Category Archives: Travel

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

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

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Checklist. This one offers tips and suggestions for things to see and do while visiting Mount Rainier National Park, in Washington state. To read the article, just click on the image.

This image above was captured back in the autumn of 2018. I’d moved to central Washington three months earlier and wanted to get out and explore the park. I’ve visited Mount Rainier a number of times, but this was the first time since moving to the state.

I’ll have to wait on visiting this park or any other for a while. I even had to cancel (and in part reschedule) plans I had to visit three national parks in California. Two days prior to the trip, my left eye suddenly became so veiled that I couldn’t see a thing out of it. Talk about scary! As such, I returned home yesterday from eye surgery this past Monday (June 14). Thankfully, no detached retina, but I did have retinal tears that needed to be lasered back into place and some filmy hemmorrhaging that needed to be removed. I can see again, for which I am thankful, but for the next 2-3 weeks must behave like a bump on a log. No stress, strain, no lifting anything heavier than 10 lbs, no bending over, no housework, no nothing. Although I’m used to being busy, I can certainly behave in order to keep my newfound eyesight. Photographer or not, the eye is a delicate and wondrous instrument and should never be taken for granted.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Traveler's Checklist, Washington State

It’s Trivia Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

The Rosy Glow Of Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

It’s Trivia Tuesday, so here’s a little bit of trivia about “The Mountain.” Mount Rainier is an “episodically active” volcano and the most-glaciated peak in the Lower 48. The indigenous people named this mountain Tahoma or Tacoma, but it’s present-day moniker was bestowed upon it by one Captain George Vancouver, after sailing into Puget Sound in 1792. He named it after his buddy Peter Rainier. Mount Rainier National Park is America’s fifth national park.

Looking at this image might cause you to think I’ve deliberately oversaturated it. Nope. I can honestly tell you that for 20+ seconds, the sunrise colors are indeed this saturated. You have to work quickly to catch the scene, because as quickly as the colors appear, they disappear and are replaced by regular sunlight which turns the snow on the peak blindingly white and risks overexposure of a photo.

See that tiny person standing at the edge of Tipsoo Lake, in the lower center-ish portion of the shot next to the tree? That gives you an idea of the majesty of the landscape: One Big Mountain, One Teeny Person.

This sunrise shot was captured one fine autumn morning, a few months after I’d moved from Texas to Washington state. It’s early summer as I post this photo, and if you were to go there now, the lake would be mostly covered still in ice and snow.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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

Fun Fact Friday – June 4th, 2021

Denali Mountain And Landscape, Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

It’s Fun Fact Friday! So, here are a few facts about Denali Mountain and Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. Did you know that only about 30 percent of people visiting the park ever get a glimpse of the mountain? Like Mount Rainier, Denali Mountain makes its own weather and these conditions can hide the 20,310-foot tall mountain behind a wreath of clouds and fog most of the time. The first climb to the top of this tallest peak in North America was done in 1913, and a member of the climbing party – Harry Karstens – would later become Denali’s first superintendent.

There’s an interesting article in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler about Denali Mountain. Climbing rangers out there are voicing concerns about inexperienced climbers trying to summit the mountain, and after reading the article, I see there is very good reason for them to be concerned. To read that article, click on the image above.

I visited Denali National Park and Preserve for five days several years ago, and was lucky to have been able to see Denali every single day I was there. This image is the result of one such day of clear viewing.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Alaska, Denali National Park, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel