Thursday, October 20, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Autumn leaf: orange

Autumn leaf: orange by The Bacher Family
Autumn leaf: orange, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
There's little more beautiful this time of year than a brilliant orange and yellow vine maple leaf backlit by the afternoon sun. I took this photo last year, but this same tree, outside my office at Mount Rainier National Park, has been just as gorgeous this season. The trick is to have a beautiful fall day with clear skies at the perfect moment of peak color. Any sooner, and the leaves aren't as bright; a day or two late, and the leaves have begun to shrivel and dry up. I knew what I had in this case case, so took off work an hour early and spent the time documenting the colors as thoroughly as I could. This is one of my favorite images -- I love the composition, with the yellow leaves on the left third, the orange leaf in the middle, and some negative space on the right, and with the light shining through the leaves making them seem almost aglow. I love this time of year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Photo of the day: The world in a drop of water

This time of year, I always take my camera with me when I go on walks near my office in Mount Rainier National Park. This is why. On my way past the park's Community Building, I noticed these drops of water clinging to the bottom of a wayside sign. Wouldn't it be cool, I thought, if Mount Rainier were visible through the water drops! And sure enough... it is! I spent ten minutes experimenting with various shutter speeds, f-stops, and ISO ratings, each time snapping several photos to be sure I got the close focus right without too much camera shake. This was one of the last shots I took, a testiment to the value of being persistent and thorough when documenting something as transitory as a drop of water. By the time I went by the same spot this afternoon, these little capsules of light, each with its own little world perfectly captured within, were long gone.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Photo of the day: Lee aglow

Lee aglow by The Bacher Family
Lee aglow, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Model "SounLeip" (Lee for short) at Lighting Workshop #3, South Puget Sound Photography Studio, Puyallup, Washington, October 12, 2011.

Earlier in our hour of practice, someone set up a light directly behind one of the blonde models, creating a beautiful light surrounding the hair. There's also, of course, a light in front of the model, to the left of the photographer, to fill in the face. All evening I kept waiting for Lee to be available for this light setup, because I wanted to see how it would look with a darker complexioned, darker haired model. I wasn't disappointed! Lee has red highlights dyed into her hair, and the backlight captured these beautifully. I also set up a fan in front of the model, helpfully held by Kathy, the studio owner, to add some motion to the hair. Throw in the beautiful blue feather earring, the great expression, the over-the-shoulder pose, and just a hint of tattoo on the left arm, and this is a favorite photo.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Photo of the day: Ghost Leaf

Ghost Leaf by The Bacher Family
Ghost Leaf, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I like the title my friend Petrina gave to this image -- it fits very well. When I took the picture, I first noticed the brilliant orange and green maple leaf lying almost at the apex of the gray sidewalk seams, and thought it made a nice study in contrasting lines, colors, and textures. Then I spotted the shadow of the other leaf, and made sure I included it in my picture as well. It makes a nice composition.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Photo of the day: Bean bag brothers

Bean bag brothers by The Bacher Family
Bean bag brothers, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Here's another photo from this year's Suter Reunion: David and Daniel participating in the beanbag toss. I love this perspective, and I love the way the light rims the boys' hair, the way the target hole frames the image, and even the way the rectangular aspect includes a bit of the support in the lower left, with the bright part of the image slightly off-center. I also like the way the image captures the personalities of my sons, standing side by side in their near-matching shirts. It makes for a good portrait.

Here's another image of just Daniel. I like the framing better on the photo above, and the fact that it includes both sons, but this one has the advantage of showing the beanbag, so there's a little more context to the image. I did capture a few with the beanbags in the air, but all of them obscure the face of the person throwing the bag, unfortunately.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Photo of the day: The old roof

The old roof by The Bacher Family
The old roof, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I took this photo, of the roof of the Community Building at Longmire in Mount Rainier National Park, as part of another photo challenge a few weeks ago. I'm captivated by patterns, and love the way these shingles look in the shade of the morning, so regular yet uneven, with bits of moss growing between them, and that one missing shingle adding a touch of interest and focus to the picture.

