Category Archives: Geology

Solitary Geyser

Solitary Geyser

A morning alone with Solitary Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

This pretty geyser is indeed, solitary, sitting all by itself and located a short hike from either the Upper Geyser Basin boardwalk or on the way up or down the trail from Observation Point. This is one of those geysers that people tampered with way back when they didn’t understand geysers or geology that well. They wanted to use the hot spring water so they put a pipe in it, which lowered the water level several feet and caused the then-hot spring to turn into a geyser that erupted every few minutes. They removed the pipe and the water level rose again, but it continued to be a geyser that now erupts every 5-7 minutes (give or take). It’s not a huge geyser, though. It sort of “burbles” and erupts about 3-4 feet (so the nearby sign says). It was difficult to even see it erupt on that chilly day because of all the steam. I could only tell it was going to erupt by watching for ripples in the water in the far left corner of the geyser, which occurred just before that “burble” of an eruption.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 5DSR, autumn, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Opalescent Pool And Black Sand Basin Landscape

Black Sand Basin Landscape

I first visited Black Sand Basin in Yellowstone National Park during the evening on the previous day from this shot. It was overcast and getting dark and I didn’t even notice this little side area next to the entry drive to the parking lot. I didn’t see this until I visited the next morning, a lovely, sunny day. I’ve been reading: TravelBrains’ “Yellowstone Expedition Guide” and learned this interesting fact: the trees you see here are dead, of course. The bottoms of their trunks are white because they absorbed the hot water in the area, which is filled with silica in solution. That silica comes out of solution and is what has colored those trunk bottoms. It’s the first step in petrification of the trees. Oh, and Black Sand Basin gets it’s name from the black obsidian sand grains in the area. Cool, huh?

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, autumn, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Artist Paint Pots, Yellowstone National Park

Artist Paint Pots Geothermal Basin And Mount Holmes In The Dista

Artist Paint Pots Geothermal Basin with Mount Holmes in the distance, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

 
It’s a short walk along a well-trod path to get to the boardwalk beginning the loop around the Artist Paint Pots basin. As I stepped onto the boardwalk, I passed a couple of men talking to each other. Another friend approached and they told him that their wives were off looking at the sights while they remained there, since they were not that enthused about the area. Lo and behold, as I passed the men, their wives returned and one of them said sarcastically “Well, that was a blast.” They were not impressed, either.
 
I don’t know what those two couples were expecting, but I have a feeling they have not been reading my photo column in the National Parks Traveler, where I urge people to 1) keep their expectations on the low side since it’s likely they will not see exactly what they expect to see, and 2) observe what is around them. Really *look* at where they are and what they see. I am assuming that the couples, like many other people who come to this area, were a little jaded and didn’t stop to think about what they were standing upon: thin crust with a busy geothermal system beneath them. It’s amazing that we can enter a national park that is so geologically active. How many other places in the world can you see so many active geysers, hot springs and fumeroles all in one area? How many other places can you actually hear the hissing of the steam and see the bubbling water and mud pots? I know there are some, but I’ll wager not that many that you can actually get to. When you are someplace like Artist Paint Pots, you are walking beside geysers and hot springs with boiling or near-boiling water.
 
These couples probably did not appreciate the many colorful hot springs around them (hence the name “Artist Paint Pots”), or the panoramic view that included a snow-iced Mount Holmes in the far distance.
 
I brought with me the mindset of a geologist and photographer, so I saw beauty everywhere I walked in that small basin. As a matter of fact, that’s what I told a retired gentleman and his wife as he approached the trailhead, with a daughter and active 6-year old in tow. He stopped me and said: “Two questions: how far to get there and is it worth it?” I told him I thought it was worth it but I was seeing everything through a geologic and photographic background. I then told him about the reactions of those two couples. I told him that I’d also seen another couple with their 4-year old child who was managing the walk and the uphill climb to the bridge overlook (which is where I stood to take this photo) with no problems. I said to him that they’d have to judge for themselves as to whether or not the hike and the view were worth it. I certainly thought both were.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, autumn, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Yellowstone National Park

Tiny People, Big Scenery

Clouds Over Bryce Amphitheater

I was hiking along the Rim Trail between Sunset Point and Lower Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park when the summer monsoon clouds started to arrive, providing thunder, lightning and subsequent rain. I captured this shot before hotfotting it back along the trail to the lodge cabins, where I took shelter from the storm.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 5DSR, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Geology, HDR, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel

Sunrise Over Bryce Amphitheater

Sunrise Over Bryce Amphitheater

Sunrise in this national park is sublime, no matter whether it’s a sunny day, an overcast day, or an in-between kind of day.

