Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Native plant restoration volunteer

A volunteer hard at work planting on National Public Lands Day at Mount Rainier National Park.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Photo of the day: Evergreen student on NPLD

This is my favorite portrait from National Public Lands Day: a student from The Evergreen State College at work on the Wonderland Trail. Besides just being a really interesting person, the green hair, beaded braid , and freckles made her an irresistible portrait subject!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photo of the day: Trail Crew II

Trail Crew II by The Bacher Family
Trail Crew II, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
One of my favorite challenges when shooting events like National Public Lands Day is to capture candid portraits of the people involved. If you're lucky, you can combine good light and composition with a moment that reveals something about the subject of the photo. It's a fun creative challenge!



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Photo of the day: National Public Lands Day 2012

National Public Lands Day 2012: crews of trail maintenance and restoration volunteers converge on the meadows and trails above Sunrise in Mount Rainier National Park. Here's a couple of volunteers working on the Wonderland Trail below Frozen Lake, wearing the helmets of two of the park's most significant partners, the Student Conservation Association and the Washington Trails Association. An hour before I arrived (unfortunately) a black bear wandered by in the little valley just twenty yards beyond the trail.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Photo of the day: Ice-bound Mountain

Ice-bound Mountain by The Bacher Family
Ice-bound Mountain, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
The weather on National Public Lands Day was gorgeous -- by which I mean that it was warm but not too warm for work, sunny but not too sunny to work without sunglasses. And while lower elevations were a bit dreary and even a bit wet, Sunrise looked like this: mostly clear, with wisps of cloud moving in and out around the peak. I love the detail in this image, with the deeply crevassed Emmons Glacier dominating most of this side of Mount Rainier.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo of the day: Kareem and Yolanda

Kareem and Yolanda by The Bacher Family
Kareem and Yolanda, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
In late September, I was contacted by Yolanda and Kareem to take some photos of them as a couple before Kareem left for a deployment in Afghanistan. They chose Chambers Creek Park as the location for their portraits, a reclaimed gravel pit that today is a beautiful golf course, meadow, and beach with lots of great sites for photographs. This was a challenging shoot: I thought 4:00 in the afternoon would be late enough for good light, but it was still way too intense to avoid deep shadows. In addition, they wanted Kareem's photos in his uniform, which cast a heavy shadows under the bill of his hat. I didn't have anyone to hold a reflector, so I had to be very creative both with posing and editing to get the best results. This one's my favorite of the set.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo of the day: Megan in the shadows

Megan in the shadows by The Bacher Family
Megan in the shadows, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
After our beach shots, Megan posed for some photos in the shadows. The sun in the open was just too contrasty for reliable lighting (though the water did make a very nice reflector to fill in shadows). I'm pleased with these photos, too; the open shadow makes for a nice, soft, even light on Megan's face.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photo of the day: Megan backlit

Megan backlit by The Bacher Family
Megan backlit, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
These are the most extremely backlit of my photos of Megan. For being an experiment, they turned out fantastic! The blown-out background almost makes them look like they were taken in a studio. I wouldn't choose photos like this for just anyone, but with this red dress and Megan's lean body type, they work great.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Photo of the day: Megan on the beach

Megan on the beach by The Bacher Family
Megan on the beach, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Here she is, the lovely Megan Boulton! Of all the photos we shot together, these are my favorite: barefoot on the beach in a scarlet dress. I made a fortuitous decision when I took these: I metered on Megan's face and ignored the blown-out background. That way, she's in proper exposure, and the brilliance of the day surrounds her with light.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Photo of the day: Megan in the meadow

Megan in the meadow by The Bacher Family
Megan in the meadow, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
In September, I did a photoshoot with an amateur model named Megan in Seattle's Discovery Park. We shot some photos in the meadow, then went down to the beach for the rest. It was a challenging shoot -- not at all because Megan wasn't cooperative, but because the only time we had available to shoot was mid-day and the high sun angle made good lighting very difficult. Even under the trees we had trouble, because the dappled sunlight, which looks so beautiful to our amazing eyes, comes out as extreme contrast as recorded by the camera. Still, we managed some good shots in spite of the challenges. This is one of my favorites from the meadow, which I like especially for the way the sunlight is caught by Megan's hair.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photo of the day: Mitch

Mitch by The Bacher Family
Mitch, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Ranger Mitch Anderson, at work restoring the Ipsut Creek Cabin at Ipsut Creek Campground in Mount Rainier National Park.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photo of the day: Dale

Dale by The Bacher Family
Dale, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
A portrait of my good friend and coworker Dale Harvard, on the job at Carbon River.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo of the day: Step into my parlor

