Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival 2015_2

Evening Photo Shoot at Skagit Tulip Fields

This last Saturday the rains hit, a real deluge…windy and storms, a day to stay indoors!
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Late afternoon arrives and there was a hit of blue peaking out of the gray.
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It’s hard to predict if the dark skies will win the battle or if there will be a late-day clearing, but I decided to make the gamble and head out to the tulips field all abloom in La Conner.
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The mud was slick and deep, the sun and clouds perfectly in harmony and the colors! The colors were to die for.
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I spent a few hours here, until the sun set.
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Andy Porter Guided Tulip Festival Photography Tours

Skagit Valley is located in NW Washington State and is home of some of the most stunning scenery anywhere. Spring brings amazing colors to the low lands, giant fields of tulips and daffodils create a patchwork of heaven. The Tulips have just gotten started this year, if you’d like to come for a visit and have a Tulip Photo Tour, we still have openings for Sunrise and Sunset tours this spring, have a look here.
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Skagit Valley Tulips

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

This year has been especially warm here in Western Washington and our spring has come early. The ski areas have closed and today was more than 65 F.

That translates to early bloom dates for tulips!

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Skagit Valley Tulips

In early February we saw the arrival of daffodils and today I made a sunrise visit to the first tulip field that has popped open!

Skagit Tulip Festival 2015

The workers were arriving, getting their bearings and starting to head out into the fields.

The day turned out so warm! And the sky is still filled with wondrous clouds…I hope they last until sunset!

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

If you would like to come for a sunrise or sunset Tulip Tour, now is the time to get registered!

Skagit Valley Tulip Tours

Living here in Skagit Valley not far from Tulip Heaven I am able to visit the tulip fields every day. As tulip season gets started I head out to scout the new year’s tulip and daffodil field locations and plan where are the best spots (and times, mornings or evenings) for capturing fabulous images.

The best time of day to visit the tulip fields is early morning or late afternoon. The low light and clouds offer some incredible back drops for the flowers.

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

The best days to visit are Monday through Friday to avoid the throngs of people. On Tulip Festival Weekends after 10am, the entire tulip area is mired in a horrible traffic snarl. Weekends between 9am and 5pm are times to avoid the tulip fields, unless you enjoy traffic!

Evening – Sunset Tulip Tour

This tour is available Monday through Friday, every week that the flowers are blooming. The tour starts at 3pm and ends at 10pm. (Note: the times and itinerary are always up for change, depending on your preferences!)

Itinerary:

3:00 – Meet at Skagit Food Coop, relax, discuss photo techniques.

3:30 – Begin our photo tour at either of the two main Tulip Tourist centers (Optional)

5:00 – Drive out to several of the year’s best locations to get great evening shots of the flowers at sunset.

8:30/9:00 – Head out for a bite to eat and a review of images and tips on editing.

Cost: $150 per person Note: Each tour is limited to no more than 5 people

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Early Morning – Sunrise Tulip Tour

This tour is available every day, 7 days a week, every week that the flowers are blooming. The tour starts at 5am and ends at 10am. (Note: the times and itinerary are always up for change, depending on your preferences!)

Itinerary:

5:00 am – Meet at Starbucks for coffee/tea and to discuss photo techniques.

6:00 am – Drive to several of the year’s best locations to get great morning shots of the flowers at sunrise.

9:00 am – Head out for a bite to eat and a review of images and tips on editing.

Cost: $150 per person Note: Each tour is limited to no more than 5 people

Tulip Festival Photography Tours Planning

Weather

Skagit Valley Weather in the spring is…unpredictable. We can have snow, rain and sun, all in the same afternoon! Some days are gray and overcast, others with totally blue skies, but most often we will have a mix, throughout the day of clouds and sky. Rain is common. I have often seen days where it rained hard all day long, and in the late afternoon partially cleared into the most fantastic skies.

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Skagit Valley Tulips 2015

Evening light at Copper Ridge

Copper Ridge

Copper Ridge

Start of the Copper Ridge trail

Start of the Copper Ridge trail

Recently I received a photo request from a magazine looking for images of Copper Ridge in North Cascades National Park.

