Earth Day 2015

Earth Day

What is Earth Day all about?

We live on a cool planet.

Mount_Rainier_Milky_Way

Mount Rainier

It’s beautiful.

Evening Light

Point of the Arches

There are mountains.

Colchuck Lake, Enchantments

Colchuck Lake, Enchantments

Oceans.

Washington Park, Anacortes

Washington Park, Anacortes

 

Rivers.

Bridge over Skagit River

Bridge over Skagit River

Flowers.

Skagit_Valley_Tulip_Festival_1

Skagit Tulips

 

Meadows.

Wildflowers

Pacific Crest Trail, Pasayten Wilderness

Animals.

AndyPorter_deer_ wildlife

Deer at Cascade Pass

 

People.

boys a

Atop Maple Pass

 

and LOTS more.

Park_Butte_Lookout

Park Butte Lookout

 

Lets try harder to not fuck it up!

Snow Geese on Fir Island, Skagit Valley

Snow Geese on Fir Island, Skagit Valley

untitled_panorama1-m

Skagit Valley

 

spider-meadows-112-a

Spider Meadows

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Highlights

There were many highlights photo-wise in 2014.
I had two images chosen for the cover of Northwest Travel Magazine. Not a bad way to start the year!

Northwest Travel May June 2014

Northwest Travel May June 2014

NW Travel Magazine March-April 2014

NW Travel Magazine March-April 2014


Four published articles on Seattle Backpackers Magazine:
Salmon Encounters
Cabin Fever
Shooting the Milky Way
Back Country Photo Essentials: Wide Angle lens

This image of Sahale Glacier Camp in North Cascades National Park got a lot of coverage. It was chosen as an Honorable Mention and is on display in the Smithsonian Museum, in Washington DC.

Sunrise, Steven Mather Wilderness - North Cascades National Park

Sunrise, Steven Mather Wilderness – North Cascades National Park


A new book was about the North Cascades was published by Braided River and the Mountaineers: “The North Cascades, Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby” and I was lucky enough to have 3 images in the book.
Hiking along Sahale Arm

Hiking along Sahale Arm


I made a trip to Palouse Falls State park and captured an image for the Milky Way over the Falls.
Palouse Falls State Park

Palouse Falls State Park


And managed to get images of the four tallest Mountains in Washington State.
Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain Resort

Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain Resort


Park Butte Lookout and Mount Baker

Park Butte Lookout and Mount Baker


Glacier Peak

Glacier Peak


Mount Adams and the Milky Way, Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams and the Milky Way, Goat Rocks Wilderness

2015 is looking to be another great year.
I have a new schedule of photography classes coming up.

And new articles and images being published in the Mountaineers Magazine and Backpacker Magazine.

I will also be teaching photo classes through the North Cascades Institute, more on that soon.

Travel Plans for the new year include a Washington State Tour, the Enchantments, Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park and a nighttime Tour of Mountain Lookouts in the summer.

Thanks for being there and happy trails to you all!

My Favorite Images of 2014: Part 1

I shot many images in 2014. As I review them there are some that capture my imagination. Here are the first 11 images:

Spider Meadows, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Spider Meadows, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Skagit County Barn: Early Morning

Skagit County Barn: Early Morning

Mount Adams and Split Rock, along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Goat Rocks Wilderness

Mount Adams and Split Rock, along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Goat Rocks Wilderness

Padilla Bay

Padilla Bay

Crystal Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Crystal Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Skagit Valley

Skagit Valley

Liberty Bell and the North Cascades Highway

Liberty Bell and the North Cascades Highway

Samish River

Samish River

In the Subway, Zion National Park, Utah

In the Subway, Zion National Park, Utah

Stormy Skies at Maple Pass, North Cascades

Stormy Skies at Maple Pass, North Cascades

Skagit River Bridge

Skagit River Bridge

Colchuck Lake, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Colchuck Lake, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Prusik Peak: Which version is best?

This image of Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn (Tarn = snow melt pond) I captured this October in the Enchantments, part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, in Washington State.

Here is the original. Not too bad…this view gives a wide perspective and includes the bottom of the tarn.

Prusik Peak, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Prusik Peak, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Here is the first crop, cutting out part of both top and bottom, creating a panorama of sorts.

Prusik Peak, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Prusik Peak, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

And here is the close crop, focusing in on the peak and reflection.

Prusik Peak, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Prusik Peak, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Do you prefer one over the others?

Please let me know your thoughts!

Thank you,

Andy

Astrophotography Images – 2014

Enchantments: Aasgard Pass, Isolation Lake, Perfection Lake and Prussik Peak. And lots of goats!

Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake


I am not a very lucky person, in terms of winning stuff. I’ve never won any big sums of money in the the lottery or a car or any of that, but I have entered and won the Enchantments Lottery two years in a row! And really, that’s pretty damned good!

