Capturing The Color And Character Of Fall

The Beginning Of Sunrise At Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photo column. This month, it’s all about capturing that last bit of autumn color before the monochrome palette of winter completely takes over.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under autumn, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Travel and Photography

Becky Homecky

For Christmas gifts, this year, I’m giving a recipe book I’ve been making using Blurb’s Book Wright software. Over the course of the year, I’ve been taking photos of food I’ve cooked. Some of the recipes I made up, some of the recipes are my sister’s that everybody loves, some of the recipes are keepers I’ve taken from cookbooks, and some of the recipes come from online. Not all of the recipes have exactly been keepers – they’ve been ok, but I won’t ever fix them again. In truth, this is a way to keep all the really good recipes together within easy access. And of course, I give credit with each recipe, along with the website or the book name. These books can only be gifts and not something I’m selling.

Anyway, I when I realized I needed to get cracking on putting the recipe book together, I started sifting through my food photos and discovered somewhere along the line, I either forgot to get photos for certain recipes, or else I’ve lost them onto other hard drives along the way (and I can’t remember which portable HD they are stored). So, I’ve been cooking up a storm in order to get photos to go with the recipes in the book. Tonight’s recipe is a slow cooker cream cheese chicken chili recipe with homemade guacamole on top of the chili. I’m serving prosecco margaritas with dinner, too.

A friend of ours, who likes to give people nicknames (my sister, Kathy’s name, for example, is Kathella), gave me the name Becky Homecky since I do 99.9% of the cooking in the household. As such, earlier in the year, I also ordered from Etsy an embroidered apron and chef hat, as you can see in the photo.

I decided to set up the camera and tripod to get posed photos of me in the apron and chef hat for the cover of my recipe book gift. Please notice I am wearing makeup, including bright red lipstick. I haven’t worn makeup in three years, and I learned a couple of things. First, you really *do* lose it if you don’t use it – I had a hard time trying to put on eye makeup and finally gave up on that – it was difficult enough to put on the lipstick neatly. Second, makeup has a shelf life. The mascara was all dried up in its tube, and if I had any lipstick (which I didn’t, so I had to go buy some), it would have probably been dry/gummy as well.

One of the most important things you should have for your camera for shots like this one, is a wireless shutter release. Vello is a pretty decent brand for that, and I purchased mine from BH Photo online. Mind you, the plastic used to make this little wireless wonder is pretty cheap, and it wouldn’t take much to break it. Nonetheless, it’s an integral part of any good selfie or group shot with you in it. It works better than your camera’s 10-second timer, because with that, you pre-focus before running to get into the photo, and unless that focus is on Infinity, then more than likely, you’ll come out a little on the blurry side. Truth.

Oh, and just how did I manage to click on the remote, since you can’t see it anywhere in the photo? I placed it on the floor, then took my shoe off so my toe could push down on the remote’s shutter release button. And, as mentioned before, I had to be very careful not to push down too hard and crack the plastic casing. 🙄

This image is not the one I used for the recipe book cover. It’s more of a test shot, because I was trying to figure out what to use for foreground food objects on the cutting board and had to get some test shots, first. It’s how I realized I needed lipstick – My face looked far too washed out without a little color.

Here’s something else you need to watch for: glare on glasses. Sometimes, it can be removed simply by the way you hold your head (turning it one side or the other, or bowing your head a little). Other times, it takes more than just a head tilt. I used only the ambient light around me – no light stands for the shots – so I knew it wasn’t a matter of moving the lights to eliminate the glare on my glasses. Because of these test shots, I discovered I needed to pull the shades down on some of the windows to keep reflections and glare off of my glasses.

And yes, that glass of bubbly is real. I was shooting around lunchtime, and figured it must be Happy Hour somewhere in the world. 😃

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Cooking, Photography, Portraits

Even Witches And Bitches Wear Masks

And have fun with Photoshop in the process.