Step into my parlor by The Bacher Family
Step into my parlor, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Spiderwebs are almost always beautiful to photograph, especially in the right light. The trick is to find them in just the right light, and to frame them with something dark in the background so that they stand out. This fine specimen is next to one of the National Park Service buildings along the Carbon River Road in Mount Rainier National Park.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photo of the day: Action on the football field

You can only take so many pictures of one topic (in this case, football players running plays up and down the field) before you get bored and start looking for other creative things to try. This was my experiment with motion blur: set the camera on a tripod, aim it at a static background, take a long exposure, and watch the active elements in the foreground go blurred. It makes for a very interesting image!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Photo of the day: In the band

In the band by The Bacher Family
In the band, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

With perfect evening light casting soft illumination on the front row of the high school band, I stood at the ready with my camera, looking for good candid photographs. At one point, the light turned just perfect for capturing the reflected football field in the glasses of one of the flautists. I knew the moment would last only moments, so I fired off a series of quick shots. This one is my favorite, capturing both the personality of the subject and the energy of the band around her. The narrow depth of field isolates her face in spite of everything else in the frame that might distract in both the foreground and background.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Photo of the day: Flautist

Flautist by The Bacher Family
Flautist, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
It's fun to take photos at school events, because the kids are always so photogenic. This young woman is a neighbor of ours and the daughter of friends, which makes it even more satisfying to capture a candid moment of beauty. In this case, it's at one of the Eatonville football games, in which she is a flautist in the band (my son plays trumpet). The light was perfect -- soft and indirect, making for a very flattering portrait. And I love the repetition of blue throughout the image.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo of the day: Family portrait

Family portrait by The Bacher Family
Family portrait, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
While the lights and backdrop were set up, we of course wanted to get a family portrait, too. We experimented with lots of different poses: one sitting, the other standing, then reversed; lined up, clustered, standing and kneeling; all the poses we could think of. I came up with this idea on the spur of the moment, and we all like it the best! It captures a sense of spontaneity and playfulness that we like very much.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Photo of the day: Kelli and Kevin

Kelli and Kevin by The Bacher Family
Kelli and Kevin, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Of the photos we took in our inaugural outing with my new lights and backdrops, this is one of the ones I like best. It's a simple picture, a simple pose, but it captures Kelli and me so well, and I really like it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Photo of the day: Daniel and David

Daniel and David by The Bacher Family
Daniel and David, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

These are two of my favorite guys! That's Daniel, on the left, and David, on the right. Ages 11 and 14, both going on 20! And yes, they love each other, though you'd never hear them admit it. This photo captures their personalities so well.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photo of the day: Four fine friends

Four fine friends by The Bacher Family
Four fine friends, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
This was my first photo test with my new backdrop and studio light set. Yes, I definitely see room for improvement, and subsequent photo sets with the lights have turned out better than this one! Allow me to be self-critical for a minute: the lighting here is too even, too flat, and doesn't show definition in the facial features well enough. The subjects are standing too close to the backdrop, further adding to the flatness of the image and bringing every wrinkle in the backdrop into sharp focus.

What I've learned since this photo (over the past month) is how to use my light meter to set the lights so that one is clearly the key light and the other is at least one and, better, two stops dimmer. I've gotten better at the placement of the two lights so that they sculpt the features rather than flattening them out. I've learned to keep some separation between the subjects and the backdrop.

But yes, as amateur as the production is here -- or as unreasonably self-critical I am of my efforts -- you can't argue with the fact that these are four fine looking "young" ladies!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photo of the day: Belle at the car wash

There's nothing like a car wash for a school fundraiser, is there? The combination of light, water, and youth makes for great photos. Here, a young woman scrubs the top of our car, raising funds for the South Albany High School Southern Belles dance club. They did an awesome job -- our car hasn't been that clean since it rolled off the factory assembly line.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Photo of the day: Eye of the rooster

Eye of the rooster by The Bacher Family
Eye of the rooster, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
If you're ever in Albany, Oregon, make time to visit the Brass Ring, a volunteer community art project that has labored for many years to recreate, piece by piece, an authentic hand-carved traditional carousel. We stop in at least once a year to watch the progress, and the pieces are amazing. Here's one of the new ones, a rooster in its early stages of carving -- but you can already see the personality he has. I chose to focus tightly on the eye, since it's the only part fully completed, and the most compelling part of the whole ensemble anyway.


