Sunday, September 30, 2012

Photo of the day: Infused with light II

Via Flickr:
The quality of light in the mountains on a summer afternoon can be extraordinary. Here, the light in the clear blue sky seems to glow within the glaciers on Mount Rainier and the petals of the lupine in the foreground. The entire landscape is infused with light.

I took two versions of this photo: this one focusing on the flowers with the mountain out of focus in the background, and the one below in which the mountain and flowers are both in focus. Which do you like best?

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Photo of the day: A crazy quilt of color

When the wildflowers are at their peak at Mount Rainier National Park, there is little that can equal their spectacular display of color. In fact, it's hard to even narrow down your favorites from a day of extraordinary images.

This is one of several favorites from my day at Sunrise. It's not the most unusual composition, but it does show, better than any other photo from my day, the outrageous crazy quilt of color created by blue lupines, red paintbrush, yellow pedicularis, white bistort, and a dozen other minor species. Multiply this by acres and acres and you get a small sense of what the landscape looked like.

I love this next image for the way its narrow depth of field and use of color isolates the clump of magenta paintbrush in a sea of lupine, set against the unnamed mountain tarn in the background.

Subalpine palette

This next one's my favorite wildflower-and-mountain photo of the day, taken along the trail just above Sunrise late in the afternoon.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Photo of the day: Burroughs-Rainier Panorama

This photo captures the extraordinary scope of the landscape above Sunrise and Berkeley Park, a landscape that cannot possibly be presented in anything other than panoramic format. This image is composited from six or seven images, with Burroughs Mountain filling the horizon on the left and Berkeley Park off the frame to the right. The foreground, of course, is filled with lupines, paintbrush, pedicularis, and a dozen other species of wildflower, each stunningly beautiful in their own right.

Here are a few non-panoramic images from the same location:

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Photo of the day: Old man of the Mountain

One of my favorite wildflowers in the subalpine meadows of Mount Rainier National Park is the western anemone, also called western pasqueflower. Of course, since it blooms for a single week and keeps its striking seedhead the rest of the summer, you more often hear people refer to it by its nicknames: mouse-on-a-stick, old man of the mountain, Lorax plant, and a dozen other fanciful monikers. Most seedheads are thicker and more luxuriant than this one, but this specimen caught my eye because it better shows the tangled structure of the multiple layered seeds. I photographed it looking into the morning light to capture the translucent effect, but shot toward a darker background for contrast. I love the bokeh formed by the out-of-focus grasses and purple wildflowers, which add a lot of additional interest to the composition.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Photo of the day: Wilderness photographer

One of my favorite hiking and photographing partners is Ron Warfield, whose dedication to his craft is evidenced by the volume and weight of gear he carries on and around his shoulders as he hikes four miles out into the backcountry of Mount Rainier National Park. This shot well-captures Ron's personality; he passes himself off as a curmudgeon, but secretly he's an optimist who's never more in his element than when he's surrounded by at least a hundred square miles of wilderness.

This image is taken at Frozen Lake on our way to Berkeley Park.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photo of the day: Sunrise wildflowers

Sunrise wildflowers by The Bacher Family
Sunrise wildflowers, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
These were some of the first photos I took with my new Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and I was immediately impressed by its ability to capture vivid color, fine detail, and tightly-controlled depth of field.

I took all kinds of versions of this photo as I walked the Silver Forest Trail at sunrise, but I think this one's my favorite. Somehow, being out of focus makes the Mountain appear even larger as it looms over the horizon.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Photo of the day: Pedicularis tripled

Pedicularis tripled by The Bacher Family
Pedicularis tripled, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
I can never keep the pedicularis flowers straight. Which one is the elephant-head? Which is a sickle-top lousewort? Which is that other one I can't remember the name of? And this one's not even in bloom, so I'm completely at a loss. Except for this: I love all of them and find them to be some of the most interestingly-shaped flowers out there in the subalpine meadows.

