Monday, August 30, 2010

Photo of the Day: Desiree on the river

Desiree on the river, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
On the final day of our first Camping Adventures with My Parents program this summer at Mount Rainier, we walked down to the Nisqually River. Desiree and Crystal climbed up on a large boulder, and when I spotted them there, the sun backlighting their hair even as it reflected off the white rocks onto their faces, I knew I had to get a picture before the opportunity passed! I'm very pleased with the result.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: mymood

mymood, originally uploaded by FoxLine.
The finest thing a photographer can do is to capture a mood, and "FoxLine" does so better than most photographers I've seen. As with most good photographers, it's hard to choose my favorite among her pictures. I was tempted by this one, a contemplative portrait in blue; or this one, a beautiful outdoor portrait in black and white. But I kept coming back to this one, for its raw emotion; I love the frank pose and expression, looking directly into the camera, which says, here I am, this is me, take it or leave it. I'd love to know how she manipulated the color in the image, because the monochromatic brown pallet gives the photo an extra power.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Longmire snow

Longmire snow, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Winter at Mount Rainier National Park can be gorgeous... especially when the sun finally comes out! I took this picture in the spring of 1996. The combination of wind and the warm mineral springs under the snow created beautiful contours on the surface. The trees, Rampart Ridge, and the Mountain itself all had blankets of snow as well, making for a beautiful picture in the morning light.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo of the Day: Junior Ranger

Junior Ranger, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Carson is a return participant in our Camping Adventures program at Mount Rainier, and I made some good pictures of him in my ranger hat last year, too. This year he pilfered my hat when I set it dow, and had a grand time running around camp in it, as it slipped repeatedly down over his eyes. It's notoriously hard to get a good picture of a ranger in a stetson, because it creates such shadows over the face, but this time much of the light was reflected off the tablecloth, lighting the face from beneath. It burned out that part of the photo, but the face is so perfectly lit that it takes a while to even notice that. This is incredibly fine automatic exposure metering on the part of my camera!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: :::Kinga:::

:::Kinga:::, originally uploaded by LeHu.
Yet again, here's a photographer, Leszek Ogrodnik, whose photos are so good that it's hard to choose a favorite. Here's a great, classical portrait of Marylka, a spirited model whose energy shows through in her photo. Here's a more subdued portrait of Gabi, outside of the studio setting, but no less perfectly composed and crafted. The portraits of Ewa, Asia, Ania, and Ela are all gorgeous, and the image of Ania and her baby Adrian is creative, touching, and absolutely beautiful.

In the end, I chose this one just because it was the exception, the most unconventional setting and pose; not better, really, but in my view, more interesting. I wonder what the model is thinking, as she appears folded into herself both literally and figuratively, balanced on her toes with her shoulders turned forward, clasping her hands, her face lost in thought. I love the way her hair blows in the breeze and catches the light. It's a compelling photograph, and one that I could return to again and again without tiring of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Friends

Friends, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Here's another photo I took at Camp Colman in October of 2008. I snapped this picture on the dock as the kids were preparing to go canoeing. By this time in the week, all the kids were used to my camera, and these two wanted their picture taken. I love the semi-spontaneous composure of the photo, with the matching grins, the heads close together, and those awesome pink fingernails and green Band-Aid.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photo of the Day: The light in her eyes

The light in her eyes, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Of all the people who participated in our first Camping Adventures with My Parents program this summer at Mount Rainier, Crystal was the most photogenic. I have several great pictures of her, this one being just one of my favorites. I think it was the light in her eyes that made her such a good subject; you can just see the spirit dancing in them, ready to burst out in a laugh or a witty comment!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: Kristina

Kristina, originally uploaded by Anastasiya Lazurenko.
It's unusual in this era to come across a photographer who still uses film rather than digital. Anastasiya Lazurenko's photos bear an interesting texture and grain because of this. It doesn't convince me to go back to film, but I enjoy the ways she uses the grain to convey mood, as with this beautiful portrait. (Here's another good example, a pregnant self-portrait.) There's something pensive and intimate about the pose and expression of the model, and I wonder if the photo would be as powerful if the light on her skin were completely smooth in the manner of a digital image. In the end, though, it's not the grain of the photo that makes this a great image, for me, but rather the moment Lazurenko has managed to capture in the eyes of her subject.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Sunrise Balloon Festival

The annual Sunrise Balloon Festival takes place in Homestead, Florida every spring. I love the colors against the morning sky! I also really like the way the balloons receeding into the distance give this photo a sense of depth.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Photo of the Day: Camping at The Mountain

Camping at The Mountain, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Here's another photo from our first Camping Adventure with My Parents group this summer at Mount Rainier National Park. Young Emily had just helped her family set up a tent for the first time, and was enjoying the fruits of her labors by resting inside of it. I caught a picture of her as she poked her head out.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: windy

windy, originally uploaded by tsnoap.
Teresa Snoap takes beautiful portraits of family and friends, few of them in studio settings, which makes her photography of particular interest to me, since those are the conditions under which I usually shoot as well. It's a challenge and a quest to catch a glimpse of the spirit of a person in a spontaneous setting. Of all Snoap's photos, I like this one the best, and I find it interesting that in spite of all I just said, it's the one that most looks like it could have been taken in a studio. But I like the clear background, free of distraction, and the perfect, even lighting on the face. These are things to keep in mind as I compose my own shots. The hair flying in the wind, the toothy grin and freckles, all add to the effect of the photo. It would be interesting to see what it looked like in color, to see why the photographer chose to present it in black and white. Whatever the reason, it works in this case!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: David at Camp Colman

