tulip festival

Reflections of 2013 – My Best Images From the Past Year

This post is a bit late as I’ve dealt with the passing of my beloved father-in-law Todd. He was a great man, a retired Army 10th Special Forces member who  spent time in Korea during the Vietnam War, in Iraq, Nigeria, and Afghanistan and other places that if he told me “(he) would have to kill me.  He became a great friend who I admired and respected. His laugh was infectious. He was a great soul and loved by everyone. His loss weighs heavy on my heart as well as my wife Heidi’s.

As the year comes to a close, I submit what I would consider my best images from 2013. These range from landscapes to city scenes to portraits to events. It’s been a fun and eventful year as I’ve worked with Getty Images, the Mount Baker Experience magazine, Total Confidence Martial Arts, won photography awards with the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Tourism Board, Victoria’s Secret, and a few others.

During the past year, I also became more serious about pursuing portraiture and weddings. Although I love journalism and see not only its importance but its value, I must move my career towards more local work. And what’s more important that capturing the love between two friends?

I would like to give a big Thank You to all my followers and friends for reading and commenting on my blog. Without you, this blog would not exist.

Watching The Ships Roll In: – A man watches a sailboat during Sunset on the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash. –

© 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 ejoying a front row seat of a gorgeous sunset at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday Aug. 25, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/ Paul Conrad Photography)

Foggy Morning Walk:A pedestrian on Cordata Parkway during a foggy autumn walk in Bellingham, Wash. –

© Paul Conrad/ Pablo Conrad Photography - A woman walks her dog into the morning fog at the Boardwalk in Bellngham, Wash.

A woman walks her dog into the morning fog at the Boardwalk in Bellngham, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/ Paul Conrad Photography)

Sunset Jog: A jogger on the Boardwalk against the setting Sun in Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash. –

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

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

Full Moon Rising: The super perigee Moon rises between the turrets of the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash. –

The full super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday evening July 22, 2012.  (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)  bellingham photographer, bellingham wedding photography,

The full super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Monday evening July 22, 2012. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

String of Pearls: Dew drops on a spider web –

© 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/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham wedding photography, bellingham photographer

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

Mount Baker Alpenglow: The setting sun bathes Mount Baker in its rays –

The setting Sun alights Mount Baker in alpenglow on Monday evening July 22, 2013.  (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham photography

The setting Sun alights Mount Baker in alpenglow on Monday evening July 22, 2013. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Lone Wolf: A red rose among a sea of yellow during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

Mt. Shuksan: Melting ice on Picture Lake –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Mount Shuksan is reflected in a thawing Picture Lake as it is lit by the setting Sun on Saturday June, 22, 2013, while the super perigee Moon begins its ascent into the sky.

Footprints: My foot prints in the snow atop a frozen Picture Lake while capturing Mt. Shuksan in alpenglow –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness in northwest Washington east of Bellingham.

Little DJs: Kids playing DJ at the wedding reception of Chelsea and Ryan –

Junior DJs- Kids play DJ at the wedding of Chelsea and Ryan

Soaring: An American Bald Eagle on Whidbey Island

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) takes flight along West Beach Road on Whidbey Island east of Oak Harbor, Wash.

Strength: Anna Haskin as she prepares for an upcoming bout –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Muay Thai black belt Anna Haskin trains at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham, Wash., for an upcoming bout. Haskin has recently began competing in the amateur circuit.

Concentration: Anna as she prepares for an upcoming bout –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Muay Thai black belt Anna Haskin trains at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham, Wash., for an upcoming bout. Haskin has recently began competing in the amateur circuit.

Bedazzled Bellingham: The setting sun ignites the Twin Sisters and Bellingham –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad PhotographyThe setting Sun glints off windows and street signs in Bellingham, Wash., as it bathes the snow capped peaks of The Twin Sisters of the Cascade Mountain range in its last rays.

Celebrating Freedom: 4th of July fireworks of Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham, Wash. –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Boats moored at Squalicum Harbor as fireworks explode overhead during Fourth of July celebrations at Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday July 4, 2013.

What A Show: Kayaking at sunset in Bellingham Bay –

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A kayaker paddles on Bellingham Bay under a brilliant sky near the Boardwalk in Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., on Tuesday evening June 25, 2013.

Diving Over: Mt. Baker senior quarterback Andrew Zender (11) flips over a Meridian defender on Thursday evening Oct. 31, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash. Mt. Baker defeated Meridian 24-17.

