Here;s a wide-angle and a telephoto shot of the same area in the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in east-central Oregon. The telephoto image focuses more on those beautiful folds of maroon and olive hills, which was the objective with the telephoto shot. This is also to prove you can get some really nice telephoto landscapes, too. Telephotos are not just for wildlife, birds, and sports.
It’s #FunFactFriday , so here’s some interesting facts about this national monument located in Oregon. There are three units in this national monument, and each unit is about an hour’s drive from any other of the two units (the roads are winding so it’s important to drive the actual speed limit). The monument, as a whole, contains fossils of plants and animals that date back as far as 44 million years. The varigated colors of the hills denote periods of climate change, between wetter and drier periods. The darker colors of the hills represent wetter atmospheres, in which water oxidized (rusted) the iron minerals within the soils.
Usually, I don’t travel to any national park with high expectations. I even wrote an article in the National Parks Traveler about the rewards of lowered expectations. I know it’s going to be rainy, overcast, snowing, probably the roads will be slick, and there might even be another f***ing government shutdown while I am there. Nonetheless, I am stoked to be returning to Yellowstone National Park in a few days for 8-1/2 days of fall photography. For a portion of that time, I’ll be staying at the historic Old Faithful Inn, and will definitely get some interior architecture images of that beautiful lodge. I so wanted to do this during my short summer stay (2-1/2 days) during my road trip move from Texas to central Washington, but the inn was full, the crowds were YUGE, and I ultimately needed to get back on the road again to my sister’s home.
I’ll be taking 3 cameras with me and an assortment of lenses: my Canon 5DSR, Canon 1DX Mk II, and Pentax 645z. I’ll take the Canon 16-35mm, 14mm, 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 100-400mm with a 1.4x extender, Pentax 28-45mm, and Pentax 55mm lenses. No need to tell me it’s going to be a heavy backpack I take onto the plane with me. I already know that. I had to pack one of my lenses into my laptop bag, which will also be carried onto the plane. Hey, I don’t know when I will be able to return to Yellowstone, so might as well bring as much as I can carry and that’s allowable on the plane, because I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. Plus, I’ve broken lenses before while traveling (Hawaii comes to mind), so I’m being a little redundant with one of the lenses. I decided on this instead of trying to work around taking my Canon 500mm lens. As it is, I’ll probably forget something, even though I’ve written a list of things to pack.
Soon, soon, I will be back inside America’s first national park. Can’t wait!
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.
The long, dusty road through the park, Denali National Park & Preserve
Happy Monday! Hope the beginning of the workweek for the majority of you doesn’t feel like a long dusty road toward the next weekend.
This shot was taken a few years prior, during a trip I took to this national park. This was captured on a bus at the end of my stay there, on the day we were heading back to the visitor center. The road through the park is 92 miles long and gravel for most of the way, so the trip itself takes about 3-4 hours, including any stops along the way for photos.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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It’s Forest Friday! Yeah, still trying to work on those alliterative terms for the photos and days of the week. Sometimes it works, other times are iffy.
As for this image, when I was growing up, even into my early 30’s, I was never really interested in the forest. Hiking through it was boring and a means to an end of getting to some awesome mountain vista. Then, my digital camera days began, and things changed. I began to actually observe my interior forest surroundings. Even though green has never been a favorite color of mine, I began to discern all the myriad shades of green a forest possesses. I began to see the different mosses on the trees and nurse logs, and I began noticing fungi, from large, dish-shaped ones to teeny tiny delicate little ‘shrooms growing out of the side of a decaying log. That digital camera opened up a new world for me – one that had always existed but for which I never had much time or inclination to explore, and I began to actually *observe* my forest surroundings, which, in turn, has made me a much better photographer.
If you look at this image and keep peering at it and through it to as far as your eye can make out, you’ll see all sorts of different colors and textures and patterns, thanks to the waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Upper Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
No, I’m not in Bryce Canyon. I’m instead going through a few archived shots and using them to create HDR images.
For those of you who have never been to Bryce Canyon National Park, sunrises at Upper Inspiration Point are amazing. Actually, sunrises anywhere in this park are amazing. There’s Inspiration Point, and there’s *Upper* Inspiration Point, accessed via a very steep, but short hike on a very well-maintained trail a little further up along the Rim Trail from the regular Inspiration Point view area.
