Tag Archives: California

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

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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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography, Yosemite National Park

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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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Traveler's Checklist, Yosemite 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

Photography In The National Parks: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Paddling the lake in the Whiskey Creek area, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California)

The National Parks Traveler has (finally) published my article about my photographic visit to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, just 8 miles west of Redding, California. I’d made the visit last fall, during a time when smoke from the surrounding wildfires wreathed this park, which suffered its own wildfire back in 2018, devastating 97 percent of its 42,000 acres. Like a phoenix rising, this recreation area has rebuilt most of its infrastructure and there are signs of regrowth on the landscape, and people continue to visit and recreate here.

To read the article and see the photos, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Redwoods Were Made For Verticals

The road into the redwoods – Howland Hill Road, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

My monthly photo column is now published in the National Parks Traveler. In it, I talk about how Redwood National and State Parks are the perfect places to capture plenty of vertical shots, with the occasional horizontal thrown in for good measure.

To read the article, click on the photo above.

The image above is of Howland Hill Road, a dirt and gravel road through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which takes the driver to the parking area of Stout Grove. This road was my first introduction to redwoods, and I actually almost got lost trying to find the road. You see, the road runs for about 7 miles and you can enter it either just outside of Crescent City, CA, or a mile or two east of the Haiouchi Visitor Center along CA Highway 199. I opted for the Crescent City approach only to discover that road was closed less than a mile in, for construction work. I was hemmed in by huge construction tractors and had to gingerly make my way back down the hill and onto the highway to get to Howland Hill Road via the Hwy 199 route. The drive was worth it, though, as Stout Grove is a perfect introduction to coastal redwoods.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, forest, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Redwood National and State Parks, Travel

Fun Fact Friday: Burls At The Base

Burls At The Base

As you wander along the trails, marveling at these very tall coastal redwood trees in Redwood National and State Parks, you’ll notice all sorts of interesting knots and bumps and “molten wood sculptures” around the bases of these trees. Those are burls and are another way for the redwoods to sprout new growth, in addition to growing from seeds the size of a tomato seed. The ranger told me burl sprouts occur usually during some sort of traumatic event like a fire.

So, if you find yourself roaming the trails in this series of parks, take a look at the bases of these trees, photograph those burls, and notice whether or not you see any sort of growth from those “bumps.”

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, California, Canon, Canon 11-24mm, Canon Lens, National Parks, Photography, Redwood National and State Parks, Travel

Three Days in Redwood National and State Parks

Looking up at some very tall trees in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

If you only have a short time to spend in Redwood National and State Parks, in northern California, then you should read my latest article published in the National Parks Traveler, about what you can do and see in just three days in this collaboration of national and state parks.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under California, forest, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Redwoods National and State Parks, Travel