Growing up in the north east I felt there was a subtle, nagging force pulling me westward. As a young teenager my friends always talked about heading to California, Colorado, Arizona, anywhere out west. To us it was the Promised Land. We just had this idea that things were better “out west”.
My first foray west of the Mississippi was to visit the Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho for an Outward Bound program. I fell in love with the mountains and backpacking. I returned back east, but not for long! A few weeks later I left home for good and hitchhiked out west visiting friends in California. Things felt different! And I knew that my future was somewhere on the pacific coast. Exactly where, I didn’t know.
Returning back east again I remember seeing a NatGeo issue about the Pacific Crest Trail (I was in high school at the time), and that seemed like the dream of dreams. I showed the mag to some friends and recruited two to head out to Oregon to hike the PCT. We split up and hitchhiked out, meeting at a camp site just south of Cascade Locks. We backpacked most of Oregon on the trail and had a magnificent time.
Over the next few years I continued traveling, hitchhiking through just about every state and visiting 13 countries in Central and South America. Again I wound up back on the east coast. I started to get antsy in just a few weeks, saw myself getting back in to old ruts and patterns. I knew I had to head west! So when a friend said she was driving out to Arizona and California, and was looking for a companion I signed on.
That trip took us through many adventures and I wound up in Washington State for the first time. After backpacking trips in the North Cascades and the Olympics I was sure that the North West was home. But again I headed back east for family and work.
I had narrowed down my choices on where to live in the NW, and in 1980 finally decided to head back out west to settle down. My plan was to visit Washington for a few backpacking and climbing trips and then head south and settle near Eugene, Oregon. But after the mountain excursions I couldn’t leave Washington! I wound up staying in the Seattle area for 15 years.
Of course I made short trips all over the state but the one place that seemed to have a hold on me was Skagit County. Every time I drove north on I-5 and started down the hill into the valley I felt I was coming home. I just had a feeling that somehow I would wind up living there.
But work and adventure pulled me away again. I left the area in 1995, and for the next seven years lived in Russia, Kazakhstan, France and Denmark. After my overseas travel I landed in NYC and worked/suffered there for three years. Each year I would fly out to Washington for a trip in the summer, feeling exhilarated and enthusiastic on the trip out west and depressed and miserable on the trip back!
I’ve sort of felt like a compass that has been shaken around a lot. It takes sometime for the needle to settle down and point north. I visited 50 states, 5 continents, and more than 70 countries. It took nearly 50 years! But finally after all my travels I was able to come home.
So, for me the question, “What does Skagit Valley mean to you?” is a deep one. It’s my home. It’s where I feel at home. I recall a song that said that home is a frame of mind. And that’s true, at least for me. I have lived in many places where I was happy with life: work, relationships, love. But I was not satisfied with my environment. Living in the Skagit Valley I am close to the mountains, the water, the forest. Even if I cannot go there every day I am so close I can feel them. And that feeling makes me calm and contented. They are with in my reach.
Photography for me has always been bound with outdoor adventure. I never had an interest in taking pictures until I started to go backpacking. Then it seemed like a necessity, you know, the packing list was: backpack, tent, camera, sleeping bag, stove, food…it never occurred to me that you could go out on a trip with a way to capture the images. Of course taking pictures, good ones, is harder than it looks! But once you start to get the hang of it, what a joy!
I have heard more than once that “You take nice pictures, you must have a nice camera.” (This still makes me smile) But I have always felt that a great part of taking beautiful pictures is going to cool places! And of course that’s what makes it so much fun! The planning, the trip itself, being there, in the outdoors, that’s the best part. Being able to capture some part of the look and feel of the place is an extra bonus. It helps to keep the memory alive and makes it possible to communicate some small part of what it was like to others. That’s what photography means to me!
Now that I am living in Skagit Valley everyday is like a trip or excursion! There is always something beautiful to see.
So taking awesome photos is as simple as remembering to take the camera with me when I leave the house everyday! Just knowing that possibility exists makes me smile!
96 thoughts on “About”
Ciao, l use to have the wanderlust too and hitched all over europe a few times, friends would say l had ‘itchy’ feet, meaning you can’t stay in one place for long the images and good times are still etched in my memory.
these are beautiful!
maybe i’m an idiot, but i can’t find a link to a photo store… do you sell prints of your work?
