Ok, I’m a little late in getting this posted – a day late, actually. Nonetheless, yesterday was National Bison Day. And, in honor of that day, the National Parks Traveler published a short aerial video about a herd of 100 bison from Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt national parks being released onto the Wolakota Buffalo Range of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. That article also has links to other Traveler stories about bison.
To see the video and perhaps click on the links to other bison-related articles in the Traveler, click on the top image.
The images above were captured during a visit to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. I was actually on my way out, but before I reached the park entrance/exit booths, I saw a small herd of bison on either side of the road. I parked in a pullout and drew out my Canon and 100-400mm lens to capture some shots of the bison and the tussle (and subsequent detente) between two male bison.
Here’s an interesting thing about the bison located on the North Rim: these particular animals are a result of an experiment at crossbreeding cattle with bison by a man named “Buffalo Jones.” Mr. Jones wanted to cross the two species to create a hardier breed that could withstand the cold and snowy winters of the Plains. Didn’t really work. The small herd made its way to the North Rim, and, if you ever see any during your own North Rim visit, look at them closely (without getting close to them, if you get my meaning) and see if you don’t spot a few that look “cow-ish” and maybe have white faces.
I’ve finished working on cleaning up and adding key words to all of the images in my Grand Canyon gallery on my website. Yay me! Actually, this is something I should have been doing years ago so potential customers could run decent searches on my photos. Now, it’s going to take months to give all my images keywords so potential customers can run searches. I’ve started cleaning up the Mount Rainier gallery … All 200+ photos in there. Hoo boy!
Waiting for sunrise on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
In an article I wrote for future publication in the National Parks Traveler, I mention HDR, what it is, and what it produces. I had to create an example, so I used the free download of Photomatix. I’ve used Photomatix before, pretty much with all the computers I’ve ever owned. Of course, I didn’t have it on this laptop I’m currently using, so I bought it and downloaded it in order to not have their watermark show up on the finished product. While I am not a huge fan of HDR, I will admit it can produce some very nice results, if the hand wielding the preset controls is judicious with the edits. Most of the time, though, I see more overdone HDR images than nice, naturalistic HDR images. Practice makes perfect, in everything including working with HDR, so I’ll be working on this aspect of photography a little more, hence today’s example.
My latest Photography In The National Parks column has been published in the National Parks Traveler, offering tips and techniques for great photography along the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Every January, for the past 6 years, my first photo column of the year for the National Parks Traveler has dealt with my favorite shots from the previous year. This year, I have 10 faves – one from each national park / recreation area I visited. To read the article, click on the photo above.
Sometimes, I capture a photo for one reason, only to find the composition looks completely different when I download it to my laptop to start editing it. This image, for instance, was photographed when I visited the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, this past July. All I wanted was a nice little leading line shot of the Bright Angel Point path with the moon in the distance. What I ended up really noticing during the editing process was that tree, which reminded me of Tolkien’s Ent, arms upraised, beseeching Nature to bring back the Entwives.
Or, perhaps, during this political climate, this tree is beseeching the government to end the shutdown and bring back the National Park Service workers to help clean up and protect the national parks. I’ve been reading so many stories about stupid people trashing the parks, and I, myself, am heading to Olympic National Park later this coming week, on assignment for the National Parks Traveler. I have no idea what I will find. I figure the beaches will still be easy to access, but I might not be able to get to the park’s interior rain forest due to downed trees blocking the road. And I wonder what kind of trash there will be – if any. Guess I’ll find out in a few days.
Yes, yes, more shameless self-promotion. I previously listed a calendar I made with Lulu.com. I also made calendars using other websites as well, for quality control and comparison. As such, I’ve decided I really, really like Zazzle’s products much better and have set up a storefront there, with calendars representing the national parks I’ve visited this year. I’ve got a couple more calendars to go, but if you are interested in taking a peek (they make great gifts), then click on any of the images to be taken to my storefront.
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While this little guy photographed next to the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim is looking hopeful for a handout, please remember that ALL wildlife – even the cute little ones – are dangerous. A bat collected at Phantom Ranch in Grand Canyon National Park has tested positive for rabies. To read the article in the National Parks Traveler, click on the link.
Remember: never touch, feed, or approach the wildlife, no matter how badly you want a closeup or a selfie with the animal. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone try to get a closeup of a little chipmunk or squirrel with their smartphone, getting as close as 12 inches or less in come cases. Even the little cute ones can pack a hurtful bite.
A telephoto exploration of the canyon depths at Walhalla Point North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
It’s the last day of the Labor Day Weekend. I hope this long weekend takes, or has taken, you somewhere awesome. This is the first time in about 3 years that I have not found myself traveling to a national park over the holiday. Usually, I’d be flying somewhere on vacation out of Texas on the Friday before Labor Day, then spending the entire week photographing in a national park somewhere West of the Rio Grande. This year, I’m instead preparing for the movers to arrive at my storage unit tomorrow to deposit the sum total of my past 20 years living in Texas. I’m just fine with that. I now live in a photographically amazing state and am within 1-1/2 hours of Mount Rainier National Park. (insert Big Happy Emoji Face here)
The shot above, is a 100-400mm telephoto of canyon detail at Walhalla Point on the North Rim. I spent the day driving the road and exploring the stops leading to the end point of Cape Royal. Luckily, I’d arrived there before the forest fires in that park had gotten so large that they had to close down this particular road for a bit.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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After my visit to Petrified Forest National Park, in eastern Arizona, I drove west and then north to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, where I stayed for a couple of days. During that time, small forest fires broke out and distant thunderstorms showed up (it’s the summer monsoon season in the West and Southwest). I could see all of this from a small overlook perched just below the Grand Canyon Lodge.
I happened to overhear a visitor mention that he really liked the North Rim better than the South Rim because they could do so much more on the North Rim. I thought about that for a moment, and decided that he was correct. Granted, there are more stoppable view areas and more services and infrastructure at the South Rim. This, of course, means more people and more tour buses. However, for do-able trails that don’t require hiking waaaaay down into the canyon and then waaaay back up, I’d say the North Rim wins. In terms of beauty and great photography, both areas tie for that position, I think.
The North Rim is 1,000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim, and it’s far more forested, sitting on the Kaibab Plateau. If you visit, then be on the lookout for a small bison herd that comes through the park along Hwy 67, and see if you can spot the beautiful and unusual Kaibab squirrel. I was lucky enough to see both, but only lucky enough to photograph the bison herd.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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