Monthly Archives: February 2020

Where Ever The Road Takes You Today

The Road Through The Rain Forest

Good morning! Where is the road going to take you, today? To work? To home? To a national park? To adventure and places unknown? Where ever the road takes you, please drive safely.

The road, in two weeks, will take me to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon. I’m looking forward to that as it will be my first long trip of the year. I don’t know if any part of the road will be as misty and mysterious as this road leading through the Quinault Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, but I do believe there will be some interesting scenery along the way.

I haven’t been to Oregon in probably 30 years, give or take, so it will be nice to see that beautiful state again. My father’s mother lived for many years along the Oregon coast. It was her favorite place – her happy place, just like living near the mountains is for me. When she died, my parents poured her ashes on a beach along the Oregon coast, then put moss agates around the ashes in a circle, since Granny was an avid “rockhound.”

As for this image, well, you know I like photographing leading lines. And leading lines don’t have to be straight. They can be curvy, too. A leading line is whatever takes your eye from one part of the photo to another, like a fence, a treeline, a line of buildings, a trail, or a boardwalk.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, leading lines, Life, National Parks, Olympic National Park, Photography, Travel

A Lesson In Composition

The Evening View From The Gazebo

A Kalaloch Beach sunset from the gazebo, Olympic National Park

Good morning, class. Today’s lesson will be in composition: as in, what to try and avoid when composing your image.

Now, the image above is lovely, or rather, is looking upon a lovely scene. At the time I captured it, I know I wanted to get the scene below framed by the gazebo structure. However, I must have suffered a bit of a brain fart, because the composition did not come out as I’d hoped. What I should have done (and don’t know why I didn’t), was include at least a portion of a third post into the left side of the photo. Right now, in this image, things look a little weighted and not quite right. There is part of a post on the far right side, and a post in the middle, but absolutely nothing on the left side.

So, the moral (lesson) of this story is to try and make certain that, when looking through the camera viewfinder, your images are evenly weighted with regard to natural frames (like the gazebo posts).

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Composition, Lessons, National Parks, natural frames, Olympic National Park, Photography

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The Colorado River At Navajo Bridge

A view of the Colorado River and Vermilion Cliffs from the Navajo Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona

The Colorado River begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and runs about 1,450 miles through several states and empties out (eventually) into the Gulf of California. I saw a very tiny segment of this river during my short, 1-hour visit to Navajo Bridge in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on my way to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
As part of the National Parks Traveler’s continuing series on the health of the Colorado River, a great article has been published today about how climate change is affecting the Colorado River water in Glen Canyon NRA. Definitely worth a read.
To read this article, click on the image above.
I know, I have lots of links to the National Parks Traveler, don’t I? If you are new to my blog site (or if you just don’t look at my site that often but still follow me), I am a writer and photographer and contributing editor for the Traveler. I also believe in what the Traveler does, which is to report on our national parks and protected areas on a daily basis, providing you with travel, photography, and news articles you wouldn’t find anywhere else – at least, not on a daily basis.
In retrospect, I wish I could have stayed a little longer at Navajo Bridge then driven the 6 miles down to Lees Ferry to hike along the river. But, having departed Petrified National Park early that morning (it was a little after 10 AM when I captured the image above), I was tired from driving and ready to get to my next destination (the North Rim) with time to explore *that* area.
Next time …
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, Arizona, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel

Where Will The Trails Take You?

Hiking The Trail To Adventure

It’s the weekend! Where will the trails take you? Will you be hiking into adventure or staying closer to home. Wherever you will be, have fun, stay safe, and, if you *are* out hiking, then pack out what you pack in.
 
This image was captured at the beginning of my walk through the Hall of Mosses Trail in Olympic National Park during my August 2019 visit. The boardwalk made a perfect leading line, and I was hurrying with my camera and 14mm lens to get a nice, wide-angle shot of the boardwalk, the trees in the distance, and the couple on the trail before they disappeared within the shadows of the forest. I thought the two people made a nice bit of scale and reference to the scene.
 
Summer is a nice time to visit this park, believe it or not. There were lots of people, but nothing compared to the masses I encountered when visiting Yellowstone National Park the previous August of 2018. If you get out early enough, you’ll escape the crowds that appear later in the morning and afternoon.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under 5DS, Canon, Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II, Canon Lens, National Parks, Olympic National Park, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel, Washington State

It’s Fun Fact Friday 2/21/2020!

The View Along Lost Mine Trail - 14mm

The view along the Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park, in Texas

Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday! Here are some interesting facts for you about Big Bend National Park, in Texas.

  • There are over 60 species of cactus, 450 species of birds, 1,200 plant species, and 3,600 insect species found in this national park.
  • The name Big Bend comes from a bend in the Rio Grande River, which runs along the park boundary.
  • In 2012, the park was named an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s awesome for star gazing.

I first visited this national park in 2013 and made 4 more trips there before moving out of Texas. I visited during the winter and spring, when the temperatures were at their most ambient. Late spring was awesome for blooming cactus. And, speaking of visiting, Big Bend is entering it’s busy season, so if you are planning to travel there anytime soon, you’d probably better have alternate lodging plans in case you can’t find an available campsite, according to an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read more of that article, click on the image at the top of this post.