When I receive a photo request for a location I’ve visited and have decent images, I go and review the folders and choose the shots that I feel best fit my idea of what the publication is looking for.

I will have a look at the original images and their edited versions, trying to decide if I may have learned any new Photoshop skills since my last editing session, and if so, I open the original raw files and start the editing process over, from the beginning, on each shot that I feel holds promise.

Ruth Mountain and Mount Shuksan

Ruth Mountain and Mount Shuksan

I have no idea whether any of the images will be chosen for publication, in fact the chances are against me, but its fun to revisit these fantastic places and relive my short visit to their majesty.

These images are all a part of that process. You can view these images, and more North Cascades Vistas in my gallery where they can be purchased as canvas prints and fine art prints.

North Cascades National Park, in Washington State, is one of the most rugged and least accessible National Parks in the lower 48. Lots of rain and thick flora make the mountains a sheer hell to bushwhack through. So, most travel in the back country is along trails. The northern section of the park has few trails really, there are large sections of mountain fastness that people very rarely visit.

Evening light at Copper Ridge

Evening light at Copper Ridge

One very popular trail is along Copper Ridge. The trail starts at the Hannegan Trail head and crosses over Hannegan Pass and then heads up Copper Ridge. There is a campsite atop the ridge, Silesia Camp. Its small, only two or three tent pads. But the views are spectacular. From here you can see Mount Shuksan, and Ruth Mountain, straight across the valley and, a little to the west, Easy Ridge and Whatcom Peak in front of Mount Challenger, draped with glaciers, and just south of this massif, the needles of the fabled Picket Range jut skyward.

Its a cool campsite!

Selesia Camp

Silesia Camp

Just below the camp is small Egg Lake, with a few more tent pads. The trail heads northerly from here, to the top and the Copper Ridge Lookout. Rangers man the lookout through the summer and this is the highest point on the trail, at almost 7,000 feet.

From here the path descends down to the shore of aqua blue Copper Lake. This is the next spot where you can camp, but the views are lacking. Its a great place to stop for lunch and a swim!

The ridge hike follows the contours through forests and meadows, now and again popping out into the open for more jaw dropping vistas until, finally reaching its end, you plunge steeply down more than 4,500 feet to a ford of the Chilliwack River.

If you make the trip in early August you may be lucky enough to find yourself fording the river full of spawning salmon!

Whatcom Peak and Easy Ridge from Copper Ridge

Whatcom Peak and Easy Ridge from Copper Ridge

Mount Shuksan from Copper Ridge Lookout

Mount Shuksan from Copper Ridge Lookout

Sunset at Copper Ridge

Sunset at Copper Ridge

Hiking along Copper Ridge

Hiking along Copper Ridge

Selesia Camp Sunset

Silesia Camp Sunset

Copper Ridge Trail

Copper Ridge Trail

Capturing sunset

Capturing sunset

Copper Ridge Panorama

Copper Ridge Panorama

Copper Ridge Lookout

Copper Ridge Lookout

Copper Lake

Copper Lake

These last two images are from the end of the Copper Ridge trail, at the Chilliwack River and its confluence with Indian Creek. Here is where yo may have a salmon encounter!

Indian Creek

Indian Creek

Indian Creek Salmon

Indian Creek Salmon

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Outdoor Photo Workshops

Starting this month I will be offering Outdoor Photography Workshops.

These 3-4 hour classes will combine class room instruction with in the field training.

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Padilla Bay at Sunset

Padilla Bay

The Burlington Classes will begin at the Parks and Rec building, where we will meet and discuss setting exposure, photo composition, use of polarizers and more. Then we’ll pile in the bus and head out!

Snow Geese on Fir Island

Snow Geese on Fir Island

There are 4 of these sessions scheduled. Each with a date and alternative date, in case its awful out. Keep in mind that even if its been raining all day, the evenings can sometimes have a break in the rain and produce some of the most stunning skies!

 

Locations for our excursions include Padilla Bay, Fir Island and of course, Tulips!