I used a single image and then copied it a couple of times, using different exposure settings. I then combined all those images into HDR. The reason for this is because I did not bracket my original shots (which I should probably do more often, for when I want to use HDR), and because I handheld the camera. The fence at Upper Inspiration Point is just a little too tall for me to stand on tiptoe with my tripod, trying to look through the viewfinder. There was a tall guy standing next to me with his tall tripod, and he didn’t have any problems. I did. So, instead, I handheld the camera and used the “burst method” of holding down on the shutter button for several clicks. I knew out of all those shots, at least one of them would be nice and sharp. The caveat with the burst method is that it takes up space on the memory cards, so I always bring lots of extras with me, in varying sizes of 16GB to 128GB.
Waiting for sunrise on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
In an article I wrote for future publication in the National Parks Traveler, I mention HDR, what it is, and what it produces. I had to create an example, so I used the free download of Photomatix. I’ve used Photomatix before, pretty much with all the computers I’ve ever owned. Of course, I didn’t have it on this laptop I’m currently using, so I bought it and downloaded it in order to not have their watermark show up on the finished product. While I am not a huge fan of HDR, I will admit it can produce some very nice results, if the hand wielding the preset controls is judicious with the edits. Most of the time, though, I see more overdone HDR images than nice, naturalistic HDR images. Practice makes perfect, in everything including working with HDR, so I’ll be working on this aspect of photography a little more, hence today’s example.
The beginning of sunrise at Upper Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
It’s the dawn of a new weekend, folks. What are your plans? Eventually, mine will include a trip up to Mount Rainier, but for *this* weekend, my plans are to help around the house with some rebuilding while feeling thankful that I have an intact home, electricity and that I’m not surrounded by the aftermath of a hurricane.
The weather is beginning to feel more like fall, here in Central Washington. It’s 46 degrees F this morning! Soon, the leaves will begin to change color. I’m loving it.
As for the photo, this shot was captured handheld. Usually, I’d have a tripod with me for sunrise images, but on this morning, I just didn’t feel like lugging a heavy tripod up a steep trail to reach Upper Inspiration Point. Instead, I used my hiking pole to help me get up to this view area, then set the camera’s ISO to 320, the aperture to 7.1 and the shutter speed to 1/30 and used the burst method of holding down the shutter button to get several shots. 320 is not a very high ISO for a handheld shot in low light, so I was surprised, myself, that the photo turned out well. I did have to do a little post-process lightening to bring out the geologic structures below the horizon, and I also applied some noise (grain) removal to the shot. Because I was using the 24-70mm lens, there was no image stabilization I could apply. While this speaks well for just handholding a camera, I still am a strong adherent of using a tripod under most circumstances – particularly since there are some techniques that require a tripod (like time-lapse photos and slow shutter speed images for silky water or surreal clouds or most low-light situations, really).
Layers of sunset colors, patterns and textures at Sunset Point in Bryce National Park, Utah
Back in April, the National Parks Traveler published my latest photography article, which dealt with finding color, pattern and texture in your national park images. In the article, I described several techniques I always use when highlighting one or all three of these properties in my photos. If you want to know more about those techniques, click on the photo above to be taken to the article.
Note: The image above was captured with a Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f2.8 lens at Sunset Point this past April, 2018
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My unwavering goal in life is to eventually move out of southeast Texas and back to Washington State to live close to my sister and her family. With that in mind and because it feels like I am actually doing something toward that goal, I have donated lots of clothing and other items to the local hospice thrift shop and boxed up (and continue to box up) items in my apartment that I don’t use much but don’t wish to part with at this point in time. Over the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, I managed to move most of the boxes off of my apartment’s spare bedroom floor and into the spare storage closet, leaving enough room in said spare bedroom for a tiny studio, complete with 2 studio lights & umbrellas, black bedspread backdrop and a black covered table. So tickled was I with this setup that I decided to take a break from housework for the weekend and have some fun with glass and Christmas lights.
I used my Induro tripod and Canon 5DS and Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II lens, ultimately switching over to the Canon 50mm f1.2L lens. ISO for all of the photos you see was 100 and aperture was f11. I played around with the shutter speeds, ranging from 1/6 of a second to 30 seconds. For the plain glass images, I used my two studio lights. For the glass with Christmas lights images, all lights were turned off.
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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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