Monday, December 31, 2012

Photo of the day: Tatoosh world

Tatoosh world by The Bacher Family
Tatoosh world, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Part of my motivation for taking a 15-shot 360 degree panorama from the summit of Tatoosh Peak was to create this image: a "polar panorama" combining the whole set into a circular image showing the view from this spectacular location as if it were a planet floating in space, or an extreme fish-eye lens view of the scenery. If you were lucky enough to be one of the fire lookouts once stationed on this peak, this would be your world for the duration of your assignment.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Photo of the day: Looking south from Tatoosh Peak

Standing on top of the world in theTatoosh Wilderness, how could I not experiment with panoramic photographs? This one's a simple two-photo image looking south from Tatoosh Peak toward Mount Adams.

This nextone's a massive 15-photograph image, stitched together in PhotoShop, featuring a 360 degree panorama from the summit of Tatoosh Peak. You can see Mount Rainier in the distance, and Tatoosh Peak itself in the foreground, with my friend Crow standing on top amid the foundation of the old fire lookout that once stood here:

Tatoosh Peak panorama

And here's a six-photo image looking north toward Mount Rainier, on our return trip from summiting Tatoosh Peak:

Tatoosh Wilderness panorama

If you like, check out the full collection of panoramas here. Make sure you click on the image or press "L" to see them in Lightroom, full-screen on a black background, for full effect.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Photo of the day: Mount Rainier from the Tatoosh Wilderness

The scenery in the Tatoosh Wilderness is spectacular, especially on a golden September day when the light and the grasses and the wildflowers all share the same autumnal hue. Of the hundreds of photos I took on this particular hike, this one's my favorite, with majestic Mount Rainier rising over the slope of the Tatoosh Range above our trail, in the afternoon light.

Tatoosh Wilderness view

Tatoosh view

Friday, December 28, 2012

Photo of the day: Crow on the trail

Crow on the trail by The Bacher Family
Crow on the trail, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

On a stunningly-beautiful early September day, the amber light of autumn is everywhere, and the best images are those that capture that diffusion of light, in the grass, in the flowers, and in the golden backlighting of a good friend hiking a wilderness trail at 5,000 feet elevation. This is my good friend Crow, climbing the last stage of Tatoosh Peak in the Tatoosh Wilderness south of Mount Rainier National Park.

Crow on Tatoosh Peak

Tatoosh Peak benchmark

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Photo of the day: Collage of color

Collage of color by The Bacher Family
Collage of color, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
The collage of colors created by subalpine wildflowers never ceases to captivate me. The random splashes of color create an abstract arrangement that has nothing at all to do with geometric composition and everything to do with light and balance and feel.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Photo of the day: Turnoff to Tatoosh Peak

I always love the juxtaposition of human construction with wild nature. The things made by human brains are so often geometric and regular in shape, while nature is relentlessly random and rough around the edges. The longer something human-made remains in the wilderness, of course, the wilder it gets, roughening around the edges and weathering back into something that is once more part of nature.

I think that's true of humans themselves, too. We are essentially part of wild nature ourselves, as much as we try to pretend otherwise, and it's worth spending time in the wilderness to restore a little bit of the rough edges that blur the sharp lines we like to create between us and our essential nature.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Orange agoseris

Orange agoseris by The Bacher Family
Orange agoseris, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

So many different varieties of wildflower carpet the meadows of the Tatoosh Range! Asters, monkeyflowers, columbines, asters, thistles, lupines, asters, valerians, paintbrush, and more asters! "Aster," of course, is a generic term for a type of plant that features clusters of single-petaled flowers organized in a disc or star shape, each with its own pollen-producing parts gathered in the middle. Yes, the "flower" we see as a daisy or sunflower is actually a great many flowers organized in a large and beautiful circle. The best know asters are yellow, but they may also be white, pink, blue, purple, or, in this case, orange. This one's an orange agoseris, one of my favorite asters for its bright, vivid color.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Photo of the day: Fringed grass of parnassus

In early September, my good friend Crow joined me on a hike I've been wanting to do for years, climbing up to the crest of the Tatoosh Range on its eastern end. After the long, snowy winter we had last year, many of the wildflowers were still in high bloom, especially at the elevation of the subalpine meadows, while at the same time the grasses were turning amber with the approach of fall. The weather was near-perfect -- a little warm, but clear and sunny and full of light. It took us all day to reach Tatoosh Peak and return to our car, and a major reason was the abundance of wildflowers we "had" to stop and photograph along the way. I was especially intrigued by these frilly white blooms, which I had seen before but couldn't quite remember the name of. For the record, they're "fringed grass of parnassis." Like any white flower on a sunny day, they're challenging to photograph in such a way that the whites aren't blown out against the deeper shadows behind them. It was also breezy, which makes any close up photography difficult. Still, I'm pleased with these blooms, captured just where the trail rose out of the deep forest into the subalpine light.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Photo of the day: Edith and Myrtle at Mount Rainier

This gorgeous view of Mount Rainier rising over Edith Creek is just half a mile up the trail from the parking lot at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. It's a fabulous spot to visit during the summer, when the wildflowers are in full bloom and the water chuckles merrily over the rocks and under the trail bridge. Playing in the water isn't recommended, however, as just behind the camera, almost directly under the bridge, is the 80-foot drop of Myrtle Falls.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Photo of the day: Working on top of the world III

One of the things I enjoy most about my job as a volunteer program manager is getting out into the field occasionally to visit with volunteer crews on the job. It's nice to time my visit around lunchtime, so that I not only get to see them at work but also get to sit and chat with them and enjoy the scenery over the midday break. Here's one of the Student Conservation Association Community Crew members, a young woman from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, enjoying a rest break on a hot day in mid-August near the top of the Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park.

