Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo of the day: Clouds over Eagle Peak

First of all, there's no way any picture could be as impressive as this looked in person. The huge clouds sweeping up over Eagle Peak, in Mount Rainier National Park, were awesome to see in person, especially in contrast with the fine detail of the snow-flocked trees beneath them.

I'm not entirely pleased with my attempt to capture the scene, either in color or black and white, and I'm not entirely sure what's missing. The vibrancy of color, perhaps, in the color version, and the stunning clarity of the detail in the black and white. You really have to see this full-size -- blown up as big as your wide-ratio flatscreen monitor can handle -- and in the original RAW or TIFF to get the effect.

Ah, well. Sometimes the splendor of nature just exceeds our capacity to reduce it to compressed pixels!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo of the day: A glimpse of glaciers

While taking a walk with a friend in the Longmire Campground at Mount Rainier National Park in early April, I spotted the Mountain through the trees, with its craggy upper Nisqually Glacier on prominent display among the shifting clouds. I loved the way the trees framed the scene, so quickly fired off a half a dozen shots of it before the clouds moved in and completely obscured the view. This one's my favorite. I suppose you'd have to shoot HDR to capture both the white glaciers and the foreground trees without washing out the former or silhouetting the latter.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photo of the day: Grandma Pat

Grandma Pat by The Bacher Family
Grandma Pat, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I always enjoy taking pictures of my sons dyeing Easter eggs, but this year, some of my favorite photos are those I captured along the way of David and Daniel's grandmother, Pat. I'm really pleased with the lighting in these photos, and the separation of focus between her portrait and the background. I was using a diffused flash bounced off the ceiling.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo of the day: Feathered clouds over the Mountain

Mount Rainier is an endless source of images for a photographer. It changes with every inflection of light, and the clouds that enshroud it, blanket it, veil it, and dance around it are constantly changing. As I drive in to work each morning, and head for home each evening, I slow down and look over my shoulder at each viewpoint to see what the latest version of the Mountain looks like. This was the scene in early April as I headed in to work, with the morning light painting the Mountain in subtle pastels and a beautiful feather of a cloud hovering over its eastern flank.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photo of the day: Longmire Suspension Bridge

It's amazing just how well my iPhone takes pictures -- if the conditions are just right. Give it dim light or any movement, and the photos look like they were taken by a quarter-inch-thick piece of electronics with an eighth-of-an-inch lens. But bright landscapes can be surprisingly decent. Here, I experimented with the camera's HDR feature, which did a nice job on the high-contrast snowy scenery and saturated the colors on the bridge nicely. It's nice to have such a camera in my pocket when I don't happen to have the larger and heavier SLR along.

Here's another I like almost as well of the Mountain in sunlight and the foreground in shadow. I took this picture specifically to see how well the HDR would compensate. It's not perfect, but it does an amazingly good job considering what it has to work with. And it's actually a lot easier than setting up my SLR with a tripod and then using software to generate the HDR...

The Mountain in snow

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photo of the day: The Director

The Director by The Bacher Family
The Director, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
From David's band concert at the end of April: Mrs. Danielson directs the 6th Grade band. Here's one of Mr. Hunter directing the 7th Grade band:


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photo of the day: On the bleachers

On the bleachers by The Bacher Family
On the bleachers, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

I love the minimalist composition of this photo: just a pair of shoes sitting by themselves on the bleachers, with almost no context whatsoever to give you a clue to their backstory. Were they left behind? Is there a barefoot baby toddling around nearby? Where are the owners of these shoes? The photo doesn't say. But the lighting draws your attention to the shoes, pristine white against the gray background, and leaves you wondering: what's the story?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Photo of the day: Expressive eyes

Expressive eyes by The Bacher Family
Expressive eyes, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Children are such natural models. I spotted this young individual at a band concert at Eatonville Middle School. She had just caught on that I was taking her picture, and didn't recognize me as one of the relatives-with-a-camera for whom she must pose and be cute. Children in this state are, unlike adults, completely open about the emotions that play across their face. They haven't yet developed the masks that most of us wear as we grow older, as we learn that it's dangerous and risky to let others see our naked feelings.

The emotions on this child's face are complex. A bit of fear, maybe, of a strange man looking her way, a touch of curiosity, a healthy dose of just feeling tired. It's all there in those dark eyes, with the nice catchlights from the ceiling reflected in them. I wish the depth of field were a little deeper, but in dim light I'm just pleased to zero in on those expressive eyes.

I like this photo, too -- perhaps not as expressive, but a little brighter. I can't decide which I like best.

Natural model

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Photo of the day: Sunday best

Sunday best by The Bacher Family
Sunday best, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Let's face it, the cutest part of Easter Sunday is not the Easter eggs or Easter bunny, it's little girls dressed up in their Easter best, out in the Spring sunshine. That was certainly true of the Easter egg hunt at our church. I especially like this photo of a young girl alight in the morning sun. It must be one of her first Easter egg hunts, and she hasn't quite got the hang of it -- there's no bag for collecting her eggs, and her eyes aren't scanning the ground for loot. In her youth and innocence, she's the perfect picture of the new life that Easter is really all about.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Guest photo of the day: Trillium at the Astoria Column

We visited the Astoria Column during our Spring Break, flew our balsa wood gliders off the balcony, and ran down the hill to find a geocache on the edge of the woods. Along the way we stopped to admire a trillium in full spring bloom, and Daniel promptly plopped down on his belly to take a picture from a low angle. "I'm taking the picture with the Astoria Column in the background," he announced, making his papa proud of the artistic vision he's beginning to develop. This and the adjacent photos are the respectable results of his efforts.


