Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Photo of the day: Center of attention

Center of attention, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Another photo from the Tacoma Outdoor Challenge. One of the things that was so much fun about this event was that everyone was so doggone colorful! It made it a lot of fun to snap photos. This girl, in particular, was so photogenic in her big, poofy, sequined hat and John Lennon glasses, with that red hair. I had a hard time getting a clear shot of her in the crowd, but in some ways, this photo is just as fun, framed by errant shoulders and elbows, the "center of attention" amid the throng.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photo of the day: Peace amid chaos

Peace amid chaos, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
At the Tacoma Outdoor Challenge on Saturday, I snapped a lot of photos of people in crazy outfits gearing up for a moderately strenuous event involving running around a large city park, racing the clock to do various physical challenges. This little girl was the point of stillness amid the chaos -- crashed out on her mother's back, sleepy before the festivities even got going!

Guest photo of the day: Vintageous

Vintageous, originally uploaded by billgfoto.
I came across this photo while browsing through Flickr's "Explore" page (the most "interesting" photos of the day) and fell in love with it. The colors (or rather, black and white tones) are so natural, the lighting so perfect, you can just imagine this child sitting visiting her grandmother, sitting in the chair listening to the adults talk, while the soft light from a big window washes over her. Those soulful eyes, reserved yet watchful, are so beautiful.

The photo is by Bill Gekas. I hope that someday I take photos as good as this!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Photo of the day: Fractured sleep

Fractured sleep, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
For the past two years, I've strugged with exhaustion. In 2009 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and after a lot of trial and error, I finally began sleeping better with an oral appliance that keeps my airway open during the night. This winter, the problems returned, and it now appears that I'm suffering, as well, from "central apneas," where the brain simply neglects to send signals to the lungs to breathe--in my case, about five times per hour, all night long. The lack of oxygen triggers the brain to wake up, just enough to disrupt my sleep but not enough to remember. I start breathing again, and the process repeats. My dreams--really just my consciousness surfing the waves on the surface of sleep--are pretty interesting.

I created this image in an attempt to capture what the effects of this condition feel like. I live my days feeling half awake, half in a surreal dream state. My thoughts struggle to come together, but it feels like my synapses aren't aligned properly. Time exists in a strange state where every moment feels the same as every other, with no sense of the passage of time between them. Whole days go by without feeling like time has moved. I observe my life and feel detatched from it.

I'm looking forward, now, to another sleep study, which hopefully will not only confirm my diagnosis but test solutions for dealing with it. Meanwhile, I look in the mirror, and see a fractured soul.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photo of the day: Three moves ahead

Three moves ahead by The Bacher Family
Three moves ahead, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I took this photo of my neice Stephanie as she played chess against her mother. I wanted to focus attention on her look of concentration but still capture the setting, so I used a low angle with a shallow depth of field shot across the top of the chess board. I think, in retrospect, it would have been an even better image if I'd switched to my 50mm prime lens, which would have allowed me to use an even wider aperture. Still, I like this portrait.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Archive photo of the day: In memory of Coleman

In memory of Coleman, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Coleman adopted Kelli's parents a few years ago, showing up at their door unannounced, staying for a snack and a quick pet, then disappearing again for parts unknown. Over the following months he stayed for longer and longer periods of time, and eventually accepted an invitation to stay for good. He came along with the family when they moved to a new home across town, though he would still show up at the old house from time to time on his evening rounds. A few weeks ago, losing weight and acting listless, he was diagnosed with cancer, and he finally succumbed today. He was unlooked for, but he blessed us with his friendship and became an important part of the Mettler family, one that all of us came to love, and he will be deeply missed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guest photo of the day: Dancing in the Sand

Dancing in the Sand, originally uploaded by dragon762w.
What an awesome photo! First, there's the impossibility of capturing a moment like this at JUST the right time... then, the impossibility of getting the right JUST exactly right. And yet this photographer has managed it, and also managed to capture a moment of pure exhuberance. I'm envious!

Photo of the day: The saga of the lost glove

Funny how you can photograph an event all day, with dozens of smiling kids on a field trip, including my son Daniel, sunshine, expansive landscapes, and snow, and at the end of the day, your favorite photo is a black and white version of a lost glove in a cracked parkinglot! I guess that's a sign that I'm becoming a "serious" photographer!