Working on top of the world

Working on top of the world II

Friday, December 21, 2012

Photo of the day: Community Crews on the job

For the past dozen years, Mount Rainier National Park has hosted Community Crews from the Student Conservation Association each summer. These high school age students spend the school year working on projects in and around their home community, then come out to the National Park for fifteen days during the summer to work on trails, revegetation projects, or other jobs suitable for eight-person teams. Here, Washington Trails Associatoin crew leader John Longsworth works with two crew members on trail maintenance on the Skyline Trail, on a hot, sunny day in mid-August, with Stevens Canyon in the background in one direction and Mount Rainier visible over the shoulder of the ridge in the other direction, behind the camera.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Photo of the day: No day at the office

Without a doubt, park rangers have some of the most beautiful work settings of any profession. Here's one of our trail maintenance rangers at Mount Rainier National Park, hiking out along the Skyline Trail to check on a crew of Student Conservation Association interns working on trail repairs.

Here's John Longsworth, Washington Trails Association crew leader, along the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, at work supervising a Community Crew from the Student Conservation Association. The Tatoosh Range is in the distance behind him.

John on the Skyline

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photo of the day: A mirror of the sky

A mirror of the sky by The Bacher Family
A mirror of the sky, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

I take you back to a hot, sunny day in mid-August at Mount Rainier National Park, with the wildflowers in peak bloom on the Golden Gate and Skyline Trails. This is one of my favorite readily-accessible views of Mount Rainier, across the shoulder of the slopes at the head of Edith Creek, and I love the way the deep blue and purple of the Cascade lupine mirrors the deep blue of the sky.

Wildflowers on the Skyline
Wildflowers on the Skyline

Which way to Paradise
Which way to Paradise?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Photo of the day: John Walsh, Meadow Rover

One of the most popular volunteer jobs at Mount Rainier National Park is that of "Meadow Rover." These dedicated volunteers patrol the trails above Paradise and Sunrise, assisting visitors, answering questions, and most importantly, educating people about the importance of staying on trails in the fragile subalpine meadows. They protect our National Park through education... and they have the best "office" in the world! Here's John Walsh, on the job on the Skyline Trail, with the Tatoosh Range in the background.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Photo of the day: One hot marmot

One hot marmot by The Bacher Family
One hot marmot, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
The meadows of Paradise Valley in Mount Rainier National Park are full of life in the summer months: marmots and pikas scurrying around nibbling flowers, bees and butterflies flitting from one bloom to the next, and of course the wildflowers themselves, clothing the landscape in places with a fantastic coat of many colors. This little fellow, a hoary marmot, was mostly intent on finding a refuge from the heat on a midsummer day. After literally crossing my path, he (or she?) made straight for a lingering patch of snow (it was, after all, only mid-August, and the snow hadn't fully melted yet) and laid down as flat as I've ever seen an animal lay, putting as much body surface on the cold snow as he possibly could.

Bumble bee on a daisy

False hellebore in bloom
The false hellebore's blooms are tiny and yellow-green, hidden inside larger but still small sepals in long hanging clusters descending from a tall stalk.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Photo of the day: Long-term study

Long-term study by The Bacher Family
Long-term study, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
As I hiked along the Eastside Trail one August day, in search of a volunteer group rumored to be at work in the vicinity, I came across, instead, a research team surveying a stand of trees. These trees had been tagged and measured a decade ago as part of a long-term study of succession and climate change, and students from the University of Washington were returning for the third time to check on the progress of their subjects. Some trees had died, some that had been too small to include five years ago had reached maturity, and others had undergone the slow, steady progression of most living things, getting larger and thicker in the middle as they aged. It wasn't the group I was looking for, bt the stories they had to tell were just as interesting.

Diameter at breast height

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Photo of the day: My goofy family

My goofy family by The Bacher Family
My goofy family, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Sometimes, it's fun to just do a goofy pose, especially at the end of a long photoshoot (or sometimes at the beginning, if you need to loosen people up!). Or... maybe this is the "normal," and the other shots are just poses...

My family

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Photo of the day: Dad and Mom

Dad and Mom by The Bacher Family
Dad and Mom, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Don and Judy, my father and mother, photographed in Albany on November 22, 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Photo of the day: Family tree

Family tree by The Bacher Family
Family tree, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Jessica and Stephanie and their cousins David and Daniel, photographed in Albany on November 22, 2012.

Light test

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012