The Enchantments are a small enclave of serrated peaks and jade colored lakes located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, not far from Leavenworth.

Every year there is a lottery for camping permits, I’ve entered the lottery each year since 2006 and got lucky in 2014 and won a 5 day permit, to the Enchantments Core for early October.

The experience was a bit of a sensory overload. Every time I opened my eyes, I wanted to take a picture.

Every tree, every lake, every scene everywhere I looked was luscious with colors, shapes and textures, OMMFG, I couldn’t stop!!!

Here are just a few images from Prusik Peak and Gnome Tarn.

When I came home and loaded the images into the computer I couldn’t even look at them for a while, the overload was still there! I managed to post a few pics, and then left them.

Normally I go through the files from a photo shoot and choose which images to post online and which to edit for printing.

IF I’m lucky, I might have an interest in maybe, 1 in 10 or 20 or even 1 in 50 is the norm. With the Enchantments, it seemed that every image was perfect.

These images are all from one day! We visited Perfection Lake, Prusik Peak and had an encounter with goats.

These images are from Perfection Lake and nearby…

After the day hike to Prusik Peak I returned to camp and met several goats. They were rooting around looking for food. I managed to get a few images of them as well.

Many more pics to come soon!

2019 in Review: Andy Porter Images

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

Rainbow, Sedro-Woolley

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.

North Cascades Photography – Winter on the Cascade Loop

North Cascades Photography – Winter on the Cascade Loop

The severity of winter in Western Washington is all about elevation. The lowlands usually get very little snow, not counting this year of course! And the mountains get slammed. Several of the mountain passes in Washington close in winter due to snow avalanche conditions. The North Cascades Highway, SR 20, is one of them.

North Cascades Highway, Diablo Overlook

Crossing the North Cascade range at Washington Pass (5,477 ft el.) the North Cascades Highway closes each fall, usually mid November, and reopens each spring mid to late May.

On the west side the highway is gated for the winter at Colonial Creek Campground (milepost 131). Depending upon the severity of the snow it is usually gated about a mile further east, just past the parking area for the Diablo Lake Overlook.

As I drive up the valley quick peaks of the mountains pop into view. This is from a spot near Cascadian Farms.

Skagit River

The main visitors center for the North Cascades National Park is in Newhalem. Just behind the visitors center is a short trail to a great view of the Picket Range, a particularly rugged section of the Park.

Diablo Dam and Pyramid Peak make a perfect spot for sunset images!

The road is gated just beyond Colonial Creek Camp Ground. There is plenty of parking and easy access for snowmobiles and anyone wanting to hike along the snow covered (and closed) highway.

Its a winter wonderland out there, but I can’t wait for warm temps and wildflowers!

Lake Ann from the Maple Pass Trail

Goat Rocks Wilderness Under Smoky Skies

The Goat Rocks Wilderness, located in the Central Cascades of Washington State, is filled with wonder. Goat Lake, Snow Grass Flats and Cispus Basin are but a few on the many splendors. The Pacific Crest Trail bisects the wilderness so it is usually a busy place in the summer. Here are two pics from a trip in 2016.

Depending upon your access point, its not hard to intersect the Pacific Crest Trail, which is what we did, from the Snow Grass Flats Trail. Its about 5 miles to get to the junction, and our goal was to camp as high as we could, making it easier to spend sunset at the main attraction, the Knife’s Edge.

Due to the unusually hot July we had, the south facing slopes we ascended were dry. Looking up, the peaks surrounding were almost naked, only a very few small snow patches remained.

We made our way up, looking for the elusive camping spot, made more difficult due to lack of water.

Our final resting spot for the night was a magnificent camp, just below the last remaining snow fields below Old Snowy.

We hid in the shade until the proper hour and ascended to the “summit” of the PCT. High above the timber line the PCT climbs to a junction. Heading right you’ll climb steeply up Old Snowy to a saddle where the trail makes a turn, here are the views towards the north and south.

This is the highest point along the PCT in the Goat Rocks. If you want to scramble up the rest of the way to the top of Old Snowy, it takes about 15 minutes, one way.

Continuing upon the PCT, (headed north) the trail now descends along what is known as the Knife’s Edge. The long ridge zigs and zags down, and the trail is blasted into the very top of the serrated, sinewy ridge line as it descends into the abyss…

Its a cool place.

A short way down the trail reconnects to the “bypass”.  Back at the trail junction: If you’d gone left the trail skirts along steep slopes to meet the PCT as it descends along the first section of the Knife’s Edge.

And a very smoky abyss as you can see from the images. There are a forest fire nearby, and the horizons were smoggy. During the day, I could not see even a hint of Mount Rainier, or Mt Adams. Only at sunset could you make them out at all.

My plan was to climb up, camp a few days getting images of sunrise and sunset and night sky from that vantage point, but alas, the smoke was there to stay!

Here is my best shot from the trip:

Interested in Photo Tours? Photo Classes? Buying Prints? Visit Andy Porter Images and joy you will find.

North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park is situated in the northwestern corner of Washington State, along the Canada border. It’s a wonderfully rugged piece of wilderness, half a million acres of meadows, jagged peaks, glaciers, forests and wonder.

The North Cascades National Park does not get a lot of visitors, by National Park standards. That’s due in part, to the fact that the park is not on the way somewhere, unless you’re circumnavigating the US border! It’s a 3 hour drive, north from Seattle. In short, it’s an out of the way place. If you got there, its because you meant to!

Which is all fine with me. Less people means more solitude.

The park is bisected by the North Cascades Highway into two units. The North Unit is more remote than its southern sister. There are fewer trails.

The legendary Picket Range is here. Peaks like Mount Terror, Mount Despair and Mt Challenger tower over the deep, wet valleys filled with nasty things like Devils Club.

Trail access from the west side is via Hannegan Pass. Heading east from the town of Glacier on SR 542 (Mt Baker Hwy) for 13 miles there is a well marked turn off for the Hannegan Pass trailhead.

All sorts of important info about permits to camp overnight in the park, can be found here

Its about 4 miles to the pass, and from there you can do a short easy scramble to the top of Hannegan Peak, or a more involved climb of Ruth Mountain.

Just down the east side from the pass you enter the National Park. There is a campsite, Boundary Camp, and a trail junction. You can ascend Copper Ridge to Silesia Camp and Egg Lake, or follow the main trail down the Chilliwack River (there is a spot where you pull yourself over a chasm in a cable car) to a junction where you meet a turn off for the trail to Whatcom Pass.

This is one of the more remote parts of the park. The views of Mt Challenger and its namesake glacier are mind blowing. I have visited twice, the first visit was magnificent, and the most recent a total white out of gray.

From Whatcom Pass you can retrace your steps back to the car, or you can continue your trip east, and hike down along Little Beaver Creek to the shores of Ross Lake and take a water taxi to Ross Lake Resort,  or hike out via Beaver Pass.

A longer and more spectacular trip is to take the turn off for Copper Ridge. This is one of the few ridge hikes in the park, affording breathtaking views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker and host of other peaks. There are several camp site along Copper Ridge, Silesia Camp has the best views anywhere, and Copper Lake is a wonderful place to camp along the route.

The trail loops down the Chilliwack River, which you ford just south of the Canada border.

In early August expect to be wading through a river filled with salmon. It is quite a sight. From there its an easy hike to the junction with the Whatcom Pass Trail, and so you can make a loop out of the trek.


The Southern Unit has many more access points along Highway 20, Ross Lake to the east and Lake Chelan to the south. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through on its way to Canada.

In the next two posts we will visit some of the most spectacular areas in the lower section of the park.

Here is an image of Mount Logan from the North Fork Bridge Creek.

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park

Sauk Mountain Wildflowers

Sauk Mountain Wildflowers start blooming in July. Exactly when in July varies from year to year depending upon how much snow accumulated from the winter and how warm the spring.

Getting there is easy.

As soon as you leave the parking lot the trail is fringed with flowers. The first long, easy switch backs afford views out along the river and up, following the zig zag of trail to the top.

Along the way views of Mount Baker appear.

Rounding the shoulder of the mountain Sauk Lake comes into view and a trail leading to its shores. Lilies, Columbine, Lupine and more carpet the meadows.

I try to get up there several times each year. These images are from an overnight visit in July 2017.

Day Hike and Overnight Photo Tours are available here!

Waiting for sunset is  pleasure. The warm glow of late afternoon light envelops us.

The next morning’s light invites us to linger a while.

Glacier Peak

Glacier Peak, located in the North Cascades of Washington State is the name sake for the 500,000 acre Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Thee images are from the Liberty Cap spur trail, near Buck Creek Pass.

Prints are available here.

Night Sky Images 2016

Here, in no particular order, are the best night shots from this last year.

I am seriously looking forward to many new adventures in 2017.

For information about Night Sky Photo Tours, click here!

Deception Pass Bridge

Deception Pass Bridge

The bridge connecting Whidbey Island to the mainland at Deception Pass is one of the photographic icons of this area. Wooded slopes and sheer cliffs towering over a deep fast channel make it dramatic. The span itself lends to being photographed.

Deception Pass State Park includes several short and spectacular trails, on both sides of the channel.

The luminescence of the green water below the cliffs adds to the magic. The heavily forested slopes above, fed by fog and mist make the place dreamy. Sunsets are especially fantastic.

Prints are available here.

The new 2017 Washington State Scenic Calendar is now available!

North Cascades Sunrise Photo Tour

Here is a link to a recent article and images from Photo Tours to Washington Pass this year.

Sunrise Photo Tour