Thursday, February 28, 2013

Photo of the day: Center of the Emerald City

This is one of my discoveries from my day in Seattle on February 15, while Kelli was attending a morning conference session: the geographic center of the city!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Photo of the day: Free as a gull

Free as a gull by The Bacher Family
Free as a gull, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

As we ate lunch in Post Alley on a beautiful bluebird day in mid February, the birds flying far overhead were seagulls. Looking up at the sky from within a brick canyon, the birds looked so free. It's a very simple image, but I love this shot of a white gull in a deep blue sky.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Photo of the day: Bejeweled

0.1.7 Bejeweled by The Bacher Family
0.1.7 Bejeweled, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

I stopped at a viewpoint in Mount Rainier National Park to take pictures of the mountain, and got captivated instead by the raindrops nestled like little jewels in each circlet of leaflets on the lupines by the trail. Lupines do this intentionally -- or, to put it less anthropomorphically, they have evolved to capture these drops of water because it's to their advantage to make use of every bit of moisture they can, growing, as they often do, in poor volcanic soil. Each leaf is covered with tiny hairs that capture water from rain and fog, and every leaflet is folded into a tiny furrow that channels the water down to the stem of the plant. A breath of wind, a slight touch by a passing deer, and the life-giving water slides down the stem of the plant to its roots.

Monday, February 25, 2013

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.

In the summer of 2012, I spent two days photographing a local Fastpitch Tournament sponsored by the Eatonville Youth Sports Association. Nine teams competed in double-elimination brackets in two age ranges over a two-day period, with two games happening at any given time on ballfields across town from one another. It kept me hopping to document it all, but it was also a lot of fun!

One of the great challenges, of course, is to capture that ephemeral moment when the softball enters the frame and the batter, eyes on the ball, leaning in on the leading leg, begins her swing. People ask me all the time with photos like this one: did she hit the ball? Truth is, I don't remember, and truth is, I don't care. What matters is this instant, frozen in time, with the potential for both a strike and a home run suspended together in the same moment.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Archive photo of the day: Natural smile

Natural smile by The Bacher Family
Natural smile, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

I'm not sure how I missed posting this one back in August when I took it, but it was one of my favorites at the time!

This young fellow was one of the attendees at the annual Vacation Bible School at our church, and the son of a good friend. It was right after I'd upgraded to my new Canon EOS 5D Mark III, so I was still playing around with its capabilities for taking great photos in low natural light -- and this is a fantastic demonstration of that capacity. f/5.6 at 135 mm and ISO 5000, and a sharp image at 1/160 of a second -- fantastic! I especially love the beautiful shaded tones around the face and the catchlights in the eyes. Oh, and the cute smile doesn't hurt, either!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Photo of the day: Facade of light

Facade of light by The Bacher Family
Facade of light, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Seattle has such an interesting combination of old and new architecture. Personally, the older architecture is my favorite; it has so much more detail and variety in its design and colors. The effect was enhanced further on this facade by light reflections from the building across the street.

Facade of light II

Photo of the day: Highrise geometry

Highrise geometry by The Bacher Family
Highrise geometry, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

As someone who lives and works in a rural setting, it's fun to take pictures of city architecture, with its strong lines and geometry. I like this image for its recurring shapes, contrasted with the diverse reflections in the windows.

Looking up

Photo of the day: Post Alley trigonometry

After a cloudy morning, February 15 cleared off into a gorgeous bluebird day. I love the rich, saturated colors of old brick, set against the blue sky, and I also like the sharp lines you get in city architecture.

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Photo of the day: Seattle reflection

Seattle reflection by The Bacher Family
Seattle reflection, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

On a morning in mid-February, I took a walk around downtown Seattle photographing architecture and hunting geocaches. I liked this view of reflections in the windows of an office building, mostly monochrome but with the splash of color in the corner from the US Flag.

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Photo of the day: Kelli in Post Alley

Kelli in Post Alley by The Bacher Family
Kelli in Post Alley, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Kelli and I took a mini-vacation over Valentine's Day in Seattle while she attended a conference there. We walked down to Post Alley for lunch on the 15th, on one of those rare gorgeous blue-sky days in February. Perfect light, in the shade of the alley, for a portrait!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Photo of the day: Dumas Bay

Dumas Bay by The Bacher Family
Dumas Bay, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

On a trip between home and Seattle this winter, I stopped at the Dumas Bay National Wildlife Refuge to check out the view. The tide was at its highest point, so there wasn't much of a beach, but I loved this minimalist view looking out over the water. It would be even cooler, I think, if it were in the fog, further minimizing the points of reference.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Photo of the day: Frosty morning II

Frosty morning II by The Bacher Family
Frosty morning II, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Another image from the frosty morning in mid January. I like the contrast between the white frost and the deep green leaves in this image, with the out-of-focus vegetation in the background.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Photo of the day: North from the Westin

Over Valentine's Day, Kelli and I spent a night in Seattle at the Westin Hotel. This was our view looking north out the window of our room on the 24th floor. To a country mouse, the view of the city lights is mesmerizing and beautiful. Like Kelli said, it's nice to visit, even if we wouldn't want to live there! This is a 30 second exposure using mirror lockup and long exposure noise reduction.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Photo of the day: Frosty morning

Frosty morning by The Bacher Family
Frosty morning, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
Photos of some awesome frost behind our house on a cold morning in mid January. I was actually sick this morning and missed the best of the frost, having slept in, but still managed to capture some good images in the shadow of the north side of the house.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Photo of the day: In his own world

In his own world by The Bacher Family
In his own world, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
As we finished unwrapping Christmas presents, little Matthew picked up one of his new books and began to "read" quietly, immersed in his own world among the boxes and littered wrapping paper. It was such a wonderful moment, all the more so because he sat completely oblivious while I reached for my camera and fired off a few shots documenting the moment. There's nothing more magical that watching a child discover the joy of books.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Photo of the day: Thomas, Mario, and Yoshi

Christmas morning (or its analog, whenever the family gathers to open gifts, in this case the afternoon after Christmas) is always a great time to have the camera handy, ready for candid portraits. Some are completely spontaneous, and others (like this one) a little less so, posed for someone's documentation, but only for a second before going back to the mayhem of opening presents. Kids are always great subjects, because even when they're posing, there's always personality behind the eyes.

This is Thomas, posing with his new friends Mario and Yoshi.

Below, another picture from the day: my son David, all wrapped up for Christmas: all he needs is Thomas's bow.

All wrapped up for Christmas

Monday, February 11, 2013

Photo of the day: Celebration

Celebration by The Bacher Family
Celebration, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

Basketball games can get pretty exciting, expecially when the game is close or goes into overtime, both of which have happened more than once this season. Here, a quartet of students lifts a fifth into the air to cheer on his team. Below, the fans rush the court after a particularly close game.

Rushing the court

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Photo of the day: Shooting hoops

Shooting hoops by The Bacher Family
Shooting hoops, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
It's been a fun challenge figuring out how to take good action photographs in a gymnasium. For one thing, the light is fairly dim -- human eyes adjust well, but cameras tend to want to take photos with relatively snow exposures that don't stop the action very well. I am grateful for my new Canon EOS 5D Mark III, without which photos like this one would not even be possible. With the 5D I can shoot at high ISO (3200 here) without losing a lot of image quality, and with my 85mm/1.8 lens I can gather enough light to allow photographs as fast as 1/1000 of a second, enough to stop the action. The tradeoff is a very narrow depth of field, but that's not such a bad thing either when there is an audience and advertisements and lots of other distractions in the background that you want to blur away anyway.

Here's one of my best images from early in the basketball season. The season has progressed well, and we're on our way into the playoffs seeded 3rd in the league. You can see more recent photos on my Facebook page at

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Photo of the day: Without the band, it's just a game

Sure, it's always fun to go to a football or basketball game, but without the band, it's just a bunch of kids running around with men in striped shirts blowing whistles at them! My son David is part of the Eatonville Cruisers band in Eatonville, Washington, and plays his trumpet at every game, from the National Anthem to spirit cheers and songs in the middle to the final fight song at the end.

Front row

Friday, February 8, 2013

Photo of the day: Cruiser spirit

Cruiser spirit by The Bacher Family
Cruiser spirit, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

A cheerleader leads the home crowd in a cheer at an Eatonville Cruisers basketball game at Eatonville High School.

Capturing the cheerleaders in mid-air is as much fun as actually doing the jump. At least, for someone like me who doesn't like heights!

In flight

In flight II

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Photo of the day: We've got Spirit, yes we do

A reproduction of the Spirit Rover on Mars sits in the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. If you were a Martian, this is the view you'd see as the intrepid little robot came to investigate you; though I think this image would be more realistic if they'd made the background a pale red color rather than dark blue!

Here's a recreation of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon, as it would have looked if the Hollywood sound stage conspiracy theorists were right:

Remembering Neil

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Photo of the day: Circuit board

Circuit board by The Bacher Family
Circuit board, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
On display at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinville, Oregon, here's a circuit board from one of the early rockets. It's amazing that these things even flew, let alone got us to the moon and back!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Photo of the day: Sputnik

Sputnik by The Bacher Family
Sputnik, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
A reproduction of Sputnik, on display at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

There were all kinds of cool things to photograph at the museum. Here's a Gemini rocket:

Gemini rising

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Photo of the day: Working Title

Working Title by The Bacher Family
Working Title, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
My wife Kelli makes the most beautiful and creative hand-made cards, using techniques and materials from a company called "Stampin' Up." She has a large sheet of 11x17 paper on her work desk to serve as a pad on which to work, and over the years, it has accumulated an interesting and, in my opinion, quite beautiful collage of colors and shapes. More than that, every partial image on the page represents a project that has individual meaning: graduation congratulations, thanks for a gift, hoping you get well soon, sorry for your loss and heartfelt wishes for peace and good fortune. All over the country, in the homes of family, friends, and loved ones, there are hand-made cards that match up with the scraps of ink on this piece of paper. It's more than just a collage of colors... it is a collection of memories and emotions that has become its own living work of art.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Photo of the day: The Spruce Goose

The Spruce Goose by The Bacher Family
The Spruce Goose, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.

How on earth do you photograph something as big as the Spruce Goose? The only way to do so is either to use a fish-eye lens or to simulate one with a panoramic composite of, in this case, eight vertical photos, stitching together an image that gives a sense for just how completely this massive aircraft dominates the enormous space of the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The famous aircraft dwarfs everything around it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Photo of the day: Flags

Flags by The Bacher Family
Flags, a photo by The Bacher Family on Flickr.
At the Evergreen Air and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, the fun challenge is to find creative camera angles for photographing the various planes distributed around the massive hanger. I found the juxtaposition of "kill" stickers and the US flag in the background interesting in this image of a WWII fighter plane.