Category Archives: New Year

Happy New Year!

Where’s that trail going to take you in 2023? For me, it took me along a New Year’s Day snowshoe hike at Mount Rainier National Park. I think it was the prettiest winter day I’ve seen at the park, to date (not that I’ve been up there too many times in the winter, but of those times I *have* been there, this day had to be the best).

Mount Rainier staff only open the Paradise area on the weekends, now, due to understaffing, so I thought it was going to be a zoo. When I first arrived, there were rangers out there directing traffic and helping people park (correctly), so every single parking space was taken. Really, though, the only real crowding I saw was in the parking lot, near the start of the snow climb. About a mile into the hike, there were few people. And oh, the scenery!

I gotta send a shout out to all those skiers who hiked (most on their skis, some on snowshoes) way up to a snow-covered ridge on what I believe is part of the Skyline Trail. That was a good 2-3 mile hike to get there. Those people are in very good shape, and serious about their skiing, powerhousing it up to the ridge.

Speaking of skis and snowshoes, if you decide to take a little weekend trip up to Paradise, then go early (the gate at Longmire usually opens at 9 a.m. unless weather dictates otherwise), and for goodness sake, take snowshoes or skis. I noticed some people did not have either, so they stuck close to the parking lot, or risked “post holing” (where your foot sinks waaaaay down into the snow, potentially causing an injury or at the very least, a face plant). Not even the “packed” snowshoe/ski trails were that hard-packed. I can tell you that from personal experience, because I lost one of my snowshoes (due to faulty securing on my boot) and had to back down the trail to get it, post holing a couple of times along the way, on the trail. Not so much afraid for myself, but rather for getting snow in/on the camera ūüėČ

Oh, and make sure you keep track of your time, because the Longmire gate closes at 4 p.m. You miss that deadline and you are stuck – seriously. Annnnd, drive slowly. Black ice (that’s ice invisible to the naked eye, more or less, so it looks like a part of the asphalt) was all over the road. One SUV ahead of me skidded completely off the road, and I skidded slightly a couple of times, even with my 4WD and great tires. I finally figured out if the road was shiny-looking, it was probably icy, and drove accordingly.

This morning, muscles hurt in areas I guess I haven’t used much. And I was exhausted yesterday once I made it back to my vehicle. But oh, what a day. Couldn’t have been a better start to the New Year for me: gorgeous scenery, great exercise, and awesome photography.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Holidays, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, New Year

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

My 10 Favorite Photos From 2020

Folds Of Velvet, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Oregon)

The National Parks Traveler has published my first photography article for the New Year. It’s a tradition I began some years ago, where I choose my 10 favorite shots from the previous year, why I like each shot, and how I captured each image.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, New Year, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Where will the trails take you in 2020?

Snow Path Along The Shoreline

Perhaps to Glacier National Park in the winter?

The Path To Casa Grande

Or maybe Big Bend National Park in the winter?

Hiking Down The Queens Garden Trail

Or Bryce Canyon National Park in the spring?

Very Early Morning Reflection at Nugget Pond

Or to Denali National Park in the summer?

Wherever the trails take you in 2020, remember to pack out what you pack in, stay safe, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

As for myself, well, I kept trying to think of what to say for myself and couldn’t come up with anything.¬† The “travel bug” is biting hard and I want to get out and travel right now, but responsibilities keep me anchored to home at this point.¬† This is as it should be, actually, because time at home gives me the much-needed time to spiffy up my photo website (adding keywords to each and every photo, beginning with the national park shots), build up my brand, and work harder at getting out there for more national park photography. Which leads me to this phrase which I have borrowed from a Facebook friend:

“I plan to carry the momentum of small steps on to bigger things in 2020.”

Yup, that works for me.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Rebecca Latson, Where The Trails Take You Photography





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Filed under Big Bend, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Denali National Park, Glacier National Park MT, Holidays, Life, National Parks, New Year, Photography, Travel

Within And Beyond National Park Boundaries

The View Framed By Mesa Arch

The view beyond Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

This morning’s “Featured Story” in the National Parks Traveler deals with an interview I held with Kate Cannon, superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group.¬† I spoke with Superintendent Cannon during the first week of January while I was in Utah, photographing in both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

To read the article, click on the photo to be taken to the site.




