Category Archives: National Parks

Same Spot, Different Season

I was in the process of uploading the image above to my photo website when I noticed the image at the top already on my website. I’d unknowingly captured pretty much the exact same spot at Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park, only during different seasons of the year (and different years, too, actually). The top image was photographed in the summer (July) of 2018. The bottom photo was captured in the winter (February) of 2022. Note the difference in algae color in the stream leading away from the lovely blue hot spring in the background. These color changes indicate temperature changes and maybe even different algae accustomed to environments of different temps. The yellow means the water is much cooler in that leading line of a stream than the water in the hot spring. And the green means that the temperature is slightly warmer than the yellow, yet still cooler than the blue of the hot spring. Science is pretty neat! Yellowstone National Park is pretty neat!

These two images are fantastic examples of my constant advice telling you to go out and photograph the same favorite spot or view area during different seasons, times of day, and weather conditions. The landscape can change markedly, depending upon these factors.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Photography, National Parks, Yellowstone National Park

Texture And Color

In many articles I write for the National Parks Traveler, I stress a couple of things for capturing a great image: look for texture and look for color(s). This telephoto shot of a bison seen between Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park is an example of both color and texture. Take a look at the thick, wooly textures of the bison. And take a look at the differing shades of red-brown. When you look at a bison from a distance, you don’t necessarily see all those color gradations within its furry coat. And you know that the bison has a thick, wooly coat for the winter, but when you look at a close-up, you see the fine differences in texture, from what looks like soft undergrowth to much coarser wooliness. Even the bison horn has a certain amount of textural and color differences.

I captured this image at a turnout on the way to the Lamar Valley, testing out my previously-underused 200-600mm lens on the Sony A1. While not a prime lens, it’s a pretty decent lens for getting close to the subject.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Photography, Wildlife, Yellowstone National Park

Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2

It’s #TriviaTuesday folks! If you visit Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, you’ll have the opportunity to see all four types of volcano: plug dome (aka lava dome), cinder cone, shield, and strato (aka composite). And you can hike up to each of these, too. Lassen Peak is one of the world’s largest plug domes, Prospect Peak is a shield volcano, Brokeoff Mountain is an eroded part of stratovolcano Mount Tehama, and, well, Cinder Cone is a cinder cone. You can even hike up to and then down into Cinder Cone, pictured here.

This shot was captured with my iPhone. And speaking of iPhones, and smartphones in general, my latest photo column has been published in the National Parks Traveler: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2.

To read the article, click on the image above

I’m an SLR gal, but I readily admit the smartphone camera is an amazing piece of technology and smartphone cameras can get some pretty cool shots. I used mine when I neglected to bring along a particular wide-angle lens for my other camera during my own hike up to Cinder Cone. And I wanted to prove, not only to myself, but to you also, that you can get some very nice images with your smartphone.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography In The National Parks, Trivia Tuesday

Podcast 197: Overlooked Gems Of The National Park System

“This year has been a year of firsts for the National Parks Traveler Editor Kurt Repanshek. First-time visits to units of the National Park System, that is. This year Repanshek has taken road trips through Nebraska, Kansas, and New Mexico to explore overlooked gems of the park system. To discuss these and other must-see sites with us today are Rebecca Latson, Traveler’s contributing photographer, and Kim O’Connell, a Traveler contributing editor.”

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

The background image is one I captured during my visit to the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon.

The podcast interview was a fun one, and maybe it will encourage some of you out there to take your own road trip to one or more of these “overlooked gems” within the National Park System.

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Trivia Tuesday 11-15-2022

It’s Trivia Tuesday folks!

Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park is indeed a glory to behold, no matter what the season. But, if you’ve seen (and photographed) this hot spring in different seasons, under different lighting conditions, you’ll notice that the colors don’t look quite the same – in the cooler months, they tend to be a little less bright and a little more murky.

When this pool was first discovered it was a brilliant blue, hence the name after a beautiful morning glory flower. People throwing trash, coins, rocks and logs into this pool over the years have caused a change in the water temperature (cooling it because all that trash has piled up around the vent and reduced hot water circulation) which in turn has caused the colors to change, allowing orange- and yellow-colored bacteria to thrive within the water. Add to that the subfreezing temps of the winter season (when this photo was captured), which in turn cool the surface water of the hot spring, and you get a murky look like you see here. It’s still a beautiful little spring, but the change in colors is mainly due to the extreme short-sightednes of humans. Sigh.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Geology, National Parks, Trivia Tuesday, Yellowstone National Park

National Parks Quiz And Trivia #55

It’s time to check out this month’s quiz and trivia piece I wrote for the National Parks Traveler. How much *do* you know about the units of the National Park System?

One of the questions in the quiz – actually, the very first question – deals with the images (one of them, anyway) you see above of the large dacite boulder seen in the Devastated Area of Lassen Volcanic National Park. What are those round-ish things you see within the dacite bouler? Btw, dacite is an igneous rock that forms from viscous (thick, slow-flowing) lava. Those small white inclusions you see are bits of quartz.

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

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler

3 Days In Lassen Volcanic National Park

What can you do and see in Lassen Volcanic National Park if you only have three days? Plenty! Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my three-day itinerary of this park.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: this is one of the views you get at the top of Cinder Cone, located in the northeastern corner of the park. From right to left: Lassen Peak, Fairfield Peak (I think – the closer tree-covered cinde cone), Painted Dunes and Fantastic Lava Beds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Forest Restoration, Resilience, And Protection At Lassen Volcanic National Park

Restoration, resilience, and protection are key words used in my Feature Story published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. I had the opportunity to speak with the Lassen Volcanic National Park superintendent and information officer during my recent October stay at this national park, and subsequently wrote an article about the proactive steps park management has been taking and continues to take to ensure a healthy forest ecosystem in the face of past and possibly future wildfires.

Click on the image above to read my article.

The image was captured during my early morning drive toward the Bumpass Hell area.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Where The Trails Take You Photography: 2023 Photo Wall Calendars

Finally! My Zazzle Storefront now lists my 2023 wall calendars for sale. If you are like one of my ultra-tech-savvy twin nephews, you will laugh outrageously over the thought of paper calendars, but hey, they have a place. I live with my sister and youngest nephew and we use a single calendar on which to write appointments and events, so we can all see it at a glance without having to scroll through our phones. Plus, the photos for each month are pretty nice. Oh, and right now, a 50% discount is going on, so you get get these calendars way cheaper than usual. And no, I don’t really make much in the way of profit, but every little bit helps. 😁

Click on each image to go to that specific calendar page.

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Filed under Calendars, National Parks

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

Becky And The Glacial Erratic

If you are thinking about travel and making plans to maybe visit a national park, you should check out my latest National Parks Traveler Checklist. It’s all about planning for Lassen Volcanic National Park in California and is published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

Click on the image above to check out the checklist.

As for this image, I captured it at the Bumpass Hell parking lot before heading out on a 1.5-mile hike to Bumpass Hell. If you go, not only can you see this huge glacially-deposited boulder for yourself, but you’ll also see nicely-defined striations on surrounding rocks indicating the direction of travel the glacier took.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Traveler's Checklist