Images that move….me.

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  • Start of the trail
  • 2 page 2014 Fall Classes(1)
  • Lake Ann framed in Fire weed. From the Maple Pass Trail.
  • Mount Rainier and Beargrass from the Lily Basin Trail
  • NCI trip 7a
  • Knife's Edge, Goat Rocks Wilderness
  • Park Butte Lookout
  • Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout
  • Admiring the sunset

Latest

Glacier Peak Wilderness: Spider Meadows – Buck Creek Pass Loop

Always looking for new adventures in the North Cascades I had heard for years about this loop. Its about 40 miles and covers some very striking terrain. The Glacier Peak Wilderness in in the North Cascades of Washington State, nestled between Highway 2 (Stevens Pass Highway) and Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) its one of the most rugged parts of the state. We did the loop in 6 days and here are a few pictures!

Start of the trail

Start of the trail


We hiked the first day about 5 miles to Spider Meadows. There were many people camped here (it was on a Saturday) but not hard to find a wonderful camp in the endless green meadows. The sky was filled with wonderful clouds…
Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

Spider Meadows

The next days hike took us up steep switchbacks above the valley, to the narrow defile of Spider Gap.

Spider Meadow from above

Spider Meadow from above

Lawrence on the trail to Spider Gap

Lawrence on the trail to Spider Gap

And then onto, up and over Spider Glacier. As we gained elevation the clouds got thicker. And when we reached the top the rain and hail started.

Ascending Spider Glacier

Ascending Spider Glacier

At the top of Spider Gap

At the top of Spider Gap

We donned rain gear and slid down the glacier on the other side, towards Upper Lyman Lake.

In the rain

In the rain

The sky was very dark and as we made our way down through the rain we encountered another hiker, who passed us by, on the same loop as us. Our paths would cross several times on our hike. His name was Steve and he had hiked more trails and miles in the North Cascades than anyone I had ever met.

The stark beauty of the valley captivated me and we dallied, wishing for clearing skies…

Clearing skies

Clearing skies

Soon our wishes were answered and the sun came out to greet us. The rocks and gray-green water of the lake were like a magnet for me.

Upper Lyman Lake

Upper Lyman Lake

Upper Lyman Lake

Upper Lyman Lake

Reluctantly we left and trekked down through some wonderful grasslands towards Lyman Lake.

Looking back at Spider Gap, the low saddle on the left

Looking back at Spider Gap, the low saddle on the left

Reflections in Upper Lyman Basin

Reflections in Upper Lyman Basin

On the way we passed a perfect spot to camp, and so stopped to lolly-gag in the sun while we got our wet gear dry. We had perfect views of Lower Lyman Lake and Cloudy and Bonanza Peaks.

Lower Lyman Lake

Lower Lyman Lake

Drying out in the sun

Drying out in the sun

Lower Lyman and Bonanza Peak

Lower Lyman and Bonanza Peak

The next day took us down into the forest and back up to Cloudy Pass. We could look back and see where we had crossed through Spider Gap.

Upper Lyman Basin from Cloudy Pass. The sun halo was...real!

Upper Lyman Basin from Cloudy Pass. The sun halo was…real!

Looking north from Suiattle Pass, down Agnes Gorge

Looking north from Suiattle Pass, down Agnes Gorge

Our trail took us over Suiattle Pass and along Miners Ridge and then down to a river crossing. Here our path was along the Pacific Crest Trail and we must have met more than a dozen thru-hikers, all hurrying along to complete their 2,400 mile quest.

Buck Creek Pass was another highpoint of the trip. From here a trail climbs and rounds Liberty Cap as it heads towards High Pass.

Glacier Peak: evening light

Glacier Peak: evening light

Glacier peak: Morning Light

Glacier peak: Morning Light

We camped here, with magnificent views of Glacier Peak.

Glacier Peak

Glacier Peak

The stars at night was alive.

Glacier Peak, Milky Way

Glacier Peak, Milky Way

Glacier Peak, Milky Way

Glacier Peak, Milky Way

Early the next morning we made our way along a wonderful ridge to High Pass. Here we could get a glimpse of the barren rocks and snow around Triad Lake.

Steve at High Pass

Steve at High Pass

Triad Lake

Triad Lake


Making it back to our camp we gathered our stuff and hiked back to the car. The wildflowers along the trail down from Buck Creek pass were beyond compare!
Glacier Peak, wildflowers

Glacier Peak, wildflowers

Glacier Peak, wildflowers

Glacier Peak, wildflowers

All in all one the most satisfying loop treks I have done in Washington!

Photo Classes in the Fall!

Lake Ann framed in Fire weed. From the Maple Pass Trail.

Lake Ann framed in Fire weed. From the Maple Pass Trail.

This fall I am offering 3 photo classes. Well, two of the classes are packaged together, but really 3 different classes.

The first class, Take Better Pictures with Your Digital, DSLR Camera is a class I have been teaching now for a while. This class is intended for anyone relatively new to DSLR cameras and/or anyone who is somewhat disappointed with how their pictures look. We will cover how to shoot in the manual mode, how to bracket your exposures so you’ll get better pictures, capturing your images in the RAW format and some basics about using a polarizing filter.

