Adventure Photography Portraits - Sumas Mountain

Updated: May 12, 2019



When I launched Jefferson Visuals this year, my vision was that of bringing my clients to interesting places for their portrait photography. Anybody can drive to the local park, but most aren't willing to risk tire-flattening pot-holes on dilapidated logging and forest roads to get something different. That's just what Andrew and I set out to do.

I picked Andrew up in the beautiful town of Bellingham,WA. A town known for it's craft beer, university, and access to the great outdoors. From there, we headed northeast on the Mount Baker Highway and then split off toward Sumas Mountain. I'll admit it, I love the backroads. Once your tires leave the payment and merge with gravel, it's a good bet you're on your way to some sort of adventure.

We scouted out some areas and decided to start at an old gravel pit that overlooks the valley below. The diffused light left a dull grey sheen over the shotgun shells, gas canisters, and other debris that was left lying around. Most people think you need the sun out to make a good photo. Here's an inside tip: photographers love overcast days. The flat lighting is much nice to work with since there are no harsh shadows.




We continued exploring the old logging roads, hitting a dead end here and there until we found a spot that looked interesting. Lo and behold, we came around a corner and there was a inspiring view of my favorite mountain, Mt. Baker.


The sun continued to fall in sky and with it the light we needed. I had an idea involving those mounds of debris leftover from logging and sure enough we found one. This was a tricky setup. I had to delicately balance a couple lighting stands using sandbags, rocks and other debris amidst the slope of discarded wood and vegetation. After that delicate balance was achieved (thanks for initially holding some stands Andrew) we got to work. The sky started to turn a deep blue behind Andrew with cris-crossed clouds. An army of bugs somehow managed to find and assault Andrew while leaving me alone (sorry Andrew).


The alpenglow on Mt. Baker was making it very hard to concentrate at this point, but as the light faded we decided to get one last shot. Andrew walked down the road a few steps from the mound of debris and we setup. I fired off a few frames but with the temperature dropping and the constant assault of bugs we decided to call it a night. Lights flickered on in the little towns below us as we slowly navigated back down the road with the stars not far behind.


Our last setup: 1 Speedlight on a 24" Octabox Softbox on a jib arm

(R foreground) 1- Speedlight w/an orange gel and snoot (L background)

85mm Nikon Lens @ F4, 1/60, ISO 100, Tripod

If you like what you see and you're up for an adventurous portrait session, don't hesitate call or click the "Book Now" button on the side of this page.

Until next time!

-Jefferson Morriss

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           Adventure & Portrait Photographer
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