Category Archives: nature

Redwoods Were Made For Verticals

The road into the redwoods – Howland Hill Road, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

My monthly photo column is now published in the National Parks Traveler. In it, I talk about how Redwood National and State Parks are the perfect places to capture plenty of vertical shots, with the occasional horizontal thrown in for good measure.

To read the article, click on the photo above.

The image above is of Howland Hill Road, a dirt and gravel road through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which takes the driver to the parking area of Stout Grove. This road was my first introduction to redwoods, and I actually almost got lost trying to find the road. You see, the road runs for about 7 miles and you can enter it either just outside of Crescent City, CA, or a mile or two east of the Haiouchi Visitor Center along CA Highway 199. I opted for the Crescent City approach only to discover that road was closed less than a mile in, for construction work. I was hemmed in by huge construction tractors and had to gingerly make my way back down the hill and onto the highway to get to Howland Hill Road via the Hwy 199 route. The drive was worth it, though, as Stout Grove is a perfect introduction to coastal redwoods.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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

Three Days in Redwood National and State Parks

Looking up at some very tall trees in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

If you only have a short time to spend in Redwood National and State Parks, in northern California, then you should read my latest article published in the National Parks Traveler, about what you can do and see in just three days in this collaboration of national and state parks.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, forest, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Redwoods National and State Parks, Travel

It’s Fun Fact Friday, 6-26-2020

It’s Fun Fact Friday, folks! The image above is of a plant called devil’s club. It’s quite striking among the other greenery growing in the forest interior at Mount Rainier National Park. And, as you can see, it’s got little stickers on it. But, there’s more to this plant than what you think.

In addition to using devil’s club for an arthritis remedy, fishhooks and deodorant, Alaska Natives have also used this plant for coughs, colds and fever, skin disorders, and digestive ailments.

This plant was one of the quiz questions for National Parks Quiz and Trivia #8.

So, the next time you wander the forests of the Pacific Northwest and see this plant, you’ll know more about the forest and this plant than you did before.


Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Nikon, Photography, plant

It’s Fun Fact Friday 3-6-2020!

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

The scissor-tail flycatcher, aka Texas bird-of-paradise, can hover with its tail spread and make abrupt turns in midair. It’s numbers have declined by about 31% between 1966 and 2014.

I found this flycatcher in October, sitting pretty on the barb-wire fence at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge back in 2013.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Fun Fact Friday, nature, Photography, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

Solitude And Tranquility

A Quiet Summer Morning On A Little Pond

It’s the weekend, folks. Where will the trail take you? Perhaps to a quiet little pond for some solitude and thouthfulness? That’s what this image from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve brings to mind for me. It was a morning with no bears around to photograph, so we concentrated on other things during our hike out of a forest and into this misty meadow.

That’s a good lesson for you photographers out there. Often, we have high expectations of what we will see during a trip to a national park (or anywhere, for that matter). When it doesn’t pan out according to your expectations, then change those expectations and start observing what you see around you. On that morning, sans bears, I photographed a field filled with spiderwebs bejeweled with dewdrops. a downed nurselog housing a clump of tiny mushrooms, an orb weaver spider spinning a web, and this pond with it’s feathered swimmers within a golden meadow surrounded by mountains and a forest obscured by mist. It was lovely.

 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Alaska, Canon, Lake Clark National Park, National Parks, nature, Photography, Travel

Gobble, Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble CROP

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.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under birds, Holidays, National Parks, nature, Photography, Thanksgiving, Travel, Zion National Park

Corporate Behavior

Corporate Behavior

Even the smallest and/or prettiest of creatures can be territorial and exhibit more than just a little bit of visciousness in the daily fight for survival. Heaven knows I’ve experienced it within the human workplace, hence the sarcastic title.

 
I’ve been rescuing photos from a dying portable hard drive. The hummingbird images I captured between 2012 – 2014 are favorites of mine and they needed to be saved to another drive.
 
As a photographer, you can learn quite a bit about birds or other wildlife by simply watching and photographing them on a regular basis. During that span of years my mother and I hung out those hummingbird feeders in Texas, I would be over there every morning and/or evening to photograph these soft, tiny little birdies. The more I watched, the more I learned they aren’t quite as sweet as everybody might think. Luckily, this extended observation led to some very interesting photos.
Canon 1DX and 100-400mm lens
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Canon, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, hummingbirds, Life, nature, Photography, Texas

A Stormy Day At Cross Trails Pond

Stormy Cross Trails Pond

I’m up early because the inside of my cheek is killing me. I had a back molar implant put in this past Wednesday and my cheek got the brunt of some burring work on the cap and the upper back molar. Bleah. So, I can’t sleep. I’ll take an aspirin after I have something for breakfast later. Whenever I can’t sleep, I get up, turn on the laptop, and work on photos. I’m still (and will be for months, I’m sure) cleaning up my photo website and I happened upon this image in my Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge gallery. It was an awesome morning on that June day. Sometimes, going to the refuge was a hit or miss prospect. I either saw lots of birdlife, like here, or no birdlife. On this stormy morning, not only were there large numbers of egrets and spoon bills, but the clouds were awesomely dramatic. Out of all the images I took at the refuge, this photo numbers as one of my favorites.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved

 

 

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Filed under birds, Brazoria NWR, nature, Photography, Seasons, summer, Texas, Wildlife Refuge

Dawn Along The Seashore

Dawn Along The Seashore

How about a nice, peaceful, beach scene colored by the blush of “rosy-fingered dawn” to start your weekend? I have a feeling dawn won’t be as pretty where I live – it’s been overcast with a low cloud ceiling for the past few days.

Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is a great place to watch the sun rise. I got there at dark-thirty a.m. and just watched the play of colors over the sky and Gulf of Mexico, as the shore birds pattered along the water’s edge looking for breakfast.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Canon, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, National Parks, nature, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Seasons, Spring, sunrise, Texas, Travel

Trees Along The Sol Duc Trail

Trees Along The Sol Duc Trail HDR

Yeah, I’ve been posting quite a few tree and forest interior images. It’s what you do when you visit Olympic National Park. This shot was captured during a hike along the Sol Duc Falls trail in the Sol Duc Valley. There are all sorts of lovely, deep, quiet, photo ops and the trees always look very interesting. This tall tree in front appears to be growing right out of or at least, very close to, the tree behind it, if you look closely at the root structure at the bottom of the trees.

The moral of this story is that you should observe the scenes around you and not keep your head down as you head toward your sole purpose of hiking the trail in the first place (in this case, to get to Sol Duc Falls). The more you observe, the better your compositions become.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 24-105mm, 5DS, Canon, forest, National Parks, Olympic National Park, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel, Washington State