My sister, who makes all our masks, made some with Halloween eyeballs, yesterday. So yeah, I had to get some photos to go with my mask and crocheted & felted witch had. And the eyeball light, too.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Halloween, holiday, Photography

Where The Trails Take You Photography 2022 Calendars For Sale

The Covid Pandemic and emergency eye surgery put a bit of a damper on my travel, but not on my photography. I managed to visit three national parks this year (Yosemite, Mount Rainier, and Great Basin) and capture some awesome shots. So…

… It’s that time of year again, when I shamelessly self-promote through the 12-month wall calendars I create for each year. Here are three of four (fourth awaits review) calendars I have for sale via Zazzle.com. Right now, you can get 15% off your order with the promotion code ZFALLPARTIES.

I order these calendars for myself and my family, so I can attest to the quality of these items. Sure, digital junkies (like one of my twin nephews) will scoff at a paper *anything*, much less a paper calendar, but these come in pretty handy for writing reminders, and special dates and events that I can just reach over, look at, and mark off as needed. Guess I’m old-school, but these calendars are still pretty cool and look nice on the wall at home or at the office.

https://www.zazzle.com/store/rebecca_latson_photo to get to my Zazzle Store or, click on each photo to look at each calendar and its months, separately.

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Filed under Calendars, Great Basin National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Yosemite National Park

Revisiting A Favorite Spot In A National Park

Myrtle Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, 9/30/2020
Myrtle Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, 9/23/2021
Myrtle Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, 9/6/2016

I know I’ve written this before, and I tend to hammer it in to the readers of my photo column on the National Parks Traveler. But, I’m not going to stop hammering it in, so here we go again: it’s always a great idea to revisit and rephotograph a favorite national park spot, because – depending upon the season, time of day, and weather – things can look quite different from the last time you visited. If you are using a newer/different camera, the level of detail can look quite different, as well.

Take these shots of Myrtle Falls in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park (Washington state). Each of the three photos were actually captured in September, from late summer to autumn, and during the morning (I didn’t realize they were all captured in September until I looked at the file info). However, these images were photographed in different years (2016, 2020, 2021) and under different weather conditions. Makes quite a difference, doesn’t it?

The first image shows a sort of veiled mountain view that I photographed with my Sony a7riv. Smoke from a wildfire had wafted in that morning, when the previous morning was crystal clear. The second image is the most recent, captured the day after official autumn and conditions were perfect for a clear photo of everything and was photographed with my Fujifilm GFX100. The last photo was taken during a rainy day when The Mountain was completely hidden from view by fog/mist/low-hanging clouds, so I focused on the waterfall rather than the gray background with my Canon 5DSR. And the really nice thing is that during each of those photo sessions, I had the place all to myself (I may forget what I ate for breakfast the other day, but stuff like that, I tend to remember). Most people up there at that time of year tend to want to sleep in, I guess.

Anyway, look at these images and compare them to one another, then take my advice and revisit your favorite spots for more photos.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Fujifilm GFX 100, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Sony Alpha a7r IV

It’s National Public Lands Day 2021!

Here’s a sunrise for your Saturday, folks. Today (Sept 25, 2021) is National Public Lands Day. Fees are waived at the national parks. It’s a great day to enjoy the outdoors and think about how you can help preserve a park’s environment for future visitors. It can be as simple as packing out what you pack in and picking up trash you see along the trail. I did that yesterday. I saw an occasional candy wrapper and even a discarded mask. I’d forgotten to bring a trash bag with me, but I still had other bags I could use for picking up and carrying trash. It’s good for one’s karma, you know. 😊

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under autumn, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, sunrise

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Great Basin National Park

A Mid-Morning View Of Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park (Nevada)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Checklist. This one’s for Great Basin National Park in Nevada. To read the article, click on the image above.