Still, I loved this image the moment I spotted it in the parking lot at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. I didn't move the glove in any way from its original setting, just framed a shot as I found it. I love the textures and lines, and the contrast between them and the black cloth glove lying lost in the middle. The original photo was in color, but it looked almost identical in black and white--except that black and white gave greater freedom to experiment with different tone balances, providing ultimately an even richer sense of "color" than I started with.

There's a coda to this story. After photographing the glove, I scooped it up and put it in my pocket, meaning to turn it in to the visitor center's lost and found later. I forgot, however, and ended up bringing it home. Two days later I noticed a nearly identical single glove sitting by our coat rack at home. When I produced the "lost" glove from my pocket, it matched perfectly. Whose glove was it that was lost in the parking lot at Paradise? It belonged to my own son...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Light a candle in honor

Light a candle in honor, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
My son David was inducted into the Honor Society on May 17. Proud Dad, of course, took lots of pictures! This is a favorite from the set, as the second inductee lit one of the candles on the table at the front of the "stage." She looks so poised, and that peach colored dress and flower are so pretty, and I'm so pleased with the crisp focus and shallow depth of field. I love my 85mm prime lens!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Vantage

Vantage, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I took this photo in December 2010 during the performance of a Christmas musical at our church, Bethany Lutheran in Spanaway. Our pastor was standing at the back watching, and holding his son on his shoulders for a better view. How could I resist snapping a photo? I wish I'd gotten a slightly better depth of field, but otherwise I love the expressiveness of this shot, and the mostly-brown color palette.

Hi, Pastor Galen!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo of the day: New Members

New Members, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Yesterday, the pastor at our church asked me to take some photos of the new members who had been dedicated during that morning's church service. The best lighting in the whole place is up next to the alter, where there's a big window that casts soft light across the front of the church, so that's where I posed the two families. I took several photos of each in two different poses, but the ones right next to the window are the ones I like the best!

I used my 50mm prime lens, which takes such nice photos, but since I don't have a full-frame camera I always feel like I'm halfway across the room to get everyone in the picture...

Guest photo of the day: 0653 Low Tide

Sometimes a photo just takes your breath away. Case in point! The color on this image is so rich, the depth of field so deep, the lighting so perfect to sculpt every bubble and cloud... This is truly a fantastic achievement by photographer Garry Schlatter.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photo of the day: Waiting

Waiting, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
As I've been taking pictures of David's track meets over the past month, one of the most consistently interesting poses I've observed is in the moments before the starter pistol goes off at the beginning of the race. Some kids stand around nonchalantly, others fiddle obsessively with their blocks, but most poise themselves in a posture of waiting, both relaxed and tense at the same time, coiled like a spring notched into the locked position, ready to unspool.

I like this image especially because it not only captures that interior moment of the athlete waiting for the gun, but it also has lovely color composition, with the pink of the shoes, barette, and baton all a matching pink color.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Photo of the day: Racing at Keithley

Racing at Keithley, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
David's next-to-last track meet of the season was at Keithley Middle School in Parkland, and the weather was gorgeous. Our team was on fire, winning most of the running races, including this women's relay. I shot from the east side of the field with the sun behind and to the left of my subject, which created a really nice rim light for this airborne runner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo of the day: Flag bearer

Flag bearer, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
At David's track meet on May 12, I spotted this little boy trotting across the field with a flag he'd picked up somewhere along the way. He was so proud of his discovery, and was making a beeline for his father to show it off. I was fortunate to have my camera ready and swung it up for the photo just as the framing and pose came together--the second fast shot I took wasn't nearly as good--and moments before his dad confiscated the flag to return it to the coach!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo of the day: Blue shoes

Blue shoes, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
At one of David's track meets, I spotted this young woman standing on the sidelines with her beautiful, fancy blue running shoes. I thought they made a great image, closely cropped out of the overall chaos of the meet! Sometimes it's the simple things amid the clutter that make the best pictures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest photo of the day: merops_apiaster

merops_apiaster, originally uploaded by Carlo Alberto Conti.
I had to share this wonderful photo. Beautiful light and color, great detail, and a lot of personality in this tiny bird to boot... what's not to love?!