Strawberry Pitaya Bloom

A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Canon, flowers, Fun Fact Friday, Landscape, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Texas, Travel, winter

Mesa Verde National Park Expands Online Tour Ticket Reservations

Last Light On Cliff Palace

Twilight at Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

How many of you have visited Mesa Verde National Park? Have you taken a ranger-guided tour to one of the cliff dwellings like Cliff Palace, Balcony House, or Long House? It was pretty cool, right? Have you taken a guided backcountry tour to an off-the-radar dwelling like Mug House? You used to be able to only purchase tickets for these tours once you arrived in the park, but beginning March 9, you’ll be able to purchase tickets to these tours online! If you’ve never been, you really should go. This is one of those national parks that focuses on, and protects, the architectural wonders and culture (as much of it as they know, anyway) of the Ancestral Puebloans, who dwelt in this semi-arid network of mesas and canyons for 700 years in 600 cliff dwellings as well as other ruins on the ground.

To get further information on how to purchase tour tickets, click on the Cliff Palace image above.

I went way back in 2012 and wouldn’t mind returning again. You know, the first time you visit a national park or monument or seashore or historic site, it’s always sort of a reconnaissance trip to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. I think, if I went again, I’d notice other things that I probably missed the first time.

 

Long House

The approach to Long House

Balcony House Single Image HDR

Balcony House on a clear, sunny day, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

Mug House

A backcountry tour to Mug House, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel

More Favorite Places For Photography In National Parks I’ve Visited

Dawn Over Oxbow Bend

Dawn at Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

Ok, I know many of you have visited at least one or two national parks in your lifetime, right? Did you take pictures? What were / are your favorite places that you return to time and time again for photography when you visit that park? I have my faves, and the National Parks Traveler has published my latest article about favorite places in some of the national parks I’ve visited. Perhaps my favorite places are yours, too?

To read the article, click on the image above.

A View Of Ruby Beach

A winter view of Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park in Washington state

Moose 2

Capturing the wildlife at Fishercap Lake in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, Montana

Shafer Canyon View 1

Looking out to Shafer Canyon in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

As The Colorado River Goes, So Go The Parks

The Colorado River At Navajo Bridge

As the Colorado River goes, so go the parks. Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has a fascinating article (with videos) about how climate change is affecting the Colorado River (seen in this image from Navajo Bridge at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area) and Canyonlands National Park (no, that’s not the Colorado River – it’s the Green River – but it’s in Canyonlands, hence the inclusion). It’s definitely worth a read. The last two, short videos in the article are especially interesting.

To read the article, click on the top image.

After you’ve read the article, stick around and listen to Podcast Episode 53, which interviews the journalist/photographer assigned to the Colorado River Special Report. You’ll also hear about Grand Portage National Monument. Makes me want to go visit that national monument for myself.

To listen to the podcast, click on the image below.

Green River Overlook Scenery

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Canon, Canyonlands National Park, climate change, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Podcast

Throwback Thursday!

Parking LotMom Canada

It’s Throwback Thursday, folks! Vehicles and hiking fashion sure have changed over time, haven’t they? Thanks to my father, he chronicled these changes during our national parks visits. I inherited my love of national parks and photography from him. Oh, and thanks to my mother for modeling the latest outdoor couture 😉

Copyright John H. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Life, love, National Parks, Photography, Travel

Waterfall Wednesday

Gibbon Falls

It’s Waterfall Wednesday! I took a quick look through all the photos I’ve posted and I didn’t see this one listed, so here it is. If I missed it and have posted it before, my apologies. I just lose track, sometimes.

Anyway, this is Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone has plenty of beautiful, photogenic falls, reached either by view area right off the road, or via a hike along a trail. Gibbon Falls has its own large parking lot and view areas (yes, multiple spots to view different angles of this beautiful waterfall).
 
Waterfalls make great subjects for silky water shots, you know. Yes, some people like their water to “look like water”, as one fan told me, but others like that dream quality of smooth, silky water that a slow shutter speed gives you. The key to getting a shot like this, where the lighting for the composition is good and the highlights in the waterfall are not too very blown out (overexposed) is to use a tripod (required, really) and a neutral density (ND) filter. ND filters come in verying sizes, shades (densities) and prices. Some of the fancier (and super-expensive) ones, like the Singh-Ray brand, can be adjusted to various densities of darkness with a twist of the outer filter ring. The darkness of the filter allows you to use really slow shutter speeds while still capturing a well-exposed image. If you don’t have a ND filter (and every SLR photographer should have that filter in their gearbag), a circular polarizer (CPL) can do a decent job, too. To be honest, I can’t remember if I used a CPL or a ND filter for this shot. If you have both filters in your camera gear arsenal, then try experimenting with each one to see which result you like best.
 
I also shot at a focal length that would allow for a decent cutoff of the trees at the bottom of the shot. Taking your compositional details into consideration (rather than just getting a grab shot), can mean the difference between a good image and a great image. Think of it as akin to trying to figure out where to (figuratively) chop off the arms and legs of someone you are photographing. Sometimes you just don’t have enough room to get everything in your shot, so you need to make that cutoff somewhere. Rule of thumb on that is to NOT crop off at the joints so it doesn’t look like they’ve been amputated.
 
And that concludes our photo lesson for Wednesday, folks. You are halfway through the week!
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, National Parks, Photography, Waterfalls, Yellowstone National Park