The site for purchasing images is:
and my direct email is: email@example.com!
Your work is stunning!!!! Thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring my day. Blessings and peace. Beth
Your work is inspiring! Thank you so much for following my blog! That means a lot to me. I’m definitely following your blog!
Cool Adrian, I am happy to inspire and look forward to more of your work!
You have some amazing photos here! I’ve truly enjoyed looking through them and will be back for more posts. Keep up the awesome work!
That’s very nice…thank you!!!
Hey Andy, some spectacular images you have showcased here. We would love to feature you on our blog- please stop by and if interested complete our form http://www.photobotos.com/submit-a-photo/ thanks!
Thank you very much! I just went and submitted an image!
Great photos. I lived in Glacier Park for a while. I love Vermont and being in Cape Cod, but I grew up in South Dakota and my heart aches for the west on occasion-I get it. Keep taking these beautiful pictures!
If I was to live back east Vermont would definitely be the place! Thank you and I will keep it up!
In order to take beautiful pictures, you have to go to beautiful places! Love that. What a novel idea… ha ha! Loving the pictures too…
All the more reason to visit beautiful places!!! thank you!
Thank you for following my blog! Happy that you like it 🙂 what an interesting blog you have ! 🙂 for sure will be back here!
Okay, now I have to visit Siena!
I have been following you on Facebook for some time now and I love your images. They are home to me, as I grew up just south of Seattle and my husband grew up in Burlington. I am looking to improve my photography skills but unfortunately am not close enough to Sedro Woolley to take advantage of yours; also, I’m in a fairly rural area here so was wondering if you knew of any good online classes I could take? I seem to have the eye for photography but I need to understand the camera more. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work (those nighttime shots are awesome!!)
Lake Winnipesaukee! My favorite movie is “What About Bob”! I did not know that there really was such a place…New Hampshire looks awesome, its the only place besides Washington that I would consider living in. I love your images and (I am from NY) sometimes (not often!) I miss it there. Mostly I miss the old houses and fall.
Anyway, about imaging…I did the NYIP Photography course, it cost me about 800$ (this was in 2002) and I got a lot out of it. I had taken a lot of pictures before, but never really understood aperture and shutter speed and all that until I took the class. My entire photographic world changed then, and my picture taking started to improve. I have learned a lot since, but that’s where it started with me: an understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and setting the exposure manually. I am a slow learner and its taken me an embarrassingly long time to get better. So, my advice would be to get some training in the basics, never use anything but the manual setting, take lots of pictures and use You Tube and the internet to look at tutorials. And the other thing I do is go to Barnes and Noble and get a stack of photo books and handbooks and look them over until I find one that fits me and then take it home and get to work. And if you dont have photoshop, beg or steal the latest version and get started. I am completely self taught on it, but the world begins there. You have got to learn how to use it to manipulate RAW images. And its not hard! Those are my advices! I hope to hear back from you and wish you well!
Yes, Lake Winnipesaukee is a real place. Unfortunately that movie was filmed in Virginia. Go figure. : )
All of your advice is good. I do need to put my camera on manual (I tend to keep it on aperture priority) and I shot my first images in raw today. It’ll be interesting to experiment with it. I do have and know Photoshop, at least to some extent; what do you do for post-processing? Have you experimented with actions at all? How do you keep your images sharp? Is this the right place to be asking all these questions?? Thanks for your help! 🙂
I open the RAW file and use the auto option for the exposure, and maybe tweak that a little, then I fix the lens distortion, maybe tweak the individual colors a bit and then move onto the graduated filter. Once thats done I use the raw brush tool to brighten or darken specific areas I want to accentuate. Thats the basic flow…
I cant believe it was filed in VA.!
You can ask all the questions you like! I probably wont have many answers, though! I am sort in middle school with regards to the whole PS thing…
I love your blog, and am following it. Please consider following mine.
Equipping The Saints – Eph 4:12
Thank you! I am now following your blog!
Thank you for following my blog. May our Lord Jesus richly bless you.
