Category Archives: Travel and Photography

Capturing The Color And Character Of Fall

The Beginning Of Sunrise At Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photo column. This month, it’s all about capturing that last bit of autumn color before the monochrome palette of winter completely takes over.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Capturing The Color And Character Of Fall

Filed under autumn, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Travel and Photography

Photography in The National Parks: Yosemite Tried, True, and New

Yosemite Valley Landscape, Yosemite National Park (California)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photography column. This month’s column is all about capturing iconic as well as new perspectives of this particular national park. To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: I drove into Yosemite Valley several times during my week’s stay in the park. Every time, I’d pass by this one spot along the road – a small pullout large enough for a vehicle, right next to the rocky banks of the Merced River, which was a trickle of its former self. So finally, I stopped, took out my camera and tripod, and gingerly picked my way to a spot to photograph forest, river, and El Capitan (I believe that’s El Cap) all beneath a blue sky with wispy clouds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Photography in The National Parks: Yosemite Tried, True, and New

Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography, Yosemite National Park

Some Very Quick Thoughts On The Fujifilm GFX 100S

A Trail And The Mountain, Sunrise Area, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington state)

I don’t know how many of you out there are still on a waiting list for a Fujifilm GFX 100S. I had to wait 5 months for mine and I only lucked out because I started looking at camera store websites other than the Big Two (BH Photo and Adorama). I can honestly say that, if you are a landscape photographer, the wait is worth it. The resolution is phenomenal and Fujifilm has not only actually brought a medium format camera down to the price of a high-end SLR like Sony, Canon, or Nikon, but at about the same size, too!

So, not too long ago, I spent a couple of days with my cameras up at Mount Rainier National Park. My main reason – aside from getting out and about – was to give my Fujifilm GFX 100S more of a workout. It wasn’t a complete workout because I didn’t try to get any night shots (the moon was out, making the sky too bright for decent star pics – that plus I was too tired from a full day of hiking), but it was enough for me to give a few more thoughts on this camera as well as the Fujifilm GFX 100.

Sunrise at the Sunrise Area, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington state)

1. The level of detail is simply amazing. I find, though, that I must add more saturation to the image when working with it on the computer. Sure, I could switch the film simulation from Provia/Standard to Velvia/Vivid, but that’s just a bit too vivid for me. That, plus it appears – on the LCD anyway – that some of the finer detail seen in the Provia/Standard setting is removed, or covered over, with that large boost of saturated color in the Velvia setting. I tend to apply saturation judiciously and thus prefer using Photoshop, where I feel I have a little more control.

2. Learning the menu setup is like learning another language. I’m language-challenged, but I do know my rudimentary way around the Fujifilm, Sony Alpha, and Canon menu setups. The menu setup for this brand of camera is extensive, but easier to intuit than Sony’s menu settings. That said, it behooves one to do a marginal skim of the owner’s manual before heading out into the field. I didn’t do that and ended up spending 30+ minutes trying to work with a setting while out in the park, wasting some good lighting conditions. And, I know better than to do that! Jeesh.

3. Battery life sucks for air – especially with the GFX 100S. My intention was to use the GFX 100S for an entire day of shooting, but both the battery that came with the camera as well as the spare battery I’d purchased pooped out on me before midday. I’ve since ordered an extra couple of batteries on top of the two I have, and I went ahead and ordered a couple more batteries for the GFX 100, although it’s battery life seems to be a bit longer. I just don’t want to be caught out in the field empty handed when that once-in-a-lifetime composition comes along. Know what I mean?

4. Two-second timer. When the camera is on the tripod, I always use the 2-second timer. It eliminates that last bit of vibration from my finger touching the shutter button. With both the GFX100 and the GFX100S, there’s three parts to the timer. In the Shooting setting (the little camera icon in the menu), you can set the self-timer to 10 seconds, 2 seconds, or Off. Then, you need to tell the camera to remember that self- timer setting in order for that timer to remain in effect for the next image, or if you turn the camera off and then back on at a later time. Otherwise, the timer will only work for one shot. Then, you’ll have to go back in and tell the camera to use the timer again. You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want the self-timer lamp on. That’s the little light that turns on while the s elf-timer is in use. For night shots (which I haven’t tried yet), I’ll turn that lamp off.

That’s all I’ve got, for now. I’ll be taking the two cameras with me on a forthcoming 2-week trip to a couple of national parks I’ve never visited (fingers crossed I don’t have any further health issues – or car issues, for that matter). I’m not certain if I’ll be able to get any star shots due to the smoky skies from area wildfires, but if the sky is clear, then I’ll see how well these cameras do regarding night scenes.

Mid-morning At Reflection Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington state)

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Some Very Quick Thoughts On The Fujifilm GFX 100S

Filed under Fujifilm GFX 100S, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography, Washington State

Fun Fact Photography!

The Secondary Phloem Of A Redwood Tree, Redwood National and State Parks (California)

Do you know what a secondary phloem is? I didn’t. But I saw this interesting site of the redwood tree’s parting of the outer bark to show the inner bark and took a photo of it. And, that’s what this month’s photography column I wrote for the National Parks Traveler is all about. I call it “Fun Fact Photography” and it’s facts about the subjects in some of the photos I’ve captured.

Have you ever seen something during a wander in a park about which you’d like to know more? All you have to do is snap a photo of it.

To read the article, click on the photo above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Fun Fact Photography!

Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

The promise of a summer storm over the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

If you are planning a trip to Arches or Zion national parks in Utah over the Memorial Day holiday, then you’d better brace for crowds. No duh, right? However, if you are looking to spend time in a less-visited park that has some amazing scenery and geology, then why not take a look at Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona. As a matter of fact, the National Parks published my latest Traveler Checklist today. These checklists I write are not the kind reminding you to bring along your toothpaste and not to forget the toothbrush, but rather what you might do during a visit to the park, what to watch out for, and maybe where to get a decent coffee or meal.

To read the checklist, click on the image above.

This image was captured shortly after my arrival at the Painted Desert portion of the park during my road trip move from TX to WA. It was summer, which is the monsoon season out in that part of the U.S., so storm clouds floated over the park, threatening to create a downpour. Never happened, though – may have been cloudy, but was dry as a bone over the landscape.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on National Parks Traveler Checklist: Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

Filed under Arizona, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Petrified Forest National Park, Photography, Travel and Photography, Traveler's Checklist

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.

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

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.

Comments Off on Traveler’s Checklist and Celebrating International Dark Sky Week

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.

Comments Off on Early Morning At Roaring Mountain

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.

Comments Off on Photography In The National Parks: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

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

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

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