I purposely shot this one with a tight focus and depth of field. I like the composition.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Photo of the day: Marshmarigold

Marshmarigold by The Bacher Family
Marshmarigold, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
White flowers are some of the hardest to photograph, especially in bright sunlight. The white reflects the light and tends to blind the camera sensor, turning into an indiscriminate blur of light, while everything else drops into shadow. So I'm pleased with how this image turned out -- but not just for its proper exposure. The color is really nice, and the glistening bokeh in the background, capturing the marshmarigold's preferred moist habitat, is especially fine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo of the day: Meadow Rover at Frozen Lake

At Mount Rainier National Park, "Meadow Rover" volunteers patrol the subalpine meadow trails, assisting visitors and educating them about the importance of staying on the trails and off the meadows. I crossed paths with volunteer Ed Hunds at Frozen Lake as he was beginning his day of patrol. There's a bit of self-portrait in the reflection in his glasses.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photo of the day: Panorama below Frozen Lake

I can never resist taking panoramic photos of Mount Rainier! This is the view from the trail to Frozen Lake, just out of Sunrise in Mount Rainier National Park.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Photo of the day: Fly

Fly by The Bacher Family
Fly, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
There's nothing like capturing an expansive moment on camera, especially when the subject is a child. One of the songs we sang at Vacation Bible School had motions to it, including this one. I knew it was coming and set myself up to capture the moment, shooting from a low angle to emphasize the reach upward into the heavens.

I think it's a great serendipity that Mario has much the same gesture.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Photo of the day: Got bubbles?

Got bubbles? by The Bacher Family
Got bubbles?, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Seriously, for a photographer who loves to capture the endless variations of light, what's better than soap bubbles? Especially when you're working with an expert bubble maker like this one! I would never have thought of using a milk carton to blow bubbles, but as you can see, it's fantastically successful. The bubbles don't tend to last beyond the end of the carton -- no immense bubbles floating off into the sky -- but they sure are cool coming out in all their multicolored immensity.

Bonus points if your bubble blower is wearing clothing that matches the color of the bubble.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Photo of the day: Angel's wings

Angel's wings by The Bacher Family
Angel's wings, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

As I was going for a walk in my neighborhood after dark one evening, I discovered a whole series of chalk art drawings on the pavement in the parking lot of the church around the corner from our house. They were wonderful drawings, of whales and dragons, crime scenes and carnivals and beaches and angel wings. Oh, this is the one that got my creative juices flowing, for sure. As soon as I saw the double wings and halo, I knew I had to bring a tripod and insert myself into this image -- and as many others as I can find a way for. Maybe that's what the creators of these drawings had in mind from the beginning. In any case, I certainly had fun with it.

Gone to the fair

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Photo of the day: A surprised Roman soldier

This year's Bible School curriculum was called "Sky VBS," which came with a cool computer program pre-loaded with story scripts. All you had to do was get the kids to pose for certain predefined photos, upload them into the program, and it generated a mini-movie featuring that day's kids! We had a lot of fun having the kids act out the prescribed scenes. Here's one of a "Roman Soldier" acting surprised about something. I don't even remember what this particular plot point was, but it's one of my favorite photos from VBS! We were shooting in the narthex of the church, with big picture windows behind my camera, and it made for some fantastic light for the photo.

Here's another image I really like from the Sky VBS curriculum! The kid's big grin and shock of red hair just make the shot -- and the "Adventure Bible" cover adds even more pizzazz to the picture.

The Sky VBS adventure

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Photo of the day: Boys and water

Boys and water by The Bacher Family
Boys and water, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Another portrait from this summer's Vacation Bible School. It was hot and everyone was having fun playing in the water. Boy + Water = Happy! I love the way this image turned out -- the combination of lighting and depth of field do a great job of isolating him from the background without totally obscuring it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Photo of the day: A natural model

A natural model by The Bacher Family
A natural model, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Kids are such natural models! All you have to do, most of the time, is ask them to pose for a picture, and they willingly do so. Of course, you have a few who are shy and try to hide behind their mother's legs, and others who put on a totally affected, cheesy grin, but just as often, you get a completely natural image that captures a lot of the personality of the child being photographed.

If you like photographing kids, Vacation Bible School is a gold mine.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photo of the day: Little angel

Little angel by The Bacher Family
Little angel, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Sometimes you capture an image that just makes you smile, deep down in your toes. This is such a shot.

