Saturday, April 30, 2011

Photo of the day: Fetch

Fetch, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Walking along Cannon Beach during Spring Vacation, we encountered this very cute dog playing fetch with his owner. He was such a photogenic character that I stopped to take some pictures, and amazingly, he stood and posed for me -- then proceeded to trot right up to me, standing patiently while I petted him! His owner laughed and said that I brought it on myself by kneeling down to his level for the photo -- he was actually a trained companion dog who worked with people in nursing homes. With the owner's permission, we all played fetch with him for a while before moving on down the beach with memories of a new friend.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Photo of the day: The hunt

The hunt, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
In the end, it wasn't much of a "hunt." Volunteers from the Town of Eatonville scattered 3,000 plastic Easter Eggs filled with candy in three different fields (for three different age ranges) behind the Elementary School. Excited kids lined up, and at the "go" they dashed into the grass to collect as many eggs as quickly as they could. I followed with my camera, literally running to keep up; few of those photos turned out at all, but they gave me a time-stamped chronicle of the event proving that from start to finish, collecting all 3,000 eggs took precisely 93 seconds! Now, if only we could get kids this motivated to pick up trash, or pull weeds...

To make this photo and the next one, I laid down on my belly in the grass and focused on the egg, with the lined up people blurred behind. That's Daniel on the far left in the orange and black jacket, holding a white plastic bag.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photo of the day: Brothers on a bench

Brothers on a bench, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
This combination sculpture and park bench is in Cannon Beach, Oregon. David and Daniel thought it was very creative, and it put them in a great mood to be photographed! Of course, being brothers, they started out on opposite ends of the bench... but we insisted they scooch together, thus the silly grins on their faces, saying, "I love my brother, but I'd never admit it to you!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Photo of the day: Grading papers

Grading papers, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Despite what you hear about teachers working six hours a day and getting three months of vacation, the reality is that most teachers bring work home with them and spend their summers taking classes and preparing the next year's lesson plans. Such was the case for my brother-in-law Jon, who was busy spending his weekend on classwork while the rest of us read, played chess and Wii Party, and generally caroused shamelessly around him.

I spotted Jon lit by the glow of his laptop and snapped a quick photo, later correcting the color balance and adding a vignette. I can't decide whether I like the vignette or not, but it does focus more attention on Jon and less on my father reading his Kindle in the background.
A teacher's work is never done

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Photo of the day: The underside of green

The underside of green, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I spotted these beautiful ferns, backlit by a cloudy sky, as I was deep in the brush hunting for a geocache in Albany, Oregon. As soon as I found the cache and signed the log, I put down my GPS unit and picked up my camera. I love the color and the sharp definition in these leaves, combined with the beautiful soft green bokeh in the background.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Photo of the day: Nuts

Nuts, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I spotted this accumulation of walnuts, debris, and litter in a ditch in Albany, Oregon while geocaching with my father. Sometimes the "scenery" is more interesting than the hunt! It made for a nice pattern to capture on camera.

I also really like the image in black and white. Which do you prefer?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Photo of the day: Teasel

Teasel, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Teasel is a noxious weed... but like so many weeds, it's beautiful in its own way, with a striking profile full of delicate (and painful to the touch) barbs and spines. It looks like something designed by Tim Burton in his Edward Scissorhands phase, and it's perfect for a black and white silhouette. I like the bokeh behind this image. The color version is nice too.

I photographed this while geocaching with my father in Corvallis, Oregon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Dishes by candlelight

Dishes by candlelight, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
The winter of 1995-96 was a stormy one in our little home at the foot of Mount Rainier, with lots of rain, snow, wind, and power outages. I took this photo as Kelli worked in the kitchen by candlelight. Wish I could remember if it was on a tripod or just a lucky handheld shot; either way, it makes a neat portrait.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Photo of the day: Sunset sentinel

Sunset sentinel, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Ever since I saw a photo like this for the first time, I've wanted to make one myself, with a long exposure at the ocean blurring the waves into an ethereal mist. This night at Tolovana Park, just south of Cannon Beach, was the perfect opportunity. I stayed out well past sunset experimenting with various camera settings. This one, my best shot, involved actually standing in the surf zone as the waves broke around my boots, in order to fill the frame with water and the rock in the foreground. The sky still had just enough color to be beautiful, and the seagull standing on top of the rock stayed still enough to outlast my exposure. The beautiful blue light of dusk topped it all off to make this one of my favorite photos of our week at the beach.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photo of the day: Dusk at Tolovana

Dusk at Tolovana, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I stayed out well after dusk at Tolovana Beach, experimenting with long exposures. On the way back to the hotel, on a whim, I set up this self-exposure, taken for 15 seconds at f/4.0 and 800 ISO. I love the way the color came out, in the blue light of dusk, with my reflection on the beach in front of me.

