North Cascades (& British Columbia)

Aerial Photography Adventures





PHOTOSETS & AERIAL TRIP REPORTS




I have been tremendously blessed to join pilot/photographer John Scurlock on several 150-300-mile (1-2 hour) flights over the North Cascades. This table provides links to selected photos (and some video footage too!) from these aerial photography adventures, by photoset (left column) or by peak (right column). Plus, the map below shows the paths of these flights piled on top of each other and color-coded by month.
MAP OF FLIGHTS over the North Cascades

(updated Dec 2013)

PHOTOSETS
PEAKS / LOOKOUTS
linked to photoset(s)
PHOTOSET 39 : "Five Fire Lookouts of the North Cascades" (DECEMBER 16, 2013): Heybrook Lookout, Evergreen Lookout, Alpine Lookout, Sugarloaf Lookout, Tyee Lookout, Glacier Peak, etc.
Note: The following list represents the selection of aerial mountain photos in all of the photosets. I have photographed several summits not on this list, but have not deemed any of the photos of them "good enough" to post on my website. Hence the endless quest to get more and better photographs continues...

Abernathy 32 
Adams TR4 
Agnes 31 
American Border 38
Amphitheater 34 
Argonaut 32 
Athena 23
Azurite 25  26
Bacon 16
Baker 1  3  4  7  15  17  21  28   29   36  
38
Ballard 25  26
Bandit 31 
Baring 24
Bear 16  35 
Big Craggy
30
Big Four 13
Bigelow 27
Black 27
Blackcap 26 
30
Blum 5  22  27
Bonanza 1  9  19 
30  31 
Booker 25
Boston 1  20
Bowan 32 
Buck
30
Buckindy 3
Buckner 25  27  32 
Canadian Border 38
Cannon 32 
Carrie 23
Carru 26
Cashmere 32 
Castle 12  21
Castle Rock
30
Cathedral 12  34  
Chaval 25 
38 
Chimney Rock 24
Chiwawa
30
Clark 19 
30
Columbia 13
Copper 9
Courtney
30
Custer 34  35 
Cutthroat 12
Dark 31 
Del Campo 13
Despair 5  10  16
Dome 1  2  9  20  31
Dorado Needle 20
Dragontail 6  31  32 
Dumbell
30
Dumbell NE
30
Early Winter Spires 12  27
Eldorado 1  12  16  26  27
Enchantment 32 
Fernow 9
Flora
30
Forbidden 1  3  12
Formidable 3  20
Fortress
30
Gardner
30
Glacier 6  17  18  19  22  28   32  38  39 
Golden Horn 25
Goode 2  12  18  25  27

Gunsight 2  20
Higgins 25
Hoodoo
 32 
Hozomeen 2  12  21
Hurry-up 25
Jack 2  12  25
Johannesburg 3  25  31  32 
Kangaroo Ridge 12   37 
Klawatti 20
Kyes 13
Lago 26 
30
Lake
30
Larrabee 38
Liberty Bell 12  27   37 
Litte Annapurna 32 
Litte Tahoma TR4  35 
Logan 2  12  25
Lone Tree Pass 23
Lost
30
Luahna 19 
30
Martin 32 
Maude 9
McClellan 32 
McGregor 32 
McLeod
30
Meany 23
Mole 31 
Monte Cristo 13
Monument 26 
30
Moxes 8  21  34  35 
Napeequa
30
Needle 31 
Needles 26
North Gardner
30
Old Guard 31 
Olympus 23
Osceola 26
Oval 27 
30
Overcoat 24
Pickets 1  3  5  8  10  16  21   27  34  37 
Pinnacle
30
Primus 20
Prusik 6
Ptarmigan 26
Pugh 2  13  22  25
Ragged Ridge 26
Rahm 35 
Rainier 11  TR4  35 
Raven Ridge
30
Red 13
Redoubt 8  34  35 
38 
Remmel 34 
Reynolds 27
Robinson 26
Sahale 20  27
Salish Sea / San Juans 33 
Sentinel 31 
Seven Fingered Jack 9
Sherpa 32  
Shuksan 1  3  8  10  17  22  29   36  38
Shull 26
Silver Star 12  27
Sinister 9  31
Sitting Bull 31 
Skagit 26
Skagit Valley 33 
Slesse 38
Sloan 13  25
Snagtooth Ridge 12
Snowfield 3  5  20
Snowking 3  20
Snowqueen 3  25
Spectacle Butte 9
Spickard 8
Spire Point 2  9  20  31
St. Helens TR4
Star
30
Stiletto 27
Storm King 27
Stuart 6  31  32 
Sunrise
30
Switchback 32 
Temple Ridge 31  32 
Tenpeak 19
Three Fingers 25 
Tom 23
Torment 3  12
Tower 25
Triumph 5  10  16
Tupshin
30
Twin Sisters 3  24  28
Valhallas 23
Vesper 2  13
West Craggy
30
White Chuck 14  25
White Goat
30
Whitehorse 13  22  25
Wilmans 13
Windy 34 
Wine Spires 12  27 
30 

