Category Archives: Photography

If You Must Get Out On Memorial Day Weekend ….

Looking through the window at Balcony House, Mesa Verde National Park

If you really must get out this Memorial Day weekend, then it’s worth a check with the National Parks Traveler to see which parks are open and how much of those parks are accessible. Mesa Verde National Park will open this Sunday, but the cliff dwellings will not be accessible. That said, other parts of the park will be accessible.

To find out what national park units are open, click on the image above.

I’ve only visited Mesa Verde once, but it was a cool trip and I did lots of stuff while there. I took most of the guided cliff dwelling tours (like the one pictured here, of Balcony House) and a guided backcountry tour to Mug House (also very cool) as well as a twilight tour of Cliff Palace. I checked out the ruins on the ground, too, in addition to those above the ground. The scenery is stark and beautiful. The sunrises are gorgeous – especially at Park Point Overlook. I stayed at Far View Lodge, which was very nice … except for the part about finding a black widow spider on the bathroom wall – that shook me a little bit. All in all, it was a great trip and one I recommend if you are interested in learning about the culture and architecture of an ancient people.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Memorial Day, Mesa Verde National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

A Kemp’s Ridley Hatchling Release

A highlight of my summer visit to Padre Island National Seashore a few years ago was the opportunity to photograph a public Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling release into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If you are thinking of attending a public viewing of the releasing of these nacho-sized little guys, however, you’ll have to wait until 2021, as all public viewings have been canceled for this year due to the coronavirus. As you can see in the last photo, there is definitely NO social distancing of the 700 – 1200 participants who attend these viewings. On that particular day I took the photo, there ended up being 900 people.

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/05/sea-turtle-releases-padre-island-national-seashore-summer-wont-be-public

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Texas

A Children’s Book And A National Parks Quiz

Forest Floor Colors

Fruiticose lichen and sphagnum moss on Acadia’s forest floor

You can learn a lot from children’s books, you know. That’s one of the things Jeopardy phenom James Holzhauer did: go to the library and read books from the children’s section. So, in this latest quiz and trivia piece I penned for the National Parks Traveler, I used a children’s book about national parks for most of the information in the quiz. Click on the image and go on over and check it out. See how much you know, and how much you learn. One of the questions deals with what you see in the photo above, which was taken of the forest floor when I visited Acadia National Park, years ago.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Canon, Maine, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

It’s Fun Fact Friday 5-8-2020!

Heart Spring

Heart Spring, Upper Geyser Basin, temperature > 190 degrees Fahrenheit

Belgian Pool

Belgian Pool, Upper Geyser Basin, temperature ~ >150 degrees Fahrenheit

Did you know that the colors of the beautiful hot springs you see at Yellowstone National Park indicate the water temperature? Make no mistake, you do NOT want to soak in any of these after a long day hiking. Rule of thumb: the bluer the H2O, the hotter it is. And the orange, yellow, and brown colors you see ringing the springs and leading away from them are thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Canon, Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Yellowstone National Park

Take the National Monuments Quiz

Painted Hills On An Overcast Day 2

It’s time to exercise your national park brain muscles, folks, and try your knowledge on this latest quiz and trivia piece I’ve penned for the National Parks Traveler. Ah, but wait, the quiz and trivia are not about national parks – it’s all about national monuments this time! See how much you know.

To take the quiz, click on the image above

And, while you are there, perhaps you’d be willing to show the Traveler some love on this #GivingTuesday and help the Traveler continue to provide daily news coverage not only of our national parks and protected lands in general, but how this coronavirus pandemic is affecting them (and it is, believe me).

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/05/support-news-coverage-national-parks-and-protected-areas

As for this photo – well, it was taken in the only national monument I’ve had a chance to visit (and photograph): John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This is from the Painted Hills Unit.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Monuments, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

It’s Fun Fact Friday 5-1-2020!

Petrified Logs

It’s Fun Fact Friday! Did you know that the petrified logs you see in Petrified Forest National Park range in age from 211 – 218 million years? And those saturated colors come from such trace minerals as hematite, pyrite, goethite, chromium, and manganese. Pretty cool, huh? And now, you know.

 
I wish I would have had one more day to spend in this national park located in Arizona. It was the very first national park I visited during my 3-week road trip move from Texas to central Washington. I’d never been to this park before, and as what usually happens, even if you’ve done prior research about a park, you still are a little unprepared for what you’ll see and what you’ll do. This national park is one of those less-visited gems, so it’s very easy to practice a social distancing along the trails. This particular trail is called the Crystal Forest Trail.
 