David at Camp Colman, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
David's 5th grade class spent three days at the YMCA's Camp Colman in October of 2008, and I got to be a chaperone. I took lots of great pictures over those three days, but this one is my favorite of David himself. We were waiting for the buses on our final day of camp, and David ducked behind the flagpole, playfully avoiding my camera. When he peeked around, I snapped the shutter, and got this great portrait of him.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photo of the Day: Beautiful eyes

Beautiful eyes, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Tara is one of the rangers who helped us out with our first Camping Adventures with My Parents program at Mount Rainier National Park this summer. She has a beautiful face, especially her eyes, so I was pleased to capture such a fine portrait of her as she helped prepare dinner for the camp. I believe I used indirect flash to get this effect--the flash angled up rather than directly foreward, and softened with a diffuser besides. The rest is Tara's own doing!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: Just Before Bedtime

Just Before Bedtime, originally uploaded by The Derek.
Some photographers strive to take creative, "artistic" photographs, and others simply seek to take fine studio portraits. Derek McClure falls into the latter category--but that doesn't mean his portraits are in any way devoid of artistry! On the contrary, within the limits of traditional portraiture, Derek does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of his subjects. This one's a great example--a picture of his daughter, obviously used to having her picture taken; the photograph captures not only her pretty face and curls, but also the personality in her pose, her gaze, her expression, and the light in her eyes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Wupatki

Wupatki, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Here's one more photo of the ancient ruins of the Anasazi springing up out of the sandstone. This one is at Wupatki National Monument. I love this photo because of its perspective, and the way it highlights my feeling of the man-made structures growing right up out of the rock.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Photo of the Day: Angel

Angel, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Mount Rainier National Park offers an outreach program in the summer called Camping Adventures with My Parents (CAMP). Among the first group of participants this year was Joseph, a young autistic boy who, despite his challenges, became a much-loved member of our group. On our way into the park on the first day of the program, we stopped at the little "Alpine Village" gift shop to purchase firewood, and Joseph sat down on this carved wooden bench. The setting was just too perfect to pass up--and no, I didn't ask him to sit there; I don't think he even realized he had wings until I showed him the photo!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: Pregnant Lotus Smile

Pregnant Lotus Smile, originally uploaded by bettina n.
I really love this photo on Bettina Neuefeind. She has some great photos of her own on her Flickr site, but this one, apparently, was taken of her by a friend. Regardless, it's a lovely photo; besides the absolutely radiant grin on her face, the composition is perfect, centered symmetrically on the bed, with everyting about the pose, the clothing, the body, and the setting a mirror image except for the slightly tilted head. I love the lighting, too, so soft, which is perfect for the mood of a pregnancy photo; my guess is that it comes from a window to the left of the photographer, creating the effect of a large softbox that caresses the body with light and gives it nice dimension, especially on the pregnant belly. All in all, an excellent photograph.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Portland by night

Portland by night, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
During a visit to Portland, I found myself out after dark after eating dinner, enjoying the city lights reflected over the Willamette River. The moon--full or nearly so--hung low in the sky over the bridge, visible through a light haze of low clouds and reflected in the water. I didn't have a tripod, so balanced my camera on a rock wall to take several photos, then cropped out the vegetation in the foreground for this panoramic view of the bridge at night.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photo of the Day: Lighting Saturn

Lighting Saturn, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
For a class project, David was tasked with creating a model of Saturn. We discussed several means of doing this, and finally settled on getting a styrofoam ball from the craft store, painting it, and building rings out of cardboard. When we discovered we could also get styrofoam rings, so much the better! The rings are held on with toothpicks, and the whole model is mounted on a wooden skewer. After David finished the model and went to bed, I dragged our full-spectrum light over to a corner, propped the model in front of the black back of a picture frame, put my camera on a tripod, and started experimenting with lighting. This one is my favorite, lit essentially with a snoot made by propping books around the light source to direct it, and with secondary fill light coming from the room's ceiling lights. The setup looked ungainly, but it captured the planet in all its glory. I wonder if NASA has to work this hard to get good photos of Saturn?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: Takin' a bath

Takin' a bath, originally uploaded by Svavar Trausti.
I love it when I find a photographer like Svavar Trausti with whom it's tough to settle on a favorite photo to share. Would it be the cute baby grinning at the camera? Or the equally cute baby caught, in perfect lighting, utterly unhappy about being photographed? Maybe the classic and perfectly executed portrait of young Stefán Björn? In the end, I couldn't resist this image of Stefán in the bathtub, just for the delightfully whimsical composition, and those beautiful, watchful eyes gazing directly into the camera. Three things make this an excellent photo technically: first, the shallow depth of field, which blurred the edge of the bathtub in the foreground--it wouldn't be as good a photo, in my opinion, if it had been in focus; second, the white background, in which a rubber ducky or other items would have been distracting; and third, the choice of black and white, which emphasizes those big beautiful dark eyes in the expanse of pale skin and tub.

