Nature does a fine job at making her own Christmas tree, don’t you think? I photographed this lovely, snow-frosted evergreen along the side of the road in Mount Rainier National Park.
And, since it’s Fun Fact Friday as well as Christmas Day, here’s a little bit of Mount Rainier tree trivia for you: The trees in this park extend all the way up to over 6,000 feet along the mountain flanks (over 1,800 meters, more or less). Forests cover approximately 58% of this national park. And most of the trees here are evergreen conifers, meaning they have needles and they keep their needles on their branches year-round.
If you’re thinking of getting out in the parks this winter with mask, hand sanitizer, and camera in hand, then you’ll want to read my annual winter photo column published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It might be a bit redundant if you read last year’s photo column, but a little winter photography refresher never hurts, right?
Happy first day of winter! Is it snowing where you are? It’s raining here and going to be 55 degrees, which is unusually warm for my part of Washington state this time of year. Feels odd. It’s supposed to start getting chillier tomorrow.
The shot above was captured 3 years ago, in January, along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I was trying out new snowshoes (and having a devil of a time with the straps), and of course lugging a loaded camera pack with me, so I ultimately did not get too very far. The view, nonetheless, was pretty nice. There were a few cross-country skiers who zipped on past me that morning, but overall, not many others venturing outside, which was just fine by me.
Even though it’s a Monday, I hope your first day of winter is a good one.
The view along the Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday! Here are some interesting facts for you about Big Bend National Park, in Texas.
There are over 60 species of cactus, 450 species of birds, 1,200 plant species, and 3,600 insect species found in this national park.
The name Big Bend comes from a bend in the Rio Grande River, which runs along the park boundary.
In 2012, the park was named an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s awesome for star gazing.
I first visited this national park in 2013 and made 4 more trips there before moving out of Texas. I visited during the winter and spring, when the temperatures were at their most ambient. Late spring was awesome for blooming cactus. And, speaking of visiting, Big Bend is entering it’s busy season, so if you are planning to travel there anytime soon, you’d probably better have alternate lodging plans in case you can’t find an available campsite, according to an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.
To read more of that article, click on the image at the top of this post.
A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
I may be an SLR gal, but I freely admit that point-and-shoots are great at capturing national park images, too. When I am out in the parks, I always carry one of my two little point-and-shoots in my pocket. They are not only backup in case the photographic unthinkable happens, but they are great at getting macro shots.
This photo of a ponderosa pine growing atop a cross-bedded red-rock knoll (probably a little lithified sand dune) and framed by other trees, was captured with my Canon GX7 MkII. While it’s not the most sturdy of cameras around the lens area (the dainty little shutter blades that made up the “lens cap” and opened and closed when the camera was powered on and off broke off when the camera accidentally fell out of my vest pocket. Thankfully, it still works and I purchased a push-on lens cap to protect the lens.
So, don’t knock the point-and-shoots. They produce some nice little images, too.
The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photography article: Your Armchair Guide to Olympic National Park, Part 1 – The Beaches. I had to break this guide into 3 different parts because this park has it all: beaches, forests and beaches. If you are planning a trip to Olympic anytime soon, or are just interested in seeing the photography of this national park, then click on the image above.
When I visited Olympic National Park this past January 2019, the government shutdown was still in force, and the park entrance to the Hoh Rainforest was closed and blockaded due to heavy debris on the road with no ranger service to clean it up. I was aching to see some park rainforest (and wanted to get photos for my National Parks Traveler articles), so I drove south of Kalaloch about 27 miles to enter the park portion of the Quinault Rainforest. Not too far along the road after entering is a parking lot for a picnic area and short loop trail over July Creek. Nobody else was there that damp, moody morning, so I had the place to myself. I spent quite awhile photographing the creek and the greenery around it, just from my vantage point on that bridge in the photo. After a bit, I moved off and turned my camera and tripod toward the bridge. I also used the “silky water” technique to make the creek water look satiny. For those of you who might want to try this technique for yourself, you should have either a polarizer filter or a neutral density filter on your lens. Set your camera on a tripod and experiment with slow shutter speeds while keeping everything else set for good exposure. The dark tint of the filter allows you to smooth out the water while preventing overexposure of everything else.
I will be bypassing the Quinault Rainforest for my next Olympic National Park trip (which I start tomorrow), so I’m glad I was able to visit this particular area of the park earlier in the year.
I’m pretty much all packed for my Olympic National Park trip. The camera batteries are charged. All I need to do now is pack up the cameras and lenses. Since I’m taking my own car, this means I can have that “kitchen sink” mentality and take whatever I want, because it’s better to have it and not need it, as opposed to needing it and not having it.
The thing about this national park’s rainforests is that there are so many different shades of green and so many different leaves and plants. And,there’s that sort of “glow” within the forest interior. It can be difficult to capture on digital “film,” but when you do, it’s something to be very pleased over.
Big Bend National Park is out in a remote portion of southwest Texas. But if you can get there, then you won’t be disappointed with what you see. This national park is full of interesting volcanic geology and gorgeous landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains. Sunrises are lovely here. This shot was taken right off the side of the road, not looking toward the rising sun, but instead, toward the mountains and desert which the winter sun gilded.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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