Mount Baker Wilderness, Washington, USA by Michael Thomas

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Picture Story

Anyone traveling to North Cascades National Park in Washington state should take a side trip on Mt Baker Highway (Rt 542). Near the end of the road is Picture Lake where one can capture images of Mount Shuksan reflected in its waters. In late summer, wildflowers abound and make great foreground elements. Mount Shuksan is an extremely photogenic mountain, especially near sunset. At the end of the road is the trail to Artist Point, another great location for photographing Shuksan at sunset. Even in mid August there is still some snow at this elevation. Mount Baker is about eight miles to the southwest and is best photographed from here at dawn.

On this trip we stayed at a B&B in Glacier about 30 miles from the summit. This panoramic image was taken at sunrise from the backyard of the B&B! The viewpoint conveys the vastness of this undeveloped area. Even in summer, mist fills the valleys and Mount Baker itself is enveloped in a bank of fog with only its summit barely visible. Sadly the property is no longer used as a B&B. There is a lodge (more like a hostel) near the summit.

This image is a three shot flat stitch using my 90 mm TS-E lens. To avoid introducing parallax errors, I shifted the camera an equal amount in the opposite direction to the shift of the lens. In effect the lens position is held constant while the sensor is being shifted to capture the wider image circle of the tilt-shift lens, in effect a virtual panoramic sensor.

To me the greater challenge in making panoramic images isn’t the technical aspect but the artistic. Too often I look at my final image and see it is just a very wide snapshot. I feel this image is successful because the evergreen provides not only a near field element, but along with the hillside on the right, bookends the scene.

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