A bulldog at the Albany Brass Ring poses in front of the artwork showing what he'll eventually look like when completed by his volunteer carvers.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Photo of the day: Up

Up by The Bacher Family
Up, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
At the sunrise balloon liftoff of the Albany Art and Air Festival, I was tickled when one of the brightly colored balloons floated directly overhead. I love the interesting nested geometry of the triangular basket inside the concentric circles and radial lines of the balloons, all set against the pale blue light of a morning sky already filled with colorful hot air balloons.

Here's another image showing just how stunningly blue the sky was that morning, the perfect backdrop for the colorful fabrics of the balloons.





Monday, October 8, 2012

Photo of the day: Ed the Balloon Man

Ed the Balloon Man by The Bacher Family
Ed the Balloon Man, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Ladies and gentlemen, your crew for today includes Ed Lenderman, retired high school calculus teacher, long-time friend, and all-around great guy. Here he is, pausing in his duties, at the sunrise balloon liftoff at the Albany Art and Air Festival, surrounded by the bright colors and soft light of dawn.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Photo of the day: Sunrise fire

Sunrise fire by The Bacher Family
Sunrise fire, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
My favorite event at the Albany Art and Air Show is the daily sunrise lift-off. They always time it so that the lead balloon goes up right at sunrise, with the American flag draped below it in the dawn light and someone singing the National Anthem. Add to that the flare of the propane fire and the glow inside the envelope of the balloon, place it directly overhead in a clear blue sky, and it makes for a compelling image!

Red, white, and blue dawn

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Photo of the day: All Glow

All Glow by The Bacher Family
All Glow, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
This was our second year attending the "Night Glow" at the annual Art and Air Festival in Albany, Oregon. For extra safety in windy conditions, this year's "glow" took place a little earlier in the evening than usual, which made for a less dramatic show, but easier conditions for photographs! This is what's called "All Glow," in which all of the tethered balloons light their gas burners at the same time, creating enormous glowing lamps all over the field.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo of the day: The Coats at the Night Glow

"The Coats" are an extraoridinary acapella quartet based in Seattle. My family and I have been following them for years, since stumbling on them at the Washington State Fair about 1995. The last two years, by a lucky convergence, they've also been the highlight performers at the Albany Art and Air Festival's "Night Glow" event; you can see the hot air balloons going up in the background as the guys sing. They did most of their set on a temporary stage, of course, but even there it's in their nature to interact with the audience, so it made for a great photo when they came down into the crowd for one of their songs.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Photo of the day: Shadows of the Past

Grenville Allen by The Bacher Family
Grenville Allen, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Every year, staff permitting, the rangers at Mount Rainier National Park put on a living history presentation called "Shadows of the Past," in which visitors tour the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire by lantern-light meeting individuals from the park's history. No, this is not your everyday ranger -- you can tell by the old-style round badge above his heart, which differs from the shield-shaped badge used today. The actor is Jim Hinote, who's been serving as a ranger in our ranks for more than a decade and here portrays Superintendent Grenville Allen, the park's first superintendent in the early years of the 20th century. Behind him is Ben Longmire, son of James Longmire, who founded a settlement here in 1884 and served the first tourists with his family-run hotel.


Dr. Roundtree, above, certified the "medicinal properties" of Longmire's Mineral Springs back in the late 1800s. The actor portraying him, Chris Roundtree, is not only a ranger at Mount Rainier National Park, but also the great grand newphew of the original good doctor!


Above is James Longmire, portrayed by Steve Redman; below, John Muir (in progress), as played by Scott McLean.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photo of the day: Yakama Park

Yakama Park by The Bacher Family
Yakama Park, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Via Flickr:
Could there be a more beautiful setting for a National Park visitor center and day lodge? The day lodge is the one pictured here; the visitor center is hidden in the trees to the right. In the background is the Cowlitz Chimneys, marching down the east slope of Mount Rainier, off-camera to the right. The foreground meadow is filled with the lupines and other wildflowers that bloom profusely here during the short months of summer. The only thing that mars the landscape is the swath of parking lot in the middle of the frame.

Legend says that this is the place where Yakama Indians gathered in the summer to race horses, on the flat, bench-like terrain above the White River Canyon. If that's true, human horsepower has long been part of the natural landscape here... though in a very different way today than of old.


Here's a shot of the visitor center, taken a few minutes after the two images above, as a volunteer takes down the American flag at the end of the day.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Photo of the day: Lupines of light II

Lupines of light II by The Bacher Family
Lupines of light II, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
One thing I love about lupine is the way it looks in the light. The dark petals turn lighter once the individual flowers have been pollinated, and because they're translucent, they capture the light and seem to glow from within. Set in a field of such glowing flowers, with light on every surface and beautiful bokeh in the background, this makes for an extraordinary image on camera.