Tag Archives: Maine

A Children’s Book And A National Parks Quiz

Forest Floor Colors

Fruiticose lichen and sphagnum moss on Acadia’s forest floor

You can learn a lot from children’s books, you know. That’s one of the things Jeopardy phenom James Holzhauer did: go to the library and read books from the children’s section. So, in this latest quiz and trivia piece I penned for the National Parks Traveler, I used a children’s book about national parks for most of the information in the quiz. Click on the image and go on over and check it out. See how much you know, and how much you learn. One of the questions deals with what you see in the photo above, which was taken of the forest floor when I visited Acadia National Park, years ago.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Canon, Maine, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Happy Earth Day 2020!

Autumn Color

Maine in the autumn is one of the most beautiful places to visit for the colors. This particular shot epitomizes what you can see (within and outside of Acadia National Park, which is why I was in Maine in the first place). During the fall, you’ll see tall trees with variagated greens, oranges, yellows and reds, and marshlands with thin ribbons of water weaving its way through the golden grass.

John Ford Country

This image was captured in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah. They don’t call it “canyonlands” for nothin’. It’s the “John Ford Country” you’ve imagined in Westerns: arid, deep, broad canyons and tall mesas, buttes, hoodoos and spires, all colored in different shades of red, yellow, pink and orange. The immensity of this place dwarfs the human figure.

Fire Hose From The Air

I’ve visited Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island of Hawaii, twice – once in 2014 and again in 2017. During the 2017 visit, I was with a small photo tour, and one of the highlights of the tour was to take an open-door helicopter ride over active volcanics in the park. In this image, I was flying over the “Fire Hose”, a stream of lava pouring from a lava tube directly into the Pacific Ocean. The land above this is cooled pahoehoe lava. Looks desolate on land, doesn’t it? Probably the way things looked when the earth was still shaping itself.

Sunset Over Wild Goose Island

Sunsets at the Wild Goose Island view area on St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana are as lovely as sunrises, albeit a little more muted. The trees and forests and lower portions of the mountains become silhouetted while the lake reflects the saturated colors of the oncoming “Blue Hour” (which really lasts only a few minutes between sunset and darkness (or between darkness and sunrise).

Full Moon Over The Three Gossips

The next morning after New Year’s Day, I was up and at ‘em super-early, ready to catch the full moon in Arches National Park in Utah. Actually, I was trying to capture some star shots, but as you can see in this image, the moon outshone everything, creating enough light that I could see my own shadow on the park road as I stood in the freezing winter air with my tripod set up for a long exposure of the moon bathing the Three Gossips rock formation and the landscape below.

As I look back on my photos, I realize I have been to quite a few really cool spots in the U.S. and abroad. Each spot has a different ecosystem, and each ecosystem is fragile. While it sounds trite to write this on every Earth Day, we really should take stock of our environments, appreciate what we see out there in nature, and try to take better care of it – even if that just means we are picking up the trash along the trail and nothing else.

Happy Earth Day 2020!

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Arches National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Canyonlands National Park, Earth Day, Glacier National Park MT, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Maine, National Parks, Photography, Travel

Becky’s 2013 Photographic Review

Becky At The Window Overlook

While perusing several other blogs which I follow, I noted one of the photographic bloggers was preparing a year in review post.  I decided to do the same.

Going through all of my photos taken over the course of year gave me pause in which I realized that I had a really good year.  Oh, of course I had ups and downs, but all in all, I had a great deal more ups than downs.

In February, I traveled to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse State Park – all in Utah.  This was my first winter trip in many years (most of my trips are mainly during the late summer or fall seasons).  During that time, I hiked up to Delicate Arch and had the entire area all to myself for a good 30+ minutes, and was also fortunate enough on the previous day to witness a magical snow fall in an otherwise arid region.

On Top Of The World

Steps Up To North Window

In early April, I had the pleasure of conducting a portfolio photo session for  a stunningly beautiful belly dancer.

Zaras Veils

And in late April, I photographed the wedding of a former co-worker and her musician fiancee (who now has a jazz CD out on iTunes).  The weather was perfect, the bride was stunning, the wedding went off without a hitch, and the day couldn’t have been better – we all had a great time.

Bride Relaxing On The Chairs

Newly Wedded

In July, I flew to Alaska for the first time in my life, spending a week with Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris in Katmai National Park and Preserve.  There, I captured some fantastic photos of the awesome coastal brown bears as they fished for the salmon along the Brooks River.  Prior to the trip to Katmai, I spent a few days just tooleying around the Anchorage area in a rental car, further cementing my desire to return in August 2014.

