Diablo Overlook, North Cascades Highway

Last night I drove up the North Cascades Highway to do a Photo Tour Slide Show for campers at the Colonial Creek Camp ground in North Cascades National Park.

I got there a little early and tooled up a bit further to the Diablo Overlook. The green waters of Diablo Lake and the suns rays as the sunset approached were stunning.

Diablo Overlook

Diablo Overlook

Milky Way and Shooting Star

Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower

Every August the Perseid Meteor Shower streaks above Earth creating a fantastic light show. Visibility of the meteors depends upon the moon cycle. If the full moon coincides with the meteor shower it tends to wash out the show. But this year’ s Perseid showers falls upon the New Moon and so we could have quite a show.

Milky Way and Shooting Star

Milky Way and Shooting Star

Here is a quote from the article linked above:  “Every year, from around July 17 to August 24, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor shower. Debris from this comet litters the comet’s orbit, but we don’t really get into the thick of the comet rubble until after the first week of August. The bits and pieces from Comet Swift-Tuttle slam into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at some 210,000 kilometers (130,000 miles) per hour, lighting up the nighttime with fast-moving Perseid meteors. If our planet happens to pass through an unusually dense clump of meteoroids – comet rubble – we’ll see an elevated number of meteors. We can always hope!”

Stars along the Baker River

Stars along the Baker River

Capturing images of meteors takes some planning, a little luck and dash of persistence. Basically what’s needed is to get out away from city lights and set up your DSLR (use a wide angle lens) on a tripod. use the widest aperture and a 20 to 30 second shutter speed. make sure your focus is on manual and set to infinity. Then you can point towards the Milky Way and start shooting!

Camped under the Milky Way 3

Camped under the Milky Way 3

Of course you can never know when a huge meteor will streak across your screen,  so you just keep shooting, over and over and you will for sure get some sweet shots.

If you live in Washington State and would like some instruction on How to capture the Night Sky images, I am offering Night Sky Photo Tours on August 12th and 15th. We will be heading up into the North Cascades for an (almost) all night Meteor Photo Shoot. Here are all the details.

Looking at the stars

Looking at the stars

Happy Star Trails to you!

Sahale Peak at night

Sahale Glacier Camp – 2015

Last weekend I made the yearly sojourn up to Sahale Camp, in North Cascades National Park. The 6-mile hike in and up was very dry. The winter’s lack of snow fall has jumped the cycle of flowers and melting ahead  a full month.   Link to Buy Prints

Wildflowers on Sahale Arm

Still, there were a few patches of flowers left. Wildflowers on Sahale Arm 2

 

 

 

 

Link to Photo Tours Page.

Clear skies did not lend to much of a sunset panorama,

Camped at Sahale Glacier Camp

Camped at Sahale Glacier Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but did present great opportunities for the night sky.

Camped at Sahale Glacier Camp

Sahale Peak at night New link to see all upcoming Photo Classes!

Mt Baker from Park Butte Lookout 2

Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout

The Park Butte Lookout is a decommissioned fire lookout from decades past. Perched on a precipice along a ridge on the south side of Mount Baker the lookout commands a wide view of the North Cascades.

Now maintained by the Skagit Alpine Club the lookout is open to the public and if you wish, you can spend th night there.

Which is what I did a few days ago, I hiked up, hoping to get images of the night sky and Milky Way.

But, alas, it was not to be, after sunset the clouds rolled in.

Evening at Park Butte Lookout Mt Baker from Park Butte Lookout 2 Mt Baker from Park Butte Lookout Nooksack Valley from Park Butte Lookout

Maple Pass Trail

North Cascades Photo Tours and Prints

North Cascades Photo Tours and Prints

The North Cascade mountains in Washington State are rugged, lush, stark and colorful all at once.

Lupine and the North Cascades

Lupine and the North Cascades

Abundant rainfall creates fantastic meadows filled with wild flowers while at the same time sculpting the ridges and peaks into serrated knives of stone.

