wash.

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.

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The 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon

First, sorry for the delay in blog postings. I broke my laptop screen early last week and it is now at TD Curran in Bellingham getting new life.

On Sunday morning September 28, 2014, I shot the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon for The Bellingham Herald. It is an epic race that goes from the Lummi Nation School at Gooseberry Point to downtown Bellingham, Wash.

And it started at 7:30 a.m. so I had to get up before dawn and drive the 20 miles to the school.

Leading the Pack:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Steve DeKoker, center (1), of Seattle begins the 26.2 mile run of the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon run from Lummi Nation School to downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. DeKoker won the men’s division with a time of 2 hrs., 30.51 mins.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Steve DeKoker, center (1), of Seattle begins the 26.2 mile run of the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon run from Lummi Nation School to downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. DeKoker won the men’s division with a time of 2 hrs., 30.51 mins.

The night before, I studied the map and planned my shoot. It was fairly simple, but I also had to negotiate around the various roadblocks while leaving myself some time to get downtown to shoot the winners as they crossed the finish line.

My plan was simple. Photograph three things to have somewhat complete coverage:

  • The Start
  • A water station
  • The Finish

Emergence:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - The first female runner approaches the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – The first female runner approaches the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014.

I wanted to photograph the start so I could get the runners compressed together and show how many there were. To do this, I arrived about an hour early t check out all the different angles. It wasn’t that spectacular, but you work with what you’re given.

Big Sky Country:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Runners push past fog envoloped fields along Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Steve DeKoker of Seattle won the men’s category with a time of 2 hrs., 30.51 mins. Rika Hatachi of Coquitlan, B.C., won the woman’s with a time of 3 hrs., 2.24 mins.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Runners push past fog enveloped fields along Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Steve DeKoker of Seattle won the men’s category with a time of 2 hrs., 30.51 mins. Rika Hatachi of Coquitlan, B.C., won the woman’s with a time of 3 hrs., 2.24 mins.

As I wanted somewhat good coverage, I then headed to one of the 3 or 4 watering stations to photograph the volunteers as they gave runners water and snacks. I picked one about 1/2 through the marathon as I wanted to leave myself some time to negotiate the road closures downtown. The station I picked was at mile 10 in the race along Red River Road. It was hosted by volunteers from the Whatcom Football Club Rangers, a local soccer club that has a lot of teams from ages 12 up.

Supply & Demand:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - (l to r) Dylan McCoy, 10; Grace Meyer, 11;  Grace Holzer, 11, and Melissa Meyer hand water and cheer on a runner at the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon  on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Meyers says the volunteer group is with the Whatcom Football Club Ranger soccer team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – (l to r) Dylan McCoy, 10; Grace Meyer, 11; Grace Holzer, 11, and Melissa Meyer hand water and cheer on a runner at the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Meyers says the volunteer group is with the Whatcom Football Club Ranger soccer team.

The fog was particularly heavy here as it sat next to a stream. So I wanted to work with that and try to capture runners as they emerged from the fog. Within 15 minutes of me arriving, the first runner, Steve DeKoker of Seattle, came through being followed by a Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputy on motorcycle. Had it not been for the flashing lights of the officer, I would have not seen him come out of the fog.

Watering Hole:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Tommy Meyer, 9, grabs more water cups while volunteering at the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon  on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Group leader Melissa Meyers says the volunteer group is with the Whatcom Football Club Ranger soccer team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Tommy Meyer, 9, grabs more water cups while volunteering at the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Group leader Melissa Meyers says the volunteer group is with the Whatcom Football Club Ranger soccer team.

For me to feel that I worked the watering station properly, I shot from above, below, and worked various angles and places. Shot wide, medium, tight and then stretched. Here’s a quick tutorial of how I work a situation: Wide, Medium, Tight – Then Stretch.

