Category Archives: National Parks

Photography In The National Parks: A Short Stay At Crater Lake

Crater Lake just after sunrise

If you read my previous article published in the National Parks Traveler, then you’ll know how I prepared for my photography trip to Crater Lake National Park during the Coronavirus pandemic. My latest article published by the Traveler is about the photography you can achieve within this park.

To read my photo article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, coronavirus, Crater Lake National Park, Equipment, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Nikon, Oregon, Photography, Sony Alpha a7r IV, Travel

Now You, Too, Can Identify Yourself As A National Parks Traveler

For those of you who travel to national parks and protected lands, you can now identify yourself as a national parks traveler With a donation to the Traveler of $50 or more, you’ll receive an American-made Liberty Bottleworks double-wall water bottle with the Traveler logo and an image of Grand Teton National Park captured by yours truly.


The Traveler is a non-profit institute that needs your help to continue publishing daily articles (with no paywall) about our national parks and protected lands. No other news organization does that – they only publish articles about big issues that will grab the eye, like a person being gored by a bison in Yellowstone or falling off a cliff in the Grand Canyon. Not many organizations – if any, other than the Traveler – will publish stories about satellites being used for wildfire detection in Denali National Park & Preserve, or the Traveler Special Reports about climate change and invasive plants and animals within the parks, or how continued retreat of glaciers at Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve could force park staff to choose between protecting Johns Hopkins Bay for seal pupping or opening more of it up for cruise ships.


Make a donation, get a bottle, and capture a photo of yourself with the water bottle in a national park and the Traveler may publish it as a Park Photo of the Week on the Traveler’s website to show that you, too, are a national parks traveler and you’re helping the Traveler continue to publish stories about these special places within our nation.

To see where you can make a donation and get a Traveler water bottle, click on the image above.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler

Photography In The National Parks: Getting Out There With My Cameras During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The view from the summit of Watchman Peak in Crater Lake National Park

It is possible to take a safe and enjoyable trip into a national park, if you prepare and use some precautions. I returned alive and well (it’s been 14 days since my return) to write how I did it and what I saw at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.

To read the story published in the National Parks Traveler, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under coronavirus, covid-19, Crater Lake National Park, Equipment, health, Life, National Park Lodging, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Oregon, Photography, summer, Travel, Travel and Photography

The Great American Outdoors Act

Sunrise as seen from Sinnott Memorial Overlook at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon

Yahoo! The Great American Outdoors Act has been passed! So, now what? How will that $1.3 billion a year over the next 5 years be spent, and who gets the money? Remember, there are 419 units in the National Park System.

The National Parks Traveler has an interesting article asking that very question. Go check it out.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for that image, I had arrived at the Crater Lake Lodge area around 4:00 a.m. and realized it was too cloudy to get any pre-dawn star shots. So, I sat in the car for awhile before finally venturing out to find the steps leading to the overlook, then setting up my tripod and camera for Blue Hour, sunrise, and after-sunrise shots.

I used my Sony Alpha 7R IV camera and 16-35mm lens for this shot.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Crater Lake National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Oregon, Photography, Sony Alpha a7r IV, starbursts, sunrise

Photography In The National Parks: My Final Fave Places

The view overlooking Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

The Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park provides some of my favorite views for photography in this national park. And I’ve included this with a number of other national park fave spots in this month’s photography column published by National Parks Traveler. Go check out the article to see if my faves are your faves.

To read the article and view the photos, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

Morning Glory Pool on an August summer day back in 2018
Morning Glory Pool on a snowy autumn day in October of 2019

On this Trivia Tuesday, did you know that you could once actually drive up to view Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park, instead of the 1.5-mile walk you take now? You can read about this and other interesting facts about this unique hot spring in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read the story, click on either of the images above.

Thanks to people, this pool has changed its colors due to all the trash and coins folks have thrown into the water. Just a reminder: none of those colorful hot springs are wishing wells or trash cans, folks. They are unique, rare, and delicate geologic features that deserve our wonder, respect, and appreciation, not rocks, kleenex, snack wrappers, and coins.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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

It’s Fun Fact Friday, 6-26-2020

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.

This plant was one of the quiz questions for National Parks Quiz and Trivia #8.

So, the next time you wander the forests of the Pacific Northwest and see this plant, you’ll know more about the forest and this plant than you did before.


Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Nikon, Photography, plant

A Little Advice For You Photographers Out There

Sunrise over “The Mountain” at Tipsoo Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

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.

A fast-flowing stream on an overcast day, Mount Rainier National Park
A sunny day along the same stream in Mount Rainier National Park

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.

The view from Ricksecker Point on June 8th
The view from Ricksecker Point on June 18th

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.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Telling A Story, Travel, Washington State

Monday Morning Sunrise

Here’s your Monday morning sunrise, courtesy of the Green River Overlook in the Island-In-The-Sky District of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The National Parks Traveler has both a Feature Story and a podcast centered around the impacts that could be made to Utah parks (including Canyonlands) and national monuments due to the sale by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) of oil and gas leases in these areas.

To read the Feature Story, click on the image above. To listen to the podcast, click on the link below.


https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/podcast/2020-06-21-national-parks-traveler-episode-71-oil-and-gas-and-national-parks

As for this image, it was captured the day after New Year’s, back in 2018. I was trying to divide my time between Arches and Canyonlands national parks. I did not want to hike to Mesa Arch and be greeted by a gazillion other photographers and tourists who were waiting to see sunrise beneath the arch, so I drove on to the Green River Overlook to capture the saturated golden and orange hues bestowed upon the red rocks by the rising sun. I was the only one there and it was great!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Canyonlands National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Podcast, Travel, Utah

National Parks Quiz And Trivia #10

The beginning of sunrise over Padre Island National Seashore, in Texas

Good morning, folks! On this Trivia Tuesday, it’s time to test your knowledge with the latest quiz and trivia piece (written by moi) published in the National Parks Traveler. This one is all about our national seashores. Just how much do you know?

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

After you’ve finished with the quiz, stick around and check out the other articles published in the Traveler. If you are planning a national park or national monument or national seashore trip soon, you’ll want to read about what is open and what is not.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, national seashore, Trivia Tuesday