The two main entry ways into the North Cascades are the North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) and the Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542)

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, along the Mount Baker Highway

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake, along the Mount Baker Highway

While there are a few places, such as Artist Point (located at the end of Hwy 542) and Washington Pass (the highest point along Hwy 20) where you can drive to see the scenery, most of the time a trip here involves hiking.

Liberty Bell from the North Cascades Highway

Liberty Bell from the North Cascades Highway

Along these two byways there are many side roads leading to trail heads that take you up (always up!) into the high country. There are so many trails and choices!

The North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20) is a part of the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway. This is the Best Road Trip Vacation in Washington State!

North Cascades Photo Prints

If you are interested in fantastic, colorful prints of the North Cascades to adorn your home or office here is a link to my North Cascades Gallery. There you can purchase Canvas Wrapped prints (framed prints are available) as well as Fine Art prints.

One of the most popular hikes along Highway 20 is the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop. This 7 mile hike visits Lake Ann, cupped amongst peaks snow and flowers and offers spectacular views of the nearby summits.

Maple Pass Trail

Wildflowers along the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Trail

North Cascades Photo Tours

This summer I am offering Guided Photo Tours of the North Cascades. We can pick a trail, based on your available time and venture into the mountains for some stunning scenery and photographic opportunities and/or training. Tours are available for both day hikes and overnight trips.

Skyline Divide is a trail reached from Highway 542. This trail leads up and onto a ridge carpeted with lupine, paintbrush and other flowers with grandstand views of Mount Baker, adorned with glaciers.

Mount Baker and Lupine from the Skyline Divide Trail

Mount Baker and Lupine from the Skyline Divide Trail

 

 

If you are looking for a guide book that catalogs most all of the North Cascades Trails, I recommend the book “Hiking the North Cascades” by Erik Molvar (Falcon Press). This book provides accurate info about each trail including mileage, elevation gain, and details of flora and fauna.

 

Another fabulous day hike is the Sauk Mountain Trail.

This trail is an easy(ish) hike up into the high country with smashing views of the Skagit Valley. Skagit Valley from Sauk Mountain

If you like a dash of solitude to go along with your mountain scenery then you’ll need to don a backpack and hike at least a day travel from the parking area. Here the crowds disappear and you have the place (mostly) to yourself.

Hiking along Sahale Arm

Hiking along Sahale Arm

In the next installment I will describe a few of the most stunning overnight and extended hikes in the North Cascades.

Trail along the North Fork, Bridge Creek

Trail along the North Fork, Bridge Creek

 

 

 

 

 

If capturing images of the Night Sky is your thing, check out our Night Sky Photo Tours and the Night Sky Photo Gallery!

 

Glow of Aurora Borealis

Glow of Aurora Borealis

 

 

Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop

On July 1 I hiked the Lake Ann – Maple Pass Loop. Usually this trail does not open (due to snow) until late July or even August. But the trail was completely snow free from top to bottom.

I started late to get the evening light. Here are a few images. Oh, and there were a few wildflowers.

If you’d like to go on a North Cascades Photo Tour and get shots like this, here is the place to find out more and sign up!

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Lake Ann from Maple Pass

Maple Pass Trail

Maple Pass Trail

Maple Pass Trail

Maple Pass Trail

Glow of Aurora Borealis

Stars, Tent and Kids

Here is another shot from the other night along the Baker River.

Camped under the Milky Way 3

Camped under the Milky Way 3

I had in my mind several images, planning and scheming as we hiked in, having the kids in the tent illuminated with the I-Pad, having them look out of the tent, in awe at the stars.

Here is the i-pad shot. Not too bad! A little overexposed on the face of the kid (Dawson) holding the device.

Then I tried an image with them looking out of the tent. I used the red light function on my head lamp to illuminate their faces and this is what I got:

IMG_8179At first I didn’t even try to edit it, it looked so red.

But later I decided to give it a try. I edited (in photoshop, as a raw file) the foreground, then went back and edited the raw a second time, but edited just the sky.

Then I merged the two and did final editing.

That’s Joe on the left, wrapped in the sleeping bag. And my son, Max is the incredulous one on the right!

Not too bad!

I guess I’ll have to take the kids camping more often!

Looking at the stars

Looking at the stars