On my next-to-last day in Zion National Park, I happened upon a flock (actually, it’s called a “rafter”) of wild turkeys. I first encountered them along the road through the park and thought that was pretty cool and I was tickled to have seen them then. Then, during a hike where I was crossing the bridge from Sand Bench Trail toward the Court of Patriarchs, I found a flock – er – rafter – of them hanging out around a park maintenance building. I had the best time walking along with them, photographing them. They weren’t the least bit afraid of me and that’s where I learned they can actually fly – enough to get up into a tree, at least. Wild turkeys, for all their grizzled faces, are pretty cool birds to watch, and their feathers are beautiful.
It’s #WaterfallWednesday ! So here’s a bevvy of waterfalls, and if you click on each photo, you’ll read an interesting fact or two about each.
This image was captured during a winter in Zion National Park, in Utah, so the water is more of a trickle or a track, indicating it’s falling down the side of a hanging valley. According to the placard I read: “Side valleys began to form at the same time as the Virgin River Canyon. But, the main stream downcut faster than its tributaries, leaving them hanging high above the canyon floor. The mouths of hanging valleys are a likely place to look for waterfalls; they also indicate the river’s former level – a measure of the stream’s carving power.”
This image was captured after a bit of a sweaty trek for me, carrying a heavy camera pack (as per usual) and a heavy tripod, working hard to match the pace of my two new friends who insisted I hike with them to Fairy Falls in Yellowstone National Park, because of a bear frequenting the area. I enjoyed the hike more than the falls itself, because I had a pleasant time visiting with the very nice couple.
According to the NPS site page for this park: “Fairy Falls, 200 feet (61 m) high, is one of Yellowstone’s most spectacular waterfalls. From the trailhead, walk 1.6 miles (2.6 km) through a young lodgepole pine forest to the falls. You can continue 0.6 miles (0.97 km) to Spray and Imperial geysers, which adds 1.2 miles (1.9 km) to the hike.” I was too pooped to hike to the geysers, so I and the couple turned around after a short looksee at the falls. I saw that waterfall in October, so the falls wasn’t as “spectacular” in terms of water volume as it probably is during the late spring and early summer.
A waterfall that I *did* think was pretty spectacular was Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park. There is a large parking lot for this next-to-the-road sight with several different vantage points you can walk to along a nice, wide, paved trail. If this is what the waterfall looked like during the autumn, I can only image how powerful it must look during times when the water volume is higher.
According to author Lee H. Whittlesey in his book Yellowstone Place Names: “Gibbon Falls is believed to drop over part of the wall of the Yellowstone Caldera, which is thought to be 640,000 years old.”
Marymere Falls in Olympic National Park, is reached via a very popular, less-than-2-mile hike on a trail that starts behind Storm King Ranger Station, a hop-and-a-skip from Lake Crescent Lodge. This long, narrow waterfall seemingly nestled within a bed of green ferns reminds me of a whiskey bottle, with a long, tall neck and a shorter, fuller, bottom. To get there, you cross a couple of neat log bridges then handle some steep stairs up to two different viewing areas.
If you ever have the opportunity to spend a few days in the remote community of Stehekin, Washington, located at the head of Lake Chelan in Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, then take a hike (after visiting the Stehekin Bakery) or take a bus ride to popular Rainbow Falls. The waterfall cascades 312 feet down to Rainbow Creek, and there are a couple of vantage points from which to view this misty falls – near the bottom of the falls and a short hike toward the middle portion of the falls. It’s one of the most popular stops for day trippers to Stehekin (aside from the bakery, that is) 😉
Here’s a little bit of trivia for you on this Fun Fact Friday:
Workers blasted through 5,613 feet of vertical sandstone rock to create the 1.1-mile Mt. Carmel tunnel on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway in Zion National Park. There is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel and it’s spectacular.
Here’s to the one that got away and won’t be found on anybody’s dinner table 😉
For those of you who follow the tradition of Thanksgiving, it’s supposed to be a time of thinking about what you are thankful for in your life. It also is a time to enjoy the bounty of what the earth provides (aka lots of eating and snacking … and watching football).