Fire Lookouts (here for more info about these lookouts):
Alpine Lookout 39 
Copper Mountain Lookout 38 
Desolation Lookout 26
Evergreen Lookout 39 
Goat Peak Lookout 26  30
Green Mtn Lookout 30  38
Heybrook Ridge Lookout 39 
Hidden Lake Lookout 16  26

Lookout Mtn Lookout 1  26
Mebee Pass Lookout 26  37 
Miners Ridge Lookout
30  38 
North Twentymile Lookout 37 
Park Butte Lookout 38 
Pilchuck Lookout 38 
Slate Peak Lookout 26

Sourdough Lookout 26
Sugarloaf Lookout 39 
Three Fingers Lookout 2  13  24
Tyee Mountain Lookout 39 
Winchester Lookout 38 
PHOTOSET 38 : "Six Snowy Fire Lookouts" (DECEMBER 8, 2013): Pilchuck Lookout, Miners Ridge Lookout, Green Mountain Lookout, Copper Mountain Lookout, Winchester Lookout, Park Butte Lookout, Glacier Peak, Chaval, Redoubt, Slesse, Larrabee, American Border, Canadian Border, Shuksan, Baker, etc.
PHOTOSET 37 : "An Autumn Potpourri" (OCTOBER 26, 2013): Mebee Pass Lookout, North Twentymile Lookout, Kangaroo Ridge, Liberty Bell, Larches, Southern Pickets, Northern Pickets, etc.
PHOTOSET 36 : "Aerial Reconnaissance of a Landslide at the Terminus of the Deming Glacier on Mount Baker" (JUNE 6, 2013): Baker, Shuksan
PHOTOSET 35 : "Mount Rainier and the Chilliwacks" (MAY 1, 2013): Rainier, Little Tahoma, Rahm, Custer, Redoubt, Moxes, Bear, etc.
PHOTOSET 34 : "Magical Mountain Mystery Tour (and completion of our quest to photograph the Highest Hundred)" (APRIL 16, 2013): Amphitheater, Cathedral, Remmel, Windy, Moxes, Custer, Redoubt, Challenger, Fury, Luna, Pickets, etc.
PHOTOSET 33 : "Skagit Valley and Salish Sea" (APRIL 14, 2013): Tulip fields, cows, tide flats, islands, lighthouses, ships, and more.
PHOTOSET 32 : "A Sunny Spring Afternoon in the Enchantments" (APRIL 1, 2013): Johannesburg, Buckner, McGregor, Bowan, Abernathy, Hoodoo, Switchback, Martin, Cashmere, Cannon, McClellan, Stuart, Sherpa, Argonaut, Dragontail, Little Annapurna, Enchantment, Temple Ridge, Glacier, etc.
PHOTOSET 31 : "Murky Mountains and Brilliant Sunspots" (MARCH 27, 2013): Stuart, Dragontail, Temple Ridge, The Mole, Bandit, Sitting Bull, Bonanza, Dark, Needle, Agnes, Sinister, Dome, Spire Point, Sentinel, Old Guard, Johannesburg, etc
PHOTOSET 30 : "Ticking Off the Hundred Highest" (MARCH 23, 2013): Monument, Blackcap, Lake, Lago, Lost, Big Craggy, West Craggy, Sunrise, McLeod, Goat Peak Lookout, Wine Spires, Gardner, North Gardner, Oval, Star, Courtney, Raven Ridge, Pinnacle, Castle Rock, Flora, White Goat, Tupshin, Bonanza, Dumbell, Dumbell NE, Fortress, Chiwawa, Buck, Napeequa, Clark, Luahna, Miners Ridge Lookout, Green Mtn Lookout, etc.
PHOTOSET 29 : "Evening Laps around Mounts Baker and Shuksan" (MARCH 18, 2013): Baker, Shuksan.
PHOTOSET 28 : "Sisters, Baker, Glacier, Glories, and Clouds" (MARCH 3, 2013): Twin Sisters, Baker, Glacier, etc.
PHOTOSET 27 : "Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness and a Pink Pickets Encore" (FEBRUARY 15, 2013): Black, Stiletto, Liberty Bell, Early Winter Spires, Silver Star, Wine Spires, Oval, Bigelow, Reynolds, Goode, Storm King, Buckner, Sahale, Eldorado, Southern Pickets, Northern Pickets, Blum, etc.
PHOTOSET 26 : "Fire Lookouts and the Heart of the Pasayten Wilderness" (FEBRUARY 2, 2013): Sourdough Lookout, Desolation Lookout, Slate Peak Lookout, Goat Peak Lookout, Mebee Pass Lookout, Hidden Lake Lookout, Lookout Mtn Lookout, Skagit, Shull, Osceola, Carru, Lago, Ptarmigan, Blackcap, Monument, Robinson, Azurite, Ballard, Needles, Ragged Ridge, Eldorado,  etc.
