The Skagit River plays a very big role in life here in the valley. Transportation; electricity; salmon; irrigation; and more are centered around the river.
The early days of white settlers along the Skagit River are chronicled here quite well, in the Skagit River Journal.
Traveling along and across the river affords some good opportunities to capture images, from time to time. These are some recent images, some over the last few years of journeys.
Earth Day 2020
Earth Day evokes images of wild places: broad vistas of desert, ocean and mountains.
The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammelled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
Earth Day is about protecting these places and keeping them wild.
The raw nature of wilderness and its inherent aesthetic beauty often leave me short of breath, amazed at what I see and grateful for the chance to be a part of it.
In the wilderness is freedom. There is no one to tell you what to do. Knowing these untrammled places are there, and that you can go visit them is integral to sanity, to survival. They say that wilderness can heal a person and I believe it’s true.
Pictures speak words, they say…
Park Butte Lookout is located on the south side of Mount Baker. Access is via Baker Lake Road. Here is the link with details. The hike in is about 3.5 miles. It usually opens in July, depends upon snow melt. You can spend the night in the Lookout, its a first come first serve sort of thing…if you plan to stay the night, be certain to bring a tent because it most likely be full!
I’ve spent 14 nights in or near the lookout, with other people and several times alone. It always magical, even in a storm.
Here are a few images from recent trips.
Over the years I have managed a few decent shots of the night sky from the lookout.
Views of Mount Baker and the Sisters are beyond spectacular for both sunrise and sunset.
Olympic National Park includes long stretches of coastline. Its wonderfully refreshing to backpack and camp along the forests edge, on the beach.
Depending upon how far you hike from the car you can find some real solitude out there.
The spot I’ve visited most often is Point of the Arches. It lies along the northern-most section of ONP, just south of Neah Bay. Its now a very popular spot and sees many visitors. These images are from a trip 2 years ago, in January. A window of warm sunny weather was forecast, and I spent two glorious days there with sumptuous light. On this particular sunset the colors were so bright and vivid and the orange glow from the rocks and sand so intense, it was more tricky than one would think to edit these and do the place justice.
Its almost a 2-mile hike through the forest and mud until you get to the stairs and descend to the beach. Point of the Arches is another 2 miles walk, along the ocean.
Once the sun started to set the shadows and lines were amazing.
As the colors got richer it was impossible to capture enough images.
Every shot looked magnificent, better then the last, and the landscape is so utterly magical…
Skagit Valley Tulips and Daffodils
Spring, thankfully, brings the colors back.
The winter creates a grayish monochrome of everything that is interesting for about a week.
When the colors come back, things are better. The snow just melted yesterday and we’ll probably see more before the end of the winter.
So I shouldn’t get myself all excited just yet, but I can sense the subtle stirrings of green.
In February the hints of green will become more pronounced and then, finally, the yellows will arrive with Skagit Valley Daffodils.
Depending upon the year the daffodils start coming up in late February or early March. Skagit Valley has a rather mild climate, rarely getting snow. Early spring brings almost daily rain. The daffodils emerge slowly, reluctantly.
Once the temp starts rising a bit, tulips start to pop up. The anticipation of the coming color explosion is tantalizing!
Every year the tulips and daffodils are planted in different fields.
You can see their location and bloom status with the Bloom Map.
I usually visit the tulip fields 10 times each season, sunrise is my favorite, because of the light and lack of people. Workers are in the fields then, harvesting and at the end, topping the tulips. I offer guided Photo Tours of Tulip Festival each year, at sunrise and sunset, details and prices can be found here.
Because the fields rotate every year, so do the backdrops, and foregrounds!
Barns, school busses, tractors, irrigation ditches, and puddles all serve well for offsetting the beauty of the flowers.
I teach basic Photography Classes through Parks and Rec in Burlington. Here is the link for more info.
Starting in Jan 2020 I will also be teaching basic Photography Classes through Parks and Rec in Bellingham.
Sometimes a visit can bring good luck in the form of rainbows, long shadows, dirty kids and much more.
Need a 2020 Calendar? There are still copies available of the Night Sky Images of Washington State Calendar! Click here to order your copy.
2019 in Review: Andy Porter Images
Through the course of an entire year I take a lot of pictures. Its fun to look back at the images you captured earlier, to reconnect with the places you’ve been.
I choose these because there is some element about each one of these images that captivates me.
Happy Holidays and may 2020 be your best year to date!
Debay’s Swan Reserve, Clear Lake
Hals Drive-In, Sedro-Woolley
Fir Island at Sunrise
Daffodils under the Moonlight
Skagit Valley at sunset
Sun Mountain, Winthrop
Samish River, Skagit Valley
Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes
Liberty Bell, North Cascades
Night sky over the North Cascades Highway
Mount St. Helens
Artist Point, Mt Baker Highway
Point of the Arches, Olympic National Park
Mount Baker and Skagit River
Washington Pass, North Cascades
Fir Island, Skagit Valley
Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park
Skagit Valley, near Clear Lake
Point Wilson Light House, Port Townsend
2020 Night Sky Calendar is available. Click here to see the images and order your copy before they’re all gone!
Photography Classes in Burlington at Parks and Rec start in Jan, 2020. Here is the link to sign up.
Its always good to start any day with a colorful sunrise. Some nice clouds, water for reflections, a wide panoramic view…maybe some mountains off in the distance all make the scene perfect.
These images are from two very recent visits to Fir Island sunrise.
Sunday, November 24
Thursday, November 28
The broad expanse of sky, over the ocean and mouth of the Skagit River. There are several vista spots alone Fir Island Road, most require a Discover Pass.
2020 Night Sky Calendars are available here.
Interested in a Photo Tour? Tulip Photo Tours in April are now filling up fast.
Night Sky Photo Tours are my favorite! More info here.
Not long ago I saw an image of Skagit River with Mt Baker looming above. It was a gorgeous image and started me on a hunt.
I have been here in Skagit Valley for 15 years now and have never encountered a vista that encompassed both the Mountain and the River. Skagit River runs east to west through the valley and Baker sits about 10 miles to the north.
A short study of the map revealed that there are several spots where the Skagit turns back on itself so that you can look “down the river” and right at Mt Baker. I started my search along the Concrete Sauk Valley Road, looking to visit the confluence of the Sauk and Skagit Rivers. It was a lot of fun tooling about, on both sides of the river, scouting for views, vistas, and access trails down to the gravel bars along the river.
Here are a few pics from my endeavors:
After a bit of search I finally found a spot along the Concrete-Sauk Valley Road where you can scramble down to the gravel bar and out to this view: Looking north to Mt Baker, from the Skagit River