Category Archives: Photography

National Parks Traveler Checklist For Yellowstone National Park

Black Growler Steam Vent and Ledge Geyser in Porcelain Basin, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Whether you’re visiting Yellowstone National Park for your first time or your fifth time, you should check out my latest Traveler Checklist published this morning in the National Parks Traveler. This list provides you with ideas and suggestions for things to see and do during a visit, when the best times are to see the park, and so much more.

To read the Checklist, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Travel, Traveler's Checklist, Yellowstone National Park

It’s Trivia Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A View Of Goat Mountain, Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Wandering A Trail Amongst The Redwood Trees, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (California)
A Wide-Angle View Of Bryce Amphitheater Seen From Lower Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Soft Winter Morning Sunlight Over The Watchman And Virgin River, Zion National Park (Utah)

It’s #TriviaTuesday ! So, what do Big Bend, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park all have in common? They are all a part of the National Park System (no duh, right?). And the National Park System is overseen by the National Park Service. And who helped persuade Congress to create the National Park Service? One Stephen Tyng Mather, born July 4. So, in addition to celebrating Independence Day on July 4, we should also have lit a birthday candle to this man who “laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be developed and conserved, unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good he has done …”

And, speaking of Stephen Mather, today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my latest quiz and trivia piece. It’s all about July notables, including Stephen Mather.

To test your national parks knowledge and maybe learn a little something, too, just click on any of the images above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Trivia Tuesday

The Sony A1 and 200-600mm Lens

A Bee On The Globe Thistle

Due to eye surgery a month ago, and inactivity prior to that, I haven’t really taken my cameras out, much. Now that the eye is so much better, I’m hoping to remedy that with a short trip to Mount Rainier National Park. If you’ve looked at my previous post, you’ll know I recently spent a morning out there. Still, though, I didn’t really give my cameras the kind of workout that I’d like.

So, this morning, for a short time, I took my Sony A1 and 200-600mm lens outside the house to photograph the bees that gather on the globe thistle bush next to our back gate. I already knew the bees loved those flowers, but had totally forgotten the flowers were actually in bloom. Although they are on the last legs of blooming, the bees still like to congregate there.

All the images you see here are hand-held. I much prefer that to placing that big honkin’ lens on a tripod because my range of movement is considerably lessened. Yes, I have a gimbal tripod head, but was too lazy to set it all up and lug it and the heavy lens out.

These images are also cropped anywhere from 33 percent to 67 percent of the original. Thanks to the Sony A1 and its 50 megapixels, I can still get a nice, clear image even after cropping.

I am a Manual Setting kind of gal. I learn more about my camera that way and feel like I have more control over exposure. ISO was 1250 because I wanted to make use of that fps since the bees are always on the move. Aperture was f/9, shutter speed was 640.

Climbing The “Tree” – Original – 68 percent crop
Climbing The “Tree” – Noiseware applied to the bokeh’d background

As you can see from this original versus the finished product, above, there was a bit of noise (grain) at ISO 1250. I used Imagenomic’s Noiseware noise control plug in for Photoshop to control the grain, and selectively used it for the background, since you don’t see the grain issue so much with the flowers or the bee.

This high-resolution camera with its great fps (frames per second) shutter speed is the kind with which you should use a memory card that processes the images fast. The card I had in the camera was rather slow, so I had to wait for the image buffer to finish it’s job before I could capture another round of images.

I’ll be taking this camera and lens with me on my trip to Mount Rainier and hope I see some birds or even – if I am really lucky – furry wildlife. We’ll see. I’ll get back to you.

Table For Two

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved

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Filed under flowers, Photography, Sony a1, Sony mirrorless 200-600mm lens

A Matter Of Photographic Perspective

After an over-two-month hiatus due to various issues including eye surgery, I managed to make it out for a day hike in Mount Rainier National Park. I’d been checking the weather reports, and thought that “mostly sunny” meant it would be a relatively clear day during which to see “The Mountain.” As luck would have it, the only time Mount Rainier was actually visible was during that time I was hotfooting it to the restroom because I’d had too much coffee to get me going that morning. Thereafter, the mist/cloud cover shrouded everything in a veil of milky white and totally hid the mountain. It didn’t stop me from getting a little much-needed exercise and capturing a slew of leading line trail shots, but it did keep me from giving my new camera and a new lens a workout.

