Category Archives: Travel and Photography

The Traveler’s Checklist for Big Bend National Park (Texas)

Blooming Cholla Cactus, Big Bend National Park (Texas)

It’s that time of year when the cactus should be in bloom in Big Bend National Park. It’s a glorious thing to see something so potentially painful to humans produce these saturated blossoms of magenta, orange, yellow, and red. If you are planning a trip to this national park for the first time, or re-visiting, then you should take a look at my Traveler’s Checklist for Big Bend, published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Big Bend National Park, National Parks, Photography, Texas, Travel, Travel and Photography, Traveler's Checklist

Traveler’s Checklist and Celebrating International Dark Sky Week

Redwoods and rhododendrons, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood National Park (California)

Today is a two-fer-one day. A couple of my articles were published in the National Parks Traveler. One of them is what is called a “Traveler’s Checklist,” and the other one is titled “Celebrating International Dark Sky Week In A National Park.”

The Checklist deals with listing things you might want to do or see, places to stay or eat, and reminders for reservations you might need to make. There have been Checklists published in the Traveler in the past, but then they sort of stopped. We’re trying to start them up again and I have a series of them written and scheduled for publication. This week’s checklist deals with visiting Redwood National and State Parks. To read that article, click on the image above.

To read the Celebrating International Dark Sky Week article, click on the image below.

The start of morning colors over The Mountain and Reflection Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Redwood National and State Parks, Star Photography, Travel and Photography

Early Morning At Roaring Mountain

An early autumn morning listening to the low hiss of Roaring Mountain fumeroles, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

This shot was captured on my last day in the park. Actually, I was heading out and back to Bozeman to meet up with some friends, but I was loath to leave the park. I could have stayed there for another week and been happy.

Roaring Mountain doesn’t really roar. Instead, it has a low hiss that is sometimes difficult to hear – especially as cars passed by on the road behind me. All those spots where you see steam issuing forth are from fumeroles – openings that emit steam and other gases.

If you ever visit this national park, take a moment to fathom that you are standing upon a volcanically active (hydrothermally active) landscape. The crust is not quite as thick as you think it might be, which is why it’s good to obey the signs that say “Stay On Trail.”

2022 marks Yellowstone National Park’s 150th birthday. I’m going to try and be there at some point in time to celebrate that year with the park.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Geology, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Photography In The National Parks: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Paddling the lake in the Whiskey Creek area, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California)

The National Parks Traveler has (finally) published my article about my photographic visit to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, just 8 miles west of Redding, California. I’d made the visit last fall, during a time when smoke from the surrounding wildfires wreathed this park, which suffered its own wildfire back in 2018, devastating 97 percent of its 42,000 acres. Like a phoenix rising, this recreation area has rebuilt most of its infrastructure and there are signs of regrowth on the landscape, and people continue to visit and recreate here.

To read the article and see 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, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Wildfire Smoke Affects More Than Just Your Ability To View A National Park Landscape

Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park on a clear day versus a wildfire smoke-filled day

I know, I’ve been pretty remiss about posting to this site. I have good intentions and then I get either lazy or sidetracked.

Putting that aside, I recently visited Mount Rainier National Park during the week the smoke rolled in from the wildfires in California and Oregon. I didn’t realize this until after I got there, since the weather reports were calling for clear, sunny skies and I wanted to get out along Stevens Canyon Road and the Nisqually-Paradise Corridor to photograph and video some scenes. My plan changed a bit, as you can see.

When I returned home, I had questions about what might and might not be impacted by all this smoke (aside from being able to photograph a landscape), so I did some quick research, wrote an article, and the National Parks Traveler published it today.

