quarterback

Lummi Hands Quilcene a Beating

Congratulation to the Lummi Nation School for advancing to the 1B State Semifinals.

On Saturday I covered the 1B state football quarterfinals at Lummi Nation School near Bellingham, Wash., for The Bellingham Herald. The Lummi Blackhawks hosted the Quilcene Rangers in what should have been a close battle. But, Lummi prevailed soundly defeating Quilcene 40 t0 0 to advance to the semifinals against Neah Bay.

In contrast to the past few weekends of rain, it was a beautiful day for football. The cold, crisp air filled my lungs as I stepped on the sideline. The sunlight warmed my face as I strategized shooting angles due to the Sun’s low position on the horizon. As the Sun was nearly aligned with the field, I would be shooting into the Sun as one team had the ball, and near perfect light when the other team had the ball.

Barely Caught

Lummi's Free Borsey (11) is stopped short of the goal by Quilcene's Eli Harrison (15) during the first quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lummi’s Free Borsey (11) is stopped short of the goal by Quilcene’s Eli Harrison (15) during the first quarter in the 1B state quarter-final on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

In one hand was my D300s with 70-200 f/2.8, on my monopod was my D3 with 400 f/2.8. The D3 and 400 I borrowed from the Herald. In my pocket was my 17-35 f/2.8 for pre and post-game features. I wish I had a third body for it though.

Gang Tackle

Quilcene's Acea Such (24) gets tackled by a host of Lummi defenders during the third quarter of the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Quilcene’s Acea Such (24) gets tackled by a host of Lummi defenders during the third quarter of the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

*** Tip: When I shoot, I tend to be about 20 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage. This gives me a good position for both a downfield pass and the sweep as the carrier comes around the corner. 

But I do adjust this as the game progresses. Some teams just slaughter on the pass, others on the run. It’s not only important to know your gear, but also be able to read the game so you’re in position for the play.

Squeezing Through

Lummi's Free Borsey (11) escapes the grasp of Quilcene's Olin Reynolds (13), bottom, Jarod Smith (22), left, and Andy Johnston (21) during the third quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lummi’s Free Borsey (11) escapes the grasp of Quilcene’s Olin Reynolds (13), bottom, Jarod Smith (22), left, and Andy Johnston (21) during the third quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

When the offense is nearing the “Red Zone,” or 20 yard line, I tend to just move straight to behind the goal line. This gives me a good position for either a run or pass play. I usually only shoot with my 70-200 as it allows me to zoom in or out depending on where the play will be.

The One That Almost Got Away

Quilcene's A.J. Prator (10) runs by Lummi's Dashawn Lawrence (10) during the second quarter of the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Quilcene’s A.J. Prator (10) runs by Lummi’s Dashawn Lawrence (10) during the second quarter of the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

***Tip: Watch the quarterback as they have the ball. Listen to the coaches and teams, they usually will yell to the defense “pass,” “run,” or “sweep.” When the quarterback has the ball, watch where he looks and how they hold their stance. If they set to throw, they will look first which is a clue as to where they will throw. Swing your lens and figure out which receiver will be thrown to.

It takes practice getting used to all the different clues. But once you begin doing it, it comes rather easy. It’s also good to know who the quarterback’s favorite runner and receiver are., who on defense has the most sacks or interceptions, these are all clues to help you get great action shots rather than by chance. Read the paper and other pre-game articles on who to pay attention to.

Interception!!!

Lummi's Free Borsey (11) reaches for the ball to make an interception against Quilcene during the third quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Borsey returned the interception for 60 yards. The interception was called good but was called back due to a Lummi penalty. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lummi’s Free Borsey (11) reaches for the ball to make an interception against Quilcene during the third quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Borsey returned the interception for 60 yards. The interception was called good but was called back due to a Lummi penalty. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Almost There

Quilcene's Eli Harrison (15) moves in on Lummi's Dashawn Lawrence (10) as a Quilcene's A.J. Prator (10) graps his feet during the second quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Quilcene’s Eli Harrison (15) moves in on Lummi’s Dashawn Lawrence (10) as a Quilcene’s A.J. Prator (10) grasps his feet during the second quarter in the 1B state quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon Nov. 21, 2015, at Lummi Nation School in Lummi, Wash. Lummi went on to defeat Quilcene 40 to 0 to advance to the semi-final. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

It was pretty amazing to see Lummi adapt to how Quilcene played. A 40 point rout is impressive. Again, congratulations to the Lummi Blackhawks on their decisive win.

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. Don’t forget to sign up for updates so you don’t miss on other postings with tips and tricks to improve your photography.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

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Paul Conrad is an award-winning 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.

Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

Friday Night Lights: Nooksack Valley takes on Montesano

On Friday night, I covered high school football as Nooksack Valley hosted Montesano. As usual, I like to wait before posting when I cover assignments for The Bellingham Herald.

At the end of this post, I’ll have a few tips to help you improve your football photography. Not just “get a long lens” type tips, but real ways you can get better shots.

Take Down:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack sophomore center back Connor Beard (12) takes down Montesano senior receiver Riley Olson at the sideline during the first quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack sophomore center back Connor Beard (12) takes down Montesano senior receiver Riley Olson at the sideline during the first quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Bulldogs 40-34

As the drive to Nooksack Valley High School was a good 35 to 45 minutes, I knew I couldn’t stay until the end of the game. My plan was to find a coffee shop near the high school so I can download, edit 3 or 4 images, create a slide show and make deadline. Standard protocol when working with newspapers.