The next class Photography Composition and Basic Editing is first, all about how to compose a great picture and then how to edit them. Composition is all about where you, as the photographer, stand, or sit, or lay on the ground to take the picture! In this class we’ll cover subject placement and how to use your surroundings to create the most out aesthetic image. Our discussion will cover leading lines, framing, reflections and many more techniques to add elements of interest. At the end of this class you will get a photo assignment. You will have a week to get out and get the shots and then upload them to a web site for all of the students to view.

The second session of this class (this is a two-session program) is primarily about photo editing. But to start the class we will first review and critique the images you took for your photo composition assignment. The idea here is to give you useful commentary on your composition efforts, to help you hone your skills. Then we’ll delve into editing. Photo editing skills are a must these days. Simple editing actions like cropping and leveling your shot will be covered. But most of our time will be spent on getting the light in your image right. The fact is that your eye can register WAY more variations of light than any camera. Learning how to get the “lights” and “darks” of your image right is a very important skill.

My idea is that any person who completed all three sessions would be given the basic starting point to get out there and capture some really great images. If you’ve already attended my DSLR class OR if you are already completely comfortable with taking pictures in the fully manual mode, then you should start with the Photo Comp and Editing Class.

If you have ANY questions about any of the classes, feel free to email me and ask! andyporterphotography@gmail.com

Here is the flyer for the classes: 2 page 2014 Fall Classes(1)

Here is a link to the flyer and sign up sheet.

Hope to hear from you, or meet you soon!

Best,

Andy Porter

Maple Pass – Lake Ann Loop, North Cascades

The weather forecast called for a 40% chance of thunder showers, a perfect afternoon to head up into the North Cascades.

Lake Ann, from the Maple Pass Trail.

Lake Ann, from the Maple Pass Trail.


Lake Ann framed in Fireweed

Lake Ann framed in Fireweed

The 7-mile loop trail is perfect. The parking area is right off of the highway, at Rainy Pass which is about 4,800 ft elevation. The trail switchbacks up through thick forest, swings along side an open curved slope and climbs to the junction with a spur trail to Lake Ann. Continuing up, you break out of the trees as the path angles up, above the lake, on its way to Heather Pass. There are camping spots here, and often water. Every step from here is better than the last, the views open up: Cutthroat Peak is right across the highway, Black Peak and the spikes of Early Winter Spires and countless other peaks all adorn the horizon.

Maple Pass Trail: Switchbacks headed down

Maple Pass Trail: Switchbacks headed down

Meadows of Green and Storm Clouds

Meadows of Green and Storm Clouds

Once you reach Maple Pass you can see south, into the Glacier Peak Wilderness and beyond. Soon the trail reaches its highest point and you can see the switchbacks steeply plunging down, down to the shores of Rainy Lake.

Wildflowers along the Maple Pass Trail

Wildflowers along the Maple Pass Trail

Storm Clouds along Maple Pass Trail

Storm Clouds along Maple Pass Trail

If you start later in the day (hit the trail at 2pm or so) you’ll get some wonderful light. Just remember to bring head lamps and flashlights for the hike down in the dark!

Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington State

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Washington State is blessed with more than 30 Wilderness Areas, one of which is the Goat Rocks Wilderness.
The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the Goat Rocks crossing some of the most stunning terrain along the trail in Washington.
Here are a few images from the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

Mount Rainier and Beargrass from the Lily Basin Trail

Mount Rainier and Beargrass from the Lily Basin Trail

Mt Adams and the Pacific Crest Trail

Mt Adams and the Pacific Crest Trail

PCT along the Knife's Edge, Mount Rainier in the distance

PCT along the Knife’s Edge, Mount Rainier in the distance

Avalanche Lilies along the Lily Basin Trail

Avalanche Lilies along the Lily Basin Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail

Snowgrass Flats

Snowgrass Flats

Mount Adams and Snowgrass Flats

Mount Adams and Snowgrass Flats

Mount Rainier and Packwood Lake

Mount Rainier and Packwood Lake

Upholstered in Lupine

Upholstered in Lupine

Cispus Basin

Cispus Basin

Morning light and Beargrass

Morning light and Beargrass

PCT Thru hiker "Thirsty Boots"

PCT Thru hiker “Thirsty Boots”

Acres of wildflowers

Acres of wildflowers

Explosion of colors

Explosion of colors

Milky Way over the Goat Rocks

Milky Way over the Goat Rocks

Nighttime in the Goat Rocks Wilderness

Nighttime in the Goat Rocks Wilderness

Skyline Divide, North Cascades

The Skyline Divide Trail is one of many off the Mount Baker Highway (Route 542) that heads up to the high country near Mount Baker. It is one of the busiest trails due to its ease of access and wonderful views.
These images were captured with the morning light after camping on the ridge. The two mountains in the images are Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. NCI trip 14a

NCI trip 8a

NCI trip 9a

NCI trip 10a

NCI trip 11a

NCI trip 13a

NCI trip 7a

Thirsty Boots on the Knife’s Edge

The Knife’s Edge is a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Goat Rocks Wilderness in Washington State. Here the trail has been blasted and carved into the top-most edge of the ridge.
As one heads north on the PCT the trail climbs through the colorful meadows of Snow Grass Flats, through the snow and on to rock and scree to reach a promontory on the side of Old Snowy.