As for the image above, this was my first day and first hike in this national park. I’d driven up Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive and managed to snag a parking spot at a pullout across the narrow road from the actual Wheeler Peak Summit Trail parking lot, which was almost full (the parking lots are small in that park and they fill up quickly).

I knew I was not going to hike the 8-mile round trip up to and back down from Wheeler Peak summit – I wanted to, but didn’t feel I was in good enough shape nor as acclimatized for a hike up to 13,000 feet, even though my visit to Yosemite National Park the prior week helped some with that aspect. Instead, I opted for the 2.6-mile roundtrip hike to Stella Lake, which is accessed via the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail but with a 0.1-mile turnoff to the lake. It’s a beautiful hike through stands of quaking aspen, some of which sported leaves already turning gold. It is, however, a narrow, uneven, rocky trail and would be easy to take a fall if one is not watching their step. No, I didn’t fall, but one little girl I watched almost did, because she was wearing sneakers with no tread and not paying attention to the trail.

At this time of year, Stella Lake looks more like Stella “Pond.” You can even see a sort of “bathtub ring” of different colored grass and bits of driftwood around the lake to indicate a higher water level during an earlier part of the season.

The mountains you see behind you are Wheeler Peak, to the right, and Doso Doyabi (formerly Jeff Davis Peak), to the center.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Great Basin National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Nevada, Photography, Travel, Traveler's Checklist

Photography in The National Parks: Yosemite Tried, True, and New

Yosemite Valley Landscape, Yosemite National Park (California)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photography column. This month’s column is all about capturing iconic as well as new perspectives of this particular national park. To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: I drove into Yosemite Valley several times during my week’s stay in the park. Every time, I’d pass by this one spot along the road – a small pullout large enough for a vehicle, right next to the rocky banks of the Merced River, which was a trickle of its former self. So finally, I stopped, took out my camera and tripod, and gingerly picked my way to a spot to photograph forest, river, and El Capitan (I believe that’s El Cap) all beneath a blue sky with wispy clouds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography, Yosemite National Park

Nevada Basin And Range Landscape

A Long Ribbon Of Road From Ely To Great Basin National Park
A Hazy Summer Morning Over Wind Turbines And Nevada Valley And Mountain Landscape

I’d left Ely (pronounced Eee-lee), Nevada, around 6:30 a.m. for an hour’s drive to Great Basin National Park. I was about 30-ish miles south of Ely when I rounded a corner and started heading down into this wide, flat valley. The wind turbines, ribbon of road that looks like it goes way up into the mountains on the other side of the valley, and the sunlight highlighting the veil of haze captured my photographer’s eye and I just had to pull over and get a few photos.

In reality, that long road going up into the mountains is actually a dirt road on someone’s private property (lucky them). This paved road takes an almost sharp turn to the left and parallels the mountains before rounding the corner to the right.

And those wind turbines made a great geographic marker for me on the way from the park back toward Ely on the day I headed back home to Washington state. I’d left the Baker area at 2 a.m. so it was dark heading toward Ely. Distances are difficult to discern in the dark because you can’t see the landscape. However, when I saw the synchronous blinking red lights, I knew I was driving toward and past that small wind turbine farm and that Ely was closer than I thought.

Nevada has some amazing landscape and geology, and the roads are very good, but the stretches of road through the state are long and out in the middle of nowhere, seemingly far away from civilization (and gas stations).

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under leading lines, Nevada, Photography

Traveler’s Checklist To Yosemite National Park

A Boardwalk Leading Line Across Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park (California)

Whew! I’m finally back from a 2-week trip to Yosemite and Great Basin national parks! It was a great trip, although I am now totally sick of so much driving. I captured great photos and have plenty of material for articles for the National Parks Traveler. As a matter of fact, the first article is the Traveler’s Checklist for Yosemite National Park, published in today’s edition of the Traveler. Whether it’s your first or your fourth trip, there might be something in the checklist that piques your interest.

To read the article, click on the photo above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Traveler's Checklist, Yosemite National Park