I can't help but compare this image to two similar photos of my own, one in the bathtub, the other in a pool, both favorites, but neither one nearly as well composed as Trausti's.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Keet Seel 4

Keet Seel 4, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Here's another photo from Keet Seel, following up the one I featured last week. This one shows less of the architecture of the place, but more of the sweep of sandstone into which the ruins are integrated. I love the way the human structures feel like they spring right out of the living rock.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Photo of the Day: It's all a matter of angles

To me, this is simply a fun photograph. I love the repeated triangles throughout the image: the chain link of the backstop in the foreground, the angles of home plate, the batter's stance, his elbows, even the number 7 on the back of his shirt.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: sunshine

sunshine, originally uploaded by Stephen is speechless.
I'm fascinated by the use and manipulation of color in Stephen Carroll's photographs. He prefers a muted pallet, tending strongly toward browns and olive greens; sometimes his pictures look desaturated, while other times, as in this photo, they just look like they were that way in real life. In either case, the effect is striking, giving the image some of the strength of a black and white photo, with its emphasis on tone and texture, while still retaining some of the vividness of a color image.

With my love of portrait and figure photography, I was drawn to this image for its direct simplicity. I love the way the light models the muscles and bones of the upper chest and face; I love the effect of the hair spread out like a halo around her face; and I love the direct gaze and firmly-set lips of the model. I love that Carroll kept the image sharp, preserving the detail in the texture of the skin and lips, and the small grains of sand clinging to the model's skin.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Autumn Leaves at Smallwood Park

Sometimes the most beautiful images are those you find right under your feet. That was certainly the case with this photo, of autumn leaves on the ground in a park in my home town of Eatonville, Washington. Two things make this picture for me. One is, of course, the colors: the nearly monochromatic palette, with those two yellow leaves perfectly positioned in the frame. The other is the lighting, which gives the leaves an incredible sense of three-dimensional depth.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Photo of the Day: Waiting to bat

Waiting to bat, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I like the angle of this picture of Daniel on the batting bench, because it has a real sense of depth to it. What makes it work is that Daniel stands out from those around him in several ways. He's the only one in focus, he's the only one whose face isn't hidden, his face is more brightly lit than any other. As such, the eye is drawn to him, even as those around him put him in a three dimensional context.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: dikla

, originally uploaded by shay....
Whenever I find a photo I like on Flickr, I always browse through the rest of that person's photos to see what I might learn from their particular style. Sometimes I find that the person takes good photographs, but other than a few isolated examples, their style is not to my liking. That's the case with the photos of Shay Arbel, whose photos tend to be just a little odd for my taste, with a sense of ennui to them. Sometimes, though he applies that style to a photo with a more classical composition, either a black-and-white studio portrait or, as in this case, a color image taken outside. For me, this one works because that sense of being lost in a world that doesn't quite make sense, which you can see well on the face of the model, her hair in disarray across her face, matches the bare, expansive landscape she's standing in, and the gray clouds above her. That gives the image a symbolic resonance to me that many of Shay's other photos lack.

Besides, the girl is beautiful, and I love the unguarded look on her face.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Keet Seel 2

Keet Seel 2, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
In 1996, I attended some training at the Albright Training Center in Grand Canyon National Park. On one of our weekends, some friends and I drove up to northeast Arizona to visit Navajo National Monument. Keet Seel is one of the most interesting ancient ruins I've ever visited, located in the middle of the Navajo Nation and accessible only by a seven-mile hike one-way, and then only with a park service guide. The tradeoff is that the ruins are some of the best preserved anywhere. The architecture and colors are absolutely stunning.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Photo of the Day: Evan

Evan, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Evan Escamilla is my summer intern, hired through the Student Conservation Association to help manage the volunteer program at Mount Rainier National Park. Our first major event of the season, in early June, was to set up wall tents in the Longmire Campground for the use of volunteers. Evan had ducked inside the tent to put up cots. When he poked his head out to ask me a question, I had my camera ready, and captured a great spontaneous portrait.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Guest Photo of the Day: Touch

Touch, originally uploaded by Scott Morgan Images.
In contrast to some of our younger guest photographers, Scott Morgan is clearly a wise and experienced photographer, and his images, by and large, are perfectly crafted, absolutely gorgeous, and totally non-spontaneous. This photo is a wonderful exception, and I was immediately drawn to it: an image from a christening, clearly unposed, just a moment captured on film that speaks immense volumes about its context without showing any more than two hands reaching across a pool of light to touch one another.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Archive Photo of the Day: Bodie, August 2008

Bodie, August 2008, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Sometimes, the difference between a good shot and a great one is a matter of split-second timing. Usually, the best timing is in that rare moment just before the subject realizes he's being photographed, when, just for a moment, the soul is visible in someone's eyes. That was perfectly true in this perfect portrait of young Bodie.