Category Archives: Photography

Same Spot, Different Season

I was in the process of uploading the image above to my photo website when I noticed the image at the top already on my website. I’d unknowingly captured pretty much the exact same spot at Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park, only during different seasons of the year (and different years, too, actually). The top image was photographed in the summer (July) of 2018. The bottom photo was captured in the winter (February) of 2022. Note the difference in algae color in the stream leading away from the lovely blue hot spring in the background. These color changes indicate temperature changes and maybe even different algae accustomed to environments of different temps. The yellow means the water is much cooler in that leading line of a stream than the water in the hot spring. And the green means that the temperature is slightly warmer than the yellow, yet still cooler than the blue of the hot spring. Science is pretty neat! Yellowstone National Park is pretty neat!

These two images are fantastic examples of my constant advice telling you to go out and photograph the same favorite spot or view area during different seasons, times of day, and weather conditions. The landscape can change markedly, depending upon these factors.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Same Spot, Different Season

Filed under Photography, National Parks, Yellowstone National Park

Texture And Color

In many articles I write for the National Parks Traveler, I stress a couple of things for capturing a great image: look for texture and look for color(s). This telephoto shot of a bison seen between Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park is an example of both color and texture. Take a look at the thick, wooly textures of the bison. And take a look at the differing shades of red-brown. When you look at a bison from a distance, you don’t necessarily see all those color gradations within its furry coat. And you know that the bison has a thick, wooly coat for the winter, but when you look at a close-up, you see the fine differences in texture, from what looks like soft undergrowth to much coarser wooliness. Even the bison horn has a certain amount of textural and color differences.

I captured this image at a turnout on the way to the Lamar Valley, testing out my previously-underused 200-600mm lens on the Sony A1. While not a prime lens, it’s a pretty decent lens for getting close to the subject.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Texture And Color

Filed under Photography, Wildlife, Yellowstone National Park

3 Days In Lassen Volcanic National Park

What can you do and see in Lassen Volcanic National Park if you only have three days? Plenty! Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my three-day itinerary of this park.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: this is one of the views you get at the top of Cinder Cone, located in the northeastern corner of the park. From right to left: Lassen Peak, Fairfield Peak (I think – the closer tree-covered cinde cone), Painted Dunes and Fantastic Lava Beds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on 3 Days In Lassen Volcanic National Park

Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Forest Restoration, Resilience, And Protection At Lassen Volcanic National Park

Restoration, resilience, and protection are key words used in my Feature Story published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. I had the opportunity to speak with the Lassen Volcanic National Park superintendent and information officer during my recent October stay at this national park, and subsequently wrote an article about the proactive steps park management has been taking and continues to take to ensure a healthy forest ecosystem in the face of past and possibly future wildfires.

Click on the image above to read my article.

The image was captured during my early morning drive toward the Bumpass Hell area.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Forest Restoration, Resilience, And Protection At Lassen Volcanic National Park

Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Photography And Trivia Tuesday

It’s #TriviaTuesday *and* my latest photo column has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler!

How many of you have ever heard of, or seen, columnar jointing? It’s a pretty cool geological formation that usually occurs with basaltic lava (as opposed to other lavas, although it’s happened with other mixes before). When lava begins to cool, it contracts, and when it contracts, it causes fracturing. This fracturing begins at the top and bottom and moves inward toward the center. Turns out (long story short) that the hexagonal pattern is the most efficient way for heat to be released when cooling. Columnar jointing occurs perpendicular to the original lava flow.

You can see really cool columnar jointing (aka columnar basalts) at places like Devils Postpile and Devils Tower national monuments. You can also see all sorts of columnar jointing along the Columbia River and in other parts of eastern Washington State, like at Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. And that’s what today’s photo column is all about: photography and exploration at Drumheller Channels.

Click on either the image above or the image below to read more and see more pics.

Comments Off on Photography And Trivia Tuesday

Filed under National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Trivia Tuesday

Pika And Plague In Lassen Volcanic National Park

When you think of plague, what comes to mind? The Black Death of the mid 1300s? Certainly not cute, furry little mammals in a national park. And yet, plague is there. In national parks.

During my recent short visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park, I had the good fortune, thanks to the park’s superintendent and it’s chief of resources, to follow along with the park’s “pika crew” as they conducted field research on the extent of plague in the park, with emphasis on pika.

My article has been published as a feature story in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. To read the story, click on the image above.

Comments Off on Pika And Plague In Lassen Volcanic National Park

Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Photography In The National Parks: An Exploration Of The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail – Part 2

A view of Echo Basin from the South Alcove of Frenchman Coulee, Channeled Scablands, Eastern Washington

September is a two-for-one month regarding photo columns published in the National Parks Traveler. The first article was about smartphone photography. This article is about a photographic visit to Frenchman Coulee in Eastern Washington, a feature of the Channeled Scablands along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.

To read this article, click on the image above.

Comments Off on Photography In The National Parks: An Exploration Of The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail – Part 2

Filed under Channeled Scablands, Geology, Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 1

I admit to being an SLR-kind of gal, but I also admit that the smartphone camera is an amazing piece of technology and people are getting all sorts of really cool shots with their smartphones.

So in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is my article about getting great smartphone (well, iPhone) shots using the photos I captured with my iPhone during the 3.5-mile hike of the Naches Peak Loop Trail at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

To read this article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 1

Filed under iPhone Photography, National Parks, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

My Favorite National Parks For Photography – Part 2

Can you remember that first time you ever visited a particular national park, and hiked up to an iconic scene you’ve only ever read about or seen in textbooks? It’s a pretty cool feeling, isn’t it? I remember that feeling the first time I ever visited Arches National Park and hiked to Delicate Arch. This was back in 2012, the same year I began writing and photographing for the National Parks Traveler.

Published in today’s edition of the Traveler is my Part 2 to my favorite park units for photography. Arches National Park (among a couple of others) is one of my favorites for photographing cool geology.

To see what other photographic favorites I have, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on My Favorite National Parks For Photography – Part 2

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

Fun Fact Friday, August 5, 2022: Exfoliation

It’s #FunFactFriday

Ok, be honest. What comes to mind when I write the word “exfoliation?” To me, a picture of dry, flaky skin first comes to mind. However, exfoliation has a geological context to it, too. It’s a weathering process and one of the best places to see this process is along Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park.

As you drive that road, take a look at the granite hills and domes all around you. Notice that interesting sort of “onion peel” effect on the rock layers? That’s exfoliation! It’s a type of weathering and is common in granites.

You see, granite formed beneath the earth’s surface, under immense pressure. So, when the surface sediments and rocks – collectively termed as overburden – covering that granite are eroded or removed and that granite is exposed, the pressure beneath which the granite lay is gone and the granite begins to expand, forming all sorts of fractures (joints). Weathering (like frost heaving) causes plates, or flakes of rock to strip away the surface rock much like onion skin peels away from the onion.

And now you know.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Fun Fact Friday, August 5, 2022: Exfoliation

Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Yosemite National Park