Wearing A Facemask / Visiting A National Park

The view along the Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah

It may come as absolutely no surprise, but Covid-19 has not prevented people from traveling hundreds of miles to visit a national park. So says an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Yes, I’m going to visit Crater Lake National Park in less than a week. I’m going to be armed with: masks (lots of them, thanks to my sister’s sewing abilities), disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, my own food (I’m not eating out anywhere) that does not require anything more than the addition of hot water, and plenty of social distancing (I’m not a people person, so I was practicing social distancing long before it was the norm). My goal for this trip is not only to enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous scenery, and to bring back photos and material for articles for the National Parks Traveler, but to also demonstrate that it is possible to have a safe trip to a national park, as long as one practices social distancing and wears a mask.

Right now, the White House is discrediting Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the foremost epidemiologists around. Of course, I think everybody in the WH, including POTUS, are fucking liars, traitors, crooks, and nutbags (if you haven’t read my About Me, then I guess you are just now learning where my politics lean). In defense of Dr. Fauci, he and all the other doctors and scientists knew very little about the coronavirus during the first of the year, so of course, all of them were making points based upon the data they had at the time. Now, because of all the illnesses and deaths, they know much more about how this horrible virus works. It’s not a hoax, folks.

To that end, I made my own YouTube video about wearing a mask. I actually got the idea from watching a Tik Tok video by Bill Nye the Science Guy, who did a simple demonstration of the effectiveness of wearing a cloth fabric, 2-layer mask.

Now, if you decide to view my video, please, please bear in mind that I’m short, dumpy, overweight, out-of-shape, and when I don’t smile, I look like my Aunt Doris (sigh). Also bear in mind that, due to my not being the most telegenic person in the world, I come off as being more than a bit self-righteous … although, come to think of it, I am self-righteous, just like my sister and the rest of my family. And that’s not a bad thing, imo.

Have I gotten trolled over the mask? Hell yeah! Do I care? Hell no! The main thing is that the experiment is cool, my sister feels vindicated over the masks she’s made / making (right now, I have enough masks to wear a different one every day for at least 2 weeks, if not more), and I feel good about protecting others. Am I protected? Well, while I’ve read studies showing that mask wearers seem to get a more diluted version of the virus when confronted by non-mask wearing covid-infected idiots, I’m really more protected if others wear a mask, too.

So, please, wear a damned mask. It shouldn’t be a political thing. It should be all about how much you care about your health, the health of your family, and the health of those around you … even the health of people you don’t really like.

And, thank you!

Yes, this whole coronavirus pandemic is a fucking nightmare

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What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

Morning Glory Pool on an August summer day back in 2018
Morning Glory Pool on a snowy autumn day in October of 2019

On this Trivia Tuesday, did you know that you could once actually drive up to view Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park, instead of the 1.5-mile walk you take now? You can read about this and other interesting facts about this unique hot spring in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read the story, click on either of the images above.

Thanks to people, this pool has changed its colors due to all the trash and coins folks have thrown into the water. Just a reminder: none of those colorful hot springs are wishing wells or trash cans, folks. They are unique, rare, and delicate geologic features that deserve our wonder, respect, and appreciation, not rocks, kleenex, snack wrappers, and coins.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Geology, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Trivia Tuesday, Yellowstone National Park

Flower Fireworks

Spring spider lilies in bloom
Spring spider lilies in bloom

For this July 4th, how about a bit of flower fireworks, courtesy of these blooming spider lilies. They make me think of bursting white and yellow fireworks. A bit of a throwback to 2015, courtesy of Brazos Bend State Park in Texas.

Where ever you are folks, regardless of the day (which feels to me a bit marred thanks to tRump’s little Covid party last night at Mount Rushmore National Memorial), please stay safe out there. The coronavirus is here to stay until there is a viable vaccine available to everybody, so please practice social distancing and wear a mask. It aint a hoax.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 1DX, Brazos Bend State Park, Canon, flowers, holiday, July 4th, Photography

Fourth Of July In The National Parks

It’s going to be an interesting Fourth of July weekend, folks. Some of the national parks are closed (like Big Bend National Park and Padre Island National Seashore) .

Big Bend National Park in Texas is closed until further notice, due to one of the park’s human inhabitants testing positive for Covid-19.
Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is temporarily closed over the July 4th weekend, reopening on Tuesday, July 7th

Other parks are bracing for big crowds (like Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks).

Shwabacher Landing reflections in Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming
The view along the trail to Grand Prismatic Overlook and Fairy Falls, Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming

If you are headed to a national park for the July 4th weekend, you should first check the latest article about what’s going on where in the National Park System, published in the National Parks Traveler.

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/07/around-national-park-system-fourth-july-weekend

And, if you *are* heading out to a national park, regardless that you are going to be outdoors, please practice social distancing and wear a mask, to protect others as well as yourself. Covid-19 is not a hoax and it’s not going away anytime soon. So, stay safe out there, and help keep others safe, too.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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It’s Fun Fact Friday, 6-26-2020

It’s Fun Fact Friday, folks! The image above is of a plant called devil’s club. It’s quite striking among the other greenery growing in the forest interior at Mount Rainier National Park. And, as you can see, it’s got little stickers on it. But, there’s more to this plant than what you think.

In addition to using devil’s club for an arthritis remedy, fishhooks and deodorant, Alaska Natives have also used this plant for coughs, colds and fever, skin disorders, and digestive ailments.

This plant was one of the quiz questions for National Parks Quiz and Trivia #8.

So, the next time you wander the forests of the Pacific Northwest and see this plant, you’ll know more about the forest and this plant than you did before.


Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Nikon, Photography, plant

A Little Advice For You Photographers Out There

Sunrise over “The Mountain” at Tipsoo Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

Each photo you take tells a story. I practically hammer that in to my readers in my monthly photo columns on the National Parks Traveler . But, I have some advice for you photographers who post your images out there on Flickr, Twitter, or Facebook:

Write a little bit about your photo, too. Add to that story.

People enjoy reading about how you captured the image, what you were feeling, what camera you used, even your settings. It adds to your story, fleshes it out, and helps others figure out settings for their own camera in similar situations. It also makes you more engaging, both as a photographer and a storyteller.

It drives me nuts to see an interesting image with no title, no commentary, no exif, no nuthin’. Now, I can understand why a photographer might not wish to indicate the location of the photo, since many places are loved to death, aready – no need to add to that. But, it’s a primary rant with me that many photographers won’t tell a damned story. Yeah, the sunrise over the mountains in that photo is gorgeous, and yeah, it looks a little cold, but surely there is more to it than that! What did you feel at the time you clicked that shutter button? How many miles did you have to hike to get there? Know anything about the ecosystem there; any sort of facts or trivia to impart to your viewers?

For instance, I took a couple of day trips this month (June 2020) over to Mount Rainier National Park, here in Washington state, for some photography. I was itching to get out with my cameras, but leery of things due to the coronavirus pandemic. When I visited, I practiced my social distancing, went to areas where there were few-to-no people, wore a mask where there were people, and thoroughly enjoyed myself – except for that one moment when a woman in a group not practicing social distancing came up to me, pointed at my mask, and told me I needed to take it off.

I posted some of those images on Flickr, and added commentary along with exif data (specific information about the image, including settings, etc.), because I want people to see the exposure information and to visibly see the difference visiting the same spot can make during different seasons, different times of the day, and under different weather conditions; in this instance, rainy and overcast versus a blue-sky day.

My first trip to the park since the coronavirus pandemic was June 8th, shortly after it reopened. My second trip was June 18th. The difference in weather is dramatic and you can see it in the images.

A fast-flowing stream on an overcast day, Mount Rainier National Park
A sunny day along the same stream in Mount Rainier National Park

The first time I visited, I did not go via Chinook Pass to Tipsoo Lake because I knew things would be snowed over and, due to the rainy, overcast weather, I figured The Mountain would be hiding behind an iron curtain of gray fog. The second time I visited, I did drive by Tipsoo Lake, as you can see from the image at the top of this post.

