Tag Archives: California

Photography In The National Parks: A Matter Of Perspective

Photography is a matter of perspective, you know. It’s how *you* see things through your camera lens. My latest photography column has been published in the National Parks Traveler, and it deals with photographic perspective, using sample images I captured while visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park in California.

To read the article, click on either of the two images above.

The first image is the ground level view of the wall of blocky, black lava rock comprising the Fantastic Lava Beds, next to Butte Lake in the northeastern section of the park.

The second image is a much higher view of the lava beds from the summit of Cinder Cone, about 2 miles away from the first view.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

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.

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3 Days In Lassen Volcanic National Park

What can you do and see in Lassen Volcanic National Park if you only have three days? Plenty! Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my three-day itinerary of this park.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: this is one of the views you get at the top of Cinder Cone, located in the northeastern corner of the park. From right to left: Lassen Peak, Fairfield Peak (I think – the closer tree-covered cinde cone), Painted Dunes and Fantastic Lava Beds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Lassen Volcanic National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography

National Parks Traveler Checklist: Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)

Becky And The Glacial Erratic

If you are thinking about travel and making plans to maybe visit a national park, you should check out my latest National Parks Traveler Checklist. It’s all about planning for Lassen Volcanic National Park in California and is published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

Click on the image above to check out the checklist.

As for this image, I captured it at the Bumpass Hell parking lot before heading out on a 1.5-mile hike to Bumpass Hell. If you go, not only can you see this huge glacially-deposited boulder for yourself, but you’ll also see nicely-defined striations on surrounding rocks indicating the direction of travel the glacier took.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Pika And Plague In Lassen Volcanic National Park

When you think of plague, what comes to mind? The Black Death of the mid 1300s? Certainly not cute, furry little mammals in a national park. And yet, plague is there. In national parks.

During my recent short visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park, I had the good fortune, thanks to the park’s superintendent and it’s chief of resources, to follow along with the park’s “pika crew” as they conducted field research on the extent of plague in the park, with emphasis on pika.

My article has been published as a feature story in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. To read the story, click on the image above.

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Fun Fact Friday, August 5, 2022: Exfoliation

It’s #FunFactFriday

Ok, be honest. What comes to mind when I write the word “exfoliation?” To me, a picture of dry, flaky skin first comes to mind. However, exfoliation has a geological context to it, too. It’s a weathering process and one of the best places to see this process is along Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park.

As you drive that road, take a look at the granite hills and domes all around you. Notice that interesting sort of “onion peel” effect on the rock layers? That’s exfoliation! It’s a type of weathering and is common in granites.

You see, granite formed beneath the earth’s surface, under immense pressure. So, when the surface sediments and rocks – collectively termed as overburden – covering that granite are eroded or removed and that granite is exposed, the pressure beneath which the granite lay is gone and the granite begins to expand, forming all sorts of fractures (joints). Weathering (like frost heaving) causes plates, or flakes of rock to strip away the surface rock much like onion skin peels away from the onion.

And now you know.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Yosemite National Park

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.

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Photography in The National Parks: Yosemite Tried, True, and New

Yosemite Valley Landscape, Yosemite National Park (California)

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photography column. This month’s column is all about capturing iconic as well as new perspectives of this particular national park. To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: I drove into Yosemite Valley several times during my week’s stay in the park. Every time, I’d pass by this one spot along the road – a small pullout large enough for a vehicle, right next to the rocky banks of the Merced River, which was a trickle of its former self. So finally, I stopped, took out my camera and tripod, and gingerly picked my way to a spot to photograph forest, river, and El Capitan (I believe that’s El Cap) all beneath a blue sky with wispy clouds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Traveler’s Checklist To Yosemite National Park

A Boardwalk Leading Line Across Cook’s Meadow, Yosemite National Park (California)

Whew! I’m finally back from a 2-week trip to Yosemite and Great Basin national parks! It was a great trip, although I am now totally sick of so much driving. I captured great photos and have plenty of material for articles for the National Parks Traveler. As a matter of fact, the first article is the Traveler’s Checklist for Yosemite National Park, published in today’s edition of the Traveler. Whether it’s your first or your fourth trip, there might be something in the checklist that piques your interest.

To read the article, click on the photo above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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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