PHOTOSET 25 : "A Spectacular Series of Morning-Sun-Lit Snowy Summits" (JANUARY 3, 2013): Jack, Ballard, Azurite, Golden Horn, Tower, Logan, Goode, Buckner, Booker, Hurry-up, Johannesburg, Snowqueen, Chaval, Higgins, Whitehorse, Three Fingers, Sloan, Pugh, White Chuck
PHOTOSET 24 : "New Years Day Flight over the Western Rim of the North Cascades" (JANUARY 1, 2013): North Twin, South Twin, Three Fingers Lookout, Baring, Chimney Rock, Overcoat
PHOTOSET 23 : "Aerial Photography of Mt. Olympus and Company" (DECEMBER 30, 2012): Olympus, Athena, Tom, Valhallas, Meany, Carrie, Lone Tree
PHOTOSET 22 : "Cascades and Clouds" (NOVEMBER 24, 2012): Whitehorse, Pugh, Glacier, Shuksan, Blum
PHOTOSET 21 : "What a Study Break!" (NOVEMBER 10, 2012): Baker, Colfax, Mox, Hozomeen, Castle, Challenger
PHOTOSET 20 : "Crevassed Late Summer Glaciers in the North Cacades" (SEPTEMBER 19, 2012): Snowfield, Primus, Klawatti, Dorado Needle, Boston, Sahale, Formidable, Dome, Gunsight, Spire Point, Glacier, Snowking
PHOTOSET 19 : "Aerial Inspection of the Seismic Station on Glacier Peak" (JULY 21, 2012): Glacier, Tenpeak, Clark, Luahna, Bonanza
PHOTOSET 18 : "Reconnaissance Flight" (JUNE 28, 2012): Glacier, Goode
PHOTOSET 17 : "Cloud-Capped Cascades Giants" (APRIL 4, 2012): Glacier, Baker, Colfax, Lincoln, Shuksan
PHOTOSET 16 : "The Jumping Jackrabbit Flight" (MARCH 8, 2012): Bear, Pickets, Despair, Triumph, Bacon, Eldorado, Hidden Lake Lookout
PHOTOSET 15 : "A Sunday Afternoon Mount Baker Flight" (FEBRUARY 26, 2012): Baker, Lincoln, Colfax, Sherman Crater
PHOTOSET 14 : "Shrouded in Clouds" (FEBRUARY 23, 2012): White Chuck
PHOTOSET 13 : "A Pleasant Evening above the Southern North Cascades" (FEBRUARY 15, 2012): Three Fingers Lookout, Whitehorse, Red, Vesper, Big Four, Del Campo, Columbia, Wilmans, Kyes, Monte Cristo, Sloan, Pugh
PHOTOSET 12 : "A 318-Mile Morning Mountain Adventure" (FEBRUARY 5, 2012): Jack, Hozomeen, Castle, Cathedral, Wine Spires, Silver Star, Snagtooth Ridge, Kangaroo Ridge, Early Winter Spires, Liberty Bell, Cutthroat, Goode, Logan, Torment, Forbidden, Eldorado
PHOTOSET 11 : "Winter Afternoon Flying Loops around Mt. Rainier" (JANUARY 27, 2012): Rainier
PHOTOSET 10 : "Morning Window of Opportunity" (JANUARY 12, 2012): Triumph, Despair, Pickets, Shuksan
PHOTOSET 9 : "Evening Entrance" (JANUARY 11, 2012): Spectacle Butte, Maude, Seven Fingered Jack, Fernow, Copper, Bonanza, Sinister, Dome, Spire Point
PHOTOSET 8 : "Jagged Northern Extremities of North Cascades National Park" (DECEMBER 22, 2011): Shuksan, Redoubt, Mox, Spickard, Pickets
PHOTOSET 7 : "Mount Baker Evening Light and Height" (DECEMBER 11, 2011): Baker, Lincoln, Colfax, Sherman Crater
PHOTOSET 6 : "Two Cascades Monoliths and a Beautiful Pink Evening" (DECEMBER 4, 2011): Stuart, Dragontail, Prusik, Glacier
PHOTOSET 5 : "Winter has Arrived Early" (NOVEMBER 24, 2011): Snowfield, Pickets, Despair, Triumph, Blum
PHOTOSET 4 : (represents 2 flights) "Mount Baker and Dramatic Clouds, Stills and Video"  (JULY 1 and JULY 26, 2011): Baker
PHOTOSET 3 : "Spring Flight over the Rugged Heart of the Cascades" (MAY 24, 2011): Snowking, Snowqueen, Buckindy, Formidable, Johannesburg, Torment, Forbidden, Snowfield, Pickets, Shuksan, Twin Sisters, Baker
PHOTOSET 2 : "South to North over a Sea of Rugged Cascades Summits" (FEBRUARY 19, 2011): Three Fingers Lookout, Vesper, Pugh, Dome, Spire Point, Gunsight, Goode, Logan, Jack, Hozomeen
PHOTOSET 1 : "A Grand Tour of Wintery Northern North Cascades" (DECEMBER 16, 2008): Baker, Shuksan, Pickets, Bonanza, Dome, Boston, Forbidden, Eldorado, Lookout Mtn Lookout