Photo of the day: Expressive

Expressive, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
At David's track meets, I try hard to focus my camera primarily on his Eatonville Middle School classmates. But how could I resist this photogenic redhead, poised at the starting line with the sun backlighting her hair and a look of piquant concentration on her face? It's one of those moments you look for as a photographer, and hope that you can raise the camera and frame the picture fast enough to catch it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Photo of the day: Over the bar

Over the bar, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
One of my favorite images from David's May 5 track meet is this one of one of his teammates "crossing the bar" on the high jump, with dark rain clouds brooding in the background. I love the dramatic lighting and the caught-in-the-moment action, with the athlete suspended in mid-air and mid-concentration. My EOS XSi does really well with pictures like this on its "sports" setting, tracking the motion almost flawlessly and choosing a fast shutter speed to stop the action. Its only shortcoming is a relatively slow frames-per-second rate, leaving it up to the photographer to catch the right moment to trigger the shutter.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo of the day: Street portrait, April 9

During the 2011 MS Walk in Portland, I spotted this gentleman watching the parade of walkers, and had to snap a picture. His face was so interesting, with the textures of his skin and beard and the dark reflective glasses. The photo looked even better in black and white, so that's how I'm presenting it here. I like to think his personality must be is as interesting as his face!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Photo of the day: Syncopation

Syncopation, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
This young woman is a member of The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers in Portland, Oregon, a group that performs percussion at events like the Multiple Sclerosis Walk. Their rhythms add a great beat to such an event, and their flag bearers add a swirl of color as they twirl banners around the drummers. I particularly like this image because it's colorful, has a real sense of motion, and captures the awesome definition in her muscular arms.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Photo of the day: The little red balloon

The little red balloon, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
As we were waiting for the 2011 MS Walk to begin in Portland, I spotted this balloon making a break for freedom, and fired off a couple of quick shots before it got away. I love the contrast between the bright round balloon and the gray, square, neoclassical architecture behind it.
Here's another escapee:

IMG_8984_1, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photo of the day: Candid at the Concert

Candid at the Concert, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
During the final piece of the concert, I spotted this girl in the row in front of us making faces at her mother. She was bored, and very cute! I rested my camera on my knee and snapped a couple of photos. This is the best. You've gotta love a good prime lens (85mm in this case)!

Flickr-blogger link is down

Flickr is having technical problems with its link to Blogger, making the posting of photos a bit more time-consuming... I'll try to get caught up soon, either when the technical problems are resolved, or by posting photos manually when I have time. Thanks for your patience! Meanwhile, you can check out my photostream, and note that I've also updated my Flickr profile.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Photo of the day: The endless ocean

The endless ocean, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
You can't go wrong with a shot of the ocean, disappearing into the distance. You can't go wrong with a reflection in the surf. You can't go wrong with a photo of a barefoot child. And if you can capture a barefoot child wading and reflected in the surf with the ocean disappearing into the background on a beautiful lday, you have all the makings of a favorite photograph!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Daniel's world

23 Daniel's world, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I took this photo at the wedding of a good friend of ours in August of 2002. The wedding took place in a large field that, on a clearer day, would have had a view of Mount Rainier in the distance. David and Daniel enjoyed playing in the wide open grass of the pasture, so I took this photo intentionally with Daniel in the lower-right corner, with the expansive view spread out ahead of him. In some ways it reminds me of the composition in Andrew Wyeth's famous painting "Anna's World."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Phony people

Phony people, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
This colorful billboard of dogma and slogans was on the side of a mobile trailer parked in the parking lot at Crater Lake National Park during the summer of 2002. I don't know if they came up to the park because they felt they'd encounter people who needed to hear their message, or because even zealots need a vacation now and then. Either way, it made a great, colorful image to photograph!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Archive photo of the day: The gray sea in the window

In 2007, we vacationed in Oceanside, Oregon, and stayed at a rental house called the Blue Sea Cottage. It was a cozy place to be with a great view of the ocean, and sometimes that view looked like this for long spells of time, with the rain driving straight at us off the stormy gray sea! When I took this photo, I was struck by how much the image through the rain-streaked window looked like one that had been photoshopped with a fancy filter. I assure you, this image is SOOC--Straight Out Of the Camera, with no editing involved. I think it makes a great natural painting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Archive photo of the day: A Kiss

A Kiss, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
In honor of Mother's Day, here is one of my all-time favorite photos of Kelli and our son Daniel. I believe she had visited Daniel's daycare for a Mother's Day event, but I don't remember whether this pose was spontaneous or posed. Either way, it captures very nicely, for me, the love between a child and his mother, and vice versa. In our family, both are very blessed.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Archive Photo of the Day: Oceanside Parasail

