trojans

Meridian HS Loses to Faith Life Academy in Playoffs

On Saturday, my assignment for The Bellingham Herald was to cover Meridian High School against Life Christian Academy during the 104 Tri-District 1A Baseball Tournament.

Life Christian was off to a good start with 3 runs scored in the second inning. Not a good start for junior Tanner Tutterrow. Meridian attempted to play catch-up the rest of the game, but just could not get it going.

Safe Slide:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School senior Josh Hosick (5) slides safely into 2nd base as Life Christian Academy sophomore short stop Sam Absten (2) comes down with the ball during the fifth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School senior Josh Hosick (5) slides safely into 2nd base as Life Christian Academy sophomore short stop Sam Absten (2) comes down with the ball during the fifth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

Throwing errors and poor judgement cost Meridian a playoff spot in the state championship. One error which could have been avoided is pull the pitcher after the opposing team score so quickly. Life Christian read the pitcher like a grade school book.

Back To First:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald -  Life Christian junior Sam Absten dives back to 1st base during the first inning of  in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Life Christian junior Sam Absten dives back to 1st base during the first inning of in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

Bobbling the Ball:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School senior David Anderson (2)  bobbles the ball as Life Christian Academy junior Sam Absten (2) slides into 2nd Base during the fifth inning in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School senior David Anderson (2) bobbles the ball as Life Christian Academy junior Sam Absten (2) slides into 2nd Base during the fifth inning in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

Off the Tips:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Life Christian Academy senior pitcher Taylor Roelofs goes against Meridian High School during the second inning on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in the 2014 Tri-District 1A Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1 to advance.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Life Christian Academy senior pitcher Taylor Roelofs goes against Meridian High School during the second inning on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in the 2014 Tri-District 1A Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School in Laurel, Wash. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1 to advance.

Strong Pitching:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School sophomore relief pitcher Devyn Holmes (3) throws against Life Christian Academy during the sixth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School sophomore relief pitcher Devyn Holmes (3) throws against Life Christian Academy during the sixth inning of the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

On The Bat:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Meridian High School senior Jamison Hodge (17) bats in the fourth inning against  Life Christian Academy in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Meridian High School senior Jamison Hodge (17) bats in the fourth inning against Life Christian Academy in the 2014 Tri-District Baseball Tournament at Meridian High School on Saturday afternoon May 17, 2014, in Laurel,Wash.. Life Christian defeated Meridian 3-1.

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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Meridian Fastpitch Softball: Building a Cohesive Team

Over the past few months I’ve covered prep sports at Meridian High School in Laurel north of Bellingham, Wash. Overall it’s fun and yet challenging.

But I must apologize to the Lady Trojans softball team for not making it to enough games. Unfortunately, due to circumstances like rain, schedule conflicts, and more rain, I missed out on covering the Lady Trojans softball games. The games were postponed or scheduled when I had other plans.

For the Cure:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian Lady Trojans wore pink to support the fight against breast cancer as they hosted the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

As a result, I missed all but their last two home games. It would have been nice to be able to attend more and give them better photographic coverage.

Photographing fastpitch softball is like baseball: you have to be on our toes, be mobile to move to different spots, and pay attention to the game.

Watching The Runner:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian High School girls fastpitch softball hosts visiting Ferdale High School at Meridian HS in Laurel, Wash., on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian pitcher keeps an eye on the Ferndale runner during the 4th inning on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

This is the first year for the new head coach Jordan Chambers. Being as it’s the coach’s first year, so it’s a building year. New teams tend to take a few seasons to work the bugs out. But I believe with a little extra hard work, the team can become contenders.

As the games tend to be high scoring, you have to concentrate more on the game when runners are on base. They tend to defy logic and run full tilt to home when given a chance. So paying attention is extremely important.

Great Form:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian player smacks on into center field as the Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

Two major challenges I had to overcome: lack of rosters and a 7 foot high silver fence around the field.

As I don’t like not having names for people in photos as I think it looks like sloppy and lazy journalism. Having a roster would be nice so I can at least identify the girls. Who doesn’t like their photo in the paper and not their name?

Sliding In:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A Meridian runner begins her slide into home plate in the 6th inning as the Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

Over the past few years, Meridian invested in improvements to the field. One of them is a new galvanized fence. Unfortunately, the fence is still shiny silver and very difficult to shoot through. It is 7 feet high so photographing over it is nearly impossible.

To get around it somewhat, I step into the dugout and shoot through the open door. Gotta try to get clean photos. For the photos I do end up shooting through the fence, I just burn the flare down in Lightroom or Photoshop. Just enough to get rid of the spot and add contrast.

Taking Aim:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian pitcher taking aim at a Sehome player as the Lady Trojans host the Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

I think next year I’m going to bring a ladder and hook it to the top of the fence so I can shoot over it. I’ve had to do something similar when I was in college at Western Kentucky University. My friend Daniel Wallace (he now works at the St. Petersburg Times) and I put a picnic table against the fence so we can stand on it. We were shooting the game for the College Heights Herald and the Bowling Green Daily News.

We got the same photo, but since the Herald published that night and the Daily News was an afternoon paper, his was published first. As a result, the editor at the BGDN saw it and pulled mine. We had nearly the same photo. Here it is: Western 2nd Baseman Jumping.

Ready For Action:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Meridian 2nd baseman prepares for a hit as the Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

One of the things I do when covering sports, I just don’t wait for action. I find compositions for players as they wait, seek subtle moments, and keep focused on the game. Again, you never know when the play happens that changes the game.

Intense:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The short stop for the Meridian Lady Trojans prepares for a hit as they host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

Another Serious One:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Meridian Lady Trojans host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The short stop for the Meridian Lady Trojans prepares for a hit as they host the Sehome Lady Mariners in fastpitch softball at Meridian High School on Wednesday afternoon May 6, 2014. The Lady Mariners won 15-5.

For the above two photos, I can’t decide which one I like better. In the top she has an intense look on her face, in the other she is ready to pounce.

Which one do you like better and why?

Concentration:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Meridian High School girls fastpitch softball hosts visiting Ferdale High School at Meridian HS in Laurel, Wash., on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Ferndale pitcher goes against Meridian fastpitch softball action as the Lady Trojans host the Golden Eagles at Meridian HS in Laurel, Wash., on Friday afternoon May 2, 2014. The visiting Golden Eagles defeated the Trojans 13-0.

I see a lot of potential for Meridian as they begin to coalesce into a well-rounded team.

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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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

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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

Follow me on various Social Networks:

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Pablo Conrad Photography

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