And now, in addition to sunrises being sublime, so are night skies, since this national park has been certified an International Dark Sky Park.

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/08/bryce-canyon-national-park-certified-international-dark-sky-park

The park’s 20th Annual Astronomy Festival will be June 17-20, 2020. I’ve made my reservations for a room during that time. Maybe then, I’ll actually stay awake late enough to get some cool night shots, since I didn’t do that during my previous two visits (sigh). I readily admit that Bryce Canyon is one of my favorite national parks.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved

 

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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Geology, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, sunrise, Travel

Biscuit Basin Landscape

Biscuit Basin

During my road trip move from TX to central WA, I made Yellowstone National Park one of my stops along the way. Of course, it was summertime, probably the worst time in the world to visit that particular park. I couldn’t find a parking space at Upper Geyser Basin (and those of you who have gone there know how big that parking lot is) so, disgruntled, I drove on toward Gardiner, my hotel stay for the night. On the way, I saw the turnoff to Biscuit Basin and decided to try my luck there. A car was backing out of a small parking space so I quickly squeezed my own little car in. The landscape in this show was one of the first sights that greeted my eyes as I headed toward the boardwalk. The geology of Yellowstone never fails to amaze me.

I’m heading back there this fall and can’t wait!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 1DX Mk II, Canon, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, telephoto lens, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Sunrise Over Desert And Mountains

Sunrise Over Desert And Mountains

Big Bend National Park is out in a remote portion of southwest Texas. But if you can get there, then you won’t be disappointed with what you see. This national park is full of interesting volcanic geology and gorgeous landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains. Sunrises are lovely here. This shot was taken right off the side of the road, not looking toward the rising sun, but instead, toward the mountains and desert which the winter sun gilded.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 24-70mm f2.8L II, 5DSR, Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Geology, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, sunrise, Texas, Travel, winter

The Tree Root Cave

Sitting Under The Tree Of LifeBecky And The Tree Of LifeOLYM_RebeccaLatson-1047_Cobble Beach FaciesCobble Beach Facies

For all of you #photographers and #geology fans. The first images are of me under the tree root cave (aka Tree of Life) that was undercut by a small stream and is now hanging in place (and has been for quite a few years, according to what I have read) by a few very strong tree roots. The first two photos show you the cobble beach facies overall and the other photos show you close-ups. Because of where I stood and because it was wet and I didn’t want to get my lens cap wet, I did not use anything for scale. Suffice to say that the cobbles range in size from maybe 5-6 inches to less than 1 inch.

These images are good examples of how you can turn photography into a lesson about something other than just photography.

If you are ever in Olympic National Park, on the western portion of the peninsula, you must go see and photograph this oddity of nature and geology. Turn into the drive to the Kalaloch campground and park in the day use/picnic parking lot. Take the short trail down to the beach, turn right and walk straight about 50 feet to see it.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Geology, National Parks, Olympic National Park, Photography, Seasons, Travel, Washington State, winter

Rivers Run Through It

Calcite Springs And The Yellowstone River

Calcite Springs (the steaming part) and the Yellowstone River

No matter where you drive within Yellowstone National Park, you’ll encounter a number of rivers running through the land.  According to a newly-published article in the National Parks Traveler, the rivers of this park are key to understanding the hydrothermal activity there.  Click on any of the photos to be taken to this article, then spend some time reading the other articles, as well.

Early Morning Along The Firehole River

Firehole River in Upper Geyser Basin (where Old Faithful is located)

Overlooking The Lewis River

The Lewis River, seen shortly after driving through the southern entrance to the park

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Geology, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

Boardwalk Leading Line

Boardwalk leading line at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Travertine Colors

Travertine colors at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Sunrise Gilding The Terrace CROP

Sunlight gilding the travertine, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

Killdeer On The Terrace

Killdeer on the travertine, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

I will be the first to admit that, when I would see photos in books of the Mammoth Hot Springs area, my first thought was “how dull-looking that place is.” In truth, it takes a personal visit to see this amazing sight. Some friends I know still say this is nothing like it used to be, but as a photographer, I can tell you that wonderful images are still there for the camera, as long as you are observant and take some time to put a little thought into your composition.

For instance, the boardwalks around there bring to mind wooden roller coaster rides. Spend some time creating interesting leading line compositions of the boardwalks.

Get some close-up images of the travertine formations you see. The colors are saturated, and if you are there during a sunrise, the formations are gilded with bright gold-yellow.

If there are interesting clouds in the area, include that in your shots.

And look for wildlife – particularly birds. I saw all sorts of killdeer hopping around the terraced springs. Their coloring blends in with the rusty hues of the travertine.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Filed under Geology, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park