The next time you visit a place that has some elevation difference, take a moment to observe the other differences due to that elevation difference. For instance, notice the differences in these images here? The lowland forest interior, captured at the entrance to Westside Road in Mount Rainier National Park, looks deep and dark and is filled with lush vegetation like ferns and devils club along with dead logs and moss on parts of the trees. Sunlight makes its way into the forest in spots. Whereas the forest along Trail of Shadows in the Longmire Historic District looks – well – clearer, with more space in between the trees, less moss, and a clearer forest floor. Yes, there’s vegetation there, too, but as you can see, not quite as thick. In part because it’s not quite as wet as it is in the lowland forest, plus the difference in elevation between the Nisqually entrance and Longmire creates a difference in temperatures, too. Observation is key to getting nice photos, rather than just a grabshot.
According to the National Park Service, there are over 5,000 miles of paved roads through the National Park System. Park roads (paved or unpaved) allow us to reach amazing vistas we might not otherwise see within a national park, national monument, or national recreation area. These roads are marvels of construction and merit a nod of appreciation to those builders who may have risked life and limb to ensure completion of that navigable ribbon of gravel or pavement.
So, my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is all about National Park unit roads, paved and unpaved, and what you can see along those roads. Why not test your knowledge of these roads by clicking on any of the photos. If you take the quiz, try to answer them first before looking at the answers at the bottom of the piece.
I know, I’ve been pretty remiss about posting to this site. I have good intentions and then I get either lazy or sidetracked.
Putting that aside, I recently visited Mount Rainier National Park during the week the smoke rolled in from the wildfires in California and Oregon. I didn’t realize this until after I got there, since the weather reports were calling for clear, sunny skies and I wanted to get out along Stevens Canyon Road and the Nisqually-Paradise Corridor to photograph and video some scenes. My plan changed a bit, as you can see.
When I returned home, I had questions about what might and might not be impacted by all this smoke (aside from being able to photograph a landscape), so I did some quick research, wrote an article, and the National Parks Traveler published it today.
To read that article, click on either image above or below.
Ok, I know it’s Tuesday, but the Labor Day holiday makes today feel like a Monday. Anyway, here’s a video for your Tuesday morning. I call it “Waiting For Sunrise At Sunrise.”
I’m trying to capture more videos when I visit the national parks. I tend to keep them relatively short because most readers’ attention spans aren’t that long, and most of the videos (99/9%) are captured with my iPhone 11 (it’s just easier and the iPhone does a nice job).
So, here’s a video I took while waiting for sunrise in the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park. I was at my favorite spot on Sourdough Ridge Trail. I’d like to capture sunrise looking the other way, instead of looking straight at The Mountain, someday, but the parking lot for that particular “other way” spot is always jam-packed and I don’t want to be standing cheek-by-jowl with others at this point in time.
Anyway, enjoy the almost-sunrise at the Sunrise area of the park.
Let’s see: I managed to visit Crater Lake just prior to all the stupid stuff people started doing there, like illegally hiking (slipping, sliding, rolling) down the very steep rim of Crater Lake to get to the shore (FYI there’s only one legal place to get down to the shore and that’s the Cleetwood Cove Trail). I also managed to visit prior to people defacating along the shoreline of the lake, flicking their cigarette butts into the lake, throwing underwear into the lake, and bringing their little paddle boards and other illegal watercraft to navigate the lake (illegal watercraft can have invasives like quagga mussels encrusted on their bottoms), all of which pollute the pristine waters of this amazingly blue lake that only gets its water from rain and snow and no sort of creek, stream, or river.
There’s a new kind of visitor to the national parks since the coronavirus pandemic: those people who are used to going to Wally World and waterparks and theme parks where there are restrooms and trash cans and food kiosks. These people don’t know how to conduct themselves in a national park, where there may not be those little conveniences. Unfortunately, there are not enough ranger staff to educate the ignorant, so environmental destruction has run wild in these places. While I think it’s great that more people discover the joys of being outside and exploring national parks, it would help if they visited the NPS.gov sites for these national parks to learn what they can and cannot do and can and cannot bring and at least care a little bit about keeping parks in good shape for future visits.
Since that Crater Lake visit, I’ve taken a short, mid-August trip to the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park to fulfill a bucket list of goals such as photographing sunrise, sunset, and the Milky Way in that particular area of the park. I accomplished that and have written a photography article that should post late next week (Sept 4th) in the National Parks Traveler.
As for future plans, I am considering a trip in October to Redwoods National and State Parks to see (and photograph and report) if the California wildfires affected the redwoods there, but that remains up in the air at this point in time.
I still practice social distancing and wear a mask when out. Many people don’t do either, unfortunately. Until we have a valid, tested vaccine for Covid, I’ll continue doing that. Washington state has three face mask orders currently in place.
That’s pretty much it. In between writing photo articles and creating national parks quiz and trivia pieces for the Traveler, I help out around the house and yard and plan for future trips I may or may not take.
If you read my previous article published in the National Parks Traveler, then you’ll know how I prepared for my photography trip to Crater Lake National Park during the Coronavirus pandemic. My latest article published by the Traveler is about the photography you can achieve within this park.
To read my photo article, click on the image above.
For those of you who travel to national parks and protected lands, you can now identify yourself as a national parks traveler With a donation to the Traveler of $50 or more, you’ll receive an American-made Liberty Bottleworks double-wall water bottle with the Traveler logo and an image of Grand Teton National Park captured by yours truly.
The Traveler is a non-profit institute that needs your help to continue publishing daily articles (with no paywall) about our national parks and protected lands. No other news organization does that – they only publish articles about big issues that will grab the eye, like a person being gored by a bison in Yellowstone or falling off a cliff in the Grand Canyon. Not many organizations – if any, other than the Traveler – will publish stories about satellites being used for wildfire detection in Denali National Park & Preserve, or the Traveler Special Reports about climate change and invasive plants and animals within the parks, or how continued retreat of glaciers at Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve could force park staff to choose between protecting Johns Hopkins Bay for seal pupping or opening more of it up for cruise ships.
Make a donation, get a bottle, and capture a photo of yourself with the water bottle in a national park and the Traveler may publish it as a Park Photo of the Week on the Traveler’s website to show that you, too, are a national parks traveler and you’re helping the Traveler continue to publish stories about these special places within our nation.
To see where you can make a donation and get a Traveler water bottle, click on the image above.
It is possible to take a safe and enjoyable trip into a national park, if you prepare and use some precautions. I returned alive and well (it’s been 14 days since my return) to write how I did it and what I saw at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.
To read the story published in the National Parks Traveler, click on the image above.
Yahoo! The Great American Outdoors Act has been passed! So, now what? How will that $1.3 billion a year over the next 5 years be spent, and who gets the money? Remember, there are 419 units in the National Park System.
The National Parks Traveler has an interesting article asking that very question. Go check it out.
To read the article, click on the image above.
As for that image, I had arrived at the Crater Lake Lodge area around 4:00 a.m. and realized it was too cloudy to get any pre-dawn star shots. So, I sat in the car for awhile before finally venturing out to find the steps leading to the overlook, then setting up my tripod and camera for Blue Hour, sunrise, and after-sunrise shots.
I used my Sony Alpha 7R IV camera and 16-35mm lens for this shot.
The Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park provides some of my favorite views for photography in this national park. And I’ve included this with a number of other national park fave spots in this month’s photography column published by National Parks Traveler. Go check out the article to see if my faves are your faves.
To read the article and view the photos, click on the image above.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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