FINE ART LIMITED EDITION OF 100 Mid-day light and shadows move across a grand scene of larch trees in their autumn dress and...

Cascade Mountain High

The Enchantments, Washington

FINE ART LIMITED EDITION OF 100

Mid-day light and shadows move across a grand scene of larch trees in their autumn dress and Prusik Peak in The Enchantments, Washington.

I can’t think of many scenes that entranced me as much as this one did. This was taken during a backpacking trip to The Enchantments of Washington with some great friends. As we spent some time sheltered in the tent hiding from the seventeen degree weather and recovering from the hike in, little did we know that we were missing a midday show of atmospheric conditions and light in one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. It wasn’t until I needed to leave the tent to use the restroom that I walked over to this cliffside viewpoint near our camp and marveled at what I was fortunate enough to be witnessing: clouds and light dancing across Prusik Peak with larch trees in their autumn dress catching the high elevation light while I stood alone feeling grateful for the opportunity to see such things. I was soon joined by my friend Michael and we stood there in quiet awe until we thought ‘Holy shit.. We should be photographing this!!’.

The three of us must’ve spent an hour or two photographing this scene, pushing the shutter button over and over as the light and clouds swirled, flowed, and danced across the landscape. This image encompasses so much of the trip for me: the cold, the quiet, the snow, the grueling hike in, the beauty, the friendship, the freedom, and the wonder. I must have walked away with more than 200 exposures of the same exact scene and composition, all with different clouds and light. I knew that I would only need one, but I also knew that every push of the shutter button needed to happen. Every exposure was intended, each one happening because of an overwhelming compulsion to capture what I was seeing. It’s not about the photo for me, it’s about the experience. And this is one that I’ll never forget. Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.