Weekly Photo Challenge

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

Being avid outdoorsmen, living in the Pacific Northwest has a distinct advantage: It’s not a far drive to either the ocean nor the mountains. You practically live in the outdoors.

Sunset Kayak:

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

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is Carefree. Living up here promotes a carefree lifestyle and encourages one to visit the Great Outdoors.

On weekends and even during the week when neither has work to do, my wife Heidi and I like to drive around and enjoy the area. We are both from Colorado. She’s from Colorado Springs, and I from Aspen. I worked at The Aspen Times for over 7 years as their Chief Photographer. After living in Colorado for many years being and avid camper, hiker, backpacker, biker, snowboarder, and Jeeper, we needed someplace in the great outdoors.

Joy at Sunset:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - My wife and Sweetpea Heidi takes in the sunset at Larrabee Beach south of Bellingham, Wash, on her birthday in 2012.

Before meeting my wife, I moved out here after the newspaper industry began taking the big economic hit in Jan. 2009. I pulled roots from the great little town which I have great friends, some of those I almost consider family.  Heidi moved out here after we met in 2010.

Dancing With Itself:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) appears to dance on a piling in Bellingham, Wash.

Blazing Fast:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A runner jogs along the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., during a blazing Sunset on Sunday evening April 14, 2013.
***The photo above won Best of Show Third Place – Professional in the City of Bellingham, Wash., photo competition Essence of Bellingham***

We live now in Bellingham, Washington, where we go on drives to enjoy the carefree outdoors of the Pacific Northwest.
Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Trying His Luck:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad PhotographyA fisherman tries his luck at Deception Pass on Whidbey Island north of Seattle, Wash., as the setting sun washes the sky with its hues.

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/Pablo Conrad Photography - A sepia toned phtograph of an old boat in Blaine, Wash., for the Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge - Nostagia.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

This weeks theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is “Nostalgia.”

These are some of  my recent photos that I’ve toned to give them an “old time” feel. Plus, I like old buildings. They have character.

Old Boat in Blaine, Wash.:
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - An old boat in Blaine, Wash.

Old block & tackle hanging in a dilapidated barn in Whatcom County:
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad PhotographySteve and Rose's barn in Everson, Wa.

A pair of silos against the cloud draped Cascade Mountains in Whatcom County:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - A pair of silos stand against the cloud draped northern Cascade Mountains in western Washington.

A vertical of the old boat in Blaine, Wash:
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad PhotographyBald eagle at Birch Bay and old boat in Blaine, Wash.

Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by.
Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sporting his overalls from the infamous five-star hotel in Denver, Aldo Rincon of Aspen, Colo., fastens his snow board boot bindings before heading down Buttermilk Mountain to tackle the rails. The Mexican native said he bought the overalls from a thrift store in Denver.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

For this week’s weekly photo challenge, I chose an older photo due to the fact my computer has been down for the past week. Now that it’s up an running with a new hard drive, new track pad, and new OS, I’m good to go in keep fresh photos coming in.

In addition, I have a few blogs I was writing before the big snafu.

But to get things going here’s a photo that means “Escape” on different levels:
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Sporting his overalls from the infamous five-star hotel in Denver, Aldo Rincon of Aspen, Colo., fastens his snow board boot bindings before heading down Buttermilk Mountain to tackle the rails. The Mexican native said he bought the overalls from a thrift store in Denver.

This photo means several things to me:
1. The literal escape from jail.
2. The figurative escape from the everyday.
3. My escape to the slopes to simply enjoy life.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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Tips to Create Good Silhouettes

In response to this week’s The Daily Post for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouettes I’ve re-written and reposted one of my favorite posts.

What Makes a Good Silhouette?

After the Fire: Condo owner Ron Ibara of Aspen, Colo., left, surveys his place while repairing the damage from a fire recently. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

A good friend of mine once said to me: “You must be happy, you have your silhouette for the week.” Zach Ornitzz said this after seeing a photo of the cleanup from an apartment fire. It is actually a compliment. Silhouettes are fun and challenging to shoot.

When I was going to Western Kentucky University, one of the guest lecturers was Washington Post photographer Michael Williamson. He was going over his portfolio and a project he was working on when he said that if you are overstretched and can’t find anything to shoot, go graphic. And what a better way to go graphic than shooting a silhouette.

