Category Archives: Trivia Tuesday

Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2

It’s #TriviaTuesday folks! If you visit Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, you’ll have the opportunity to see all four types of volcano: plug dome (aka lava dome), cinder cone, shield, and strato (aka composite). And you can hike up to each of these, too. Lassen Peak is one of the world’s largest plug domes, Prospect Peak is a shield volcano, Brokeoff Mountain is an eroded part of stratovolcano Mount Tehama, and, well, Cinder Cone is a cinder cone. You can even hike up to and then down into Cinder Cone, pictured here.

This shot was captured with my iPhone. And speaking of iPhones, and smartphones in general, my latest photo column has been published in the National Parks Traveler: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2.

To read the article, click on the image above

I’m an SLR gal, but I readily admit the smartphone camera is an amazing piece of technology and smartphone cameras can get some pretty cool shots. I used mine when I neglected to bring along a particular wide-angle lens for my other camera during my own hike up to Cinder Cone. And I wanted to prove, not only to myself, but to you also, that you can get some very nice images with your smartphone.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2

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

Trivia Tuesday 11-15-2022

It’s Trivia Tuesday folks!

Morning Glory Pool in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park is indeed a glory to behold, no matter what the season. But, if you’ve seen (and photographed) this hot spring in different seasons, under different lighting conditions, you’ll notice that the colors don’t look quite the same – in the cooler months, they tend to be a little less bright and a little more murky.

When this pool was first discovered it was a brilliant blue, hence the name after a beautiful morning glory flower. People throwing trash, coins, rocks and logs into this pool over the years have caused a change in the water temperature (cooling it because all that trash has piled up around the vent and reduced hot water circulation) which in turn has caused the colors to change, allowing orange- and yellow-colored bacteria to thrive within the water. Add to that the subfreezing temps of the winter season (when this photo was captured), which in turn cool the surface water of the hot spring, and you get a murky look like you see here. It’s still a beautiful little spring, but the change in colors is mainly due to the extreme short-sightednes of humans. Sigh.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Trivia Tuesday 11-15-2022

Filed under Geology, National Parks, Trivia Tuesday, Yellowstone National Park

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

Trivia Tuesday July 12, 2022

It’s #TriviaTuesday folks! So, here’s another shot of Grizzly Giant sequoia tree in Mariposa Grove at Yosemite National Park. It’s estimated to be almost 3,000 years old and stands 209 feet (63.7 m) tall. You might notice that it has a decided lean to it, and that’s not just because of the ultra-wide-angle lens perspective. It really does lean, and in the early 1900s, they were so worried it might fall over that supporting cables were proposed to hold it up. Turns out, the cables were never installed and Grizzly Giant seems to be holding its own. Could be because of its root system. Sequoia trees have a very shallow root system, but those roots grow to great lengths and intertwine with the roots of other trees. Sort of like if you are leaning over to pick something up, and you’ve linked arms or clasped hands with a person standing next to you to keep you from falling. Those other trees might be helping Grizzly Giant to stay put.

According to the latest article in the National Parks Traveler, the Washburn Fire *seems* to be turning away from the Mariposa Grove, which would be a good thing. But, the fire continues to grow in size, which is not a good thing.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Trivia Tuesday July 12, 2022

Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Trivia Tuesday, Yosemite National Park

One Heck Of A Pothole!

It’s Trivia Tuesday! So, what are you looking at in this image, you may be asking yourself. You see a teeny white SUV to the upper left of this image, some golden grass and scrubby sagebrush. You see a large hole in the center and center-left of the image. Well, that’s a pothole you are looking at. Yes, a pothole – like the ones your vehicle drives over and it doesn’t get fixed until some member of the city council or their relative damages their car driving over it and they demand it gets fixed. Only this pothole was created by something entirely different, and is out in the middle of Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark, a part of the Channeled Scablands landscape seen along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail in Eastern Washington state.

Ever heard of a “kolk”? Tens of thousands of years ago, colossal floodwaters surged through the area, higher than that white SUV, higher than any of the buttes you see in the image. Those waters were so strong and fast that they created corkscrew vortices called kolks (whirlpools) within the water. Those kolks drilled down into the ground and eroded and carried away boulders and soils to other destinations, leaving scraped and scoured landscape with these large potholes. And they are large. If you were to hike within the landscape of Drumheller Channels (much of which is located within the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge), you’d see dry potholes and water-filled potholes.

I’m writing a series of photo columns about the Channeled Scablands for the National Parks Traveler. Part 1 has already been published. Parts 2 and 3 are going to be published in later months.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on One Heck Of A Pothole!

