Monthly Archives: December 2020

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Nature’s Christmas Tree

Nature does a fine job at making her own Christmas tree, don’t you think? I photographed this lovely, snow-frosted evergreen along the side of the road in Mount Rainier National Park.

And, since it’s Fun Fact Friday as well as Christmas Day, here’s a little bit of Mount Rainier tree trivia for you:
The trees in this park extend all the way up to over 6,000 feet along the mountain flanks (over 1,800 meters, more or less). Forests cover approximately 58% of this national park. And most of the trees here are evergreen conifers, meaning they have needles and they keep their needles on their branches year-round.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Photography in The National Parks: Winter Wonderlands

A snowy, freezing January along the shore of Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park (Montana)

If you’re thinking of getting out in the parks this winter with mask, hand sanitizer, and camera in hand, then you’ll want to read my annual winter photo column published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It might be a bit redundant if you read last year’s photo column, but a little winter photography refresher never hurts, right?

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved

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It’s The First Day Of Winter, 2020!

Happy first day of winter! Is it snowing where you are? It’s raining here and going to be 55 degrees, which is unusually warm for my part of Washington state this time of year. Feels odd. It’s supposed to start getting chillier tomorrow.

The shot above was captured 3 years ago, in January, along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I was trying out new snowshoes (and having a devil of a time with the straps), and of course lugging a loaded camera pack with me, so I ultimately did not get too very far. The view, nonetheless, was pretty nice. There were a few cross-country skiers who zipped on past me that morning, but overall, not many others venturing outside, which was just fine by me.

Even though it’s a Monday, I hope your first day of winter is a good one.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Fun Fact Friday: Big Bend Geology

It’s #FunFactFriday so I thought I’d write about the geology seen in Big Bend National Park (Texas). The Chisos Mountains (part of which you see in the image above) are volcanic in origin. One of those volcanic things you’ll see while driving the road through the park are intrusive dikes. Igneous means the rock is volcanic in origin. Dikes are igneous, and they are called “intrusive” because the magma intrudes upon and into the existing rock layers above it. You can see a long stretch of dikes exposed and sticking up out of the ground in this shot. The rocks around the dikes eroded away, leaving those flat-looking walls of rock, sort of like a zig-zaggy-edged rock fence running over the hillsides and up into the mountain flanks.

I’m looking through past Big Bend (as well as other parks) images to see if there are shots I have not edited, or – at the time – didn’t do as good a job of editing. I honestly can’t remember if I ever posted this image or not, back in 2013 (can it be 7 years ago??) captured during my December visit to this national park in southwest Texas. It was my first (out of four) trips there.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz & Trivia: The Acadia National Park Edition

A View From The Summit Of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park (Maine)

So, folks, just how much do you know (or think you know) about Acadia National Park, in Maine? You can test your knowledge and learn some stuff, too, about this park, by clicking on the image and reading my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

The image above was captured on a lovely, sunny, autumn day a few years ago, after I’d huffed and puffed up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The view sure is special up there. No, I never made it there for sunrise, but someday, when it’s safer to get out and about, perhaps I’ll visit the Eastern Seaboard again and capture a few sunrise images at this spot.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Modern Graffiti Vs. Ancient Graffiti In A National Park: What’s The Difference?

Graffiti carved into a downed redwood tree sawed in half to clear the trail
Ancient petroglyphs carved into rock in Petrified Forest National Park

I maintain the National Parks Traveler’s Instagram account @national_parks_traveler. The other day, I posted a photo and commentary about Zion National Park’s continued problem with graffiti defacing parts of the park. Among all the commenters condemning the act, one Instagrammer asked why there was such a big deal about modern graffiti versus ancient graffiti, like Newspaper Rock in Petrified Forest National Park. The short answer I gave on Instagram was that back then, when Native Americans and pioneers and explorers carved, painted, or chiseled stuff onto rocks and living and dead trees, there was no National Park Service to protect the lands. Now, there is and modern graffiti, along with chopping down Joshua Trees driving ATVs over ecologically fragile ground is all illegal and considered vandalism. But I knew there had to be a deeper answer. The short answer I gave was sort of an “because I said so” thing. So, I penned a longer Op-Ed about modern versus ancient graffiti in a national park and it’s been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read the article, click on either image above.

I hope the Instagrammer that asked that question in the first place reads the Op-Ed, becasue he’s the one who spurred me to think a little more deeply about the whole issue.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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