Purcell Mountains Larches British Columbia

North Cascades Larch Madness

North Cascades Larch Madness

Purcell Mountains Larches British ColumbiaWestern Larch (Larix occidentalis) #25781  Purchase

Just about everybody knows that some of the best fall color can be found in New England, or for that matter just about anywhere east of the Mississippi. The Colorado Rockies and California Sierra have their own spectacular displays of aspens, And even the Southwest can put on a good show with their cottonwoods. But in comparison the Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly known for dazzling fall color.

Those not familiar with the Northwest may not know about the magical displays of yellow and gold put on by two kinds of trees. I’m referring to the Lyall’s or Subalpine Larch and the Western Larch. The needles of these two unusual coniferous trees turn a brilliant gold every fall before they are shed. Both varieties are grow in very specific areas. And with the right lighting they can put just about any Vermont forest to shame. But you’ll have to do your homework and legwork to find the best displays. In this post I’ll be concentrating on the subalpine larch variety.

Liberty Bell Mountain North CascadesLiberty Bell Mountain North Cascades  #64568  Purchase

Locating the Subalpine Larch

The Lyall’s Larch resides in subalpine and alpine areas, generally above 5500′ on colder northeast facing slopes, in a narrow band from the eastern slopes of the North Cascades to the Purcell and Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia. They can also be seen in the Canadian Rockies, with Lake Louise roughly being their northern limits.

In the North Cascades you’ll have to do some hiking to get to see the best displays. Some spots, like the Enchantments of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, demand a strenuous multi-day trek gaining over 5000′ feet of elevation along the way. Although there are some more accessible areas, such as hikes around Rainy Pass and Washington Pass on North Cascades Highway.

Hiking and photographing during the peak larch season on a calm sunny day is an experience you won’t soon forget. The sky at this altitude can be an intense blue contrasting beautifully against the vibrant gold of the trees. Tolkien fans will easily associate this experience with Lord Of The Rings chapter on Lothlorien.

Pasayten Wilderness larches, North CascadesPasayten Wilderness North Cascades  #56448  Purchase

Timing Is Everything

Aside from finding and hiking to the desired location timing and weather is crucial. The Lyall’s Larch generally start turning color in the last week of September. The colors peak in the first week of October, and  is gone by middle of the month. The peak of the season can last anywhere from two days to a week, depending on the weather.

Since the needles of this tree are very soft and delicate, once they start changing color they can easily fall off in a wind rain or snowstorm. Of course this is also the time of year when the weather can be very unpredictable. However seeing the larches on a clear day just after a fresh snow can be a very rewarding experience.

Lake Ann North CascadesLake Ann North Cascades  #64599  Purchase

A good plan would be to stay in a prime location for several days near some lakes. Clear sunny weather followed by cloudy weather and then a light dusting of snow is optimal. This happened to me one year when visiting the Purcell Mountains of B.C. After six days I came away with a wide variety of alpine landscape images. I was a bit nervous on the last day since it was snowing heavily. I wasn’t sure if my vehicle at the trailhead would be snowed in! It turned out to be a close call, several more inches could have prevented my escape.

Leave No Trace

And now for a short lecture. Larches grow in sensitive easily damaged alpine environments.  With an ever growing crush of people seeking them out these areas can soon show signs of overuse. As I’ve been saying in previous posts, don’t even think about visiting a wilderness area unless you are prepared to follow the guidelines of Leave No Trace (LNT). All wilderness areas throughout the world are under incredible pressure from growing amounts of visitors. So please do your part to tread lightly and help preserve these precious areas for future generations!

To learn more about the principles  and practicing LNT please take a few minutes to visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Your children and grandchildren will thank you!

Seven Leave No Trace Principles

  • Plan ahead and prepare.                                       
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.                 
  • Dispose of waste properly.                                                                         
  • Leave what you find.                                            
  • Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  • Respect wildlife.  
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

Purcell Mountains Larches British ColumbiaPurcell Mountains Larches British Columbia  #25762  Purchase

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All photos appearing in North Cascades Larch Madness are available for Commercial Licensing and Fine Art Prints. Click on any image to purchase, or contact me for more info!

Liberty Bell Mountain North Cascades

New Images Autumn North Cascades

New Images Autumn North Cascades

Liberty Bell Mountain North CascadesLiberty Bell Mountains, North Cascades  #64469  Purchase

My final group of images from 2018 is now online and ready for viewing. As with the past several new releases I have added a selection of highlights to the New Images Gallery. You can see even more by visiting the Washington Gallery or searching by keyword/location.

This past year I have been very fortunate to have been able to visit some exciting new locations in the Midwest and Appalachian Mountains. However, it somehow seems fitting that the year is finishing up with a successful fall trip on my home turf. Washington Pass and Rainy Pass along North Cascades Highway are two of the most scenic sections of the state. This area holds many fond memories for me, so I’ll jump at any chance I can get to photograph there. On this most recent visit in early October I was lucky to have both fresh snowfall and sub-alpine larches at their peak color.

Liberty Bell Mountain North CascadesLiberty Bell Mountain from Washington Pass Overlook  #64568  Purchase

The other location included in this set is even closer to home, Heather Meadows Recreation Area. Just an hour up the road, I’ve been their many dozens of times, for photography, skiing, and hiking. This area of easy access can be very crowded in every season. So on this occasion I hiked the Ptarmigan Ridge trail on a quiet Monday in spectacular fall weather. The next morning I photographed near the ski area just as a few clouds drifted in to herald a change of weather.