Mt. Baker senior quarterback Andrew Zender (11) flips over a Meridian defender on Thursday evening Oct. 31, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash. Mt. Baker defeated Meridian 24-17. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography) bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham photography

Mt. Baker senior quarterback Andrew Zender (11) flips over a Meridian defender on Thursday evening Oct. 31, 2013, in Bellingham, Wash. Mt. Baker defeated Meridian 24-17. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Artemis the Archer: Ann Benem of Benem’s Body Work portrays the archer Artemis for an upcoming calender

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Ashley Benem of Benem's Body Works portrays the Greek goddess Artemis during a photoshoot for a calendar.

Queen Amidala: Crystal von Oy portrays Queen Amidala during the 2013 Emerald City Comicon –

© Paul Conrad/SyFy/Getty ImagesCrystal Von Oy of Mill Creek, Wash., portrays Queen Amidala from Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace during the 2nd day of the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday Mar. 2, 2013.

Perfect Form:

Shannon blocks a round kick from Alyssa during Muay Thai Camp at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham –
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Arjhan David Neal Brown teaches during the first day the PNW Muay Thai camps at Total Confidence Martial Arts in Bellingham, Wash., on Friday evening Aug. 23, 2013

These may not be “THE BEST,” but they’re my favorite of the year.

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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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 magazines throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming in Skagit County in the Northwestern part of Washington State.

Tip Toeing Through The Tulips

It is the Tulip Festival in Skagit County near Mt. Vernon, Wash.

Being as the weather is unpredictable in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, I headed down there on a whim when it was a sunny day last week. I didn’t want the chance for the clouds and gray to roll in. It was a glorious sunset but lacked some clouds to break up the monotony of the sky. It’s a quick half-hour drive from Bellingham.

This is just a quick posting of some of the images I shot.

As I drove around, I stuck with the Roozengaarde Farm as it was easy to get to without any parking issues. However, I will say that after about 5 or 6, traffic is very light and there usually are not parking problems.

Feel free to leave comments about which one is your favorite, and just don’t excite you.

1. From low, with the Sun back lighting the bulbs:

Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013. (photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

I laid low on the ground for this while adding a bit of overexposure. It’s different and looks good. Although it looks good, this is not my favorite.

I used my 80-200 and zoomed in while laying on the rain-soaked ground. It was hard to shoot, especially trying to keep the horizon straight. I also focused further away to make the closer bulbs out of focus.

Trying a more artistic approach than usual.

2. Low, off camera flash, Sun backlighting the blooms:

Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography-Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.(photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

For the above photo, I again was low to the ground and used my strobe on a mini-tripod and radio slaved so as not to worry about the cord. It was my first time using the triggers and I think they worked well.

My main goal was to capture a “starburst” coming through the tulips. I have one and it’s posted below. I created the starburst using a time-honored method of tenacity, luck, and patience. Here’s a link to an earlier posting about how to create one: Capturing a Sunburst: A Few Tips

I also posted another photo with a starburst coming through the tulips. Some like this version without the starburst, some like the starburst. Which is your favorite and feel free to leave a comment about what you think.

3. A vertical utilizing the strong back light of the setting Sun:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography-Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

Again, a little overexposure and utilizing the lens flare helps create this low contrast image.

4. A lone red tulip amidst a forest of yellow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.
There is a saying in photography: Repetition is a great compositional tool. However, repetition without opposition is boring.

With the Sun getting low to the horizon, it made for some sweet side lighting. I found this lone wolf and shot it from different angles. I liked it when the Sun was not directly behind, but slightly off to the right.

5. The Sun sets beyond the sea of yellow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

For this image, I exposed for the setting Sun to get a nice exposure on the sky but still allowing for some detail in the farmhouse. To get the tulips lit,  I remotely triggered my speedlight using radio slaves.

So I set my shutter speed to synch with my speedlight and used my aperture to properly expose for the sky. I then set my speedlight on manual and set it for what the aperture was on my camera.

6.   Red Tulips, Blue Sky, and a Starburst:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash.

Same photo as the second one. But to capture the starburst, I moved until just a pinpoint of light shone through the tulips. Being as I was stopped down to f/22 on my lens, the refraction caused by the aperture blades created the starburst.

Hint: older lenses have straight blades which create a polygonal shape. These make for better starbursts. The new lenses have a more circular aperture and do not create a starburst.

I think now matter what the skill level of the photographer is, as they continue to grow, the continue to ask questions about how to improve. My question to you is what is your favorite and why? AND what is your least favorite and why?

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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