The view from Ricksecker Point on June 8th
The view from Ricksecker Point on June 18th

I won’t make this post any longer, since attention spans aren’t what they used to be. But you should get the gist of what I am saying to you. If you post to a public viewing site, then write a little commentary / story to go with the image so people get a better flavor of the atmosphere and feeling around the photo.

FYI, in case you wish to quibble, photo essays are a little different, and there, you do need to be able to tell a story with just your photos and captions. Flickr, FB, and Twitter, however, are not exactly conducive to photo essays.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Telling A Story, Travel, Washington State

Monday Morning Sunrise

Here’s your Monday morning sunrise, courtesy of the Green River Overlook in the Island-In-The-Sky District of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The National Parks Traveler has both a Feature Story and a podcast centered around the impacts that could be made to Utah parks (including Canyonlands) and national monuments due to the sale by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) of oil and gas leases in these areas.

To read the Feature Story, click on the image above. To listen to the podcast, click on the link below.


https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/podcast/2020-06-21-national-parks-traveler-episode-71-oil-and-gas-and-national-parks

As for this image, it was captured the day after New Year’s, back in 2018. I was trying to divide my time between Arches and Canyonlands national parks. I did not want to hike to Mesa Arch and be greeted by a gazillion other photographers and tourists who were waiting to see sunrise beneath the arch, so I drove on to the Green River Overlook to capture the saturated golden and orange hues bestowed upon the red rocks by the rising sun. I was the only one there and it was great!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Canyonlands National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Podcast, Travel, Utah

National Parks Quiz And Trivia #10

The beginning of sunrise over Padre Island National Seashore, in Texas

Good morning, folks! On this Trivia Tuesday, it’s time to test your knowledge with the latest quiz and trivia piece (written by moi) published in the National Parks Traveler. This one is all about our national seashores. Just how much do you know?

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on the image above.

After you’ve finished with the quiz, stick around and check out the other articles published in the Traveler. If you are planning a national park or national monument or national seashore trip soon, you’ll want to read about what is open and what is not.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Photography In The National Parks: Back In Business Again

Forest Magic in the lower elevations

My photo article has been published on the National Parks Traveler. Usually, my columns are published a little closer to the end of the month, but this one is different in that it deals with what you might see if you happen to visit Mount Rainier National Park anytime soon, since it’s reopened the road from the Nisqually entrance to Paradise.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this photo – the rain was pelting down as I got out of the car with my camera. I captured this image handheld because it was a pain to get out the tripod and set it up in the downpour. Even my camera’s rain protection was beginning to get saturated, and my bangs were plastered to my forehead. Yes, I did wear a rainjacket but didn’t pull the hood over my head because water kept dropping from the hood onto the camera. It was a mess and I was lucky to get this shot.

This was using my Nikon D850 and 24-120 lens. This is the lens that I won’t ever use again because out of all the shots I took with it, only this and one other image turned out. I’d read about problems with this lens but didn’t think it would happen to me. I guess sort of like people thinking coronavirus won’t happen to them. I *thought* everything was hunky dory after doing some lens calibration, but apparently not. Live and learn. Better to have this happen with a nearby park trip than next month’s Crater Lake trip.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel, Travel and Photography, Washington State

National Parks Podcast #69

The forest in monochrome on the road up to Longmire
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

No, I haven’t gone into the park, yet. I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning for that. The weather is supposed to be iffy, which means “The Mountain” will probably be in hiding. I wonder if that will affect the number of people who come into the park.

Got off on a tangent there. What I meant to write about is that I listened to the latest podcast (#69) from the National Parks Traveler. It’s an interview with large format photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher. It was a great interview, and I’m pleased and proud that many of the things he says about photography, I’ve been writing about in my columns for the Traveler. I don’t agree with this assertion that mountain photography is “a bunch of rocks,” but then, he loves photographing the Everglades and Big Cypress, which are teaming with all sorts of life and light.

Two things that really struck me about the interview is that Mr. Butcher said “what is photography but light?” and the fact that he wants his photos to tell a story.

Give it a listen, if you have time. It’s only about 40 minutes long. Definitely makes me want to get back out there and work on my monochrome shots.

Click on the image above to go to the podcast

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under monochrome, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Podcast, Travel and Photography