Alpine Larches North CascadesSub-alpine Larches North Cascades  #64608  Purchase

Cutthroat Pass Larches, North CascadesBlack Peak and sub-alpine larches, North Cascades  #64521  Purchase

Table Mountain North Cascades WashingtonHeather Meadows Recreation Area #64649  Purchase

Heather Meadows in autumn North CascadesTable Mountain, Heather Meadows Recreation Area  #64642  Purchase

 

Foster Covered Bridge, Vermont

New Images Part 2 New England

New Images Part 2 New England

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, MaineBass Harbor Lighthouse, Maine  #59018  Purchase

The last portfolio of New Images from our recent photo trip to New England and Atlantic Canada is now ready for viewing. You can check out the portfolio here. And, as always, all of the photos are ready to purchase as fine art prints and commercial licensing.

This portfolio wraps up the edit and processing of all new images from the trip. However, in the coming weeks and months I’ll most likely be revisiting many of the files to identify which can be processed into black and white or alternative styles. I’ve already began this procedure with a group I made early on in the trip in the Bay of Fundy. This group of images, composed of just sea and clouds, represents a more minimalist style of photography that I very much enjoy. Be sure to check back soon to see a new post regarding these photos!

Some of the locations included in this portfolio are:

  • Acadia National Park Maine
  • Mahoosuc region Maine
  • Grafton Notch State Park Maine
  • White Mountains New Hampshire
  • Kancamagus Highway New Hampshire
  • Franconia Notch New Hampshire
  • Stowe Vermont
  • Groton woods Vermont
  • Woodstock Vermont
  • Newfane Vermont
  • Bennington Vermont
  • Ricketts Glen Pennsylvania

 

Foster Covered Bridge, Cabot VermontFoster Covered Bridge, Vermont  #59335  Purchase

Peacham, VermontPeacham, Vermont  #59321  Purchase

Bennington Battle Monument VermontBennington Battle Monument, Vermont  #59477  Purchase

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Nova Scotia

New England Atlantic Canada Images

New England Atlantic Canada Images

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Nova ScotiaPeggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia #58903    Purchase

Wow, what a busy week since our return home after six weeks and over 10,000 miles on the road! Aside from catching up on household chores, filling client orders, and general business tasks, I have a mountain of new images to get to. I’ve just begun the lengthy task of editing and processing all the files, but have made an initial pass and found some photos that stand out. I’m getting a bit ahead of myself by doing this. I usually wait until I have completed the full editing and image processing is complete, but since this project will take several weeks to complete I’m anxious to share with you some of the highlights so far.  We’ll also be sending out regular email progress updates in the coming weeks.

Bennington Battle Monument VermontBennington Battle Monument, Vermont  #59477    Purchase

Within the next several days I’ll be posting a full gallery of new images from the first couple of locations covered on the trip, Medicine Rocks Montana and Watkins Glen New York. Make sure to check back often, here and on my Facebook page. And don’t forget, all of the images are immediately available for commercial licensing and as fine art prints!

Locations and subject matter covered during this trip:

Nova Scotia: Cape Breton Highlands, Cabot Trail, Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, Blue Rocks
New Brunswick: Bay of Fundy, Fundy National Park
Maine: Acadia National Park, Grafton Notch
New Hampshire: White Mountains, Kancamagus Byway, Franconia Notch
Vermont: Stowe, Peacham, Groton Woods, Woodstock, Bennington, Newfane, and more
New York: Watkins Glen State Park
Pennsylvania: Ricketts Glen State Park
Fall foliage, covered bridges, barns, farms, towns, fall festivals, fishing, villages, waterfalls, historic sites, coastal scenes, seasonal farm stands

Blue Rocks Nova ScotiaBlue Rocks, Nova Scotia #58824    Purchase

Vermont fall foliage reflection Lake PaulineFall foliage, Pauline Lake Vermont #59457    Purchase

Hot air ballooning Quechee Vermont

New England Nova Scotia Fall Photography

New England Nova Scotia Fall Photography

Farm near Newfane VermontFarm near Newfane Vermont #7691   Purchase

We have officially begun our fall photography trip. Currently we are on the road in Ohio with our first stop being Watkins Glen New York. On this trip we will be traveling to numerous locations in Nova Scotia, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, in search of classic autumn scenes. In addition, of course, we’ll be looking for images and styles that offer a fresh perspective on the region and season.

This trip will also mark the beginning of a long-term project to make substantial additions to our New England and beyond archives. Already having in-depth coverage from most of the western states our goal is to offer clients images from a wider range of locations. Starting this fall with New England and expanding to include Atlantic Provinces, the Midwest, UK and Scandinavia.

We will be out the entire season with a packed itinerary, photographing everything that looks interesting. If there are any locations styles or subjects you would like to add let us know, we’ll do our best to work them in!

New England Fall Photography, locations and subject matter on our list so far:

Vermont: NE Kingdom, Green Mountains
New Hampshire: White Mountains, Kancamagus Byway
Maine: Acadia National Park, Deer Isle
New York: Finger Lakes Region
Covered Bridges
Farms
Villages
Fall festivals
Fishing villages
Lighthouses

Hot air ballooning Quechee VermontHot Air Balloon, Quechee Vermont  #8234   Purchase
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