I have also joined John on some amazing aerial photography expeditions into the remote and massive mountains of British Columbia (including the Canadian Rockies, Columbia Mountains, and Coast Mountains), as well as an incredible one-day aerial tour along the Cascade volcanic arc from Rainier to Lassen. These aerial adventures merit their own trip reports—links are are provided in the table below.
MAP  Trip 5
MAP  Trip 4
MAP  Trip 3
MAP  Trip 2
MAP  Trip 1

PHOTOSETS
PEAKS
linked to photoset(s)
Aerial TRIP REPORT 5 : "Bugaboos in a Day (winter aerial photography adventure) " (MARCH 9, 2013): Bugaboos, Valhallas, and more...
BC/AB:
Adamants 3
Alberta 1
Asperity 2
Assiniboine 1  3
Bell 2
Bras Croche 3
Bryce 3
Bugaboos 1  3  5
Bute 2
Clemenceau 3
Columbia 1
Combatant 2
Edith Cavell 3
Forbes 3
Fryatt 3
Grenville 2
Hooker 1  3
Ida 1
Leaning Towers 3
Louis 3
Lyell 3
Queen Bess 2
Robson 1
Serras 2
Shackleton 3
Sir Alexander 1
Sir Donald 3
Sir Sandford 3
Temple 3
Tiedemann 2
Tonquin Valley 1  3
Tsar 1  3
Tusk 3
Valhallas 1  3  5
Waddington 2