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Arizona, Canon, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Petrified Forest National Park, Photography, Travel

Waterfall Wednesday 4/29/2020

The Waterfall At Sunbeam CreekThe Falls At Sunbeam Creek

Courtesy of the little waterfall at Sunbeam Creek, just off the Stevens Canyon Road heading up toward Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. As you can see, it’s good to return to the same scene during different seasons to photograph the changes. The first image was captured in July, which is analogous to spring in the upper elevations (hence the healthy water flow). The second image was captured in September. The summer might have been hot, resulting in less flow, and/or the high elevation from whence this creek originates might aleady have been freezing over. True summer, with warm, sunny weather, doesn’t often last very long in the mountains.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under autumn, Canon, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, summer, Travel, Washington State

It’s Trivia Tuesday 4-28-2020!

A Smoky Afternoon In The Grand Tetons

A smoky afternoon in Grand Teton National Park

It’s Trivia Tuesday! Did you know that the Tetons are the youngest mountains in the Rockies, and that the eastern front of the Teton Range is one huge fault scarp?

Speaking of Grand Teton National Park, tourism officials in Jackson Hole are looking forward to reaching that new “normal” regarding how they will open up, according to an article published today in the National Parks Traveler:

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/…/jackson-hole-touris…

As for this image itself, I captured it on my very first visit into this national park, during my 2018 road trip move from Texas to central Washington. It was in the afternoon – I’d checked into my hotel, unloaded some of my stuff, then hopped into the car to drive into the park and do a teeny bit of scouting to see if I could find any good spots for sunrise shots. I didn’t go very far, though, because, in all honesty, I was plumb tuckered out. I’d been on the road for 11 days, driving, unloading, reloading, stopping off at national parks for 2-3 days here and there for full days of photography. I was having fun, but I was tired. Besides, as the afternoon progressed, the smoke from forest fires near and far became heavier. This image was taken not too far from the Windy Point Turnout. I’d gotten some shots there, then drove a little further northward before deciding to call it quits for the afternoon. By then, I’d pretty much figured out what my sunrise location would be.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Canon, Grand Teton National Park, National Parks, Photography, summer, Travel, Trivia Tuesday, Wyoming

Fun Fact Friday 4-24-2020

Black Sand Basin Landscape

“Bobby socks” around Opalescent Pool in Black Sand Basin, Yellowstone National Park

"Bobby Socks" At Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail

“Bobby socks” along the Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail, Yellowstone National Park

Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday!

If you’ve ever visited Yellowstone National Park, you’ve seen these dead, desolate trees with the white rings around their bases. Those are called “Bobby socks” and are formed when the trees absorb the silica (natural glass) from the thermal waters. This, of course, kills the trees and “freezes” them to keep them standing.

And now you know!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Canon Lens, Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

Happy Earth Day 2020!

Autumn Color

Maine in the autumn is one of the most beautiful places to visit for the colors. This particular shot epitomizes what you can see (within and outside of Acadia National Park, which is why I was in Maine in the first place). During the fall, you’ll see tall trees with variagated greens, oranges, yellows and reds, and marshlands with thin ribbons of water weaving its way through the golden grass.

John Ford Country

This image was captured in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah. They don’t call it “canyonlands” for nothin’. It’s the “John Ford Country” you’ve imagined in Westerns: arid, deep, broad canyons and tall mesas, buttes, hoodoos and spires, all colored in different shades of red, yellow, pink and orange. The immensity of this place dwarfs the human figure.

Fire Hose From The Air

I’ve visited Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island of Hawaii, twice – once in 2014 and again in 2017. During the 2017 visit, I was with a small photo tour, and one of the highlights of the tour was to take an open-door helicopter ride over active volcanics in the park. In this image, I was flying over the “Fire Hose”, a stream of lava pouring from a lava tube directly into the Pacific Ocean. The land above this is cooled pahoehoe lava. Looks desolate on land, doesn’t it? Probably the way things looked when the earth was still shaping itself.

Sunset Over Wild Goose Island

Sunsets at the Wild Goose Island view area on St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana are as lovely as sunrises, albeit a little more muted. The trees and forests and lower portions of the mountains become silhouetted while the lake reflects the saturated colors of the oncoming “Blue Hour” (which really lasts only a few minutes between sunset and darkness (or between darkness and sunrise).

Full Moon Over The Three Gossips

The next morning after New Year’s Day, I was up and at ‘em super-early, ready to catch the full moon in Arches National Park in Utah. Actually, I was trying to capture some star shots, but as you can see in this image, the moon outshone everything, creating enough light that I could see my own shadow on the park road as I stood in the freezing winter air with my tripod set up for a long exposure of the moon bathing the Three Gossips rock formation and the landscape below.

As I look back on my photos, I realize I have been to quite a few really cool spots in the U.S. and abroad. Each spot has a different ecosystem, and each ecosystem is fragile. While it sounds trite to write this on every Earth Day, we really should take stock of our environments, appreciate what we see out there in nature, and try to take better care of it – even if that just means we are picking up the trash along the trail and nothing else.

Happy Earth Day 2020!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Arches National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Canyonlands National Park, Earth Day, Glacier National Park MT, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Maine, National Parks, Photography, Travel