A photo of The Herald Building by amateur Adrian Ortiz has been named the winner of the city's annual "Essence of Bellingham" contest.
"Herald Building at Night" is a long exposure of the iconic downtown landmark with its neon "Herald" sign aglow.
Oritz said he made the shot on an early Bellingham morning, using a Canon T3i with the stock 18-55mm lens that came with it. He set the camera on a 30-second long exposure.
In an email, Ortiz explained what happened next:
"The first shot I took, I noticed that yellow and the red traffic light were lit up at the same time. Idea goes off in my head. I waited for the traffic again and got the Red and Green. On the 3rd and final time, tired and cold, I had a bit of patience and some planning. This time as the traffic light went from red to green, I pressed the button on my intervalometer and this time as the lights changed, I managed to capture all 3 traffic lights at the same time ... Green, Yellow, and Red. One problem though. During the 30 second exposure, a police car came by and asked if I was doing ok and I told him yes and just when I thought he was going a different way, you guessed it, he went across my shot. Hence the headlight along the bottom of the picture. So you can say my picture was photo-bombed by our good ole BPD."
A historical footnote: The H-E-R-A-L-D- sign was erected and lit when the building opened in 1928. It burned almost every night for more than 70 years, though was dark for a nearly decade until 2006, when then-publisher Glenn Nardi ordered it relit as a sign of the downtown area's revival.
More than 200 images were submitted for the ninth annual photo competition, sponsored by the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom Museum. They are posted to this City of Bellingham website and 80 entries will be displayed at City Hall June 1-25.
Here's a link to the gallery of all the entries.
A reception to honor the winners will be at City Hall from 6 to 8:30 p.m. June 6, during the monthly Downtown Art Walk.
The winners, with links to their photos:
Best of Show/First Place (Amateur): "Bellingham Herald at Night" by Adrian Ortiz.
Best of Show/Second Place (College): "Afternoon Read" by Tomas Calderon.
Best of Show/Third Place (Professional): "Bellingham Bay at Night" by Lou Nicksic.
Best of Class/5th Grade - 8th Grade: "Sunset Silhouette" by Alice Horton.
Best of Class/9th Grade - 12th Grade: "A San Juan Sunset" by Isaac Day.