Bullnanza in Hooper, Utah - Cowboys wait at the chutes during sunset for the bull riding competition to begin during Bullnanza held at the Hooper Arena in Hooper, Utah. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Wikipedia defines a silhouette as a view of an object or scene consisting of the outline and a featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black.

The term was initially applied in the 18th century to portraits or other pictorial representations cut from thin black card.”

Easing their Horses - Cowboys ride their horses to keep them calm during a show and sale at the Western Kentucky University Agricultural Expo Center in Bowling Green, Ky. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

The term is said to be named after French Finance Minister Etienne de Silhouette who liked making the cut-outs of people’s profiles. It was a cheap art form for many of the poor at the time.

Contre-Jour is the technique in photography that is used to create silhouettes. It is simply placing your subject in front of strong light and exposing for the light. Therefore, your subject becomes black against the lighter background.

Reaching for the Rebound - A girl reaches for a rebound while playing a pick-up game of basketball at a Bowling Green, Ky., park. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

They are one of my favorite feature photos to shoot. They’re easy and, yet, challenging and I’ve had more failures than successes. My archives are full of failures. But I keep them to learn from them.

But when one works, it can sing. It’s not just a matter of shooting into a bright light and underexposing, you have to think in terms of elements.

For a silhouette to work, the elements in the composition must not merge. They should be distinct from each other and add to the overall theme of the image. Otherwise, it looks like a big blob rather than anything else.

Blazing Runner - A runner jogs along the Boardwalk at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, Wash., during a blazing Sunset. (photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography).

They must be clean. The main subject(s) should not meld into other subjects and stand on their own. Some of the best seem to be multiple pictures in one.

Some silhouettes will work if there is a slight overlap, but for most, keep them separate. Work the image until you see the elements separate. This may take time, moving, waiting for the moment, or simply pure luck. You may even have to come back and attempt to photograph the scene again.

Although sunrises and sunset are the easiest time of the day, you don’t have to shoot at those times. You can shoot them indoors, outside in the middle of the day, and even at night. You can use a light background. For example, the silhouette of hikers against a mountain range or baseball players against the bright sky.

Requiem II - The partial solar eclipse and the cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Walnut Street in Bellingham, Wash., on Thursday afternoon Oct. 10, 2014. (photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Practice Makes Perfect - The Aspen High School Skiers baseball team practices at the El Jebel, Colo., baseball diamonds in preparation for their upcoming season. Due to heavy snows that remain on their diamonds, the Skiers head downvalley to practice on the dry fields. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

The one thing you must consider is keep the background clean. Again, the key is to keep the elements separate.

It means paying attention to the background and foreground. You may have to lie on the ground, seek a higher vantage point, use a light background, or any method that keeps the image exciting, fresh and different.

Sometimes a little luck goes a long way. When I was interning at the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, I had an assignment to photograph the Bullnanza in Hooper. It was an annual bull riding competition. I arrived about 15 minutes prior to the start and the sun was setting vividly in the west. As I was in the center of the arena taking light measurements, I noticed a group of cowboys at the top of the chutes. On my camera was a 300 f/2.8 lens so I grabbed a few frames before the cowboys dispersed and now you see the result above. It was a lucky shot.

Getting a proper exposure is rather easy. The light behind your subject is what you want to meter. Manual exposure mode is best. When in one of the automatic modes, the camera will attempt to compensate for the extra darkness by “overexposing” and you’ll blow out the background, hence, giving your subject some detail. This isn’t always bad. Some detail in your subject can add a little dimension.

Shoot something unique. Sure, shoot some clichés for practice, but go out and find some activities that allow you to shoot something different. There is a multitude of possibilities to make cool silhouettes.

Simply, silhouettes are:

  • Clean
  • Simple
  • No Merging Elements
  • Have a Theme
  • Are Fun To Photograph

So go out and have some fun. Shoot to your heart’s content. But most importantly: practice, practice, practice.

Add a link in the comments with your sample of a silhouette that you’ve shot.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul Conrad

Paul Conrad Photography – Bellingham Seattle Photojournalist

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© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

In Honor of Etienne de Silhouette: Go Out and Shoot Some

In response to this week’s The Daily Post for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouettes I’ve re-written and reposted one of my favorite posts.