The same dusk self-portrait on Tolovana Beach, but converted to stark black and white. I think I prefer the natural (blue) light of dusk, but there's something dramatic and bold about this image too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photo of the day: Spring flowers

Spring flowers, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
There are few things more beautiful after a long winter than spring flowers. These are just outside my breakfast window, and they looked so fine as the morning sun came over the fense into our back yard, highlighting each bud. They looked good to a hummingbird, too, but he was too quick for me -- I was never able to anticipate where he'd be well enough to catch him in the fraction of a second it took to press the shutter. Still, I can't complain, with red flowering currant blossoms like these shining translucently in the morning light.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Surfing without a surf board

I took this photo during the summer of 2006 on a trip to the Washington coast. The ocean is always a beautiful subject, especially on a gorgeous summer day when the water is even bluer than the sky. My kids could always be counted on to be good subjects as well, as they played in the surf in their bright summer colors!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Photo of the day: State of Grace

State of Grace, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I took this photo of young Grace at The Old Spaghetti Factory after the 2011 MS Walk in Portland, in the section of the restaurant with big bay windows overlooking the Willamette River. The soft lighting made for great portraits, and I especially like the way the black and white conversions look. She woke up a bit later, but in these early photos, Grace was pretty tired; but even drowsy, she had such an expressive face!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The smell of Spring

The smell of Spring, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Can't you just smell the flowers?

I took this photo along the waterfront in Portland, Oregon while walking in the 2011 Multiple Sclerosis Walk. The cherries along the river were so pretty, so I thought I'd experiment with filling the entire frame with the pink of the blossoms. The color is so soft and subtle that I was able to punch up the color saturation white a bit without making the photo look unrealistic--in fact, if anything, it only makes the color look closer to the vibrant reality, so pink you can almost smell them through the computer screen. I think it actually helps that this photo was taken on a cloudy day, because it keeps the contrast low and focuses attention on the color.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Photo of the day: Jessica in 3D

Jessica in 3D, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I took a series of photographs of my neice Jessica after our dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland, following the MS Walk last weekend. She was wearing these funky 3D glasses for some reason, and they really gave her face an interesting look. I'm not sure why, but the resulting photos look better to me in black and white than in color -- maybe it's the contrast between those big black glasses and her relatively pale face and teeth. Check out the other two images in my photostream, but for me, this is my favorite, featuring Jess's big grin and that hair falling into her eyes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Photo of the day: Young prismatist

Young prismatist, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
At our first rest stop in the 2011 Multiple Sclerosis Walk in Portland, I spotted this colorfully dressed child standing with her parents. I jockeyed for position, looking for the right moment and angle to take a photo, when she spotted me and gave me a pose. No shy child here! I love the way she's framed by the legs and feet of her much taller companions, and the way the light catches her face with just a touch of highlight. You can't beat her pose and expression,either!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Photo of the day: I walk for ME

I walk for ME, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
This year we participated again in the Portland MS Walk on behalf of my sister Lisa, who was diagnosed in 2006. This is her own tag. We also walk for the hundreds of thousands of others who live with te disease every day. We walk for a day when MS can be arrested, stopped, and cured. You can help, by making a contribution to the National MS Society.

See my complete set of photos from our MS walk on my Flickr site.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photo of the day: Snowshoe reflections

Snowshoe reflections, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
In March, a group of "lackeys" from Groundspeak, a geocaching company in Seattle, came out to Mount Rainier for a guided snowshoe walk. I had the privilege of volunteering to lead the group, on a nice winter day with sun and clouds and lots of fresh snow. I took this photo of one of the members of the group, toward the end of the walk, with other members of the team reflected in his sunglasses and the Tatoosh Range behind him in the distance.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Photo of the Day: Sky light

Sky light, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Our good friends the Prices have moved to Eatonville, and are building a home north of town. We went out to visit them in March to see the progress, and I took this photo of Megan, sitting in what will eventually be her bedroom.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Photo of the day: The Other Side (Explored!)

Today's "Daily Challenge" was to take a photo that represents "The Other Side." I filed that fact in my brain and went on about my business, attending church with my family, while my subconscious ran ideas through the tumbler. On my way home from church this idea surfaced. From there, it was only a matter of finding a sign that would fit what I had in mind, and then implementing the idea. I took thirty photos, all of them bracketed, so I'd have plenty to choose from. I'm pleased with the result (a bluer sky would have been nice, but what the heck, this IS Washington), and was surprised and pleased to wake up Monday morning to find this my first photo selected for Explore, Flickr's collection of the most "interesting" photos of the day!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Photo of the day: Sunset at Battery Point

Sunset at Battery Point, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
This is my favorite photo from an amazing sunset over the harbor in Crescent City. I love the massive purple clouds in the distance, and the orange flow of the sky above them, with the Battery Point lighthouse silhouetted in the foreground.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Archive photo of the day: In service to our country

There are many ways to serve your country... this is Lloyd Smith, National Park Service volunteer, at Mount Rainier National Park.

