sunset cover + cascades highway feature part 1

Last September I was assigned a 4 day story for Sunset magazine that involved covering the Cascade Hwy along with a few spots in Mazama and Winthrop.  As is often the case with travel assignments,  this shoot wouldn’t see print for almost a full year.  So I was pleased to find out recently that one of the images landed the July cover!  The photograph above was taken high above Lake Ann on the Heather Meadows 7 mile loop trail.  I’ve done my fair bit of hiking over the years,  and this hike makes it onto my top 3 list simply because the entire 7-8 miles is amazing.  You’re not waiting for the big reward after a lot of climbing.  There are vistas, lakes, wildlife, etc just moments after hitting the trail.

The opening spread of the feature is a landscape image of Blue Lake.  It looks like a daily simple photo,  but I assure you that getting to this vantage point took some work.  The trail ends right at the mouth of the Lake, so my assistant and I essentially went bouldering for 3 more miles to find this view.

Now for some outtakes:

I’m a huge fan of ‘weather’,  but when your assignment calls for ‘summery’ images, you really are just hoping for some clear skies.

The overlook atop the pass.  The only thought running through my mind when looking down at the road was that the next time I’m here I’ll be on my bike with a good group of friends descending towards Mazama.  Hoping to do that this summer.

The Mazama store is a definite pit stop.  The store is owned by the same family that run’s Husky’s Deli in my neighborhood in W Seattle.  They carry Huskies Ice Cream, make delicious pizzas,  they bake their own bread, and they pull good espresso.

Architect Olson Kundig’s Rolling Huts would serve as base camp for the first two nights.

I had always wanted to stay here,  so it was a big treat and a restful place to relax after long days on the road and trails.

The interior is simple ply with modular boxes that can be pushed together to form a second bed.

I was attempting to use window reflection to show the landscape.  It’s always a good challenge shooting interiors of extremely narrow/small spaces.

Neighbors for the night.

The huts are referred to as ‘the herd’.

The Heather Pass hike was the first of three hikes on our list.  This is Lake Ann (the one from the cover).  The day was completely overcast aside form rare cloud breaks.  We waited roughly 90 minutes for 20 seconds of blue sky for this frame.

Immediately after taking the above photo, we met Gunther:

Gunther happens to be an Art Director who has worked at Vanity Fair UK and Vogue UK.  He was on vacation traveling the world in search of unique swimming holes.  While framing up the image of Lake Ann,  we heard someone banging sticks together.  Shortly after, Gunther scrambled up the rocks to where I was set up.  He has a great German accent and he asked my assistant and I if we could tell the difference between a Grizzly and a black bear. He then pulled out his camera and showed us the back of his screen.  Immediately, Luke and I said ‘Grizzly!’  He had just come across a good size Grizzly about 200 yards from where we were set up.  From that point on, Gunther stayed with us until we reached the summit where he fixed himself some tea and rested his legs.


We also came across a family with 3 boys that basically sprinted the whole hike.  When I asked the parents what the secret was,  the dad showed me his GPS.  They were playing geotag, and it definitely kept the kids interested the whole journey.

Two hikers down below for scale.  This image reminds me of how lucky I am to have great clients who appreciate my work. I’m super lucky to get to make photographs for a living.

The views never stopped.

I’ll be positing part two next week.  Have a safe 4th everyone!













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