Monthly Archives: December 2022

What’s Around The Corner For 2023?

What’s around the corner in 2023? What have you learned in 2022?

Today is the last day of 2022. It’s time for 365 days of 2023. What’s in store? For me, I hope it’s more travel and photography and articles for the National Parks Traveler.

I truly enjoy the travel. Sometimes, I enjoy the journey as much as the destination – although a 15-hour drive is really pushing it in the “enjoyment” department. That aside, I love seeing new places and photographing new things – well, new to me.

Quite a few of the images I post here are of iconic locations that have been photographed a gazillion times. It’s ok, though, to photograph that iconic location, you know. You are capturing the image with your own camera, and the time of day, weather pattern, and season make slight differences to the photo taken a previous day, or any photo taken in the future. It’s like one photographer I follow on Flickr said (and I paraphrase): you don’t avoid a very popular restaurant just because there are so many people who go there. You go to that restaurant because the food is fantastic (and that’s why it’s popular). Same thing with photographing an iconic spot.

I look back to the images I captured this past year. I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to – that whole money thing, you know. I stayed closer to home for photographic day trips. And I learned about the area around me. I’d never heard of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, and yet a majority of this route is in eastern Washington. Heck, I’d even studied the Channeled Scablands when I was a geology student in college, but I’d still never been there. It’s one thing to read about it in a textbook, and an entirely different thing to actually see the landscape about which you’ve read. So, it really worked out that I photographed landscapes closer to where I live.

Where would I like to go in 2023? Well, I do want to take a day to see a couple of National Natural Landmarks along the way to visit Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. I’d also like to visit San Juan Island National Historical Park. I’ve got plans to travel (15 hours) to Sequoia National Park this year in mid September. Fingers crossed nothing occurs to prevent the trip, since it will be the third time I’ve tried to get there. I will, of course, continue making trips now and then to Mount Rainier National Park. During the summer, it’s only 1.5 hours away from where I live. In the winter, with the passes closed, it’s about 3 hours. I’m actually thinking of going there tomorrow, if for no other reason than to report on the crowds there because the Paradise area is only open on the weekends this winter due to a staffing situation.

There are a couple of other places I’d like to visit. Not end destinations (like Yellowstone or Glacier or Olympic national parks), but rather destinations on the way to an end destination. I’ll just have to see how that pans out.

Here’s to a hopeful New Year. For me. For every one of you. And thank you all, again, for keeping up with my posts and tidbits of trivia and photo tips and techniques.

Oh, yeah, about the image here. I was standing in the Olmsted Point parking area with my zoom lens and I thought it would be a neat photo of that car rounding the corner of Tioga Road, with a distant view of Tenaya Lake and the rounded granite Sierras within Yosemite National Park. Sort of a “what adventure is just around the corner” shot.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Holidays, National Parks, New Year, Photography

2022 Year In Review: Photography A Little Closer To Home

It’s been quite a year for the National Parks Traveler, with new units of the National Park System explored and resulting news, general interest, and photography articles written. If you follow the Traveler (and you should, if you want DAILY news from an editorially independent source about national parks in the U.S. and Canada), then you’ll know that the Traveler – like other news outlets – has been publishing various year-in-review articles the past week.

Published in today’s edition of the Traveler is my own 2022 Year In Review Photography article. Aside from a couple of 9- and 10-hour road trips to single destinations (Yellowstone National Park in winter and Lassen Volcanic National Park in autumn), the majority of my photography explorations have been a little closer to home along routes you might not even realize are parts of the National Park System.

To read the article, click on the image above.

This image is one of those closer-to-home venues, although I guess “close” is a relative term. It only took me 5 hours total drive time for a couple of days of photography including photographing the waves resuling from the annual king tides at Cape Disappiontment in Washington state, where the Pacific Ocean meets the mouth of the Columbia River.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography

Christmas Eve Gift!

When I was younger, and actually, right up to when Dad died back in 2010, my family had a tradition for Christmas Eve. We would sneak up on each other and shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” and the person who was “got” would have to give the other person a gift on that Christmas Eve. Now, usually, no gift was given, as it was just the fun of being the person who got the other person by surprise.

One chilly Christmas Eve in Texas (yes, if you’ve been reading the news and seeing other FB posts, it does get frosty even in SE Texas), I’d gotten up early that morning, as I usually do, and I baked a huckleberry cobbler (huckleberries are just the best). I did my weekend routine of walking next door to Mom & Dad’s to spend the morning and have coffee with them, but this time, I also had a cobbler hot from the oven. I put the cobbler down on a chair next to the back door, and unlocked the door using the key Mom & Dad gave to me some years back. The house was all dark. I opened the door a little wider, and all of a sudden, Mom & Dad jumped out from behind the door shouting “CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT!” Thankfully, I’d set the cobbler down because it would probably have been dropped to the ground otherwise. Mom & Dad were gleefully chuckling over having gotten me (because, it was usually the other way around).

Ah, traditions.

Now that I am living with my sister in Washington state, we don’t do that tradition. Apparently, Christmas Eve Gift was started (or restarted) after my sister had left for college decades ago, because she said they never did it while she lived with them, and she looked at me oddly for trying it out with her. Sigh.

So, no more Christmas Eve Gift, but still lots of memories.

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Filed under Christmas, holiday

Merry Whatever-Holiday-You-Celebrate!

I know, it’s a couple of days early. But, like I tell people when I have a drink a little earlier than usual: “it’s 5 p.m. – er Christmas – somewhere in the world. 🙂

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Filed under Christmas, Holidays

Photography In The National Parks: A Matter Of Perspective

Photography is a matter of perspective, you know. It’s how *you* see things through your camera lens. My latest photography column has been published in the National Parks Traveler, and it deals with photographic perspective, using sample images I captured while visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park in California.

To read the article, click on either of the two images above.

The first image is the ground level view of the wall of blocky, black lava rock comprising the Fantastic Lava Beds, next to Butte Lake in the northeastern section of the park.

The second image is a much higher view of the lava beds from the summit of Cinder Cone, about 2 miles away from the first view.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

National Parks Quiz And Trivia: The Winter Edition 2022

How about a little rime ice to go with that tree, Ma’am.

Rime ice. There’s a question about it in today’s quiz and trivia piece I penned for the National Parks Traveler. It’s the winter 2022 edition. Why not go and check it out. You might learn something new about one or more units of the National Park System.

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

This particular image was captured during a snowcoach stop at Beryl Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Beryl Spring is a prolific steamer and all those freezing steam droplets land on whatever tree or fence railing is nearby. It can build up over a relatively short period of time in the winter there. And it’s amazing to look at close up.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Seasons, winter

Fun Fact Friday 12-16-2022

It’s #FunFactFriday folks! According to the 2021 annual report put out by Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, which continues to work at locating every single hydrothermal feature within Yellowstone National Park, there is a current count of 1,100 thermal features within Norris Geyser Basin alone!

Pictured here is another “same place, different season” set of images captured at Porcelain Basin, a smaller area within the larger Norris Geyser Basin purview, showing some of those 1,100 thermal features.

There are times when I deliberately set out to photograph a spot I’ve already captured at some other time, but this was not one of those times. I just happened to be standing at the same view area slong the boardwalk – one time in early October (early autumn), then again in mid February (late winter) and discovered just this morning I’d taken photos of that same landscape.

The autumn image was captured with the Canon 5DS I used to own, and the winter image was photographed with my Sony a7riv. Both cameras used a 24-105mm lens (each their own brand). The 24-105mm lens is a great travel lens with a nice focal range that produces great landscape retults.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Photography, Yellowstone National Park

Same Spot, Same Year, Different Season

Ok, here’s yet another example of why you should take your camera out to a favorite spot during different times of year, weather patterns, and/or times of day. In the case of these two images, one was captured in mid-spring (June) 2020, and the other was captured in mid-late winter (December) 2020. Both were captured during the morning hours. Notice the difference in water flow and vegetation amount and color.

Ok, granted, the cameras and lenses are different, but the location – right off the side of Westside Road, about a mile away from the Nisqually Entrance (Mount Rainier National Park), is the same.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, waterfalls