Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photo of the Day: Seattle Pride 2011: Steph!

After the Seattle Pride Parade.

This was one of those wonderful photographic moments when, as I was walking by, I glanced over, saw the image, raised the camera, and snapped the photo, all in a single thought. I find that Some of the best images are captured that way. She's such a pretty woman, and there's such an intense and direct look in her eye. Compositionally, I love that I framed the image just right without cutting off her fingers, and I love that the image includes her monogrammed coffee cup (with its exclamation mark!), the full text on her shirt, and a hint of the tattoo on her wrist. There's a hell of a lot of personality in the image.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Photo of the day: Geocacher at Mount Rainier

At the geocaching event last week, I tried to get photos of all the geocachers who were in attendance. This was one of my last pictures, but one of my favorites. I like the low angle and the bit of rim lighting, which nicely sets off and provides dimension to the body and face. The shallow depth of field works well, and it's a great natural pose, too.

I don't like this image quite as well, though I do enjoy the candid pose and the expressive face.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Photo of the day: Cache in, Trash out

Cache in, Trash out by The Bacher Family
Cache in, Trash out, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Every year since 2007, local geocachers have come out to Mount Rainier National Park to help with a volunteer project, usually campground maintenance of some kind. For the past few years the project, specifically, has been to help open the Longmire volunteer campground. They sweep up debris that falls over the winter, set up platforms, and set up wall tents for volunteers to use. This year, our youngest volunteer, pictured here, was proud to help in any way she could, and she wielded a broom with great aplomb. I was lucky enough to catch that look of pride on her face as she helped sweep off one of the platforms.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Tahquitz Hummingbird

While we're on the topic of hummingbirds, here's another of my favorites. I took this photo in Tahquitz Canyon, near Palm Springs, while we were on vacation back in 2006. The canyon was full of these hummingbirds buzzing and diving all over the place. We could hear them, but getting a picture was a lost hope, until one of them happened to stop and rest on a branch nearby. I was lucky enough to get a couple of pictures before it moved on.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird by The Bacher Family
Rufous Hummingbird, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Hummingbirds are notoriously difficult to photograph. They are SO fast that by the time you snap the shutter they've usually moved on. It helps to have a hummingbird feeder, even though that feels a bit like cheating! I like this image because the body of the bird is so sharp, but the wings are blurred by motion, and the background is perfectly reduced to bokeh.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Daniel on the Longmire Bridge

n 2004, the opening day of interpretive training fell on my day off. I decided to drive in to the park anyway to join the group for the group photo and seasonal welcome. Daniel wasn't in school yet, so he came along with me. It was a beautiful day, so we took our time wandering back across the river to our car, and I took this photo looking back across the bridge. I love the combination of converging lines and Daniel's unselfconscious playing with sticks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photo of the day: Natural attitude

Natural attitude by The Bacher Family
Natural attitude, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Here's another photo of Bri from her brother's birthday party. This one's completely candid, and I love the sass and attitude apparent in her pose. She looks like a professional model working the cameras, but really this is just her personality, and I was lucky to capture the moment!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Photo of the day: Ad astra

Ad astra by The Bacher Family
Ad astra, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
At her brother's birthday party at the "Putting Zoo" in Puyallup, I spotted Brianna fooling around on top of one of the miniature golf structures. I didn't catch her in time to get this shot candid, but she readily recreated it for me and I shot quickly to preserve at least some of the spontaneity of the gesture. The original image included a bit of the adjacent lamp pole and batting cage behind Bri, but I much prefer this photoshopped version with those distractions removed. Now, if only the moon had been just beyond her finger!