Filed under Channeled Scablands, Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark, Eastern Washington, Geology, Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, National Parks, Travel, Trivia Tuesday, Washington State

Photography In The National Parks: The Lewis And Clark National Historic Trail Part 3

Crashing Waves At Cape Disappointment Along The Lewis And Clark National Historic Trail

It’s National Park Week and Trivia Tuesday! Wanna know what a king tide is and where to see one? Then check out my latest photography article published in the National Parks Traveler to find out the answers, in addition to tips and techniques for photographing king tides and other sights you’ll see if you travel along the Washington state portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on Photography In The National Parks: The Lewis And Clark National Historic Trail Part 3

Filed under Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Trivia Tuesday, Washington State

It’s Trivia Tuesday 3-29-2022!

Old Faithful erupting at Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Heart Spring in the foreground and the Lion Group of geysers in the background at Upper Geyser Basin
The scalloped edges of Doublet Pool at Upper Geyser Basin
A bright bacterial mat leading toward a hot spring at Biscuit Basin.
Geyser Beads

It’s #TriviaTuesday Folks! So, how many of you have ever visited one of the geyser basins in Yellowstone National Park, marveling at the colorful hot springs and the energetic geysers? Do you know how to tell if what you are looking at is a geyser or hot spring (if there is no sign to identify it)? Especially if a geyser, when not erupting, looks like a hot spring?

According to a cool little video on the NPS site for Yellowstone, you should look at the edges of a thermal feature. “Hot springs often have ledges or walls of sinter (silica deposits) around them, because as the water level fluctuates, it leaves behind silica deposits. The edges may even be scalloped or lacy, such as what you see when looking at Doublet Pool in Upper Geyser Basin.

“Beadwork,” or pebbly-looking sinter indicates a geyser. “As the water splashes with each eruption, it deposits silica, creating a bumpy appearance.” At some geysers that look like hot springs, you’ll notice rounded, riverstone-like pebbles beneath the water. These rounded stones are called “geyser eggs” and are formed by silica deposition and water movement.

Colorful orange and yellow bacterial mats are also good indicators of hot springs, since that means the water is warm enough for thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria to thrive, but not hot enough to be a geyser.

The thing is, the landscape beneath and above Yellowstone is always changing. Excelsior Crater Geyser used to be a geyser, and is now a hot spring – well, it’s a hot spring right now that hasn’t erupted in several decades, but it could become a geyser again if the conditions change.

And now, you are that much smarter for the day. 🙂

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on It’s Trivia Tuesday 3-29-2022!

Filed under National Parks, Photography, Trivia Tuesday, Yellowstone National Park

It’s Trivia Tuesday, August 10, 2021

A keyhole kiva at Coyote Village, within the Far View Complex of ruins at Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)

It’s Trivia Tuesday ! Did you know that the Ancestral Pueblo people were living in ruins in what is now Mesa Verde National Park for some 300 years prior to building the famous cliff dwellings? The Far View Complex was the most densely populated area within what is now the park, from A.D. 900 to A.D. 1300. The Far View Complex included almost 50 villages, including Coyote Village, where this photo of a keyhole kiva was taken. Kivas, fyi, were specialized rooms (round, rectangular, or keyhole) where special rites and other meetings were held.

And now you know!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on It’s Trivia Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Filed under Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Trivia Tuesday

It’s Trivia Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A View Of Goat Mountain, Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Wandering A Trail Amongst The Redwood Trees, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (California)
A Wide-Angle View Of Bryce Amphitheater Seen From Lower Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Soft Winter Morning Sunlight Over The Watchman And Virgin River, Zion National Park (Utah)

It’s #TriviaTuesday ! So, what do Big Bend, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park all have in common? They are all a part of the National Park System (no duh, right?). And the National Park System is overseen by the National Park Service. And who helped persuade Congress to create the National Park Service? One Stephen Tyng Mather, born July 4. So, in addition to celebrating Independence Day on July 4, we should also have lit a birthday candle to this man who “laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be developed and conserved, unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good he has done …”

And, speaking of Stephen Mather, today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my latest quiz and trivia piece. It’s all about July notables, including Stephen Mather.

To test your national parks knowledge and maybe learn a little something, too, just click on any of the images above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on It’s Trivia Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Filed under National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Trivia Tuesday

It’s Trivia Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Young Hopeful Geyser, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

It’s Trivia Tuesday ! So here’s a little trivia about Yellowstone National Park. The world’s first national park, it is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island, combined. 5% of the park is covered with water, 15% grasslands, and 80% forests. Half of the world’s hydrothermal features, including Young Hopeful Geyser, pictured here, are found in this park. Barring any snowstorm, most of the roads in this park will be open to the public this Friday, April 16th. If you are interested in seeing which roads are open and which ones remained closed, there’s an article reporting this info published today in the National Parks Traveler. To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

Comments Off on It’s Trivia Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Filed under National Parks Traveler, Trivia Tuesday, Yellowstone National Park