on a hill just east of Squalicum Harbor watching the Moon rise over the distant ridge line just behind the museum. I stay and shot some frames anyway for posterity. I like it at it shows the size of the moon, but the power lines are annoying.

Just One More:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rising over Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – I like the glow from the Moon on the haze behind the museum. Adds a sense of mystery.

I then drove to the one spot I planned to shoot from. Clear shot of the museum and the moon. But it’s also very similar to another Supermoon shot from last year. But the big difference in this is that the moon rise was just before sunset. So the exposure was more workable. Plus, I imported into Lightroom which made the post-processing of the image even easier. I was able to get the Moon to look more natural against the tower of the museum.

Not like they’re actually rare events, I’m hoping on the next one to find a better spot. Perhaps the Twin Sisters would be a great shot with the Moon rising over them?

Prints of this image and many others available for purchase on my website Supermoon Over Museum.

View more of my images from the Bellingham area at Urban Scenes: Bellingham, Wash.

Which photo is your favorite? And why? Let me know in the comments below.

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

Photographing a Gun Defense and Knife Fighting Seminar – Part 2

The second seminar I photographed on Sunday afternoon July 27th was the Knife Fighting Seminar. Sifu Cory Walken hired me through my experience photographing other similar seminars with Arjhan David Brown and Kru Yai Katherine Holmes.

A Serious Lesson:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Students practice knife fighting at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Students practice knife fighting at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

For this seminar, we headed to Gasworks Park on the north shore of Lake Union in Seattle. I was a gorgeous day. Beautiful day. Crisp blue skies with just enough clouds to break the constant color, deep green grass, the brown of the rusting structures.

The Wrong Way:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Stephanie, right, watches Arjhan David Brown, left, and Sifu Cory Walken show an incorrect way to block a knife attack as they teach proper knife fighting techniques at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Stephanie, right, watches Arjhan David Brown, left, and Sifu Cory Walken show an incorrect way to block a knife attack as they teach proper knife fighting techniques at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

As the light was simple, mid-afternoon Sun with little clouds,  I used the “Sunny 16 Rule” for my exposure. Basically, at f/5.6, my shutter was 1/2000th of a second. At f/16, 1250th. Read more here: Sunny 16: An Old Rule for a new Age

Some Layering:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Students with Seattle Close Range Tactics work on their knife fighting techniques during a seminar at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Students with Seattle Close Range Tactics work on their knife fighting techniques during a seminar at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

As I wanted to make sure I had details in the shadows, I used my Nikon SB-910 flash in High-Synch mode or Auto FP. This allowed me to use the faster shutter speeds so I can control my depth of field easier. It’s just a simple setting on the camera.

Scene Setter:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The knife fighting seminar at Gasworks Park on the north side of Lake Union in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The knife fighting seminar at Gasworks Park on the north side of Lake Union in Seattle, Wash.

For my Nikon D300s, it’s in the Custom Setting Menu under Flash/Bracketing. Then go to Flash Synch Speed and choose either the 1/250 Auto FP or the 1/320 Auto FP setting. This allows you to shoot using the higher shutter speeds.

What the flash does at the higher shutter speeds is pulse in a rapid series to expose the entire sensor/film as the curtain passes over the sensor/film. This allows an even flash exposure over the entire area.

Demonstrating:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sifu Cory Walken, left, with Seattle Close Range Tactics demonstrates proper defensive techniques at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sifu Cory Walken, left, with Seattle Close Range Tactics demonstrates proper defensive techniques at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

***TIP:  Dial down the strength of your strobe to -2 or -3 stops. You’re just adding a touch of fill, not trying to overpower the Sun. There is a different technique for that.

The beautiful light also made my white balance issues go away.  I just set my camera on Sunny and left it there. Made it simple for me as all I had to do was concentrate on compositions and moments.

Up Close With Death:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sifu Cory Walken, right, with Seattle Close Range Tactics demonstrates proper defensive techniques at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Sifu Cory Walken, right, with Seattle Close Range Tactics demonstrates proper defensive techniques at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

As I stated in the post “Photographing a Gun Defense and Knife Fighting Seminar – Part 1,”  the lighting was atrocious. So getting a good white balance proved extremely difficult. Working outside alleviated that so I was able to concentrate on composition and moment.

Another great thing about shooting at the park for this seminar was the wide-open space. I did not have to worry about walls, mirrors, or the cramped conditions. It was magical. I could also effectively use my 80-200 zoom lens for better lensing coverage.

My Favorite Shot:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown , left, and Kru Yai Katherine Holmes demonstrate one knife fighting technique at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Arjhan David Brown , left, and Kru Yai Katherine Holmes demonstrate a knife fighting technique at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

As it grew late in the afternoon, the shadows cast by the participants grew longer as well. I used this as a compositional device to add an extra element. In the photo below, the shadows give a sense of a larger crowd as the two instructors demonstrated techniques.

Leading Lines:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Brown , left, and Kru Yai Katherine Holmes demonstrate one knife fighting technique at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Arjhan David Brown , left, and Kru Yai Katherine Holmes demonstrate a knife fighting technique at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash.

What are some of the challenges you perceive while photographing in the early afternoon sun? Have you used the flash in FP mode? What were some of the unexpected results?

Do you or anyone you know in the Seattle/Bellingham area need seminars photographed for their business? If so, have them contact me at paulconradphotography@gmail.com, or use the contact form here: Contact Paul Conrad

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

3 Winning Entries in the Essence of Bellingham Photo Contest

Odd. While doing a Google search to see how my stuff is ranking (average on the 3rd page), I ran into the results of the City of Bellingham Essence of Bellingham Photo Contest.

Yes I am bragging.

No, it’s not the Pulitzer.

But, you don’t know if you’ll win if you don’t enter contests either.

Perusing through I noticed the link for the 2014 competition which just ended. Upon opening the page, I read that I won 3 awards:

  1. Honorable Mention for “Morning Fog.”
  2. Best of Subject: Sunrise/Sunset – “Watching the Ships Roll In”
  3. Best of Subject: Water –  “String of Pearls”

Here are the photos!!

“Morning Fog” –

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A leaf rests in a pool of tidewater along the shore at Boulevard Park during the morning fog in Bellngham, Wash., on Friday morning October 18, 2013.

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography – A leaf rests in a pool of tidewater along the shore at Boulevard Park during the morning fog in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday morning October 18, 2013.

Photographed this scene while wandering around Bellingham during a particularly foggy autumn last year. As I walked around, I saw this tide pool a leaf had fallen into. So I spent some time working the composition to get something I liked.

I shot it wide, then medium. Started up close then stepped back. Used my Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 then tried my Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 on my Nikon D300s.

I liked the wide and up close the best.

“Watching The Ships Roll In” –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A man watches a sailboat traverse the setting Sun while ejoying a front row seat of a gorgeous sunset at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday Aug. 25, 2013.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A man watches a sailboat traverse the setting Sun while enjoying a front row seat of a gorgeous sunset at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday Aug. 25, 2013.

There was no time to shoot “Watching the Ships Roll In.” I went to the Boardwalk with my wife Heidi and as I got out of the car, I saw the sailboat, the man with the hat, and the setting Sun.

The man with the hat makes this photo I believe. He’s slightly turned so you see the Sun through his glasses, he’s in silhouette, and his posture is relaxed.

I knew the sailboat would have traverse the Sun. Because I didn’t want the empty bench of the man was sitting on, I found a position where the man was on the right side of the frame. As the sailboat became closer to the Sun, I moved so you could see the full of the sailboat.

Using my 80-200mm on my D300s, I zoomed in and then slowly zoomed out until I had good placement of the Sun and man. Then I waited for about 30 seconds as the sailboat went in front of the Sun.

My exposure was simple: Sunny 16 minus 2 stops. Pull into Photoshop using RAW, simple curves, then caption and save.

“String of Pearls” –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Morning fog dapples a spider web with dew on West Bakerview in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday morning Oct. 4, 2013.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Morning fog dapples a spider web with dew on West Bakerview in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday morning Oct. 4, 2013.

It was another foggy morning when I shot “String of Pearls.” A wet, heavy fog.

While taking my wife Heidi to work, I noticed all the spider webs in the fields along West Bakerview. So after dropping her off, I drove around for a bit looking for some intact webs that would make great photographs.

At Whidbey Island Bank at the intersection of Bakerview and Northwest, I saw a sapling in the parking lot. On that little tree was a huge spider web and it was dripping in fog.

I wanted to get close so I threw my Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 Macro onto my Nikon D300s. I worked the composition: straight on, to the side, midway, narrow depth of field, deep depth of field, etc.

My favorite is this: To the side as close as possible with narrow depth of field. The blue? Caused by shooting on the tungsten white balance in daylight. Post processing was my standard: shot on RAW, brought into Photoshop. Used layers for minor burning and dodging, a curves layer, and unsharp mask.

Last year I won Best of Show – Professional with this image:

“Blazing Runner” –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A runner jogs along the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., during a blazing Sunset on Sunday evening April 14, 2013.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A runner jogs along the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., during a blazing Sunset on Sunday evening April 14, 2013.

I would like to say a special thank you to the City of Bellingham for choosing 3 of my photos out of nearly a thousand as images that represent our community. I would also like to thank my wonderful wife Heidi for her patience as I continue to pursue my dream.

As with most contests, you have to take them with a grain of salt. By all means enter. You never know if you’ll win, place, or show. But you don’t know if you don’t try. So enter those contests. Just make sure you read the fine print that the contest isn’t a “rights-grab” for unlimited use of your images.

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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