For this next photo, Daniel experimented with an unusual angle. In time, he'll get a sense for how and when to "break the rules" to best effect. It's fun to watch him learn!


Friday, April 13, 2012

In the Field

I haven't posted a "photo of the day" for a few days because I've been busy getting ready for a week of vacation. That also means there won't be any new photos for about a week. On the other hand, when I get back, I'll have lots of new photos to share! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Photo of the day: Easter Egg finder

Easter Egg finder by The Bacher Family
Easter Egg finder, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

On Sunday, we had the annual Easter Egg hunt in the playground behind our church. The pictures turned out great, with Spring sunshine and morning light, bright Easter dresses and pale skin from the long winter. This is one of my favorites from the batch: this young fellow absolutely enraptured by his plastic Easter Egg... it looks almost like he's holding a real egg, out of which he expects a chick to hatch at any moment.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Photo of the day: How to make Rice Crispies jump

At the Science Fair, I thought this was one of the most creative projects any of the kids came up with: variations on making cereal "jump" using static electricity. It's the kind of esoteric study you often hear about on the news, where you think, "who funded that project?" Of course, some of the most revolutionary discoveries of the modern era came out of just such unorthodox research.

This image worked really well in black and white, with its straight lines and areas of light and dark tone. And I absolutely love the expression on this young scientist's face, as she explains in all seriousness her extraordinary science project... just before she goes to collect her Nobel Prize.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Photo of the day: The explainer

The explainer by The Bacher Family
The explainer, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
At the Science Fair, Daniel explains his experiment to judge Brandi Stewart.

Sometimes, when you're dealing with strange lighting (as is the case in a large gymnasium), the pictures actually look better when you take color out of the equation and reduce the image to black and white. That's especially true when the image has some nice contrast between light and dark elements: in this example, pale skin, a bright background, dark clothes and hair.

Besides the nice contrast, I'm pleased with this image because of its captured sense of action, and the fact that both Daniel's face and Brandi's are in focus -- difficult to do in such low-light conditions.

Here's a similar photo I like very much. In this one, the lighting (specifically the light-colored face among darker surroundings) and focus conspire to focus attention on the face of the girl looking at Daniel's display.


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Friday, April 6, 2012

Photo of the day: The patient teacher

The patient teacher by The Bacher Family
The patient teacher, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Daniel's entry for the Science Fair was "Electrified Liquids," looking at the relative conductivity of electricity in various liquids (distilled water, salt water, sugar water, vinegar, lemonade, and milk). Several of the rangers from Mount Rainier National Park got to serve as judges, which meant that we got to talk to all of the students about their projects, listen to their presentations, ask them questions, and give them feedback about their work and their scientific method. Here, Daniel mulls his answer to a question posed by Education Specialist Fawn Bauer.

I love the low angle of this image, and the intent looks on both faces. Daniel really looks like he's thinking hard, and Fawn's face is so patient and supportive. I'm pleased with the lighting, too -- so tough to get right in the gymnasium, especially with Fawn's pale blonde hair. The tradeoff, due to the low light, was a narrow depth of field, meaning I had to choose one face or the other to be in focus; the whole look of the image would be different depending on that choice. I like the choice of Fawn's face in this case -- hers is the one you can see the most of anyway, and she's definitely the primary actor at this point in the interaction.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Photo of the day: Science Fair Demonstration

I was invited to be a judge at an elementary school science fair, and of course brought my camera along. One of my favorite photos from the event is this one, of one of the students demonstrating a miniature working steam generator, which produced enough power to turn on a miniature street lamp and run a miniature sawmill. Conditions in a gymnasium are notoriously difficult for lighting and color balance, so I'm pleased to get it reasonably well in this shot, and the highlights around his face are especially pleasing to me. The low angle just adds interest to an otherwise static shot.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Photo of the day: Angry Birds Longmire

As a friend and I were out walking after a stressful day of work, we passed a spot where construction explosives are stored. Being great fans of Angry Birds, we started making comparisons to the TNT in the game and joking about putting stuffed pigs on the exposives box and lobbing stuffed birds at it. We'd never do something so dangerous in real life, of course, but being photographers, it was only a short stretch from there to imagining what we could actually do with a little help from Photoshop. Voila -- here it is, Angry Birds Longmire!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Archive photo of the day: K ♥ K

K ♥ K by The Bacher Family
K ♥ K, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Dyeing Easter Eggs is always a lot of fun, and I love the colorful photo opportunities they provide! This evening was our annual Easter Egg dyeing ceremony, so while I work on processing those images, here's one from last year. I love the primary colors, the nice light, the tight depth of field... and, of course, the sentiment on the egg!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Photo of the day: Andalucía 1881

Andalucía 1881 by billgfoto
Andalucía 1881, a photo by billgfoto on Flickr.

Oh, how I wish I were at this level of photography... this beauty is by Bill Gekas, an Australian photographer. I love the colors, the light, the composition, and the wonderfully captured moment...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Archive photo of the day: Attack of the 50 foot Easter Bunny

A year ago, the assignment for one of the Flickr groups I belong to, called "Our Daily Challenge," was "miniature." I had loads of fun experimenting with different angles on the Easter Bunny figurine, then, just for fun, set him up in front of another minature that made him look gigantic rather than tiny. From there, it was an obvious creative leap to turn it into a still from an old horror movie, with a sepia tone and grainy appearance.