Here's another version of the same photo: I like the framing on this one better. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Photo of the day: Three-legged race

Three-legged race by The Bacher Family
Three-legged race, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Every August, schedule permitting, we drive up to Bonney Lake to attend the annual Suter Family Reunion. These are the descendants of Joseph Suter, Kelli's great-grandfather, who came over to the United States from Switzerland in 1905. We have a big picnic at the private Swiss Park in Bonney Lake, and follow up with games for everyone, including the traditional sack race and three-legged race. I captured this image of my two sons, David and Daniel, as they prepared to run their leg of the race. They look so similar, in their build, haircut, and stance, except for their sizes; for me, it makes a nice portrait of brothers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Photo of the day: Same Location, Different Photographers

IMG_3203_Kevin by The Bacher Family
Blue Moon facade, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
On Saturday, Daniel and I participated in a photo challenge called "Same Location, Different Photographer" with our friend DeForestRanger. The idea is to go to a common location, take pictures, select your three favorites, post them together, and see how they compare. To this end, Daniel and I walked the main street of Eatonville (Mashell Avenue) with my camera, snapping pictures of architecture, flowers, crows, and whatever else caught our eye. These are Daniel's and my submissions, in the order in which they were taken. First, my photo from the side of the Blue Moon Tavern, above; and looking up into the convex mirror by Key Bank, below:


And now, two of Daniel's... first, his view of a bright orange traffic cone on the roof of the Sears department store:


And next, a photo of the petunias in front of Kirk's Pharmacy:


This is my third image. I found the juxtaposition of the "Fit Club" sign above the pedestrian sign to be amusing:


And finally, Daniel's last photo, taken from the new park in downtown Eatonville, looking out toward Mount Rainier in the east:


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Goalie

Goalie by The Bacher Family
Goalie, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
November is the season for two things in the Northwest: fall sports, and fog. This photo captures both of them, as my son David stands in his well-worn spot at the soccer goal, intently watching the action unfold on the field in front of him. I love the colors and lines in this photo, and for me, the man and fence and roof in the background, partially obscured by the fog, add a sense of depth to the image.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Photo of the day: Outtake

Outtake by The Bacher Family
Outtake, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I'm participating in another photo challenge with my friend DeForestRanger--this time, along with my son Daniel, another budding photographer. Our subject of photography this time is downtown Eatonville (such as it is), so Daniel and I walked Mashell Avenue this afternoon snapping photos. Those will be featured in a day or two. In the meantime, I'll share this "outtake," a photo I took along the way just for fun. It's a reminder to me that the most enjoyable thing about photography, for me, is seeing that unusual juxtaposition that makes me smile, and hopefully others with me!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Photo of the day: Elizabeth Rose

Elizabeth Rose by The Bacher Family
Elizabeth Rose, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I took this photo at the South Puget Sound Photography Studio in Puyallup at a photo class focused on various kinds of lighting. For this practice session, we posed Elizabeth, a blonde model with pale skin, in a white dress against a white background, and experimented with various lighting setups to emphasize the curves of her face and body and the texture on her embroidered dress. This image was made with a strong side light and a full-length reflector, with a "flag" set up alongside the lightbox to reduce the amount of light cast on the backdrop. I like the way the photo came out, but I also really like the attitude of the model, and her direct look at the camera.

This image is also featured on the new photo portfolio I'm trying out, at Check it out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Archive photo of the day: A bouquet for you

A few years ago, I attended a conference in Michigan, and stayed for a few extra days to visit friends in northern Indiana. One of my best friends there, Leah, was, at the time, the manager of a large natural area, where we went walking with her two step-daughters. Little Bri loved the natural space, as any kid does at that age, and I had a great time snapping photos of her exuberance. At one point she laid down in the grass and, when I approached, handed me this bouquet of mullen leaves and dried flower heads. I snapped a quick picture, and it's one of my favorite portraits of all time.