Beautiful Light:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack running back Adam Mydland (39)  looks for daylight during the first quarter against  Montesano at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack running back Adam Mydland (39) looks for daylight during the first quarter against Montesano at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

And for some god forsaken reason, I like working on a deadline. I do miss that deadline adrenaline at times. And at others, I’m soooooo damned happy not to worry about it.

FUMBLE!!!

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack running back Adam Mydland (39) fumbles the ball after being tackled by Montesano junior linebacker Keegan Darst (7)  during the first quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack running back Adam Mydland (39) fumbles the ball after being tackled by Montesano junior linebacker Keegan Darst (7) during the first quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

This Friday was a bit different as well. Not only was I going to shoot a game,  I planned on going up to Artist Point near Mt. Baker to view and photograph an expected outbreak of aurora borealis.  You can read and view images from that outing at A Night Under The Stars: Tips To Improve Your Night Photography.

Missed Tackle:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack senior linebacker William Kingma (5) attempts to tackle Montesano junior running back Kyle Englund (33) during the second quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack senior linebacker William Kingma (5) attempts to tackle Montesano junior running back Kyle Englund (33) during the second quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014.

I read a few articles on the players and realized the two to watch for on the Nooksack side were Tanner Myhre and William Kingma. Knowing the key players of each team is important as is knowing what formation and plays they use most. How can you capture great images without knowing the plays or players? Luck will only take you so far.

Coming From Behind:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack free safety Tanner Myhre (11), right, comes from behind to tackle Montesano senior running back Tanner Birdsall (22) at the end of his 25 yard first quarter run at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014.  The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack free safety Tanner Myhre (11), right, comes from behind to tackle Montesano senior running back Tanner Birdsall (22) at the end of his 25 yard first quarter run at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

– As with everything in journalism, you must stay fluid and flow with the changes –

It was no different with this game. Although Nooksack Valley was the favorite, Montesano had control of the game from the start. The stopped the NV offense cold, only allowing a field goal.

Get Away!!

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack senior quarterback Tanner Myhre (11) stiff arms Montesano  junior line backer Jordan Bussard (51) to evade a tackle during the second quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack senior quarterback Tanner Myhre (11) stiff arms Montesano junior line backer Jordan Bussard (51) to evade a tackle during the second quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

The light on the field was fantastic as the Sun was setting to the west of the field. I stayed on the visitor side as this gave me the best light. It’s also good to stay on one side of the field so you can make sure everyone on that sideline gets used to you.

Missed Tackle:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack quarterback Tanner Myhre (11) out runs a  Montesano defender during the second quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack quarterback Tanner Myhre (11) out runs a Montesano defender during the second quarter at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

However, after the Sun set the end of the first quarter, it was under the crappy stadium lights I had to shoot. And these lights were basic high school lights: dim, shifting color and intensity. Ugh.

This made for uneven white balance as I shot. Even using a Nikon D3s, the camera was not fast enough to adjust. In fact, you can see the white balance change from magenta to green then back. And the exposure: from under to over to under.

Oh, and I had no monopod so I just carried it . Yeah, it was a load, but good exercise.

Minor differences, but you can tell when you see them next to each other in Lightroom or Photo Mechanic. To make it easier, I left my white balance on”Auto.”  A move I don’t normally do, but with lighting this hideous, it was prudent to get close as possible to the proper color then correct it in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw.

Going Wide:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Nooksack wide receiver William Kingma (5) looks for opening during the second quarter against  Montesano at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Nooksack wide receiver William Kingma (5) looks for opening during the second quarter against Montesano at Nooksack Valley High School in Everson, Wash., on Friday evening September 13, 2014. The Pioneers defeated the visiting Montesano Bulldogs 40-34.

After the first half, I had to leave so I make my deadline. I did not find a coffee shop to edit and transmit from. So, I just went home to edit and upload from there.

For the game, I used my Nikon D300s with my Nikon 80-200 f/2.8. I borrowed a D3s and 300mm f/2.8 for the more distance plays.  I tend to stay up field from the line of scrimmage

Tips For Photographing High School Football:

– After each significant play, take a quick shot of the scoreboard. That way you can keep track of when the play happened.. If you keep a notepad, write down the yardage made, any other significant info. This will also keep you ahead of the game. 

– Know the teams or at least the star players of each team, both offense and defense. This is a tall order, but the paper’s usually write a pregame that will help you learn who the key players are..

– Use two bodies, if you can. One with long glass (300mm or longer) and one with a telephoto zoom. This way, if you are photographing and the action comes close, you can just swap cameras then shoot with the shorter lens.

– Don’t wait til the card is full. Change it when there is enough room for 20 or so photographs. Filling it up  slows the camera down as it attempts to find the space to write the file which can cause you to miss a shot,.

– Keep extra cards immediately handy. Although there can be a few moments between plays, the last thing you want is to miss a shot because you’re rifling through your camera bag for them.

– Stay in front of the line of scrimmage. I usually stay about 15 yards so I can get the running action and be prepared for pass plays.. Unless I know the defense is stopping the offense or sacking the QB, then I try to stay in front to capture the plays.

– Listen to the coaches and teams as the play unfolds. You can get a good hint of where the play will be, where it may go, and if. Especially if it’ll be a long pass.

– When the offense is approaching the red zone (the 20 yard line to the goal), then I get behind the end zone. This gives me the opportunity to get the run straight in, jumping over the top,  or from the side if the defense pushes them to the corner.  

– Pay attention to the clock. At the end of the quarter, they switch direction. Don’t be left at the wrong end of the field because you answered your phone or were busy talking with another photographer.

Football is fun and easy. If you don’t have a long lens, just follow the game as it progresses up and down the field. Have fun.

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., 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 assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.