I took this picture on a late winter (March) day in 2003 at Paradise, during one of those winters when we get 16 feet of snow on the ground by the beginning of April before it finally starts melting faster than it accumulates. Lloyd had served as a volunteer for decades at Crater Lake National Park, moved to Washington state just a year before I did, and at my invitation began volunteering at Mount Rainier. He loves the winter programs: leading snowshoe walks, having lots of time to chat with visitors at the front desk, and even tackles the less glamourous jobs with gusto, like chipping ice off the front walkway. It seemed appropriate to include the stars and stripes in the photo.

This image is featured on my photo blog,, on April 9, 2011, the day after the federal government came within an hour of shutting down over a lack of compromise on the federal budget. In such an event, even our dedicated volunteers would be shut out of their national parks. At Mount Rainier, 2,000 people volunteer in a typical year, contributing more than 70,000 hours of service worth $1.5 million dollars.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photo of the day: Swimming in clouds

Swimming in clouds, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I spent four days in Crescent City, California while attending training at Redwood National Park. My final evening, I took a walk along the waterfront, enjoying a magnificent sunset. I couldn't resist photographing this piece of artwork among the docks; from the right angle, it lookeds like the whales are swimming through the evening sky!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest photo of the day: Untitled by Neil Harvey

Untitled, originally uploaded by 14nelson.
I came across this photo this evening and had to share it with you. This is one of the more extraordinary images I've seen in a while. The light is perfect, and the unique composition makes it especially fantastic.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Kelli at Cricketwood

Kelli at Cricketwood, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
For her birthday, my favorite photo of Kelli. Happy birthday!

I took this photo of Kelli at a Bed & Breakfast in Bend, Oregon, where we were visiting for a special Valentine's Day trip. It was a cold, gray, wintery day, but I like how her brown outfit and hair match the tree in the foreground and the grass and building in the background, and the way the trunks of the tree frame the photo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Star Tracks: Lunar eclipse

I took this photo on February 20, 2008 during a lunar eclipse, experimenting with very long time exposures. The moon was orange from the eclipse, and the stars streaked across the sky while the shutter was open, presumably for more than 16 minutes according to the EXIF data, though I don't remember for sure. I find the various colors of their tracks interesting, and wonder if it has anything to do with the stars themselves, or is a figment of the digital process. The two dotted tracks across the middle of the frame are an added bonus: these were airplanes flying by with their flashing lights.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Photo of the day: Death Valley farewell

Death Valley farewell, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
By all means, view this photo at full size in flickr's Lightbox (just click on the image).

The final hour of our final day in Death Valley National Park, as we were on our way back to the car after finishing our final trail at Salt Creek, our attention was drawn to a coyote making her way silently through the brush on the far side of the creek. I started snapping pictures, following along as the coyote moved in and out of view; each picture was better than the last. Finally, the coyote stopped and looked directly across the creek at me, backlit by the morning sun, then turned and disappeared for good. This was the last photo I took of her.

Every time I look into those eyes, staring back at me across the creek, with her vast desert home spread out behind her, it reminds me of how much we fell in love with Death Valley during our brief visit... and what a wild and beautiful place it is.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Photo of the Day: 20 Mule Team Borax

20 Mule Team Borax, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Back in the day, one of the most successful commercial enterprises in what is now Death Valley National Park was the Harmony Borax Works, which harvested borax deposits off the valley floor for about eight years starting in 1881. At the height of its success, the company paid Chinese laborers about a dollar a day to gather the raw mineral, which was then recrystalized into its pure form. Massive wagons, pulled by teams of twenty mules, hauled the product out to market. Unfortunately for their business, the summer temperatures in Death Valley were too hot for the recrystalization process, and the business eventually went bust. Today all that remains are some crumbling buildings and a few sun-bleached, sand-blasted remnants of the old wagons.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Photo of the day: Desert wildflowers

Desert wildflowers, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
The abundance or scarcity of wildflowers in Death Valley National Park has everything to do with rain... or the lack thereof. Not only does it need to come in the right quantities, it needs to be at the right time. This year, the desert had plenty of rain in November, but when February came around the weather stayed dry. We saw quite a few wildflowers, purple and pink and yellow, but nowhere near the abundance of some years. This beauty was right beside the road, enjoying a bit of protection from the dessicating winds among the rocks, with a gorgeous view of the valley and the distant mountains beyond.

Guest Photo of the Day: What shall we do this weekend?

What shall we do this weekend?, originally uploaded by Sol Lang.
I've featured Sol Lang before, but this new photo deserves special attention. I love Lang's use of color--the red couch, the red highlights on the model's face, the hint of bright underwear. Also, his use of lines to focus the attention of the viewer--the strong background verticals leading into the converging lines of the couch, arms, and legs. Top that off with an unusual perspective, up close with a wide angle, and the gently provocative expression and wardrobe, and this is a an all-around exceptional image.