The Enchantments are a part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, (which is itself a part of the Wenatchee National Forest) located near the town of Leavenworth, along Highway 2, in Washington State.
The Enchantments area is actually very small, making up maybe 10 square miles. Packed in to this wondrous world there are scads of small lakes and tarns of fantastic hues of blue and green surrounded by stark jagged peaks.

Autumn brings fantastic colors. Because of the high elevation of the Enchantments Basin (between 7,000 and 8,000 feet) there are dense stands of larch. These trees have needles, and come fall they turn a bright orange color, and look like they are aglow from inside.

Trees along the trail to Prussik Pass

Trees along the trail to Prussik Pass

I spent some time reading about the trail and lakes, the approach and parking and all that. There are two routes in to, or rather up to, the Enchantments Basin. One is very long (12 miles)with a lot (more than 6’000 feet) of elevation gain. The other route is a little shorter, and has a little less elevation gain, but it includes a hike up Aasgard Pass (more than 2,000 feet up in less than one mile).
Last year I’d tried the long route, and so opted for the “shorter, easier” route this time.
I recruited two of my friends to help me use the 5-day permit I’d won. I gave them fair (sort of) warning about the hike.

Sometimes I am guilty of recruiting companions by omitting to explain any of the hazards of the trip. I figure that we are all on a need to know basis and the way I interpret this, as it relates to backpacking, is that all they need to know is that all will be glorious!

The first days short hike took us up to Colchuck Lake. We arrived late in the day and from the lake could see the gash of Aasgard Pass soaring above the lakes far edge.

Colchuck Lake and Aasgard Pass and fast moving clouds

Colchuck Lake and Aasgard Pass and fast moving clouds

Late morning finds us clamboring over the boulder fields along the lake at the base of the trail up.
The morning light flares behind the larch atop the pass.

Boulder Field

Boulder Field

Aasgard Pass

Aasgard Pass

Spaghettified

Spaghettified

Boulder field

Boulder field

Morning light

Morning light

Surveying

Surveying

Half way up

Half way up

I am not sure of the weight of our packs, we had a lot of food, a heavy 4-season tent and I have a lot of photo gear, I would guess maybe 40 to 50 lbs each.

Its hard to describe what its like, struggling up this interminably long steep slope…as a comparison, if you’ve ever done the hike up to Sahale Glacier Camp, the last part of that hike is a very steep scramble up scree slopes to the camp at the base of Sahale Peak. Well, Aasgard Pass is like doing 15 of these sections, in a row!

A positive minded person (or one trained in the Magic of the Marketing Apocalypse) would maybe describe the hike up as challenging, or strenuous; trying to put a positive spin on the trail.

I would describe the trip up Aasgard pass as insanely grueling, ridiculously steep, painful, murderous, masochistic and plain torture. If you fancy hiking straight up a steep mountain with a huge pack, then, you’ll love the trip!

Okay, enough bitching. Once you manage to crest the pass your arrive in a wonderland of rock and ice. Dragontail Peak’s serrated edge rips the sky asunder above Isolation Lake.

Isolation Lake, panorama shot

Isolation Lake, panorama shot

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake

Ice fields dot the lake’s edge. A cool wind and a long drink from the icy stream revive me. along the lakes edge.

There are several inviting tent spots here and we quickly set up our portable North Face fortress and prepare food.

Camped at Isolation Lake, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Camped at Isolation Lake, Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake

There are a smattering of larches up here in the alpine zone, but mostly its rocks and water.

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake at sunset

Isolation Lake at sunset

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake


The light starts to fade and the colors glow along the lakes shore, the blues, greens and pinkish reds don’t look real at all. Late at night I manage to drag myself out of the tent and capture a few shots of the stars and the tent in this moon-ish looking landscape.

Camped at Isolation

Camped at Isolation


Dome in a moon scape

Dome in a moon scape

The next day as we start hiking I tell my two friends that this will probably be one of the best days hiking ever. We set out excited to see what the day has to offer.

Campers along Isolation's shore

Campers along Isolation’s shore


Skirting a low ridge we drop into a new basin filled with countless ponds. We cross a small snow field as we make our way gently down the trail. Our goal for the day is to establish a new camp on a ledge above Crystal Lake and then hike down to Perfection Lake. From there the plan I have is to make our way up to tiny Gnome Tarn for some wonderful views of Prussik Peak reflected.

Each turn of the trail elicits a new sense of wonder. The larch thicken as we descend.

Headed towards Perfection

Headed towards Perfection

Reflection in one of a myriad of tarns

Reflection in one of a myriad of tarns


Overlooking Crystal Lake our new camp gloriously commands a wonderful view. Below us the ridges are crusted in orange larch, offset by the blue skies and green lakes.

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake


Once camp is set up we (now with out heavy packs!) set out for Perfection.

This basin is on fire with orange. As a true color junky I am juiced to my eyeballs with sensory overload.

Perfection Lake

On the way to Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake

Perfection Lake


I feel like I’ve been teleported to a new world, like Avatar, or a scene from Middle Earth.

Finding the trail junction amid an orange forest, we branch off and start the easy climb up to Prussik Pass, in search of Gnome Tarn.

Gnome Tarn

Gnome Tarn

Gnome Tarn

Gnome Tarn

Trail to Prussik Pass

Trail to Prussik Pass

Trail to Prussik Pass

Trail to Prussik Pass

A little searching and gawking later were there. The place is as promised, nestled at the base of Prussik Peak, exquisitely framed by larch and water. I enter a photographic trance state.

Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn

Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn

Prussik Peak

Prussik Peak

Prusik Peak and Stones

Prusik Peak and Stones


It’s a perfect day, sunny and warm, a cool breeze refreshes us as we bask in the glory of nature.

Lingering for lunch we new set off again. Ambling my way back up to camp I encounter a few hikers who report mountain goats ahead. I arrive back at camp and there is a Mom and her young kid, looking for grass and munching away.

A new photo frenzy starts I circumnavigate the goats several times as they make their way about.

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats


Finally tiring of goats and picture taking I go fire up the stove and make some coffee. My friends return and we marvel at all around us. Dinner is served and eaten just in time for the sunset.

The small ponds make wonderful reflections of the sky.

Sunset in the Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Sunset in the Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness


Early the next morning the skies are dark and we head back to to the Pass and start the slow descent to Colchuck Lake. Taking a break on a huge slab precariously perched above a stand of larch I capture one last image of larch and lake.
Colchuck Lake, Enchantments

Colchuck Lake, Enchantments


Yes, I’ll be entering the lottery again next year!

Aasgard Pass and Isolation Lake, Enchantments

This October I spent 5 days in the Enchantments, we hiked into Colchuck Lake, camped, and the next day hiked up Aasgard Pass to Isolation Lake. Here are a few images from the trip!

Aasgard Pass, looking from the boulder field

Aasgard Pass, looking from the boulder field

Aasgard Pass, the "trail" headed up!

Aasgard Pass, the “trail” headed up!

Aasgard Pass, hiking up

Aasgard Pass, hiking up

Colchuck Lake, from Aasgard Pass

Colchuck Lake, from Aasgard Pass

Camped at Isolation Lake

Camped at Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake

Isolation Lake, panorama shot

Isolation Lake, panorama shot

Isolation Lake at sunset

Isolation Lake at sunset

Camped at Isolation Lake, nighttime!

Camped at Isolation Lake, nighttime!

Camped at Isolation Lake

Camped at Isolation Lake

Mountain Goats in the Enchantments

The Enchantments are a small series of peaks and lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, near Leavenworth, Washington. Here are a few images from last weekends encounter with mountain goats while hiking!

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Enchantments and Mountain Goats

Prusik Peak in the Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Prusik Peak in the fall is an alluring sight. The larches turn bright orange and if the weather co-operates the blue skies punctuate the landscape.
I luckily won the lottery for a permit this fall and last week I spent 5 days in the Enchantments, exploring and ogling the colors.

Prusik Peak above Perfection Lake

Prusik Peak above Perfection Lake

Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn

Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn

Prusik Peak Reflected

Prusik Peak Reflected

Prusik Peak and Stones

Prusik Peak and Stones

The Wilderness Act Turns 50 !

On September 3rd, 1964 President Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. This watershed piece of legislation has been a cornerstone in preserving the wild lands of America.

The Wilderness Act provides a definition for wilderness: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

I have been lucky enough to visit many wilderness areas and enjoy their majesty and solitude. Here are a few images from my travels.

Sahale Camp, Steven Mather Wilderness

Sahale Camp, Steven Mather Wilderness

Pasayten Wilderness

Pasayten Wilderness

Milky Way, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Milky Way, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Point of the Arches, Olympic Wilderness

Point of the Arches, Olympic Wilderness

Mount Rainier and Avalanche Lillys, Goat Rock Wilderness

Mount Rainier and Avalanche Lillys, Goat Rock Wilderness

Left Fork Canyon, Zion Wilderness

Left Fork Canyon, Zion Wilderness

Steeple Peak and Lost Temple Spire, Bridger-Teton Wilderness

Steeple Peak and Lost Temple Spire, Bridger-Teton Wilderness

Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Enchantments, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Mount Olympus, Olympic Wilderness

Mount Olympus, Olympic Wilderness

Amphitheater Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness

Amphitheater Mountain, Pasayten Wilderness

Upper Lyman Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Upper Lyman Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness

Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout, Mount Baker Wilderness

Mount Baker and the Park Butte Lookout, Mount Baker Wilderness

Sunrise, Steven Mather Wilderness - This image will be displayed in the Smithsonian Museum as a part of the Wilderness 50 Celebration starting on Sept. 3rd, 2014

Sunrise, Steven Mather Wilderness – This image will be displayed in the Smithsonian Museum as a part of the Wilderness 50 Celebration starting on Sept. 3rd, 2014