While I was hiking and photographing, I came upon the scene in the two images above. I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about photographic perspective. The first image has more of the trail in it than the second image. Which one do you like better? There’s no right or wrong answer here – it’s all a matter of your own perspective. But, you can see how an image may look slightly different, don’t you, depending on the position of the lens? It’s something to consider when you, yourself, are out there with your camera. Lens placement can make the same scene look slightly or quite a bit different. And, you can really see this change if you happen to be using a wide-angle lens, like a 14mm or a 16-35mm. This image was made with what you’d call a standard zoom: 24 – 105mm. And no, it wasn’t cropped. I simply zoomed the lens in a little bit to cut off some of the trail.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography

The Lure Of The Leading Line

Or maybe I should have titled this post “The Lure Of The Trail.” Both are appropriate and actually meld into one another. I love leading lines – they are my favorite theme – and my favorite type of leading line is a trail. That trail leads the viewer’s eye deeper into the composition and onward to whatever adventure awaits. And trails within forests are my favorite, if for no other reason than the forest’s interior glow surrounded by green and brown shadows.

All of the images above were captured with my Sony Alpha 7riv and a 16-35mm lens during my 2020 October visit to Redwood National and State Parks. And all of these images were captured along one of the many trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California. The tops of the trees are veiled a little bit in mist, as this trip was during the height of all the wildfires in California. Smoke drifted in from everywhere.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, forest, leading lines, National Parks, Photography, Redwood National and State Parks, Travel

Fun Fact Friday, July 9, 2021

Hey, it’s #FunFactFriday ! So I posted an image of a redwood tree with a “goose pen.” That’s what those triangular openings are called. As I was wandering the trails in Redwood National and State Parks, I kept seeing these things and wondered what on earth they were. Then, I happened to park next to one on the shoulder of the road and there was a placard there. Goose pens are hollow openings caused by some sort of damage (like wildfire) or decay, but where the top of the tree is still alive. Back in the day, settlers used those openings as literal goose pens, in which to corral their geese. Now, this particular opening pictured here wouldn’t work that well as a goose pen because of all those holes in the back, which would allow the geese to escape.

And now you know! Happy Friday, folks!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Redwood National and State Parks

National Parks Traveler Checklist For Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

A Stormy Mid-Day Along Bryce Amphitheater, Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

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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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Traveler's Checklist, Utah

It’s Trivia Tuesday, July 6, 2021

It’s Trivia Tuesday, folks! So are you looking at UFOs in the images above? Nah. But, if you ever visit Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, you might see a lens-shaped cloud hovering over “The Mountain” or the Tatoosh Range. These are called lenticular clouds and they usually form when there’s a moist airflow over a mountain (although sometimes they form where there is no mountain). They look calm and stable, however they are anything but stable. Pilots like to avoid them as they make for one heck of a turbulent ride. “Lennies” also make for great photo ops, don’t you think?

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Clouds, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Washington State

Traveler’s Checklist for Olympic National Park, and Photographing Water In The Parks

The Energy Of Agua, McDonald Creek, Glacier National Park (Montana)
Sol Duc Falls In The Early Morning, Olympic National Park (Washington state)

Ok, this post’s title is not very original , but it’s sort of a “two fer” post. The National Parks Traveler has published two of my articles. One of them is my monthly photo column – this month, it deals with photographing water. The other article is a Traveler Checklist with suggestions on things to do and see if you plan on visiting Olympic National Park.

To read the water photo column, click on the topmost image.

To read the Olympic National Park checklist, click on the waterfall image.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Olympic National Park, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Washington State, Waterfall Wednesday, Waterfalls

Before And After – An Ode To Photo Editing And Photoshop

The “Before” shot of the Bryce Amphitheater detail at Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
The “After” shot of the same scene at Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

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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Filed under Bryce Canyon National Park, National Parks, Photo Editing, Photography, Utah