Other areas:

Adams (WA) 4
Crater Lake (OR) 4
Hood (OR) 4
Jefferson (OR) 4
Lassen (CA) 4
Rainier (WA) 4
Shasta (CA) 4
St. Helens (WA) 4
Three Sisters (OR) 4
Aerial TRIP REPORT 4 : "Cascade Volcanoes Aerial Photography Tour (winter conditions)" (JANUARY 19, 2013): Rainier, Adams, Hood, Jefferson, Three Sisters, Crater Lake, Shasta, Lassen, St. Helens, and more...
Aerial TRIP REPORT 3 : "Airplane Camping and Aerial Photography - a Grand Canadian Mountain Tour" (MAY 13-16, 2012): Sir Donald, Sir Sandford, Adamants, Tonquin Valley, Edith Cavell, Fryatt, Hooker, Bras Croche, Clemenceau, Tusk, Shackleton, Tsar, Bryce, Forbes, Lyell, Assiniboine, Louis, Temple, Bugaboos, Leaning Towers, Valhallas, and more...
Aerial TRIP REPORT 2 : "Mt. Waddington & Company Aerial Photography Adventure" (MARCH 24, 2012): Waddington, Combatant, Tiedemann, Asperity, Serras, Bell, Queen Bess, Grenville, Bute, and more...
Aerial TRIP REPORT 1 : "Airplane Camping and Aerial Photography Adventure in the Canadian Rockies (and Nearby)" (SEPTEMBER 19-24, 2011): Robson, Sir Alexander, Ida, Tonquin Valley, Hooker, Alberta, Columbia, Tsar, Gimli and Valhallas, Bugaboos, Assiniboine, and more...






FLYING WITH JOHN SCURLOCK
(I wrote this in 2011, I've had several aerial adventures with John since and hopefully several more to come!)

I've been fortunate to join John Scurlock on several flights over the spectacular North Cascades of Washington as well as over some incredibly rugged and remote mountain ranges in Canada. John is well-known for his aerial mountain photography, primarily of the Cascade Range in Washington, but also of the Coast and Columbia Mountains of British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies, Oregon, and northern California. Navigating gusts and peaks in his little yellow Van's RV-6 two-seater (which he built himself over the course of several years), and perfecting the technique of shooting through thick plexiglass, he achieves an amazing perspective and stunning photos of these rugged summits. His photos can be found at this link: http://www.pbase.com/nolock.

Seeing the summits I am usually below from above is a truly unique experience. Although John's website is the place to go to see aerial photography, this page displays some of my favorite aerial photos from my flights over the North Cascades. I marvel at how the rugged summits adopt different personalities on a whim, depending on the unique combination of season, time of day, weather, and lighting. Every flight has been unique. And spectacular.



THE CHALLENGE OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Arial photography is a challenge. Careening past massive mountains in a tiny plane at speeds approaching 200mph, banking hard to get the wing out of the photo, all the while buffeted by gusts and fighting level horizon lines and air sickness, it's hard enough just to take a photo. Then there's the 1/4"-thick plexiglass to soften the image, collect bug splats, create glare, and reflect everything inside the cabin (Canon might like the free advertising of the ghost image of the camera's logo, but it doesn't make for the best photo). And, of course, there's also a plane to be flown.

Multitasking as both pilot and photographer, John has made aerial photography into a science. His consistently amazing photographs are a product of several years of problem-solving and experimentation with bank angle and flight velocity, exposure bracketing and shutter speed, aperture and ISO, camera orientation and lens hoods, black blankets and clothing choices. He has been very generous in sharing his hard-learned techniques with me. But as far as shooting photos and flying the plane at the same time, I will leave that to the expert.