Bri's brother is recovering from a bone marrow transplant, and the experience has been very difficult for the whole family, so this could just as easily be titled with the full Latin phrase, per aspera, ad astra: through adversity, to the stars.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Grandpa Frank

Grandpa Frank by The Bacher Family
Grandpa Frank, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I took this photo of Kelli's Grandpa Frank in April 1996, just after we got married but before we left for Florida. I don't remember the setting--it must have been Easter or somebody's birthday, because we were gathered in the back yard of Kelli's parents' house having cake, and Frank was expounding on something important. This has always been a favorite family photo because it captures so much of Grandpa's personality--that shrewd look in the eyes, the robust health despite his age (82 at this point on his way to 93), the old logger's style with suspenders and white undershirt, and the love of a good story.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Photo of the day: Black hole

Black hole by The Bacher Family
Black hole, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
One of the most challenging aspects of the central sleep apnea I'm dealing with is the feeling that I'm being sucked into a black hole where time has no meaning. The sense of time telescopes, so that last week feels the same as last month or last night. I've found myself repeatedly referring to a calendar to figure out how long ago something happened, because my own sense of the passage of time is unreliable. It resembles how I imagine it might feel to fall into a black hole, where all sense of time and space is warped beyond normal experience. And it seems to be getting worse.

I have a sleep study scheduled for this coming Wednesday the 15th. After that, through whatever application of medical technology my doctors might bring to bear, I hope to leave, at last, the twilight world between sleep and wakefulness in which I've lived for the past few months.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Photo of the Day: The Call

The Call by The Bacher Family
The Call, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
For her piano recital, Rachel (seated) chose a piece of music called "The Call," from the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." Trouble was, it didn't sound very exciting purely as a piano piece. So she convinced her older sister Megan to sing the vocal part, and they made fantastic music together!

I like the way this photo came out both because of the story behind it, and also because of the wonderful contrast between the two sisters: Megan, in black boots and red hair falling into her face, and Rachel, in a skirt and bare feet with her hair pulled back in tight braids. My own sons are just such a study in contrasts, and yet equally devoted to each other (when they're not driving each other crazy).

Update: Here's another version of the photo, with Mrs. Phipps edited out from behind Rachel. My apologies to her, but she's barely visible anyway, and to me, the image is stronger with just the two sisters. What do you think?

The Call, v. 2

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo of the day: A basket of gnomes

A basket of gnomes by The Bacher Family
A basket of gnomes, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
This is a basket of flowers and homemade cards and images that Kelli put together for a friend who's retiring from the local school district. She really outdid herself with this one! I photographed it on our porch with a shallow depth of field and a touch of backlighting in the morning light.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Daniel in the corn maze

This one's both an archive and a "guest" image, because it was taken not by me but by my wife Kelli. It's one of my favorite images of our son Daniel, way back in 2004 when he was not quite four years old, finding his way through a corn maze near Orting. I love the way the receding corn rows and path lead your eye into the picture and toward Daniel, striding purposefully around the corner in his green boots. It captures well both his personality and the general spirit of discovery of a child.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Photo of the day: Fire in the Nisqually Canyon

On my way home from work today, I passed a fire in full blaze about a hundred feet over the side of Highway 7 in the Nisqually Canyon. A couple of guys parked by the road said it was a vehicle on fire, so I returned to Alder where I could get cell service and called 911. Fire trucks from Fire District 23 responded and put out the blaze, while I stayed and took pictures--in part, hoping to learn the rest of the story. Turns out the car had gone over the edge four days before, and the driver had escaped with relatively minor injuries. Why the car caught fire so many days later was a mystery, but at least no one was in the car when it did so.

The lighting was dim in the evening under the trees, and most of the best action was over the canyon rim and out of sight, but I managed to get several good shots nevertheless, especially with my 50mm prime lens. This one was my favorite. It captures the size of the response, the colorful engines and uniforms, and the sense of relaxed activity among the firefighters.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Photo of the day: Young Chief Joseph

Young Chief Joseph by The Bacher Family
Young Chief Joseph, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
For a 7th grade project in Washington state history, David had to choose an individual significant to the state, research and write a biographical essay, and then make a presentation to his class--in character and in costume. David chose Chief Joseph, worked hard on his research, and put together a fantastic essay and presentation. Kelli and I helped him put together the elements of a costume--a cheap wig from Amazon.com, an imitation eagle feather, a string of beads, a strip of imitation rabbit fur, and a stand-in for a Pendleton blanket. Above, he's getting ready to make his presentation for the class. Below, he's standing in front of his class, waiting to begin, with the image of the man he is portraying on the screen behind him--present in spirt, embodied by a new generation. David was very impressed by Chief Joseph's service to his people, his dedication to peace, and his commitment to equal rights for all people.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Photo of the day: Chris above Alta Vista