Equipping The Saints – Eph 4:12
Amazing Blog,nice to Find you, Regards from Poland, take care ,EM
Happy to be found! Yours is a cool site. Had a girl once in Klaipeda, not too far from you…nice place in the summer!
What should I say?
Just incredible images, post after post…
Here I could find everything that I look for in landscape photos…
Thanks a lot for sharing… Have a great time 🙂
Thank you so much, my friend! Very kind words indeed!
I love your masterpieces. They were minimally post-processed and remained the true spirit of art. Very captivating 🙂
Ryan, Thanks very much. Your comment much appreciated. I work hard to create an image true to what I see. It’s not always easy!
You’re welcome Andy Porter.
I agree with your last statement Andy. Yeah, it’s not always easy. That is the fundamental concept that should be lingered.. in any angle of art 🙂 I am also learning through your blog. Best regards !
Inspiring work, Andrew. Look forward to enjoying your future work. Thank you very much for visiting Gwichyaa Zhee!
Dave, Thanks! Your site is inspiring! Are you permanently living there, in Alaska?
Yes. My wife Lindsay and I both teach here in the village. Four years and counting. We do travel home in the summer to Texas and California to see our families. I’m delighted you enjoy the blog, Andrew. It’s really intended as an open letter to my family, so they will know I haven’t been eaten by a bear or drowned in the river or frozen to death. 🙂 Never expected anybody else to find it interesting, but I’m very grateful for all of you who do and your comments -you are tonic to the lonelies. 🙂
You have an amazing photographers eye! The pictures that you have taken are incredible.
Many thanks, my friend!
These pictures are amazing!
Thank you muchly!
Interesting story and lovely photos – amazing and beautiful. Your story is interesting and you’ve had a wandering life, I understand. I don’t know how you have found my humble blog, but I’m grateful you did! Thank you for the follow. I will most certainly be back for more – beauty!
Great photos! Keep up the good work sir!
Hello Andy! I’m french and it’s a little difficult for me to understand all your blog, but I can say that your photos are beautiful and I hope I could take the same pictures as you when I’ll be older. Indeed, I’m only 16 years old..!
Where do you live? I think it could be interesting to talk if you want to. You could give me some advices… If you have the time of course.
Thanks for reading me, I hope we could talk soon,
I live in Washington State, in the North west corner, 100km north of Seattle and 60km south of Canada! I would be most happy to give advices, no problem. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send me a message and we can chat that way, its better than through comments!
I wanted to send you a message but I can’t find your email adress, could you give it to me once again?
My email address is: email@example.com
I still can’t find your email…
I love your photographs. I share your passion for photographing landscapes and have an obsession with the night sky. I haven’t seen you post any photos of Alaska. I live in Anchorage and would love the opportunity to hike, camp, photograph and learn from you. If you should ever make it to Alaska, I’d be happy to be your host and tour guide.
Sweet! Let’s see, where can I get tickets to come? Thanks a million for the invite. I have visited Alaska many times, but never for backcountry travel or photography. I would love to make it up there! And what about you, do you ever make it down here to the Evergreen State? If you do, get in touch and I would love to have your company on a photo safari.
WOW fantastic pictures!
Many thanks!!!! 🙂
Wow, you must have eyes like an eagle! Great vision and stunning photos. Thanks.
I don’t know about the eyes like an eagle thing, but I certainly LOVE to get out and take pictures! Thank you!
Fine work from your explorations Andy! I’m also a transplant (from the congested NE). We cross paths with our cameras and published images, so I look forward to running into you in the field someday!
Yes! Headed out to the Enchantments next week, And hopefully we’ll have nice weather through October…
These images are breathtaking and uplifting! Thank you!
My pleasure! Nice to “meet” you and best to you!!!
Your work is beautiful! Thank you…so glad I came upon your site!
Thank you, Wanderlust!
I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award! If you would like to accept it, you can find the details in my post at
Have a beautiful day!
all is great i’ m fan congrats
Hi Andrew, what stunning images you have created! I particularly enjoy your night shots, just beautiful! Best regards from Melbourne!