Becky At Brooks Falls

Caught One

And I wasn’t finished with July travel.  Work required me to travel to London;  this time, it was via Business Class, which is a heck of a lot sweeter than economy, believe me.  In between work at the London office,  I managed to do things in that great city that I had not been able to accomplish during a visit two years prior (tour the National Gallery, ride on the London Eye at night and purchase a ticket to see Spamalot).

Becky At Trafalgar Square

At The Top Of The Eye

In October, I flew to Maine and spent a week on Mount Desert Island where I captured the gloriously-saturated colors of autumn.  Because this trip coincided with the  government shutdown, I investigated Acadia National Park via biplane rather than hiking.

Becky And The St. Augustine

Maine From Above

The Road To Cadillac Mountain

Starting on the 7th day of September, I helped my 88-year old mother hang 3 hummingbird feeders;  throughout the month, I had the wonderful privilege of photographing the beauty and antics of the ruby-throated hummingbirds that made their annual migration through my part of southeast Texas.  During those days and evenings of photography, I digitally captured hummingbird behavior that I had never witnessed before.

Becky And The Hummingbirds

Pulling The Head Feathers

In November (well, actually, that last day of November and the first day of December), I spent the weekend with my friends The Merchant Prince and his Lady Michelle, photographing their food & beverage venues and some crazy characters out at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Christmas Becky

The Kings Feast Staff

Basil Drake and Fans

Gypsy Dance Theatre

In December, I managed to salvage enough vacation days for a 13-hour drive to Big Bend National Park, where I spent 4 full days in this incredible southwest Texas park.  I was so taken with this place that I will be making the long drive back in late April 2014 for a week’s stay.

I Made It

The Chisos Mountains And Chihuahuan Desert

Casa Grande and A Gibbous Moon

And, throughout the year when not traveling far and wide, I have visited and photographed the nearby Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge as well as Brazos Bend State Park.

A Golden Burst

Evening At Creekfield Lake1

Things have gone well, workwise.  My health has been good, as has the health of other members of my family.   I continue to contribute articles and photographs for the National Parks Traveler and my Facebook photography page has over 6000 Facebook Fans. Open-mouthed smile

Throughout the year, I got to do a lot of traveling and photography – the two things I love doing the most.  I guess I could have eschewed many of the trips and bought the big honkin’ prime lens that I’ve been lusting after for a couple of years now.  Instead, though, I chose to spend my discretionary income on traveling.  An old “rockhound” friend of my parents once told us “You can’t take your stuff with you but you can take your experiences with you”.  I totally believe that.  So, I opt for the travel experiences and thank my lucky stars for lensrentals.com Winking smile

Yes, there have been a few tough times, but not as many tough times as good times.  I’ve got a roof over my head, food in my tummy, a good job, and my family.  It’s been a really good year.

I look forward to next year and hope that it’s as good as this year has been.

Official Big Bend Fan

How has 2013 treated you?

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Alaska, Arches National Park, Big Bend, Blogging, Katmai National Park, Life, Maine, National Parks, Parks, Photography, Texas, Travel, Vacation

Photography in the National Parks 2013 Tips and Tricks – A Compilation

Becky In The Canyon

Hi everybody!  This morning, I woke up to find that the website to which I contribute articles and photos published a compilation of all of the 2013 articles written by myself and the other contributing photographer.  There are photos and links to our complete articles for various photo tips, if you want to add to your existing knowledge base of photographic know-how.

Just click on the photo and you will be taken to the article.

And stay tuned for my Year in Review post with photos that I will publish this weekend.

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Filed under Acadia National Park, aerial photography, Alaska, Arches National Park, Big Bend, Colorado, Equipment, Glacier National Park MT, Grand Canyon National Park, Katmai National Park, Lake Clark National Park, Lessons, Maine, Mesa Verde National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Photography, Travel, Washington State

Star Light, Star Bright on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

Pointing The Way To The Milky Way

During my first night sleeping in my Bass Harbor rental cottage, I awoke at about 2AM and looked up through the skylight windows above the bed.  I was not wearing my glasses and could see these bright little blobs against the black background of the night.  After clearing my vision with the application of glasses, I saw those “blobs” were brilliant twinkling stars.

I had never seen the stars so bright – definitely not in my part of southeast Texas.

So I made a note to set the alarm clock for 1AM each morning.  If I woke up and saw the stars through the skylight windows, then I would dress, grab camera and gear and drive over to the seawall (about 2 or 3 miles away) to set up tripod and work on my night photography.

The Road To The Night Sky

The road to the stars.  Looking back from whence I came.  I was pointing the camera toward the seawall side of the road.

A Sea Of Stars

A sea of stars.  That bright red light is a blinking buoy.

Early Morning Stars

Early morning stars.  The first night I took photos, they turned out horribly because I didn’t have the manual focus set correctly (and you need to focus manually).  So the one image with the Northern Lights in it failed to turn out.  On this night, I managed much better, but I think that yellow glow in the distance may be from one of the little towns and not the Northern Lights.  I think I missed my chance at that for the remainder of the week.

