Thank you to everyone who has put in their orders for my 2013 Calendars! I’ve exceeded my goal by about 50% so far, which is hopefully an indication that I will be able to make this an annual project! There’s still one last week to get your orders in:

Order a 2013 Art in Nature Calendar!

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Autumn is perhaps the most wonderful time to be in the mountains, especially the Cascades. Many of the sub-alpine hillsides (between 5,000 and 7,000 feet or so) in the Cascades are covered in berry bushes, and around mid to late September the berries ripen into heavenly little treats. These aren’t your typical blueberries, or even the black or red huckleberries you can find at lower elevations in early September. These are Cascade Bilberries. As I mentioned last year, they have one of the more appropriate latin names I’ve come across: Vaccinium deliciosum. Indeed, they truly are delicious, like a superbly intense blueberry with a distinct banana tang – maybe it’s the altitude spice that comes from growing at higher than 5,000 feet. Together with the berries ripening, the leaves begin to turn red, and in the right light it’s as if the hillsides are covered in sparkling rubies.

Click image for larger view!

North Cascades Fall Foliage, Mist and Sun, Washington

Autumn Mists : Prints Available
Mist and sun dance over the hillsides colored with fall foliage on the slopes of Washington’s North Cascade mountains.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 100-400mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/8, 1/200th

I picked out a hike in the North Cascades last week to enjoy the feast for my eyes, nose, and mouth, and was additionally rewarded with spectacular atmospheric conditions as the mist and sun played hide and seek all afternoon long. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a fruitful photographic outing – in every respect. I wandered to a ridge-line far from the rest of the autumn leaf peepers and berry eaters where I found so many berries it would have been utterly impossible to eat them all. Still, I did my best. The robins couldn’t keep up either, and the fermenting fruits gave off an intoxicating sweet smell that wafted across the alpine meadows.

Click image for larger view!

Cascade Berries and Fall Color, North Cascades, Washington

Berry Heaven : Prints Available
Cascade Bilberries cover the steep hillsides of Washington’s North Cascades, sporting their fall colors and fruit. Look in the bottom left and you’ll see some ripe ones.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 1/50th

Click image for larger view!

Fall Color North Cascades, Mist and Mountains, Washington

Autumn Mists II : Prints Available
Fall colors and swirling mists illuminated by the afternoon sun on a steep hillside in Washington’s North Cascades mountains.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 1/6th
Notes: 2 exposures blended for depth of field.

Click image for larger view!

North Cascades Autumn Foliage, Mist Valley, Washington

Winter is Coming : Prints Available
Autumn foliage in the North Cascades on a steep slope overlooking a mist filled valley. Somewhere in that valley lies the Canadian border.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/11, 1/10th
Notes: panoramic stitch of two horizontal exposures at 14mm, and two exposures blended for dynamic range.

The berries aren’t the only reason to be in the mountains this time of year. The blood sucking mosquitoes are finally gone, opening up lightweight shelter options – like my 8oz tarp pictured below. The mists continued to swirl around the mountains until several hours after sunset. The following morning I was rewarded with warm sunshine, more fresh berries, and spectacular views of the glacial seracs on Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.

My ultralight camp: gossamer gear tarp (8oz), feathered friends hummingbird bag (24oz), thermarest z-lite (15oz). Makes up for the 12lbs of camera gear.

Autumn Mount Baker, North Cascades, Washington

The Red Carpet : Prints Available
A field of Cascade Bilberries catch the first light of a beautiful autumn morning overlooking the majestic Mount Baker in Washington’s North Cascade mountains.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/16, 0.4 and 1/4
Notes: 4 exposures blended for dynamic range and depth of field, using photoshop.

Click image for larger view!

North Cascades Blueberry Patch in Fall, Sunrise, Washington

Blueberry Sunrise : Prints Available
Sunrise over an intensely red Cascade Bilberry patch (often mistakenly referred to as Blueberries) in Washington’s North Cascades in early fall.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, handheld
Exposure: iso 100, f/4, 1/160th

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9 Comments to “Berry Heaven – Autumn in the North Cascades”

  1. Jack Brauer says:

    Gorgeous shots, all of them! Our berries in SW Colorado got zapped by the early summer drought, and hardly came out at all this year.

  2. Thanks Jack! Sorry to hear about your berries in CO.. at least the Aspens seemed to have done quite well this year!

  3. Scott Smorra says:

    Very nice images Floris. “Winter is Coming” really caught my eye. It really captures the essence of fall in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

  4. Thanks Scott! It was pretty exciting when the mist cleared enough to see the sunset that was happening in the distance!

  5. Another striking series of fall color images, Floris! Thanks for bringing these striking North Cascade views into my living room. I especially love “Berry Heaven” with its intense contrast of the green and purplish red Cascade Bilberries; and of course, “Winter is Coming”.

    Any sample tastings planned? 🙂

  6. Amazing work as always Floris! I’m curious about what you use to pack your photo equipment when going UL. Thanks.

  7. Thanks Chris. I just the small ICU that came with my Fstop bag. If I expect to make longer excursions from camp I bring a small summit pack that the ICU convenient fits into.

  8. Thanks David! Unfortunately you missed the tasting, which happened shortly after I got home!

  9. Poliana says:

    Amazing, beautiful images you capture. Thank you for inspiring me.