I’m thankful for a gazillion things, such as my sister, having a roof over my head and food to eat and electricity and clean running water. I’m thankful for having moved back to a part of the U.S. that I love the most, and being back so close to the mountains that I’ve missed for the majority of my life. I’m also thankful for the invention of digital cameras and being able to own a few in order to capture beautiful / interesting images that tell a story and elicit emotion and share them with you all. I’m thankful for our national parks and hope nobody ever commercializes them (any more than they may already be). I could go on and on, but at least you know, I don’t take much for granted and try to find something good in every day.
As for the photo, this is a wild turkey that was roaming around with its flock (or whatever you call a group of wild turkeys) near a Park Service storage building along a trail near the Court of The Patriarchs. Those guys were not afraid of me at all. I should have been afraid of them because thtey were pretty darned big. I followed them around to get still images and video, and it was then that I learned they could fly. Well, from the ground up to a branch in a tree, which is where I photographed this guy (or gal). I also learned that they are very colorful and, despite their faces only a mother could love, are actually kinda pretty.
I may be an SLR gal, but I freely admit that point-and-shoots are great at capturing national park images, too. When I am out in the parks, I always carry one of my two little point-and-shoots in my pocket. They are not only backup in case the photographic unthinkable happens, but they are great at getting macro shots.
This photo of a ponderosa pine growing atop a cross-bedded red-rock knoll (probably a little lithified sand dune) and framed by other trees, was captured with my Canon GX7 MkII. While it’s not the most sturdy of cameras around the lens area (the dainty little shutter blades that made up the “lens cap” and opened and closed when the camera was powered on and off broke off when the camera accidentally fell out of my vest pocket. Thankfully, it still works and I purchased a push-on lens cap to protect the lens.
So, don’t knock the point-and-shoots. They produce some nice little images, too.
Being on the move means I don’t always have access to internet, decent or otherwise. This past Tuesday, July 24th, the National Parks Traveler published my latest Photography in The National Parks column. To read the column, click on the photo above.
Close to the edge at Scouts Lookout, Zion National Park, Utah
There have been more than a few times when I’ve gotten “close to the edge,” but that’s been a 9-to-5 work thing as opposed to literally being close to the edge as in this shot.
I have a fear of heights. Of course, this generally doesn’t stop me, as you can see in this photo; when I am focused on photography, my fear dissipates. However, this mild acrophobia gives me a healthy awareness of my abilities and limitations, since I have rheumatoid arthritis and also am not the most sure-footed of creatures. In this instance, I stopped at Scouts Lookout and did NOT finish that last .5 mile to Angels Landing. I knew my physical limitations (mental ones, too) and knew I could not go any further with all the stuff I was lugging with me. And I was (and am) totally fine with that. I still remember my legs shaking just a little bit, from both the uphill climb as well as the fact that the rocks tilt a little bit in the Scouts Lookout area and it’s a lonnnnnng way down. Heck, I was thrilled I’d made it that far, having come from sea level elevation 2 days prior.
Moral of the story: you may not always be able to (or want to) reach the very end, for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come away with some cool experiences/photography along the way there and back.
How many of you have seen photos like this one, where the sun appears many-rayed? It’s called a sunburst (aka starburst) and my article in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler tells you what it is and how you can achieve one. Even if you don’t like the effect, you’ll still learn something about your camera’s manual settings.
Click on the photo above to be taken to the article.
Feeling a little twisted and bent out of shape from the workweek? Never fear, the weekend is right around the corner (unless, of course, you have to work this weekend – in which case, try to weather through it) ):
This little tree – a bristlecone pine, I think – and it’s deep red-orange sandstone perch just off of the Zion-Mount Carmel Road in this national park – is rather famous. I’ve seen it in a number of images on Flickr. I saw it for the first time as I was returning to the Zion tunnel, after a photo op stop at Checkerboard Mesa. I would have missed this tree completely had I not turned my head at just the right time to look out over the landscape. This tree and sandstone knob called out to me and I found a pullout at which to park, then walked back along the road and out into the landscape to photograph different perspectives. Trees speak to me and this one was particularly verbose (grin).
This past February, 2018, I traveled to Zion National Park, Utah, for a little less than a week. During that time, I utilized not only my SLRs, but also a couple of point-and-shoot cameras, as well as my iPhone 8. I published an article about using these in the National Parks Traveler to show people that you can achieve lovely national park photos using any camera, as long as you put a little thought into your composition. I also provided some tips and techniques to try out. Click on the photo above to read the article.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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