Hello down-under, where spring is on its way…
Have you been to the Great Barrier Reef to shoot? I have got to get down there…
Hey Andrew, yes you definitely must, it really is spectacular!! Have a browse back through my blog and you’ll see that about a year ago my wife and I were in Port Douglas for a few days, whereby I went diving on the reef again, but this time with a camera in tow… Only a PS in this instance, but better than nothing – highly recommended!!
Andy, your story is fascinating to read. I do believe there are places that are very spiritual in and of themselves, and that a place is a spiritual home for a person. How lucky that you finally found yours. The long search, however, is what makes you a richer person and artist. I’m so glad I discovered your beautiful blog.
Just want to say that the images are nice and the nature is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Sapy! Thank you very much!!!
So glad to have found you.
Thank you! 🙂 I am glad you found me, too!
Pingback: Introductions: Andy Porter | Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY
Hello, I am over from Leanne Cole’s Introduction. What an incredible collection of images you have here. I grew up in the Seattle area and have always loved the Skagit Valley, it is so nostalgic for me to see many of your images. I left Seattle after college, moved to Alaska and then to Southern California (all for my husband’s work). We finally moved out of Southern California this past summer and now live in Humbolt County, which I am loving! I feel like you do, that every day is a new adventure here and I never forget my camera. I never thought I would get to live 10 min from the coast and 10 min in the other direction from Redwood groves. I am so happy!
Really looking forward to following your work and enjoying the view through your lens.
Yes, Washington State has so much…mountains, ocean, rain forest, tulips! After all the travels I am happier with solitude and scenery. I have heard a lot about Humbolt Co and need to plan a visit sometime!
Oh yes! If you haven’t made it down here you should plane a visit. It is a stunning place. Let me know, I would be happy to share some beautiful spots with you!
Oh and I miss the tulips, that color is incredible!
I cannot get over how amazing your photos are. If you don’t mind me asking, what gear do you use? 🙂
I am sort of a minimalist…I have a Canon 6D, which came with a 24-105 lens. Just recently I got a second lens, a 14mm Rokinon lens for $310. That’s all.
Thank you for following my blog. Look forward to sharing more with you, and reading more of your posts as well. Your photos and travels are so inspiring. xoxo Anais
Keep up all your nice work!
Gotta say, this blog is definitely worth the follow – great job, loving all the beautiful photography and stories! 🙂
Apart from my blog, I’ve got a project called Showzee (http://www.showzee.com) that might definitely interest you, take a look and if you fancy it, request an invite and I’ll fast track you!
Thanks, Ryan! I signed up!
Andy, I just discovered your blog with delight. Thank you for sharing your outstanding pics, but also your vision of photography and your life experience!
I would like to add something concerning your point on what makes a good photography. Good camera is important without a doubt; exotic places give you an extra choice on what you could shoot. But the ultimate condition is a depth. As in any other form of art: only describing has no value. When creating, you have to feel strong emotions, and know how to express and share it through your capture. What makes a difference between a “real”, powerful picture and a postcard.
I really appreciate your work, it has lot of depth and carries a powerful beauty in it.
Thank you for inspiration,
Thank you, Ekaterina. Yes, you are right. When I see a brilliant, colorful or interesting landscape, my emotions run high. When I try to photograph things like a house or a car, not so much!
Your photos are breathtaking! I love them!
Thank you, Michelle!
Andy, your blog is full of amazing images. So glad I found it…
Hello Nurul! Thank you! Where in the world are you? What sort of camera are you shooting with?
Hello Andy.. I am using Canon 600D. At he moment, due to my jobs, I’m living in DR Congo. warm regards from Africa 🙂
Is your job Travel Blog Writer? Looks like you’re pretty good at it!
No Andy. I am humanitarian worker. Blogging is just a hobby 🙂
Well, that’s awesome!!! And I love your blog!
Great pictures! Your blog made my day 😀
Hello and Thank you!
Great pictures. Thanks for your blog, I will definitely be following you!
Northwest transplant myself, just wanted to say your photos are beautiful!
Thank you, Brandy! Where are you from?
You’re welcome! Originally from Texas, moved to Washington a year ago February 😀
Stunning images. The opening pic caused me to gasp. Thanks for sharing.