The dates are:

  • Tuesday, March 24th – Open destination
  • Tuesday, April 7th – Open destination
  • Wednesday, April 15th – for this night we already have an approval for exclusive access to Tulip Town for a sunset shoot.
  • Wednesday, May 27th – Our destination this night will either be Padilla Pay or Fir Island.

These classes will fill up fast, if you would like to attend, here is the link.

Skagit Daffodils at sunrise

Skagit Daffodils at sunrise

Tulips and Stormy Skies

Tulips and Stormy Skies

Washington State Ferry Sunrise light

New Photo Classes in Burlington

Evening Light

Evening Light

Here is the new flyer for the classes scheduled in March and April here in Burlington.

There are 3 classes on How to Use Your DSLR: This class is for anyone who wants to become more creative and capture better images.

And then there are two classes about Photo Composition and Editing. This is a two-day class and is for anyone who would like to learn the secrets of taking image taking to a higher level.

Here is the link to the form. 

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Darkening clouds

Photography Classes in Bellingham

Photography Classes in Bellingham

Bellingham Parks and Recreation Announces Spring Photography Classes With Andy Porter at Bloedel Donovan Park

Take Better Pictures with Your Digital DSLR Camera—$40 1-Day Class

  • Saturday, April 11th 10 am—1:00pm
    • and again in May
  • Spider Meadows, Glacier Peak Wilderness

    Spider Meadows, Glacier Peak Wilderness

  • Wednesday, May 6th 6 pm—9:00pm

Taking pictures with your new DSLR is easy, just set it on auto and shoot away. Capturing GOOD pictures with your new DSLR…that’s harder. Quality photography starts with understanding how to set your exposure manually. This is NOT difficult to do. In this 3 hour workshop we’ll cover aperture and shutter speed and show you how to change them on your camera. Next we’ll discuss how to use these settings to create the image you want. Bracketing the exposure is a very key part of this and will set you on the right path. We will also cover the use of polarizers and capturing images in the RAW format.

Mount Baker in the Morning

Mount Baker in the Morning

Photography Composition and Basic Editing—with Andy Porter—$80 2-Day Class  

  • April 22 & 29 Wednesday evening, 6 pm—9 pm
    • and again in May
  • May 19 & 26 Tuesday evening, 6 pm—9 pm

This two-day/six hour session photography class covers Image Composition and Photo Editing.

Day 1: Having the “eye of a photographer” is a skill that one develops over time. It just takes a study of the various techniques, practice and then getting out and shooting. This class will cover in detail, with many examples the various techniques for stunning photo composition: leading lines, the Rule of Thirds, reflections, subject placement, angles of light and much more. You’ll receive a photo assignment to complete before the next class.
Day 2: First we’ll review and critique your assignment images and then delve into how to edit your images on the computer. The human eye can see much more than your camera can. If you want the images you record to look like what you saw, you will need editing. In this session we’ll have a look at what editing can do and get you started.

Outdoor Photography Workshops- $50 1-Day Class

  • Saturday, April 25th 10am—1:00pm
    • and again in May
  • Lake Ann from the Maple Pass Trail

    Lake Ann from the Maple Pass Trail

  • Saturday, May 23rd 10am—1:00pm

Spring is upon us and its time to get out and shoot! In this class we will first meet and discuss/review some of the basics of setting exposure, bracketing and composition and then head outdoors to capture images. There I will offer advice and personal, direct assistance to all.
Things to bring: Camera, any lenses you have, a polarizer filter, freshly charged battery, tripod. Be certain to wear clothes and shoes/boots that you are happy to get dirty and muddy! Bring water and snacks as well. And bring layers, it often is chilly and windy.
Anyone can attend these Outdoor Workshops. It is highly recommended that you have completed the DSLR and Composition/Edit Classes first. If you already know how to manually set exposure and use a polarizer you will be fine.

All of these Photo Classes will be held at Bloedel Donovan Park, in Bellingham. Here is a link to register for the classes, or contact Bellingham Parks and Rec at:

3424 Meridian Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Email: parks@cob.org
Phone: (360) 778-7000
Fax: (360) 778-7001
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday – Friday