Getting Low:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Volunteers from the Whatcom FC Rangers  hand water and cheer on runners at the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon  on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Group leader Melissa Meyers says the volunteer group is with the Whatcom Football Club Ranger soccer team.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Volunteers from the Whatcom FC Rangers hand water and cheer on runners at the 10 mile marker on Red River Road in Whatcom County during the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Group leader Melissa Meyers says the volunteer group is with the Whatcom Football Club Ranger soccer team.

When I dropped down, I got up close to one of the kids as they were holding a cup and worked it so you could see her hand holding the cup with runners as they passed. I was hoping for someone to pick her cup as I wanted a runner’s hand getting it with the layers of others in the background. I got something, but it’s one of the “Almost” photos.

Celebration:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Women's winner Rika Hatachi of Coquitlan, B.C., celebrates her victory at the finish line of the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon at Depot Market Square in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Hatachi won the women's category with a time of 3 hrs., 2.24 mins.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Women’s winner Rika Hatachi of Coquitlan, B.C., celebrates her victory at the finish line of the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon at Depot Market Square in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. Hatachi won the women’s category with a time of 3 hrs., 2.24 mins.

After the first 50 or so runners went through, I decided to make my way to the finish line. Along the way, I stopped to photograph the runners as they passed freshly harvested fields. The Sun was peeking through the thick fog and made for some nice photos.

Exhausted:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Men's winner Steve DeKoker pauses for a rest at the finish line of the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon at Depot Market Square in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. DeKoker won the event with a time of 2 hrs., 30.51 minutes.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Men’s winner Steve DeKoker pauses for a rest at the finish line of the 2014 Bellingham Bay Marathon at Depot Market Square in downtown Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. DeKoker won the event with a time of 2 hrs., 30.51 minutes.

Overall, I feel that I did a pretty decent job. I got some nice creative shots as well as what I like to call “Cover Your Butt” photos. The basic ones you should really make sure you get.

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 is a Seattle-based photojournalist specializing in news, sports, 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.

A Night Under The Stars: Tips to Improve Your Night Photography

On Friday, my friend Earnie and I headed to Artist Point near the Mt. Baker Ski area east of Bellingham, Wash. We started late as I had to complete a football assignment for the Bellingham Herald. We did not leave Bellingham until about 11.

Our original plan was to shoot an expected display of the Aurora Borealis. However, Mother Nature decided to change its mind and send clouds to the north of us.

Scratch one night of shooting the aurora.

Hikers Descend from Tabletop Mountain:

Lighting the Trail - Hikers light the traila with their headlamps as they walk down Table Mountain at Artist Point in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualime National Forest in western Whatcom County. east of Bellingham, Wash. Bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham portrait photographer

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Hikers light the trail with their headlamps as they walk down Table Mountain at Artist Point in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualime National Forest in western Whatcom County. east of Bellingham, Wash. This was a 30 second exposure at f/2.8, ISO 200. This reminded me of one of Galen Rowell’s photographs.

More Tips to Improve Your Night Photography

Hiking the Chain Lakes Trail at Mt. Baker

On Thursday August 21st, my brother-in-law Kurt, friend Zach, and I hiked the chain Lakes Trail near Mt. Baker. It’s a moderate trail that ranges from easy to difficult. In fact, the last two miles of the trail is downhill. Along for the fun was Zach’s dog Domino.

Baker View:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad © Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Coleman Pinnacle, left, and Mt. Baker from Ptarmigan Ridge. We hiked about 1/2 mile down the trail before turning back to Chain Lakes Trail.Photography - Hike ;along the Chain Lakes Trail with Kurt, Zach, and Domino on Thursday August 20, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Coleman Pinnacle, left, and Mt. Baker from Ptarmigan Ridge. We hiked about 1/2 mile down the trail before turning back to Chain Lakes Trail.

Starting at Artist’s Point, we began the 7 mile loop at about 10:30 in the morning. It was cool and breezy. The sky was deep blue with patches of clouds around Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker. You can see steam rising from Sherman Crater.