18 Oceanside Parasail, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
We were midway through a week of Spring Vacation in Oceanside, Oregon when we noticed parasailer drifting down over our beachfront cottage onto the beach. We followed their trail back to the ridge overlooking town, and I shot some fantastic shots of the brightly colored sails launching out into the magnificent blue of a spring day. I love the way the light catches the leading edge of the sail so that it almost glows...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photo of the day: Spring maple

Spring maple, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
I was visiting my sister's house last month and had to take a walk outside because of my allergies (I know, that sounds unusual, but my biggest allergy is to cats). I had my camera with me, so I walked around looking for things to photograph, and these brand new leaves on the maple tree in the yard caught my eye. So new, so perfect, so nicely lit! I was even more pleased whn I converted it to black and white--the lighting is so crisp and clean, with nice bokeh behind. The color version's nice, too, but in my opinion the black and white captures the beautiful tones better.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Photo of the day: Tolovana Panorama

Tolovana Panorama, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
One of the challenges of photographing a wide, sweeping panorama is capturing something that vaguely resembles the openness of that kind of scene in a picture, especially when you don't own a fish-eye lens. (And even then, the image usually just ends up looking weird.) Thank goodness for Photoshop, and its robust panorama stitching capabilities! I took this series of photographs--eight of them, if I remember right, steadied by tripod in the dusk--from our second-floor balcony at the Tolovana Inn near Cannon Beach, Oregon. We had one of the south-facing rooms this year, so no view of Haystack Rock, but the sweep of clouds over the Pacific Ocean still can't be beat.

Of course, now you have to view it at a size that gives some measure of justice to its wide dimensions! Click on this one to see it in light box at the largest size your monitor will allow, and just for a moment, imagine the smell of salt air in the breeze, and the ubiquitous stereophonic roar of the waves in the distance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo of the day: Lupine alight

Lupine alight, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Here's yet another photo taken while geocaching--in this case, making a first-to-find in Lebanon, Oregon. It had rained overnight, and lupine are always especially beautiful with water droplets glistening on their tiny hairs. This particular lupine, through some trick of lighting, seemed positively glowing as the morning light caught the wet edges, a phenomenon that looks even better in black and white. In addition to the great contrast, I love the repeating shapes in this image, and I'm especially pleased with the perfect depth of field, which keeps the top whorl of leaves in focus while the ones in the background disappear into the blur.

Guest photo of the day: Lisa dancing in the morning beach

Sometimes you come across a photo that just captures your imagination. This one, quite simply, makes me happy: a beautiful woman, not altogether young but full of life, caught in a great carefree pose on a morning beach. The lighting is perfect, the moment is perfectly captured, and it's the kind of image I'd love to have taken myself. A all-around great portrait by Peter Kostov!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Archive Photo of the day: Parasailer over Oceanside

In 2007, while vacationing in Oceanside, Oregon, we were treated to half a dozen or so parasailers who gathered to launch themselves from the bluffs above town. This is one of my favorite images, of a parasailer passing over in a beautiful spring sky, the light caught in the translucent fabric of the sail.

Bronze woman in the fountain

One of my favorite sculptures anywhere is this one in Cannon Beach, Oregon. A lightly draped woman in bronze, she stands in a courtyard fountain, holding a shell from which water overflows. She has a classical beauty, and I often wonder who the model was, and if this is a good representation of her, and what her connection was to this town, if any.

A beautiful woman is always a good subject for photography, even if she's first been cast in bronze.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Photo of the day: Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
On a day when we celebrate the relief of finally killing the mastermind behind the attacks of September 11, 2011, it's appropriate to also remember the thousands of people who lost their lives on that day--and the thousands more that have died in the aftermath of war. This photo is my tribute, shot through the windshield of my car on a rainy morning in Ashford, Washington.

Credit for the idea behind this shot has to go to my wonderfully creative niece, Jessica, whose version of this picture sits by my desk at work.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Photo of the day: The agony of success

The agony of success, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
David's first track meet of the season was Friday, and this was my favorite photo. I love the look on Ron's face as he strains toward the finish line -- he was well ahead of his nearest competition, but that didn't stop him from trying to get the best time he possibly could.

The original version of this photo was slightly different, of course. I had fun playing with it in photoshop, first carefully selecting Ron and the ground around his feet and blurring the rest, as if I'd used a wider aperture in the original photo than, in fact, I did. That helped to bring the focus on the runner, but he still blended in with the background more than I liked. So, I converted the background to black and white. Voila! The photo I was looking for. This captures all of the drama in Ron's posture, while keeping the attention riveted on him where it belongs instead of on the busy, distracting background.