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Filed under 5DS, 5DSR, Arches National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Canyonlands National Park, Equipment, Holidays, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, New Year, Photography, Travel


Happy New Year London 2-15-2016

(yes, one day early – at least it’s not one day late as is my usual timing)

As I look back on 2016, I see a mix of good and bad, as is usual over the course of a year. The good stuff had to do with travel and photography and getting closer to what is left of my family. The bad stuff – well, let’s just say 2016 was marginally better than 2015, which was a horrible year.

Sooooo, I’m truly hoping that 2017 makes up for all the bad stuff. And I also hope the New Year 2017 is a start of many good things for all of you out there.

Now, for this photo: I had the great good fortune to stay in London over Christmas and New Year. It was my last hurrah to close out that horrible 2015 year I mentioned earlier. I deliberately chose that time of year to fly to London because I wanted to especially see the fireworks over the London Eye.

I remember joining the hordes to wait about 45 minutes for the security lines to open up so we could go find a spot around 7pm (nothing ever opens up exactly on time, you know). I went through 3 checkpoints before squeezing into a spot along the Thames in front of the Royal Horseguards Hotel and across from that great wheel on which one can get an amazing view of the surrounding land. It was a good thing I didn’t have to go to the toilet because we all stood there, cheek-by-jowl, for about 5 hours, waiting for the countdown to begin. I got acquainted with the family from the Midlands and the young lady from Dubai standing behind me who was there for some sort of news service.

It was worth the wait. The 10-minute display of fireworks was amazing and I alternated between having the camera up to my eye and then putting it down so I could just enjoy the fireworks without looking through a lens. It was such a neat feeling to realize I was actually standing there, in London, watching the New Years fireworks from a prime spot, surrounded by people from all over the world.

Again, Happy New Year! I hope everybody’s 2017 adventures far surpass those embarked upon in 2016.




Filed under 1DX, Canon, Events, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography

Happy New Year, London – It’s 2016!

Happy New Year From London

My last post described my New Year’s Eve experience in London. ¬†This post shows you the results. ¬†The fireworks display lasted around 11 minutes. I used my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, set the ISO to 5000, shutter to 1/50 of a second, aperture was f/4 and I just left it at that for these photos. ¬†I had to use some noiseware (Imagenomic) reduction software during the editing phase.

Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year Longon 2-15-2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016

Some of these images bring to mind an abstract painting.  All of these images bring to mind an incredible event.



Filed under 1DX, Canon, Canon Lens, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Vacation

Countdown to 2016


I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post or not (without going back and re-reading my posts), but the main reason I took a December vacation to London was because I saw a photo, earlier in the year, of the 2015 fireworks over the London Eye. I was so taken with that image that, as a photographer, I¬†knew¬†I had to be right there for the 2016 fireworks.

In case you aren’t aware, they now ticket this event (¬£10), and if you don’t have a ticket to present at the event, you don’t get in. ¬†After I’d purchased and received my ticket to the Embankment (blue) section, it turns out the hotel at which I stayed bestowed to its guests wrist bands to the same section, lol. ¬†I definitely was assured entrance to the event.

I spent about 45 minutes waiting my turn to go through security at the first checkpoint, and then went through a couple more checkpoints before being lucky enough to squeeze in between a Chinese tourist on one side and a family from the Midlands on the other. ¬†I then waited 4 hrs 15 minutes in that same spot (no, I never once felt like I had to pee, thank goodness). ¬†I could feel the press of the crowd behind me. ¬†I had a nice visit (should I say “chat” instead?) with the young lady behind me and the father of the family beside me.

Color On The ThamesColor On The Thames

During the long, chilly wait, a kaleidoscope of colors kept splashing against the London Eye and the buildings beside that iconic landmark.

A Line Of Lit Smartphones

At one point, to keep the crowd from getting too restless (remember, it was a 4-hour wait), the speaker challenged us all to turn on our smartphones and show the bright screen to the sky and the BBC helicopter.  To the right of the London Eye in the image above is a line of bright smartphones all along Westminster Bridge.

And then, the countdown …

OneHappy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016

The show was INCREDIBLE! ¬†And I was right there in front, taking it all in. ¬†I can’t describe what a cool feeling that was – all I can say is that every time I stare into space and think about the fireworks, my smile gets wider and wider. ¬†When I do this at work, people wonder what the hell is going on with me (grin).

Oh, and that white semi-circle you see in the mid-left portion of the photos: ¬†that’s the waning gibbous moon.

Happy New Year London 2016

I’d capture a series of photos with my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, then take the camera away and drink the experience in with my eyes, then take some more photos. ¬†I did this for the next 10-11 minutes as the fireworks and music and cheers and ooohs and ahhs carried on around me. ¬†At one point, I remember looking down at the young son of the family next to me standing a little bit in front of me, who in turned looked up at me to see me with wide eyes and a silly grin on my face as I watched this spectacular pyrotechnic display.

These photos are just the start. ¬†I captured a gazillion different fireworks images that I’ll publish in the next blog post (ok, maybe not all¬†gazillion of them, but a few).

Happy New Year, London and Everybody!


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Filed under 1DX, Canon, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography

2014: A Year In Review for Rebecca Latson Photography

New Year Becky Camera Glass

Recently, I’ve noticed a number of “Year In Review” blog posts and articles on other sites popping up, so I figured it must be about time for me to publish my own photographic review of the year.

2014 has, indeed, been quite a year for me photographically.  I traveled to and photographed 4 different national parks, 2 airshows, an engagement photo session, 3 weddings, a chamber choir, performers at the Texas Renaissance Festival, the annual migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds into my part of southeast Texas, my Christmas tree with its decorations and bright lights, and I wrote 12 new articles for the National Parks Traveler. It was all great fun, even though I managed to completely destroy two of my favorite Canon lenses, so now I must rent until I can purchase replacements.  Following are examples of my 2014 photography experiences.

The View Along Lost Mine Trail

The view along Lost Mine Trail during a late-April visit to Big Bend National Park, Texas

Strawberry Pitaya Bloom

A strawberry pitaya cactus bloom alongside the Mule Ears Viewpoint trail, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Dipping His Bride

Kyle and Adrienne – the first of 3 weddings

Bride and Groom in Front of The Alamo VIGNETTE

Kevin and Amber – the second of 3 weddings

The Bride and Groom Outside

John (Avery) and Jennifer – the third of the 3 weddings

Bringing In FiFi

Bringing in FiFi, the worlds only ¬†B29 “superfortress” still flying (CAF Air Power History Tour, Dallas, Texas)

Becky Bill and the Stearman

Becky, Bill, and the Stearman Bill piloted:  my acrobatic ride in this plane was the bomb! (CAF Air Power History Tour, Dallas, Texas)

SB2C-5 Helldiver

The SB2C Helldiver at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

Shockwave Jet Truck

The Shockwave Jet Truck at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

The Blue Angels

The Blue Angels at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

Side By Side and Upside Down

Upside Down and Side-By-Side, the Blue Angels at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

The Rising Sun

The rising sun during the sunrise photoshoot at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

Sunrise on the B17G Texas Raiders

The Texas Raiders B17 during the sunrise photo shoot at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

Sunday Morning With A Stearman

Taking a break in front of a Stearman during the sunrise photo shoot at the Wings Over Houston Airshow

A Strip of Gold

A strip of sunlight during a Chugach Mountains morning in Alaska, near Anchorage

Morning Reflection on Nugget Pond - VERT

Sunrise and moonset over Nugget Pond and Mt. McKinley (aka Denali), Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Big Momma

Watching me in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Yellow-Headed Beach Babe

Yellow-headed beach babe in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Kilaueas Glow

¬†Kilauea’s glow at 3:30 AM, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

The View Beyond The Rainforest

Looking down the trail to Kilauea Iki, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Backlit Wings of Gold

Back-lit ruby-throat

Backlit Ruby Throat

 Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird

Kings Feasthall Group Photo

The cast, crew and staff of the King’s Feast at the Texas Renaissance Festival

Pride O Bedlam Onstage

The Pride O Bedlam Pirates onstage at the Sea Devil Tavern, Texas Renaissance Festival

The Cannibal Tudors

The Cannibal Tudors onstage at the Sea Devil Tavern, Texas Renaissance Festival

Opening Toast

Opening toast at the King’s Winetasting, Texas Renaissance Festival

Haley Pouring Red

Haley Welsh Wine pouring the red at the King’s Winetasting, Texas Renaissance Festival

Becky at the Kings Winetasting

Mixing business with pleasure at the King’s Winetasting, Texas Renaissance Festival

Bringing Iin The Meat

Bringing in the meat at the King’s Feasthall, Texas Renaissance Festival

Bringing Out The Mugs

Handing¬†out the mugs at the King’s Feasthall, Texas Renaissance Festival

Chicken on A Sword

Chicken on a “stick”, King’s Feasthall, Texas Renaissance Festival

Portrait of Katia

Katia in purple, Gypsy Dance Theatre, Texas Renaissance Festival


Twirling Alla, Gypsy Dance Theatre, Texas Renaissance Festival


Kira in blue, Gypsy Dance Theatre, Texas Renaissance Festival

Zaras Sword Dance

Zara’s balancing act, Gypsy Dance Theatre, Texas Renaissance Festival


Tsura and her violin, Gypsy Dance Theatre, Texas Renaissance Festival

Red Gold Blue

Red, gold and blue fairies at the Texas Renaissance Festival

Christmas Becky2

Christmas Becky playing with the lights, decorations, her Canon 1DX and the 85mm f1.2 lens

Christmas Cozy

A small, cozy home with a beautiful Christmas tree

Christmas Colors

Christmas colors

2015 is shaping up for what I hope will be an interesting year. ¬†I won’t be traveling to any national parks, probably, due to a 2-week trip to Paris and Normandy (plane ticket purchased, friends in Paris notified, and maps and guidebooks to Normandy open for research), some planned elective surgery recuperation time, and saving that remaining week of vacation for any emergencies that may occur during the year. ¬†If I make it to December with that extra week still intact, then I definitely plan on traveling *somewhere* for Christmas – staying home in¬†Texas for the holidays is not my cup of tea, I’m afraid. ¬†Of *course* you will read about my Paris/Normandy trip; part of that involves retracing my WW II paratrooper father’s route when he jumped over Normandy on D-Day (In June, I’ll post¬†the story he wrote about his D-Day experiences). ¬†As for the rest of 2015, well, that’s still a work in progress.

So, how did *your* 2014 turn out?  Got any plans for 2015?

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you and to WordPress, too!



Filed under Canon, Holidays, New Year, Photography

My Wish For You This 2014

Becky At Sotol Vista

So, yesterday‚Äôs short blog was a ‚ÄúHappy New Year‚ÄĚ post.¬† Today‚Äôs post is a ‚Äúwhat I wish for you (and for me) in 2014‚ÄĚ short blog.

I posted this image of me at the Sotol Vista overlook of Big Bend National Park, Texas, because it represents all of the expansiveness of photography that I wish for you as well as myself.

I hope that 2014 brings many photographic possibilities your way.¬† And I hope that your camera gear is all fresh, ready and repaired (I just received a bill from the Canon Service Center for work on my 1-DX‚Ķ..a bit of a surprise but I should have expected a pricey repair for a pricey camera ‚Äď ahem).

I hope you get to travel more, see more exciting lands / people / vistas, capture more weddings / portraits / portfolios / events, or whatever it is that you enjoy photographing the most.

I hope to hear from you out there as to what your photographic aspirations are for this 2014.  Got any trips planned?  Wedding sessions reserved?  Contests to enter? Other photographic resolutions?

To all of you from me: Happy 2014!

Becky At The Window Overlook


Filed under Big Bend, Blogging, Holidays, National Parks, New Year, Photography, Travel