It’s Fun Fact Friday, folks! The image above is of a plant called devil’s club. It’s quite striking among the other greenery growing in the forest interior at Mount Rainier National Park. And, as you can see, it’s got little stickers on it. But, there’s more to this plant than what you think.
In addition to using devil’s club for an arthritis remedy, fishhooks and deodorant, Alaska Natives have also used this plant for coughs, colds and fever, skin disorders, and digestive ailments.
Each photo you take tells a story. I practically hammer that in to my readers in my monthly photo columns on the National Parks Traveler . But, I have some advice for you photographers who post your images out there on Flickr, Twitter, or Facebook:
Write a little bit about your photo, too. Add to that story.
People enjoy reading about how you captured the image, what you were feeling, what camera you used, even your settings. It adds to your story, fleshes it out, and helps others figure out settings for their own camera in similar situations. It also makes you more engaging, both as a photographer and a storyteller.
It drives me nuts to see an interesting image with no title, no commentary, no exif, no nuthin’. Now, I can understand why a photographer might not wish to indicate the location of the photo, since many places are loved to death, aready – no need to add to that. But, it’s a primary rant with me that many photographers won’t tell a damned story. Yeah, the sunrise over the mountains in that photo is gorgeous, and yeah, it looks a little cold, but surely there is more to it than that! What did you feel at the time you clicked that shutter button? How many miles did you have to hike to get there? Know anything about the ecosystem there; any sort of facts or trivia to impart to your viewers?
For instance, I took a couple of day trips this month (June 2020) over to Mount Rainier National Park, here in Washington state, for some photography. I was itching to get out with my cameras, but leery of things due to the coronavirus pandemic. When I visited, I practiced my social distancing, went to areas where there were few-to-no people, wore a mask where there were people, and thoroughly enjoyed myself – except for that one moment when a woman in a group not practicing social distancing came up to me, pointed at my mask, and told me I needed to take it off.
I posted some of those images on Flickr, and added commentary along with exif data (specific information about the image, including settings, etc.), because I want people to see the exposure information and to visibly see the difference visiting the same spot can make during different seasons, different times of the day, and under different weather conditions; in this instance, rainy and overcast versus a blue-sky day.
My first trip to the park since the coronavirus pandemic was June 8th, shortly after it reopened. My second trip was June 18th. The difference in weather is dramatic and you can see it in the images.
The first time I visited, I did not go via Chinook Pass to Tipsoo Lake because I knew things would be snowed over and, due to the rainy, overcast weather, I figured The Mountain would be hiding behind an iron curtain of gray fog. The second time I visited, I did drive by Tipsoo Lake, as you can see from the image at the top of this post.
I won’t make this post any longer, since attention spans aren’t what they used to be. But you should get the gist of what I am saying to you. If you post to a public viewing site, then write a little commentary / story to go with the image so people get a better flavor of the atmosphere and feeling around the photo.
FYI, in case you wish to quibble, photo essays are a little different, and there, you do need to be able to tell a story with just your photos and captions. Flickr, FB, and Twitter, however, are not exactly conducive to photo essays.
What are your plans for this Memorial Day weekend? My plans are to stay at home and work on another article for the National Parks Traveler. My nice little 3-day trip was last week, before the hordes ascended upon Mount Rainier National Park. This past Thursday, while grocery shopping at the local Fred Meyer, I drove past the Fred Meyer gas station and saw all sorts of RVs lined up for gasoline. Some of them even towed boats behind them. All were getting ready for their trips out into Nature. I will admit, the nice thing about living in central Washington is that I’m so close to so many beautiful places for R&R.
This shot was taken after the sun had risen a bit above the horizon. Mount Rainier behind me was still hidden by the clouds, so I concentrated my camera lens on the Tatoosh Mountains in front of me, in the Paradise area. At the time I captured this shot, there was only one other person out there some distance away – another photographer using his telephoto lens. Getting out in the early morning is a great way to start a day of photography, because most people are not yet up, so it feels like you have the entire place to yourself.
For those of you who celebrate Memorial Day (mainly the U.S., I guess), have a safe and enjoyable 3-day weekend.
The National Parks Traveler has published my Feature Story of the Paradise Inn Annex renovation. If you are planning a trip to Mount Rainier National Park and want to stay at the Inn, then check out this story to read about the amazing undertaking to renovate this historic Annex. To read the story, click on the image above.
Dawn’s rosy fingers gilding the top of Mount Rainier, looming over Tipsoo Lake
Ok, I don’t really know what alliterative thing it is for Monday, but since it’s the start of the work week for most of us, it probably feels like you are climbing a steep mountain to even get out of bed this morning, right?
So, how about a little bit of colorful sunrise to go on that mountain top?
The waterfall at Falls Creek, Mount Rainier National Park
Whenever I enter Mount Rainier National Park via the Stevens Canyon entrance, I always stop at the Falls Creek pullout to photograph this waterfall. Depending upon the time of the year, it can be at full throttle, or a mere trickle. I also love photographing this waterfall because of the play of light and shadow, and the many shades of green. Plus, it’s good exercise for me in getting in a few “silky water” shots. During this particular instance, it was also good practice working with my new medium format Pentax 645z.
Hiking the trail up in Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Everytime I go to sleep, I dream. There has never been a time (that I can remember), when I have not dreamed something, good or scary. I don’t know if that means I am sleeping well or not. Sometimes, I wake up from those dreams and can’t get back to sleep, no matter how much I try. This morning is one of those times. When that happens, I get up and come to the laptop to work on photos and ideas for my next National Parks Traveler article. As I was working on this image, an idea popped into my head and I decided to run with it. I’ve been trying to write enough articles for the Traveler to have two, rather than one, photo article a month. I’ll see how long I can continue with that. I remember, once, some years ago, having writer’s block so badly that I considered parting ways with the Traveler. Thankfully, that writer’s block didn’t last for long, because I know I would have regretted a move like that.
In the meantime, this image below was taken in the autumn of 2016 in the Paradise area of the park. Fall is one of those hit-or-miss seasons for Mount Rainier, especially in Paradise. It’s either going to be a clear, blue-sky day with The Mountain out and the huckleberry bushes showing off brilliant shades of orange and red, or it’s going to be a misty, foggy day where a photographer must concentrate on what she can see immediately around her, which in this case, was the trail and the different shades of greens along that trail.
Good Morning, Class – I know it’s been a few days since my last post. You know how it goes. You get busy doing things, either photography or regular home/chore/errands and you find you don’t have time for much else. I wanted to show you some example photos Before/After using a lovely little tool in Adobe Lightroom, called the Dehaze slider. You might find it helpful for some of your own images.
These photos were taken during a 2016 autumn visit to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. Autumn, for me, is a magical time to visit any national park, with some caveats. Autumn in Mount Rainier may mean wonderfully crystal-clear skies with The Mountain out in its full splendor, or it might mean you are socked in with low-hanging clouds and fog. While the fog/mist can create some ephemeral, haunting images, it can also get in the way, at times. And, that’s where the Dehaze slider comes in. It really does reduce the amount of whiteness/haziness that you might have in your imagery. The more you move the slider to the right, the more the haze is reduced.
These images are pretty much not edited in any other way than whatever preset I used in Lightroom, along with the Dehaze tool. I didn’t do anything in Photoshop except convert the TIF images to JPG and the color space from ProPhoto RGB to sRGB, with adjustments to the saturation and brightness.
If you use Lightroom for your own photo editing and have never tried out the Dehaze slider, I urge you to play around with it and see whether or not you like it.
Blue Grouse chick – before using the Dehaze slider
Blue Grouse chick – after using the dehaze slider
Hoary marmot – before using the Dehaze slider
Hoary marmot – after using the dehaze slider
Visitor center at Paradise – before using the Dehaze slider
Visitor center at Paradise – after using the Dehaze slider
My final installment (Part 4) of the Armchair Photography Guide to Mount Rainier National Park has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Click on the photo to be taken to the site if you want to check out the article (and read Parts 1 – 3, if you haven’t already done so). 😉
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org