Snowhoeing with my friend Leah on May 14 above Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park, we crossed paths with a good friend and coworker, Chris Roundtree, who, like us, was headed up to Glacier Vista with a friend. We stopped a chatted for a while, and I captured this great shot of him against the snow. You can actually see all three of the rest of us in the reflection on his sunglasses, including me taking the picture.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Photo of the day: Ranger Curt in the Jackson Visitor Center

After snowshoeing with a good friend at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park in mid May, we stopped in at the visitor center to warm up and check out the exhibits and gift shop. I shot this image from the balcony in front of the gift shop, looking down at ranger Curt Jacquot assisting visitors at the information desk. I'm pleased with how clear the picture came out, in spite of the dim light in the room. The patient smile on Curt's face also captures very well the attitude of great customer service that he provides.

Here's another photo from the same spot, of ranger Judy Kennedy preparing for a snowshoe walk. It actually helps that it was a cloudy day--on a sunny day, the light and shadows in this part of the room can be so intense that half your image is either burnt out or plunged into darkness.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Photo of the day: Trail of the Shadows II

My good friend Crow (aka DeForestRanger) and I have joined a unique photogroup called "same location, different photographer." The goal is to set a common location and have two photographers seperately visit and photograph at that location. Then you both post your three best photos and compare! Crow chose the setting for our first challenge: the second bridge going clockwise around the Trail of the Shadows in Mount Rainier National Park. This is one of my three photos from that location. Here are the other two I submitted:


Friday, June 3, 2011

Photo of the day: Clark's Nutcracker at Paradise

While snowshoeing at Paradise, in Mount Rainier National Park, we spotted this Clark's Nutcracker sitting atop a car in the parking lot. I was able to get quite close to it -- close enough to see the individual hairs on the individual feathers ruffling in the wind. You can also see that massive, strong beak, ideal for cracking into seeds and retrieving their nourishment during the long, severe winters at high elevation where these birds live.

This fellow, of course, was hoping for a handout--but we know better; we know that our food does not sustain it the way this bird's natural foods do, and that the nutcracker's habit of caching food to eat later leads it to contaminate natural stores with easily-spoiled human snacks. Resist the temptation to turn national parks into petting zoos, and keep wildlife wild!

Clark's Nutcracker by The Bacher Family
Clark's Nutcracker, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Photo of the day: Dreaming in Cannon Beach

Dreaming in Cannon Beach

During our Spring Vacation, we spent five days and four nights in Tolovana Park, just south of Cannon Beach, Oregon. The last night we were there I hiked north along the beach to Haystack Rock and experimented with long exposures, looking south at the town spread out below the mountains of the Coast Range. This is my favorite, though this one, pictured below, is a close second! I love how dreamy the water looks, with the long exposure turning the waves into mist, and the low clouds hanging over the peaks.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Passing the s'more test


Passing the s'more test, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Now that June is here, it's time to start thinking about summer camping opportunities. In fact, we've already had our first campfire cookout in our back yard, roasting hot dogs and s'mores over Memorial Day weekend, and Daniel is already pestering us to get out the tent and head for the hills. Whenever we cook s'mores, this photo inevitably comes into the conversation.

In 2003, we spent a weekend camping at Ohanapecosh Campground in Mount Rainier National Park. Of all the photos I took that weekend, this was the iconic image: our two sons, ages 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 at the time, sitting side by side eating s'mores. It's not technically a great image, but it captures the boys' personalities so perfectly that it will always be a favorite: David, on the right, sitting prim and proper, trying hard to keep his hands clean, holding his s'more delicately, while his brother Daniel, on the left, slouches in his chair with his feet up and more marshmallow on his clothes, face, and hands than in his mouth!