Nature does a fine job at making her own Christmas tree, don’t you think? I photographed this lovely, snow-frosted evergreen along the side of the road in Mount Rainier National Park.
And, since it’s Fun Fact Friday as well as Christmas Day, here’s a little bit of Mount Rainier tree trivia for you: The trees in this park extend all the way up to over 6,000 feet along the mountain flanks (over 1,800 meters, more or less). Forests cover approximately 58% of this national park. And most of the trees here are evergreen conifers, meaning they have needles and they keep their needles on their branches year-round.
Each photo you take tells a story. I practically hammer that in to my readers in my monthly photo columns on the National Parks Traveler . But, I have some advice for you photographers who post your images out there on Flickr, Twitter, or Facebook:
Write a little bit about your photo, too. Add to that story.
People enjoy reading about how you captured the image, what you were feeling, what camera you used, even your settings. It adds to your story, fleshes it out, and helps others figure out settings for their own camera in similar situations. It also makes you more engaging, both as a photographer and a storyteller.
It drives me nuts to see an interesting image with no title, no commentary, no exif, no nuthin’. Now, I can understand why a photographer might not wish to indicate the location of the photo, since many places are loved to death, aready – no need to add to that. But, it’s a primary rant with me that many photographers won’t tell a damned story. Yeah, the sunrise over the mountains in that photo is gorgeous, and yeah, it looks a little cold, but surely there is more to it than that! What did you feel at the time you clicked that shutter button? How many miles did you have to hike to get there? Know anything about the ecosystem there; any sort of facts or trivia to impart to your viewers?
For instance, I took a couple of day trips this month (June 2020) over to Mount Rainier National Park, here in Washington state, for some photography. I was itching to get out with my cameras, but leery of things due to the coronavirus pandemic. When I visited, I practiced my social distancing, went to areas where there were few-to-no people, wore a mask where there were people, and thoroughly enjoyed myself – except for that one moment when a woman in a group not practicing social distancing came up to me, pointed at my mask, and told me I needed to take it off.
I posted some of those images on Flickr, and added commentary along with exif data (specific information about the image, including settings, etc.), because I want people to see the exposure information and to visibly see the difference visiting the same spot can make during different seasons, different times of the day, and under different weather conditions; in this instance, rainy and overcast versus a blue-sky day.
My first trip to the park since the coronavirus pandemic was June 8th, shortly after it reopened. My second trip was June 18th. The difference in weather is dramatic and you can see it in the images.
The first time I visited, I did not go via Chinook Pass to Tipsoo Lake because I knew things would be snowed over and, due to the rainy, overcast weather, I figured The Mountain would be hiding behind an iron curtain of gray fog. The second time I visited, I did drive by Tipsoo Lake, as you can see from the image at the top of this post.
I won’t make this post any longer, since attention spans aren’t what they used to be. But you should get the gist of what I am saying to you. If you post to a public viewing site, then write a little commentary / story to go with the image so people get a better flavor of the atmosphere and feeling around the photo.
FYI, in case you wish to quibble, photo essays are a little different, and there, you do need to be able to tell a story with just your photos and captions. Flickr, FB, and Twitter, however, are not exactly conducive to photo essays.
Did you know that Emmons Glacier in Mount Rainier National Park has the largest surface area of any glacier in the contiguous U.S.? And a great place to view this glacier and The Mountain is at Emmons Vista, in the Sunrise area of the park.
It’s that time of year again, folks. I’ve created three 2020 wall calendars and am working on a fourth, each centered around the national park trips I made over the course of this year. Yes, I know there are a gazillion gorgeous calendars out there. Just add mine to the pile.
What makes my calendars different from others is that many, if not most, of these photos, you’ve seen in some form or another, and you’ve read the story behind each photo, including what I was feeling at the time I captured the shot. Photography is about storytelling, and these calendars tell a story of my national park visits.
If you are interested in seeing what I have produced, click on each image above or on each calendar cover image in the left sidebar of this blog site.
I cannot drive past Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park without stopping. No matter what. And, in the morning, it can be difficult to photograph, unless you are right there for those all-too-short moments of sunrise. After sunrise, the colors on the mountain vanish and the snow on the mountain becomes blown out. Sunsets are better times to photograph this place, but I’m never around during that time and during the summer, sunset occurs quite late at night, when I have usually driven back home. Someday, I’ll stay to capture the sunset, as I’ve seen beautiful images captured during that time.
Snow still lingers around Tipsoo Lake, and I was glad I took along my snowshoes when I visited the park a week ago. I got my morning exercise snowshoeing around the lake.
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.
When we go out into nature with our cameras, our attention is grabbed by geometry, whether we realize it or not. We are fascinated by patterns, lines, arcs, angles, circles and ellipses.
In this particular image, the first thing catching my attention on that rainy morning in Mount Rainier National Park were the tall trees standing at attention next to that somewhat-arc of a swiftly-flowing stream.
The National Parks Traveler has published my Feature Story of the Paradise Inn Annex renovation. If you are planning a trip to Mount Rainier National Park and want to stay at the Inn, then check out this story to read about the amazing undertaking to renovate this historic Annex. To read the story, click on the image above.
Dawn’s rosy fingers gilding the top of Mount Rainier, looming over Tipsoo Lake
Ok, I don’t really know what alliterative thing it is for Monday, but since it’s the start of the work week for most of us, it probably feels like you are climbing a steep mountain to even get out of bed this morning, right?
So, how about a little bit of colorful sunrise to go on that mountain top?
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.
You can reach me at email@example.com