Whether you’re traveling to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah for your first time or your fifth time, you might want to check out my latest Traveler Checklist published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. The Checklists I pin are not about reminding you to remember your toothbrush and toothpaste, but rather ideas and suggestions on what you can see and do in specific national parks, in addition to alerts of which you might need to be aware.
To read the Checklist for this national park, click on the image above.
This image was captured during my road trip move from TX to WA state. I spent several days in Bryce Canyon National Park. On this day – it was mid-morning – I was hiking along the Rim Trail around Bryce Amphitheater, heading toward Inspiration Point (the rim of this amphitheater in the background). I’d made it to Inspiration Point and realized it was going to rain and maybe I needed to head for cover. A clap or two of thunder told me that I needed to skeedaddle, because being out in the open in the high elevation is a recipe for a lightning strike. I just made it back to the cabin area of Bryce Lodge as the downpour began, and lightning did, indeed, flash more than once during that time.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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Ok, this is not so much of an “ode” but it is an appreciation of what photo editing can bring out in a composition. Whether you believe it or not, and whether you even like it or not – most images really do need some sort of editing done to them after downloading them to your computer. Digital and mirrorless cameras capture all the detail of a scene, but they don’t necessarily present it quite like we saw it. Our eyes – our wonderful, delicate eyes – are still the best at defining detail within the light and shadow of a landscape. To get that image to match what our eyes have seen (and the memory recorded in our heads), some editing using a favorite piece of software, like Lightroom or Photoshop or some other program is really necessary.
It was my first-ever visit to this particular national park. An April birthday gift I gave to myself several years ago – that, plus one of the last paid vacations I’d be able to get out of the company before my subsequent retirement and out-of-state move some three months after this shot was captured. I wanted to photograph the detail of the amphitheater wall, so I used my Canon 100-400mm lens for a “telephoto landscape.” Unfortunately, I didn’t pay much attention to the camera settings, and the resulting image was washed out, a little overexposed, and downright “blah.”
Recently, I’ve been brushing up on my editing skills, learning all sorts of cool stuff through the video tutorials purchased from one of my favorite photographers, Sean Bagshaw. I wanted to test my newly-learned skills and returned to this image. The result is not half bad, imo.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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I’ve been working on a series of short articles for the National Parks Traveler, titled “Traveler’s Checklists.” These are bulleted lists with tips on what to do, where to go, where to stay, what to eat, etc. for national parks and other protected lands I’ve visited. I’ve finished three already (Redwood National and State Parks, Big Bend National Park, Padre Island National Park) and each one is scheduled to show up weekly on a Wednesday.
I’m now working on my 4th Checklist, which deals with Bryce Canyon National Park. I’ve already found the images I’ll use for this Checklist, but as I was perusing the files, I noticed a number of images I have never worked on and thus never posted. So, I thought I’d do a little photo editing today, in addition to writing.This image was captured during my short hike along the Fairyland Loop Trail, in Fairyland Canyon, a separate amphitheater in Bryce Canyon National Park.
My one regret is that I never completed the 8-mile loop trail – I only hiked parts of it. Someday, when I return to this national park, I’m going to make it a priority to actually finish hiking the entire damned trail. It’s a well-maintained trail, and all I need to really remember (aside from bringing camera gear) is to take plenty of water. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold out there – the dry atmosphere will suck the moisture from your body in the blink of an eye before you even realize you might be dehydrated.
I just finished reading a very good opinion article in the NY Times, and thought I’d share it. The link is embedded in the photo above, so click on the image to be taken to the article.
As for this image: I’ve visited Bryce Canyon National Park twice in my life – both in 2018. My first time to see this geologically surreal place was in April 2018, and then again in July 2018, during my road trip move from TX to central WA. Each time, I ventured out on the Fairyland Canyon Loop Trail, but never completely hiked the 8 miles. I’d sure like to finish what I started, so maybe I’ll schedule a road trip back to this park in 2022.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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In Bryce Canyon National Park, you’ll see mule deer. They got their name because their ears look alot like mule ears. They are closely related to the white-tailed deer. And now you know.
Speaking of fun, I have made trip plans to visit John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon next month! You know, I’ve not visited many national monuments (come to think of it, I may never have visited a national monument) because I’ve always been so focused on national parks, because of my work for the National Parks Traveler. Then, I realized a few things. There are over 400 units within the National Park System. National monuments, as well as other protected lands (national recreation areas, national historical sites, etc.) are lands covered by the National Parks Traveler’s reporting too, plus, there are a number of national monuments that are within driving distance of where I live, now that I’m back out in the Pacific Northwest. So, I’m traveling there in March, then to Crater Lake in May. Depending upon what I hear from the two Artist-in-Residency programs for which I applied, I *might* be traveling to Yellowstone and/or Glacier National Park. Not holding my breath on that, so if either one of those don’t pan out, then Plan B is to make a big photographic road trip around Montana, to many of the Nez Perce National Historical Park units, going onward to Little Bighorn National Monument, and maybe stopping in at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Those are great photo ops in the making with probably some pretty good storytelling for the Traveler!
In the meantime, planning is half the fun of traveling. Hope your Friday is a fun one!
Did you know: geologists use trees at Bryce Canyon National Park to gauge the rate of erosion along the rims of the amphitheaters in the park? As the soil erodes away, it leaves the trees “hanging in the air” as their roots grasp at what is left of the soil. A great example is the Limber Pine next to the view area railing at Sunrise Point (the one you see in the photo above).
To read more national park trivia and even test your national parks knowledge with a short quiz, click on the image above to be taken to the article on the National Parks Traveler’s site. Oh, btw, I wrote the article with the quiz and trivia in it.
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.”
I was hiking along the Rim Trail between Sunset Point and Lower Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park when the summer monsoon clouds started to arrive, providing thunder, lightning and subsequent rain. I captured this shot before hotfotting it back along the trail to the lodge cabins, where I took shelter from the storm.
Sunrise in this national park is sublime, no matter whether it’s a sunny day, an overcast day, or an in-between kind of day.
And now, in addition to sunrises being sublime, so are night skies, since this national park has been certified an International Dark Sky Park.
The park’s 20th Annual Astronomy Festival will be June 17-20, 2020. I’ve made my reservations for a room during that time. Maybe then, I’ll actually stay awake late enough to get some cool night shots, since I didn’t do that during my previous two visits (sigh). I readily admit that Bryce Canyon is one of my favorite national parks.
Upper Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
No, I’m not in Bryce Canyon. I’m instead going through a few archived shots and using them to create HDR images.
For those of you who have never been to Bryce Canyon National Park, sunrises at Upper Inspiration Point are amazing. Actually, sunrises anywhere in this park are amazing. There’s Inspiration Point, and there’s *Upper* Inspiration Point, accessed via a very steep, but short hike on a very well-maintained trail a little further up along the Rim Trail from the regular Inspiration Point view area.
I used a single image and then copied it a couple of times, using different exposure settings. I then combined all those images into HDR. The reason for this is because I did not bracket my original shots (which I should probably do more often, for when I want to use HDR), and because I handheld the camera. The fence at Upper Inspiration Point is just a little too tall for me to stand on tiptoe with my tripod, trying to look through the viewfinder. There was a tall guy standing next to me with his tall tripod, and he didn’t have any problems. I did. So, instead, I handheld the camera and used the “burst method” of holding down on the shutter button for several clicks. I knew out of all those shots, at least one of them would be nice and sharp. The caveat with the burst method is that it takes up space on the memory cards, so I always bring lots of extras with me, in varying sizes of 16GB to 128GB.
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