This is the son of a good friend of ours, whose candid portrait I captured during Vacation Bible School at Bethany Lutheran Church. He just has that perfect mix of Angel an Dennis the Mennis, doesn't he? And I love the shallow depth of field, with the eyes and mouth and nose in sharp focus and the rest of the image in blur, and the beautiful catchlights in the eyes. Best of all, this is entirely natural light, which gives the skin such a wonderfully soft tone and color.

It's one of my first photos with my new Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I'm going to love this camera, I can tell.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Photo of the day: Friends and rivals

Friends and rivals by The Bacher Family
Friends and rivals, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
What Fastpitch Tournament is complete without a medal? In this case, you're looking at both a silver and gold medal -- for members of the second and first place teams, respectively. Don't be fooled by the matching red-color jerseys, these are two separate teams who played each other in the finals; but, as coincidence would have it, they included two girls who were good friends off the diamond. After it was all over, they had to pose side by side with their respective medals, no hard feelings between them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Photo of the day: From the dugout II

From the dugout II by The Bacher Family
From the dugout II, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

During a softball game that lasts an hour and a half, there's plenty of time to capture candid shots of players in the dugout. Multiply that by a Fastpitch Tournament lasting all of two days, and you're bound to get some good ones.

A dugout is a natural softbox: shaded inside, with a large pane of indirect light to flatter anyone who stands in its opening. The only trick is to capture the right moment and the right composition: a cheer for her teammates, a contemplative thought, a player patiently waiting her turn at bat, a shy gleam in a player's eye.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Photo of the day: A fast rush

A fast rush by The Bacher Family
A fast rush, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
This is one of my favorite images from the whole Fastpitch Tournament. There's just nothing that conveys the euphoria of a great play, a great game, and ultimately winning a tournament like the look on this young lady's face, and the congratulatory hugs and high fives and accolades she earns as she returns to the dugout.

Her shirt says "Crushers," by the way, but I love that all you can read is "RUSH."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Photo of the day: Slide!

Slide! by The Bacher Family
Slide!, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
The difference between a good softball player and a great one is the art of the slide. Will she make it under the reaching arm of the catcher to touch home plate before being tagged herself? She's midway into the execution of the slide. Her eyes are on the catcher, who's in mid launch toward the runner. The coach is in the background watching with bated breath. What a great moment!

What do you think? Is she safe... or out?

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Photo of the day: Leading off

Leading off by The Bacher Family
Leading off, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

It's third base. You're almost home. But not quite. You are that close to scoring. Do you chance it? Do you make a run for it? Do you watch for that momentary lapse of concentration on the part of the pitcher and catcher, that slightly wild ball, that overthrown or underthrown pitch that might cause them to take their eyes off you as you sprint for home plate and slide under the catcher's reaching arm to score?

Of course you do.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Photo of the day: Eyes on the ball

Eyes on the ball by The Bacher Family
Eyes on the ball, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Once more: the most fun photo you can capture when shooting a softball game is one that includes both the batter and the ball. I especially love this photo because of the amount of detail it contains: the ball (with the stitches visible!), the batter if full motion (leaning forward, slight blur in the hands), the pigtails flying, the eyes intently focused on the ball, the mouth set in a hopeful expression. I don't even remember if she actually hit the ball -- but does it really matter? The beauty of the image is the potential captured in the frame of the photograph.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Photo of the day: Pitcher in action

Pitcher in action by The Bacher Family
Pitcher in action, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

In my opinion, the pitcher has one of the most difficult jobs on the softball diamond. She has to fling the ball through a tiny square box time after time after time after time -- but vary it just enough to fool the batter into swinging when she shouldn't and not swinging when she should, and missing when she does. The look of concentration on the pitcher's face says everything about the difficulty and dedication the pitcher devotes to her job.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Photo of the day: Strike or home run?

Strike or home run? by The Bacher Family
Strike or home run?, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
The hardest job of a fastpitch photographer is catching not only the swing but the screaming ball in the same frame. I love this shot!

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