Next time…….

And for those of you interested in knowing how I achieved these photos:

  • I switched from auto focus to Manual Focus and made sure the focus was set to infinity – well, on my Canon lenses, that means I needed to set the focus line on the lens to a teeny bit before infinity.  When I rotated the focus ring allll the way over to (and beyond) infinity, the photo was horribly blurred, which is why I messed up the one shot I took with the Northern Lights in it (sigh).
  • I played around with ISO settings, which ranged anywhere from 3000 to 6400
  • I also played around with the shutter speed setting, which ranged from between 20 seconds to 30 seconds
  • The f-stop, I played around with too and it ranged from 2.8 to 3.2

And of course, this was all on a tripod.

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Filed under Maine, Night Photography, Photography, Star Photography, Travel

Bar Harbor from Above

Over Bar Harbor

My previous post showed you an aerial photo of Bass Harbor, which is at the bottom of Mount Desert Island.  This image is of Bar Harbor, where all the action is.  I was told by a Friends of Acadia staff member that as many as 4 cruise ships may pass through the area, depositing at least 5000 cruisers on the shores of this neat little town filled with cafes, restaurants, galleries and shops.

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Filed under aerial photography, Maine, Photography, Travel

Bass Harbor, Maine, From Above

Bass Harbor From Above

Because Acadia National Park was closed during the time I visited Mount Desert Island, Maine (thank you, $%##@! government shutdown), I worked on finding alternate avenues for exploring that park.

One of my avenues was to take an open cockpit biplane tour (read my National Parks Traveler article about that trip) with Acadia Air.

During that fun plane ride, I saw more than just Acadia NP.  I also saw – for instance – Bass Harbor from above.  I was staying for a week in Bass Harbor, in a little rental cottage near the waterfront.

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Filed under aerial photography, Maine, Photography, Travel

Acadia National Park…..By Biplane

The National Parks Traveler has followed up my previous kayaking article with my article I wrote regarding photography of Acadia National Park from a biplane.  Click on this  link to get to the article where I not only tell my story and have aerial photos of one of the shut down parks, but I also impart  advice on aerial photography should any of you out there ever take a flightseeing tour of an area.

Becky And The St. Augustine

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Filed under Acadia National Park, aerial photography, Equipment, Maine, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Vacation

Notes From The Field: Photographic Advice For A Mount Desert Island, Maine, Kayak Tour

Becky And Her Kayak

Hi Everybody!  I just returned from a week’s vacation on Mount Desert Island, Maine.  I had an amazing time, despite the %$@##!! government shutdown.

Since I tend to plan my vacations around national parks so I have possible photographic and writing material for the National Parks Traveler, I wrote up an article about a sea kayak tour I took with the hopes of seeing Acadia National Park from that vantage point.

Here is the link to get to that article.

By the way, the Traveler is having a membership drive.  You should go check them out.  There are always timely articles about the national parks (by that, I mean other articles in addition to my own wonderful contributions – grin) and a number of agencies have ads for discounts, etc on this site.  Might help you plan your own trip to a national park (when the shutdown ends, that is – or, at least to a national park in Utah, where state funds are paying for the parks’ maintenance).

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Equipment, Landscape, Maine, National Parks, Parks, Photography, Travel

My 15 Minutes Of Fame: An Email Interview With CNN

This morning, I am in Bar Harbor, Maine.

As you know, I contribute to a monthly Photography In The Parks column on the National Parks Traveler website.  Because of this, most (if not all) of my vacations from my day job are centered around trips to national parks.

About three months ago, I purchased a plane ticket to Maine, paid for a rental cottage in Bar Harbor, pre-paid for a rental car (a Toyota Avalon, which is pretty darned nice, as they bumped me up to mid-size rather than economy at no extra charge), and made preparations to spend my days visiting Acadia National Park.

As you know, the shutdown has caused havoc with the national parks.

I was perusing the items on my Facebook Page – one of the pages I like is CNN.  One of their posts announced they were looking for people to email them with changes they had made to their vacation / wedding / other plans regarding a visit to a national park.  I was at the airport in Houston and I typed an email out on my phone and sent it off to CNN.

Lo and behold, as I was sitting on the plane waiting for it to finish loading and get ready for take-off, I received an answer back from CNN wanting to hold an email interview and asking me to answer some questions for them.  So, I did – all before the plane left the ground.  And CNN printed part of my interview, along with others they interviewed.

Here’s the link.  I’m the photographer mentioned regarding Acadia National Park.

My 15 minutes of fame.

😀

P.S.  Stay tuned for photos from Maine

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Filed under Maine, Photography, Travel, Vacation