 Kurt on the Trail:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Kurt passes a patch of fireweed as we approach Ptarmigan Ridge.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Kurt passes a patch of fireweed as we approach Ptarmigan Ridge.

The crater is the active part of Mt. Baker. For those who don’t know, Mt. Baker is the second most active volcano in the state of Washington. Right after Mt. Saint Helens.

Booyah! Scenes from “Dante’s Peak” came flashing in. How does one outrun a Pyroclastic flow?

Couple and Cairn:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A couple  pause at a cairn along the Chain Lakes Trail several hundred yards past the Ptarmigan Ridge turn-off. I came around the corner and saw them then the cairn. I used a shallow depth of field to set them against the forest.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – A couple pause at a cairn along the Chain Lakes Trail several hundred yards past the Ptarmigan Ridge turn-off. I came around the corner and saw them then the cairn. I used a shallow depth of field to set them against the forest.

I packed as I’d normally pack when going on a day hike: a little too much. I used my Camelbak with a 100 oz. bladder full with fresh water, Petzl headlamp with fresh batteries, light jacket, compass, gloves, water filter, Leatherman knife, regular knife, eating utensils, protein bar, protein shake, jerky for snacking, and trail mix.

 Looking West from the Trail:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Coleman Pinnacle, left, Mt. Baker in clouds, and a few other peaks looking west from the trail.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Coleman Pinnacle, left, Mt. Baker in clouds, and a few other peaks looking west from the trail.

In the pack I also carried my 55mm f/2.8 macro for close-up shots in a soft pouch inside a waterproof bag, my Nikon SB-910 flash, SB-29 off-camera cord, my D300s, my 17-35 f/2.8, lens cleaner and cloth, and an extra battery. As weight was a bit of an issue, I left the tripod at home.

Starburst:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The Sun forms a starburst through a grove of pine with the southern cliff face of Table Mountain on the left. I worked this to try to get the starburst. The aperture was at f/22 on my 17-35.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The Sun forms a starburst through a grove of pine with the southern cliff face of Table Mountain on the left. I worked this to try to get the starburst. The aperture was at f/22 on my 17-35.

The weight in the pack was nominal, but I like to be prepared: both photographically and in case of an accident.

Fireweed:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - This was a pain to get. I was laying on the ground, holding my camera with one hand, and lifting myself enough to get the fireweed to line up with the tree line. Aperture on my 17-35 was at f/5.6 and at 17mm.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – This was a pain to get. I was laying on the ground, holding my camera with one hand, and lifting myself enough to get the fireweed to line up with the tree line. Aperture on my 17-35 was at f/5.6 and at 17mm.

After heading out, it was clear the photo ops would be phenomenal. The wildflowers were still in bloom, the sky fantastic, and although the light was mid day, it was just gorgeous.

As we hit about a mile out on the trail under the ridgeline of Table Mountain, we saw Mt. Baker in the distance over Ptarmigan Ridge with Coleman Pinnacle jutting into the bluebird sky. The passing clouds framed it wonderfully. The scenery towards Baker Lake was stunning.

Asters at Iceberg Lake:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Blue asters above Iceberg Lake along the Chain Lakes Trail. I used my 17-35 at 17 mm with an aperture of f/11. These are tiny flowers so I had to get super close. At f/11, it gave me sufficient depth of field to get the lake and surrounding mountains visible, but not overpowering. I like how they're a little out of focus.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Blue asters above Iceberg Lake along the Chain Lakes Trail. I used my 17-35 at 17 mm with an aperture of f/11. These are tiny flowers so I had to get super close. At f/11, it gave me sufficient depth of field to get the lake and surrounding mountains visible, but not overpowering. I like how they’re a little out of focus.

As we approached the fork in the trail, I saw the silhouette of a figure against a snow field under Mt. Baker. I took a few frames for posterity. Nothing grand. But here’s a link: Silhouette on Ptarmigan Ridge

Along the way there were some small patches of Fireweed, asters, and daisies. I’m no horticulturist, but I’m certain they’re daisies. As we walked between the lakes, the wildflowers were amazing. The fireweed were tall, the asters stunning, and the scenery unbeatable. Even this Colorado boy was stunned by the backwoods beauty.

Wildflowers

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Wildflowers along  the shore of Iceberg Lake.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Wildflowers along the shore of Iceberg Lake.

While we took a break at Iceberg Lake, Kurt decided it was time for a bath, well, sort of. He went to the water’s edge as he wanted to jump in. Instead after feeling the chill, he opted to cool down and wash his head. A wise move since we didn’t bring any blankets. And I wasn’t going to cuddle with him while he warmed up. LOL.

Kurt Shaking it Off: 

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Kurt shakes off the icy cold water after dipping his head in Iceberg Lake. It's called Iceberg for a reason Kurt.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Kurt shakes off the icy cold water after dipping his head in Iceberg Lake. It’s called Iceberg for a reason Kurt.

After the lakes,  we continued onto the trail which followed the saddle between Table Mountain and Mazama Dome. This provided a splendid view of the valley towards Mt. Shuksan.

The View From the Saddle:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Taking a break in Herman's Saddle, Zach takes photos of Domino as he lays in a snowfield. The peaks of Mt. Shuksan are shrouded by clouds. You can also see the road to Artist's Point on the left. You can see Mt. Sefrit and Nooksack Ridge in the background.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Taking a break in Herman’s Saddle, Zach takes photos of Domino as he lays in a snowfield. The peaks of Mt. Shuksan are shrouded by clouds. You can also see the road to Artist’s Point on the left. You can see Mt. Sefrit and Nooksack Ridge in the background.

From this viewpoint, it was pretty much downhill. Seriously, it was about 2 miles of downhill trail. Relatively easy-going. Unfortunately, Domino began getting tired and as a result, slipped on some sharp rocks and earned a slight cut. He was limping, but still strong.

Getting a Better View:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Kurt climbs atop boulders on Herman's Saddle to try and find an easier route back to Artist's Point. We opted to stay on trail.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Kurt climbs atop boulders on Herman’s Saddle to try to find an easier route back to Artist’s Point. We opted to stay on trail.

During one rough section, in order keep him from hurting his foot any more, Kurt carried him about 50 yards through one part of the trail that was bedded with sharp rock.

A Little Help From a Friend:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Kurt carries Domino through a rough part of the trail that was covered with sharp rocks.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Kurt carries Domino through a rough part of the trail that was covered with sharp rocks.

Half way down, we paused to take a break. We found a small grassy area to chill. This gave Domino a little time to recoup as we also caught our breath and reenergize with some trail snacks. Domino thought it was his playground and just did what dogs like to do, rolled around in the grass.

Happy Puppy:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography -Domino finds a little joy while rolling around in a grassy patch along the trail.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Domino finds a little joy while rolling around in a grassy patch along the trail.

Exhausted and beat at the end of the hike, I already decided I want to backpack in and spend a night at the lakes shooting the stars and trying to capture some of the Aurora Borealis we can sometimes see from Bellingham.

Selfie:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Had to stop for a selfie of me against a valley. I was about a foot from a cliff edge. No worries, I made it out safely.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Had to stop for a selfie of me against a valley. I was about a foot from a cliff edge. No worries, I made it out safely.

What a View – The Last Section of Trail:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography -Kurt, Zach, and Domino head down the trail after we leave Herman's Saddle. The view was fantastic. The light, clouds, sky, and greenery worked well together.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Kurt, Zach, and Domino head down the trail after we leave Herman’s Saddle. The view was fantastic. The light, clouds, sky, and greenery worked well together.

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 published freelance photographer living in Bellingham, 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 short and long-term assignments.

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.

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Paul “pablo” Conrad

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