Tag Archives: Katmai National Park

Must You Visit A Place In Order To Connect And Want To Protect It?

Alone In The Falls

That’s a question asked in one of today’s articles in the National Parks Traveler. It uses Katmai National Park and Preserve as an example. I found it to be a very interesting, well-written read, and it not only brought back memories of my own 2013 visit to this amazing park, but it also left me feeling a little weak, as well. Personally, I don’t need to visit a place to care about it’s welfare, although having actually experienced a place does go a long way in getting a person to connect. I’ve certainly met enough people who have never ever visited a national park or national monument who could care less about its welfare, simply because they have never been able to experience what it’s like to be in that place.

To read the article for yourself, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.



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Filed under Alaska, Katmai National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Fun Fact Friday!

Baby Face

It’s Fun Fact Friday, folks! Did you know that the average weight of an Alaskan brown bear in Katmai National Park (after eating lots of salmon) is 1,000 lbs (~454 kg)? That’s a bunch of bear!

It’s hard to believe 6 years have passed since my visit to this national park. That little cub you see there should be full grown (hopefully) and around to eat plenty more salmon coming through the Brooks River.
Speaking of Katmai National Park, the 2020 Brooks Camp Bear Pin Logo Contest is underway. When visitors first arrive in this national park, they must undergo a mandatory bear safety orientation. The pins are presented to the visitors after completion of this training session as a visual reminder.
If you are interested in knowing more about the contest, click on the image above. You have until February 14 to enter.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Alaska, bears, Katmai National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel, wildlife


Bear Face

I captured a lot of images of the bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.  The majority of the photos I took were with a rented Canon 500mm f4L Mk II lens on my Canon 1-DX body.  I duplicated many of the originals which I then cropped quite a bit in order to focus only on the faces of the bears (thank goodness for full-frame cameras).  After a time, I began to notice unique differences in each face, their shape, their scars, expressions, and – to some extent – the color of their fur. Here are some of the portraits I took of the denizens of this park.   FYI, I have also created a 2014 calendar with brown bear portraits in addition to other 2014 calendars.  Here is the link to the site where I am selling the calendars, or click on any the calendar images to the left of this screen.

*Note:  the park has stringent rules regarding human/bear interaction.  If’ you read my article about Brooks Lodge written for the National Parks Traveler, you will have read some of the rules I listed and know that all of these photos captured were taken from the safety of the viewing platforms constructed for the viewing of the bears with the super-telephoto lens and then cropped.

Bear Closeup CROP

Portrait Of A Droopy Lip

Sniffing Around

Hiya Becky CROP


Look at these portraits and you, too, will notice the characteristics that make each one of these bears as unique as you and I.

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Filed under Alaska, bears, Katmai National Park, National Parks, Photography, Portraits, Travel, Travel and Photography, wildlife

Getting Ready For Alaska

FB_Luggage Tags & Hat

As I write this, that song “Anticipation” is whirling around and around my head.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in any of my previous posts, but I am 5 days away from fulfilling one of my bucket list wishes.

The clothing part of my luggage is packed.

The bills are paid.

The Hold Mail order has been scheduled.

I’ll be handing over a set of keys to my home sitter.

And then, I’ll be hopping aboard a plane for the 7-1/2 hour flight to Anchorage, Alaska  (I have an aisle seat, thank goodness), where I’ll have 2 days to tooley around on my own before meeting up with an organized photo tour for a 4-day stay at Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park to photograph the brown bears as they fish for migrating salmon.  When that is done, I’ll have one more day to tour around Anchorage before heading back to southeast Texas.  With my great powers of concentration (grin) I’m trying to will the days of this coming workweek to pass by as quickly as possible.

I know what camera gear I will be taking and I have a couple of bags for the gear (one will go into my suitcase while the other  will be one of my carry-on bags).  I’m a little anxious, though, about that main camera bag.

You see, I have rented a Canon 500mm f4L II lens for this trip.  I’ll also be taking both of my camera bodies, my 24-70mm lens, 70-200mm lens, 100-400mm lens, and a last-minute rental of a 17-40mm lens.

Why the 17-40 and not my 16-35mm lens?  Well, because I recently purchased a Singh-Ray 77mm Gold-N-Blue polarizing filter (they don’t make 82mm filters – go figure) and the only lenses I have that are 77mm are the telephoto lenses.  I wanted to have a wide-angle lens on which I could use that filter for my landscape images, so I rented that 17-40.

Ok, anyway, because I knew I would be renting that big honkin’ 500mm lens, I purchased Lowepro’s Flipside 500 AW bag.

FB_Flipside Open

(Sorry about the image quality – I used my iPhone 4 camera to get this shot so you could see both camera bodies in the pack).

As you can see from the photo above, the backpack is not completely packed yet, but I have room for both rental lenses.  The interior of the  bag is 7” deep which is large enough to stack my telephoto and wide-angle lenses (ex. in the photo above, the telephoto lens on top is the 100-400 and beneath it, separated by a padded insert, is the 70-200).  I *know* it’s gonna be a tight squeeze, but I am optimistic everything will fit.  The proof of the pudding, though, will be when I receive the lenses, test their focus on my cameras, then pack them.  And of course, I’ll be writing a post on my thoughts about this bag.

Aside from the 500mm lens being the main reason for the purchase, I also really like this backpack because of the nice, wide, padded belt strap and the fact that when I put that thing on, the pack balances *perfectly* on me!  First time ever that a backpack loaded with gear has seated itself comfortably on my back and hips.  Granted, this is minus the 7 lbs of the rental lens, but (and this could be optimism speaking) I feel confident that this pack will continue to fit just fine.  It sure as hell better, since I’ll be using it to hike to and from the viewing platforms.

As mentioned above, this is not the only pack I am taking.  You see, while at Brooks Lodge, I plan on renting a kayak for a couple of hours or so, and I wanted something “splash-proof” in which to pack a camera and lens while paddling (although I will probably have the camera around my neck most of the time on the lake).

Most of you know I share writing duties with another photographer in providing articles for a monthly photography column on the National Parks Traveler website.  It’s called Photography In The National Parks and here is the link to my most recent article.  If you do a search on that site for Rebecca L Latson, it will pull up everything I have written as well as photos posted that are credited to my name.   The Traveler has a Facebook page too, in case you ever want to check it out, as well as a newsletter.

In the Traveler’s last newsletter was a sort of “pre gear review” by the site’s Editor-In-Chief, who wrote about two new Lowepro packs, one of which intrigued me mightily: the Dryzone DF 20L.  It’s a small duffel bag that looks much like the waterproof packs I once used for a 9-day kayak trip in British Columbia some 18 years ago.  I figured this bright yellow bag might be just the trick for a kayak trip (and a subsequent gear review from me).

Lowepro Dryzone DF 20L

Dryzone DF 20L Packed

As you can see, it fits in my small hardside suitcase (no, due to weight limits, I am not taking the Pink Monster with me for this trip).  And, if need be, I can stuff a few other small incidentals  into that yellow pack to fit into the suitcase.

Once my trip is finished, I’ll be publishing trip details, gear reviews and photos not only to my blog site but also to the National Parks Traveler  site.




Stay tuned!  Open-mouthed smile

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Filed under Alaska, camera backpack, Canon Lens, Equipment, Katmai National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel