Night Sky Class at Artist Point

I teach Night Sky Photography through the North Cascades Institute, 2 or 3 classes a year.

The most recent class was July 31. We all met at the Glacier Public Information Center. The people from NCI came with a bus.

There were 15 students, we all met there and prepped our camera settings in the parking lot, jumped in the bus, and made our way up the hill to Artist Point.

We were there a bit early, so we practiced a bit, and when it was dark, we spread out and captured images.

I was busy, visiting the students to help with the details.

The sky was partly cloudy, we weren’t sure what we’d get, but as real darkness fell the vista was amazing.

Here are a few pics I managed while enjoying the dark spaces.

I teach photography for adults in Burlington, at Parks and Rec. Classes start in September.

I also do Night Sky Photo Tours, here is the link.

Night Sky Images of Washington State

I have been capturing night sky images of Washington State for about 4 years now. These 14 images display my moments of good luck so far.

Capturing nice Milky Way shots is not difficult, technically. A decent camera, wide angle lens, tripod and remote are all that’s needed. The aperture, shutter speed, ISO and focus are all set. You can read more about the settings here.

The tricky part is getting yourself and camera to a spot far away from light pollution, on a night when there is
a.) No moon in the sky and
b.) No clouds covering up the stars!

Once you get that all figured out, then its a matter of practice, trail and error (lots of errors), and really just getting yourself out there.

The settings for these types of images were the same:

  • Milky Way shots: Aperture: f2/8 ; Shutter Speed: 30 seconds ; ISO 2,500 to 6,400
  • Star Trail Shots: Aperture: f2/8 ; Shutter Speed: 20 minutes ; ISO 100

Here are the details on each image.

First Beach, Olympic Coast This is First Beach, in La Push, down the road from Forks. I used this huge stump to block the light pollution from the small village. This was taken in January, and the Milky Way is faint.

Winchester Lookout at Dawn Late September, the Lookout had been battened down for the fall… Early sunrise created a split sky of colors, while my friends meditated with their I phone. They would have the phone “on” for just 2 or 3 seconds during my 30 exposure. The light in the lookout is from a very dim stand-up flashlight I put on the floor of the building

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort The plan was to wander off from the resort and camp and takes pics. This was shot at about 2am, in late July. There are several satellites in this image. When using a wide angle lens you have to be very close to any foreground objects, or they will be very tiny in your image.

Sahale Camp, North Cascades National Park This is the highest camp site in the North Cascades National Park, at more than 7,500 ft. The view is facing south. 30 second exposure, my friends in the tent had the light on for 1 -2 seconds. Any longer and the tent would be over exposed.

Night Sky Images of Washington State 2020 Calendar

This year I started the Calendar early! We printed on 8″ x 12″ sheets of 100lb bond, glossy paper.

They really look fabulous! Each individually wrapped.

The calendar is now back from the printer and ready to ship anywhere in the world!

Order Yours Here

Palouse Falls is a wonderful spot for Night Sky Imaging, its very remote and scenic. Someone started a campfire in the basin that night, and that’s where the wonderful illumination comes from in this shot.

Mount Larrabee, North Cascades This is a 20 minute exposure. The green glow along the horizon is the Aurora Borealis! This image was captured from atop Winchester Mountain.

Nighttime at Diablo Overlook Here is a south facing view of Colonial Peak, from Diablo Overlook. The star trails are streaks across the frame. If you shoot pointing north the star trails form a circle.

Milky Way over the North Cascades Highway at the Washington Pass Overlook. This image was taken on June 2nd, at about 1am. As the Earth rotates the Milky Way arcs across the sky. The tail lights from a car headed east, to Winthrop, provide the lighting for this pic.

Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake This famous view of Mt Shuksan affords some nice reflective opportunities! Its easy to get to, and from there you can head up to Artist Point for more images of Mts. Shuksan and Baker.

Buying Prints

Prints are available for all images. Traditional paper prints of all sizes are possible. These come ready for matting and framing. Canvas Wrapped Prints of any styles and sizes are also available directly from the web site. Here is the link to the Night Sky Gallery. Feel free to call me if you have any questions. 360-809-0661.

Also, if you use the code: NIGHTSKY50 you will receive 50% off your order!

Govan School House. Located near Wilbur on Hwy 2, this remote abandoned building was perfect for night sky. We illuminated the inside with a Coleman Lantern and a few other orange/yellow lights. I would love to find some more old building or barns to do this again!

Park Butte Lookout and Mt Baker. I brought a very dim flash light and hung it from the ceiling, I could barely see it from out side, and it provided plenty of light for me. It looks like the stars emanate from the crater on Mt Baker!

Liberty Bell, North Cascades Highway. The Washington Pass Overlook is one of the best spots there is to capture night sky pics. Its VERY dark, the foreground is outstanding (Liberty Bell and the hairpin turn in the North Cascades Hwy) and its easy to park and get there in the dark.

Camped along Baker River, North Cascades. I would start the 30 second exposure and yell to them: Turn it on! and then after 1 second, Turn it off! that was plenty of light on their faces and the tent. The gravel bars along Baker River are an easy distance and very dark spots for night sky.

Winchester Lookout and the Northern Lights. For long exposures, if you point towards the North Star, all of the other stars will make concentric circles. The green and reddish glow is the Aurora Borealis.

Night Sky Photo Classes and Photo Tours

Currently I am scheduled to teach one more Night Sky Photo Class this year, through the North Cascades Institute. It is scheduled for Wednesday night, July 31, and you can find out more here, and register.

Night Sky Photo Tours are also available each month at the New Moon. I take individuals and groups to Drive-in locations, like the Washington Pass Overlook, or Artist Point. For those adventurous photographers who can carry a 30 lb backpack up hill for a while, there are back country locations we can visit, like the Park Butte or Winchester Mountain Lookouts. You can find out more here, and feel free to email or call if you have any questions.

Diablo Overlook Winter Night Sky

On Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 I made my way to the Diablo Overlook on the North Cascades Highway.

The plan was to see about a few sunset pics and then wait for the stars.

Here are the results!

diablo-winter-panoranaThis is 4 images, photo merged into a panorama.

And a few more. The 2017 dates for the North Cascades Night Sky Photo Tours are set. Here is the link to find out more, and if you’re interested, register for this years tours.

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!

Night Sky at Glacier Peak Wilderness

Just back from 4 days in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Here are a few pics of the night sky.

We hiked up Phelps Creek, through Spider Meadows and on up and over Spider Gap, descending to our camp.

This first image is from the Upper Lyman Lake Basin. Chiwawa Mountain on the right. Spider Gap is the low point along the skyline.

Milky Way over Spider Gap 2Here is another image from the same location. The moon began to rise and is splashing light on Chiwawa Mtn.

Milky Way over Spider Gap 4Lots more soon!

Govan Schoolhouse

Capturing cool images of the Milky Way is a lot of fun. Adding stars, especially the strip of the Milky Way Galaxy to an image create such an awesome look and feel.

So I am always searching for new elements of coolness for foreground interest. The idea of old, abandoned buildings came to mind, and I began to search for a likely place.

I wanted a wooden structure, old and beaten. It needed to be off, away from any city or town, so that the sky would not be washed out by light pollution.

A google search landed me at the Govan Schoolhouse and I knew right away where the next New Moon would take me.

I called the local city hall, in Wilbur, to check and see if the building was still standing and made my way east along with several night sky photo friends.

The building is located well off the beaten path, though there two farms close by.

As the sky darkened and the Milky Way became visible I made my way inside with several lanterns and lights of various kinds, too illuminate the schoolhouse with a glow.

The next New Moon is July 4th! If you are interested in coming along on the next Night Sky Photo Adventure, here is a link with the details!

Happy Star Shooting!

Andy Porter Images Media and Awards

A few recent splashes for one of my night sky images.


First Beach Olympic Coast, near La Push Washington

The image won third place in the annual Alaska Airlines Photo comp, winning me 2 free RT tickets! You can see the Alaska web page here.

Another use of the image is from the Sierra Club, on their Daily Ray of Hope page.

The next New Moon is June 4th, here is the link if you would like to come out for a Night Sky Photo Tour!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 2016

The Spring Equinox marks the change of seasons, beginning a time of renewal and birth and hope and beginnings.

Here is Skagit Valley it also marks the start of Tulip Season!

I have lived here 11 years now and the tulips seem to start blooming earlier every year…

Yesterday and today I spent time in the tulip fields, leading clients on Tulip Photo Tours.

The tulips in Tulip Town are abloom. This year they have one small field of tulips, maybe 100 rows, 5 rows or so for each color or variety. tulips 1

The larger fields, spread through the valley are just starting to bloom now.

Given some more sun, they will all be popping open in the next week or so. Here are two images from this morning at one of the tulip fields first to bloom.

If you would like to find out more about Skagit Valley Tulip Tours, call or email me.

Here is the link with details and registration.

These images are from Saturday morning at sunrise, at the Daffodil Fields.


If you would rather go on a Night Sky Photo Tour here is the link to find out more.

First Beach


Longest Night of the Year


Palouse Falls

Longest Night of the Year

Tonight is the longest night of the year (assuming you live on the northern hemisphere)

The creeping darkness has reached its apex.

Mt Baker Stars Nov

Mount Baker from Park Butte Lookout

Tomorrow the days begin to lengthen.

For now, night rules.

But who ever said that darkness was a bad thing?

It provides the opportunity to observe the starry heavens and witness, with awe, the strip of the Milky Way.

Gazing in towards the center of our galaxy one can imagine its black hole, there at the core, consuming light .

And then you remember (in case you ever forgot) that it’s awesome to be alive.

Like the images? Here is the gallery to purchase canvas wraps and prints.

Would you like to learn how to capture images like these? Sign up for a Night Sky Photo Tour!

Happy Solstice!