Mount Adams and Snowgrass Flats

Mount Adams and Snowgrass Flats


From here the trail plunges down the Knife’s Edge towards Highway 12 and then on to Mount Rainier.
Knife's Edge, Goat Rocks Wilderness

Knife’s Edge, Goat Rocks Wilderness


Early in the morning we hiked up to capture images and met Thirsty Boots. He was thru-hiking the PCT. I was surprised to see a thru-hiker so far north so early in the season (it was July 29th), but he explained that the snow level in the High Sierra in California was low this year making it possible to make good time.
Thirsty Boots

Thirsty Boots


I asked how long until he reached Manning Park and the end of the PCT in Canada, and he said he figured about 16 days.

We chatted for a few minutes, he seemed ready to go, but I distracted him by having him pose for more pictures while I plied him for info. All hikers going long distances pick up a nick-name, and his seemed to fit very well.

Thirsty Boots

Thirsty Boots


This was his second time thru-hiking the PCT (its 2,400 miles, end to end) and he told us that he’d already completed the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles) making him a Triple Crown Thru-Hiker.

He was very friendly and certainly didn’t seem tired, stressed or over worked. In fact he looked and acted like someone out for a stroll on a nice Saturday afternoon.

But he did seem a bit antsy to keep walking….

Thirsty Boots along the Knife's Edge

Thirsty Boots along the Knife’s Edge

Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout

Park Butte Lookout Under the Big Dipper

Park Butte Lookout Under the Big Dipper


The Park Butte Lookout is perched atop a ridge on the south side of Mount Baker.
The 4 mile trail switchbacks up the slopes, breaking out into Morovitz Meadows and traversing along the mountain to a last steep climb to the Lookout.
Park Butte Lookout

Park Butte Lookout


Open to the public to stay the night the Lookout provides some spectacular views.
View from inside

View from inside


On this particular night I waited for the new moon so the stars would be out and managed to arrive there just as the sun set.
Mount Baker. Te ridge on the right is Railroad Grade

Mount Baker. The ridge on the right is Railroad Grade

Lookout at Sunset

Lookout at Sunset


The twilight set the place aglow. Bellingham in the distance created almost too much light!
Twilight

Twilight

Big Dipper, Park Butte Lookout and Bellingham

Park Butte Lookout and Bellingham


Luck was with me, the Milky Way aligned with the summit, looking as if Mount Baker was spewing stars.
Mount Baker and the Milky Way

Mount Baker and the Milky Way

Mount Baker and the Milky Way

Mount Baker and the Milky Way


We left at midnight to hike back down and made it home at about 3am.
Lookout at night

Lookout at night

A very satisfying night!

Free Astrophotography Workshop at North Cascades National Park

I am officially scheduled to deliver a short workshop on how to capture images of the Milky Way. The workshop will be held at the Diablo Lake Overlook, on Highway 20, the North Cascades Highway. I am putting on the class through the North Cascades National Park.

Have you ever seen stunning images of the Milky Way? And have you ever wondered how YOU could take pictures like this of the night sky? Come learn with professional photographer Andy Porter!

Nighttime classes

There is another flyer from the park which details what you need to bring:
Astrophotography Class details

The workshop is scheduled for Friday night, August 22nd, at 10pm. IF its a cloudy night, the class will be rescheduled for Friday night, August 29th, also at 10pm.

If you’d like to learn how to do it, come on out, we’ll have lots of fun!

Last weekend I made it to Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and Mount Baker to get Milky Way shots, and here they are!

Mount Rainier and the Milky Way. The lights on the mountains flanks are headlamps of climbers headed for the summit.

Mount Rainier and the Milky Way. The lights on the mountains flanks are headlamps of climbers headed for the summit.

Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout

Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout


Mount Adams and the Pacific Crest Trail, Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams and the Pacific Crest Trail, Goat Rocks Wilderness

A Night at Crystal Mountain

A friend invited me along for a trip to Crystal Mountain Resort, to camp out under the stars and see if we could capture images of the milky way over Mount Rainier.
The drive to the resort is itself, a beautiful ride. Arriving we purchased a gondola ticket ($22.00) and rode up to the restaurant.
We stayed overnight, taking pictures of the resort, sunset, gondola and of course, Mount Rainier. Here are a few images.

Gondola and Mount Rainier

Gondola and Mount Rainier

Admiring the sunset

Admiring the sunset

Mount Rainier and the Milky Way. The lights on the mountains flanks are headlamps of climbers headed for the summit.

Mount Rainier and the Milky Way. The lights on the mountains flanks are headlamps of climbers headed for the summit.

Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain Resort

Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain Resort

Mount Rainier and flowers

Mount Rainier and flowers

Riding the gondola

Riding the gondola

Crystal Resort, at night

Crystal Resort, at night

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