What Makes a Good Silhouette?

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad PhotographyCondo owner Ron Ibara of Aspen, Colo., left, surveys his place while repairing the damage from a fire recently.

A good friend of mine once said to me: “You must be happy, you have your silhouette for the week.” Zach Ornitz said this after seeing a photo of the cleanup from an apartment fire. It is actually a compliment. silhouettes are fun and challenging to shoot.

When I was going to Western Kentucky University, one of the guest lecturers was Washington Post photographer Michael Williamson. He was going over his portfolio and a project he was working on when he said that if you are over stretched and can’t find anything to shoot, go graphic. And what a better way to go graphic than shooting a silhouette.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Waiting for the Riding

Wikipedia defines a silhouette as:  a view of an object or scene consisting of the outline and a featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black.

The term was initially applied in the 18th century to portraits or other pictorial representations cut from thin black card.”

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography Cowboys ride their horses during a show and sale at the Western Kentucky University Agricultural Expo Center in Bowling Green, Ky.

The term is said to be named after French Finance Minister Etienne de Silhouette who liked making the cut-outs of people’s profiles. It was a cheap art form for many of the poor at the time.

Contre-Jour is the technique in photography that is used to create silhouettes. It is simply placing your subject in front of a strong light and exposing for the light. Therefore, your subject becomes black against the lighter background.

© Paul Conrad/ Sky Fire Photography A girl reaches for a rebound during a pick-up game of basketball at a Bowling Green, Ky., park.Send Me Your Thoughts and Questions

They are one of my favorite feature photos to shoot. They’re easy and, yet, challenging and I’ve had more failures than successes. My archives are full of failures. But I keep them to learn from them.

But when one works, it can zing. It’s not just a matter of shooting into a bright light and underexposing, you have to think in terms of elements.

For a silhouette to work, the elements in the composition must not merge. They should be distinct from each other and add to the overall theme of the image. Otherwise, it looks like a big blob rather than anything else.

They must be clean. The main subject(s) should not meld into other subjects and stand on their own. Some of the best seem to be multiple pictures in one.

Some silhouettes will work if there is a slight overlap, but for most, keep them separate. Work the image until you see the elements separate. This may take time, moving, waiting for the moment, or simply pure luck. You may even have to come back and attempt to photograph the scene again.

Although sunrises and sunset are the easiest time of the day, you don’t have to shoot at those times. You can shoot them indoors, outside in the middle of the day, and even at night. You can use a light background.  For example, the silhouette of hikers against a mountain range.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Aspen Santa Fe Ballet dancers prepare for a  studio session by legendary photographer Lois Greenfield at the ASF studio in Aspen, Colo

The one thing you must consider is keep the background clean. Again, the key is to keep the elements separate.

It means paying attention to the background and foreground. You may have to lie on the ground, seek a higher vantage point, use a light background, or any method that keeps the image exciting, fresh and different.

Sometimes a little luck goes a long way. When I was interning at the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, I had an assignment to photograph the Bullnanza in Hooper. It was annual bullriding competition. I arrived about 15 minutes prior to the start and the sun was setting vividly in the west. As I was in the center of the arena taking light measurements, I noticed a group of cowboys at the top of the chutes. On my camera was a 300 f/2.8 lens so I grabbed a few frames before the cowboys dispersed and now you see the result above. It was a lucky shot.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography- Practice

Getting a proper exposure is rather easy. The main thing is to expose for is the main light behind the subjects. Manual exposure mode is best.  When in one of the automatic modes, the camera will attempt to compensate for the extra darkness by “overexposing” and you’ll blow out the background, hence, giving your subject some detail. This isn’t always bad. Some detail in you subject can add a little dimension.

Shoot something unique. Sure, shoot some clichés for practice, but go out and find some activities that allow you to shoot something different. There are a multitude of possibilities to make cool silhouettes.

Simply, silhouettes are:

  • Clean
  • Simple
  • No Merging Elemnts
  • Have a Theme
  • Are Fun To Photograph

So go out and have some fun. Shoot to your heart’s content. But most importantly: practice, practice, practice.

Add a link in the comments with your sample of a silhouette that you’ve shot.

Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

“Like” my Page on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter