Category Archives: National Parks Traveler

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

It’s Trivia Tuesday 1-19-2021!

Rainbow Falls, Outside Of Stehekin, WA, in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area

Did you know the North Cascades was so named after its numerous cascading waterfalls, including Rainbow Falls, pictured here, located within the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area portion of the North Cascades National Park Complex? This two-tiered waterfall is a total of 390 feet tall and is one of those must-sees whenever one visits the small community of Stehekin, located about 5 miles, give or take, from the waterfall.

You can learn more North Cascades trivia, and also test your North Cascades knowledge with the latest quiz and trivia piece I penned for the National Parks Traveler.

To take the quiz and learn more about the North Cascades National Park Complex, just click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, North Cascades, North Cascades Complex, Photography, Trivia Tuesday, Washington State, waterfalls

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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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Seasons, winter

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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Filed under Acadia National Park, Maine, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

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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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler

Birdy, Birdy In The Sky

Brown Pelicans Flying Over Padre Island National Seashore, in Texas

The birds you see in national parks and other protected lands are part and parcel of these places, fleshing out the story of your visit. You don’t need to stake out a site for your tripod and use a mega-telephoto lens to capture great images of the birds.

This month’s photo column in the National Parks Traveler is all about bird photography with whatever camera/lens you happen to have on you during your hike or stop at a park overlook.

To read my article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under birds, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

It’s Fun Fact Friday 11-20-2020

A Very Early Morning At Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Did you know that Grand Teton National Park is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem? You can read more trivia like this and test your knowledge about this national park with the latest quiz and trivia piece penned by yours truly and published in the National Parks Traveler. If you’ve visited this park, then see how much you really know. If you’ve not yet visited, then this should encourage you to put this place on your bucket list of parks to see.

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

As for the image above, I captured it one lovely summer morning during my 1-1/2 day stopover in the park while making my Big Move from Texas to Washington state. Summers are hideous in terms of crowds here, but if you get up early enough, you can stake out a spot with ease for lovely sunrise shots like the one here, along the banks of the Snake River at Oxbow Bend.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography, sunrise, Travel, Wyoming

The Bald Eagle

After a presidential election, what better photo to post than the symbol of American democracy, the bald eagle. As I post this image, I am listening to National Parks Traveler podcast episode #91, about bald eagles in Chesapeake Bay and how populations in the national parks around the Bay have a bit of a better chance of survival. It’s a good podcast, if you feel like listening. It’s about 41 minutes long, and you can download it to listen to later.

To listen to the podcast, click on the image above.

This image was of a bald eagle taking off from a snag in the Brooks River in Katmai National Park, in Alaska was captured with my Canon 1DX and rented 500mm lens.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Canon, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, Canon Lens, Katmai National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Podcast

National Bison Day – um, it was yesterday, November 7

Ok, I’m a little late in getting this posted – a day late, actually. Nonetheless, yesterday was National Bison Day. And, in honor of that day, the National Parks Traveler published a short aerial video about a herd of 100 bison from Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt national parks being released onto the Wolakota Buffalo Range of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. That article also has links to other Traveler stories about bison.

To see the video and perhaps click on the links to other bison-related articles in the Traveler, click on the top image.

The images above were captured during a visit to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. I was actually on my way out, but before I reached the park entrance/exit booths, I saw a small herd of bison on either side of the road. I parked in a pullout and drew out my Canon and 100-400mm lens to capture some shots of the bison and the tussle (and subsequent detente) between two male bison.

Here’s an interesting thing about the bison located on the North Rim: these particular animals are a result of an experiment at crossbreeding cattle with bison by a man named “Buffalo Jones.” Mr. Jones wanted to cross the two species to create a hardier breed that could withstand the cold and snowy winters of the Plains. Didn’t really work. The small herd made its way to the North Rim, and, if you ever see any during your own North Rim visit, look at them closely (without getting close to them, if you get my meaning) and see if you don’t spot a few that look “cow-ish” and maybe have white faces.

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, Grand Canyon National Park, National Bison Day, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, North Rim, Photography

Does Your Chicken Recipe Call For It To Be Boiled In A Hot Spring?

Emerald Pool On An Autumn Day At Black Sand Basin

This is Emerald Pool, at Black Sand Basin, just a couple of miles or so from Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Black Sand Basin is pretty cool because it doesn’t seem to be visited as much, being between the very popular Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful is located, and Midway Geyser Basin, where Grand Prismatic is located.

So, it was on a quiet autumn day back in 2019 that I visited this pool of hot water. It was a teeny bit breezy so that the steam rising from the hot spring was not so thick you couldn’t see the actual color and shape of the pool.

I posted it today because National Parks Traveler published an article yesterday about some crazy idiots who took a couple of plucked chickens with them on a hike out to Shoshone Geyser Basin. They then put those chickens in a burlap bag and threw the bag into a hot spring to boil.

I’m sure those people thought they were being incredibly clever, but instead, they were being incredibly stupid. First of all, the waters in those hot springs are pretty caustic, so I’m sure the chicken would not have tasted very good, if they had not been dissolved in the first place by those caustic waters. Secondly, doing something like that disturbs and changes the delicate ecological and chemical balance and character of the hot spring, just like people throwing trash and coins into Morning Glory Pool have, over time, changed the once pristine saturated blue color into a yellow and green color. Thirdly, those morons on their little backcountry trip were extremely lucky they didn’t step onto thin crust and fall into a boiling hot spot during their little cooking venture.

Thankfully, a backcountry ranger caught them. But I’m sure the penalty will only be a slap to the wrist. Honestly, if those people wanted cooked chicken (and I wonder how they got that chicken out there on their backcountry hike in the first place, without it spoiling in the process), they should have just gone to a Wally World-type recreational venue, with lodging and restaurants.

Ok, that’s my eye-roll story for the day. Click on that image above to read the article.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Cooking, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park