Here are the other photos in the set...

This is also one of the photos featured on my brand new photo portfolio on Zenfolio, which I'm still "beta testing." Check it out at!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Spring flowers

(01) Spring flowers by The Bacher Family
(01) Spring flowers, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Ah, where did Spring go? As I write this, it's gray and drizzly, and snow is dusting the mountains as low as the Paradise Visitor Center at Mount Rainier -- just 43 days after the snow finally melted from last winter. This image brings back warm memories of flowers budding out in the lowlands, in this case all the way back in March near Eatonville.

Photos like this are tough, because it's so easy to burn out the whites on the flower petals, but in this case I underexposed intentionally and it came out well. I also used a very narrow depth of field, creating nice bokeh in the background.

Such promise the spring had, yet summer took so long to finally arrive, and was here so briefly!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Photo of the day: Lena

Lena by The Bacher Family
Lena, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Who says you have to be young and smooth-skinned to be beautiful? In my estimation, one of the most beautiful people at the wedding reception we attended the other night (except for the bride, of course!) was my wife's godparent, Lena Gillilan. At 90 years old, she is still sharp as a tack, even if her hearing isn't what it used to be, and the lines on her face only reflect the love and care and experience of all those decades of life. She's also, clearly, a sharp dresser -- she really rocks that brown outfit and necklace, in my opinion, and against the brown background of the couch and blanket, and with the brown highlights on her aged skin, she's part of an almost monochromatic palette. I think it's a beautiful image.

Here's another image I like:


Monday, October 3, 2011

Photo of the day: First dance

First dance by The Bacher Family
First dance, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
On Saturday night, Kelli and I attended a wedding reception for a young couple who had recently gotten married, at the home of Kelli's uncle Harrison. I took pictures all night, and made some great portraits, but the image that, for me, most captures the spirit of the evening is this one, of Tucker sharing the first dance with her new husband. I intentionally focused and metered on Tucker's intertwined fingers, with her new wedding ring, wrapped around Zach's neck, and I love the way the rest of the image falls away into unfocused darkness.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Photo of the day: Elegant curves

Elegant curves by The Bacher Family
Elegant curves, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
A new photography studio in Puyallup is hosting a series of classes on photographic lighting. This photo is from the second in the series, looking at diferent kinds of light, in this case continuous studio lighting modified by reflectors. Our model was Elizabeth Dunn, who wore a white wedding dress to add challenges to the lighting and also texture to captuer the light. We took a lot of traditional portraits, but after I'd exhausted my creativity with those basic poses, I began looking for other perspectives. This one ended up being my favorite of the evening -- so simple, yet so elegant. Here's another version of the same image that I like almost as well -- what do you think?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Archive photo of the day: Dave Uberuaga

Dave Uberuaga by The Bacher Family
Dave Uberuaga, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
A while back, before Superintendent Uberuaga left for his new post at Grand Canyon National Park, I was asked to take a portrait of him with Mount Rainier in the background. It would have been preferable to hike up to Indian Henry's Hunting Ground, or at least Glacier Vista at Paradise, but alas, there wasn't time. So, we made do by shooting across the meadow next to park headquarters, between Ashford and Elbe. It was a gorgeous day, but in some ways that made the picture even more challenging, because the Mountain was bright in the background and the afternoon sun cast the usual dark shadows under the brim of Dave's stetson. I took along a big white piece of cardboard to act as a reflector, but it didn't help a whole lot. In the end, I used a pretty novel technique to get light under the brim of that hat: I shot with my camera upsidedown, with the off-camera flash angled up from underneath! That, and a little help in Photoshop, and I managed to balance the lighting reasonably well.

I'd love to revisit this challenge someday, with a full hour to experiment with fill flashes and reflectors, and figure out how to do it without standing on my head...