To read that article, click on either image above or below.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Viewing the Nisqually River from the bridge over the river on a clear day versus a smoky day

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Filed under climate change, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel and Photography

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

Photography In The National Parks: Back In Business Again

Forest Magic in the lower elevations

My photo article has been published on the National Parks Traveler. Usually, my columns are published a little closer to the end of the month, but this one is different in that it deals with what you might see if you happen to visit Mount Rainier National Park anytime soon, since it’s reopened the road from the Nisqually entrance to Paradise.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this photo – the rain was pelting down as I got out of the car with my camera. I captured this image handheld because it was a pain to get out the tripod and set it up in the downpour. Even my camera’s rain protection was beginning to get saturated, and my bangs were plastered to my forehead. Yes, I did wear a rainjacket but didn’t pull the hood over my head because water kept dropping from the hood onto the camera. It was a mess and I was lucky to get this shot.

This was using my Nikon D850 and 24-120 lens. This is the lens that I won’t ever use again because out of all the shots I took with it, only this and one other image turned out. I’d read about problems with this lens but didn’t think it would happen to me. I guess sort of like people thinking coronavirus won’t happen to them. I *thought* everything was hunky dory after doing some lens calibration, but apparently not. Live and learn. Better to have this happen with a nearby park trip than next month’s Crater Lake trip.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel, Travel and Photography, Washington State

National Parks Podcast #69

The forest in monochrome on the road up to Longmire
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

No, I haven’t gone into the park, yet. I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning for that. The weather is supposed to be iffy, which means “The Mountain” will probably be in hiding. I wonder if that will affect the number of people who come into the park.

Got off on a tangent there. What I meant to write about is that I listened to the latest podcast (#69) from the National Parks Traveler. It’s an interview with large format photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher. It was a great interview, and I’m pleased and proud that many of the things he says about photography, I’ve been writing about in my columns for the Traveler. I don’t agree with this assertion that mountain photography is “a bunch of rocks,” but then, he loves photographing the Everglades and Big Cypress, which are teaming with all sorts of life and light.

Two things that really struck me about the interview is that Mr. Butcher said “what is photography but light?” and the fact that he wants his photos to tell a story.

Give it a listen, if you have time. It’s only about 40 minutes long. Definitely makes me want to get back out there and work on my monochrome shots.

Click on the image above to go to the podcast

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under monochrome, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Podcast, Travel and Photography

Clouds In The Mountains, Glacier National Park

Clouds In The Mountains

I’ve been going through archived photos lately, reworking some and editing ones I’d never bothered with before. Why? In part, that’s what photographers do when they get better at their editing skills, and in addition, I’ve discovered that the square format I’ve never liked is actually quite helpful at creating a photo from something I thought was useless but which I didn’t want to consign to the virtual trash bin.
 
That square format – the one Instagram likes so much – I’ve learned, once again, to never say never. As a matter of fact, I’m writing an article for the National Parks Traveler about the square format and Instagram, but it won’t show up until probably around June, since I already have articles in queue up through May.
 
For now, consider this yet another piece of advice to never delete images you think are no good because of that blurry leaf amongst the otherwise clear leaves, or the car you accidentally photographed going over a bridge with a beautiful waterfall beneath it. The squre crop tool can remove those things, but you need to keep an eye out on how you crop your image so you continue to tell the story you want of that particular landscape.
 
As for this image, it was captured a long time ago. I was driving from the western entrance to the park, up to Logan Pass. The clouds were low and swirling around the mountains and I stopped to get a shot along the way up to The Loop, that first real switchback up Going-To-The-Sun Road.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved

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Filed under autumn, Canon, Glacier National Park MT, Montana, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Travel, Travel and Photography

Going-to-the-Sun Road is Open!

GTTS Road From Highline Trail

A view of Going-to-the-Sun road from the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park

Yahoo! Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is now officially cleared of snow and open for the 2018 summer season to vehicles in all of its 50-mile stretch, as of June 23rd, 2018.

For those of you who have never visited Glacier National Park and driven along this National Historic Landmark for views of some of the most stunning scenery within a national park, it’s quite a feat to plow the snow from this road every year, starting in early spring. Usually, the road is open either at the end of June or sometimes, in early-mid July. So June 23rd is pretty early.

The history of this road is quite interesting, and if you want to read about it, click on the photo above.  The article is a little dated, but the history and trivia remains the same.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, Landscape, Montana, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Vacation