Tag Archives: National Park

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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Photography In The National Parks: My Favorite Parks For Photography – Part 1

Painted Hills Unit Landscape Color, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Oregon)

In my lifetime, I’ve visited over 30 units of the National Park System. This includes national parks, national monuments, and national historic sites. This also includes a national historic trail, a national natural landmark, and a national geologic trail. Some of these places were visited B.D.C. (Before Digital Camera), which means I have no images of them (like Mammoth Cave, which I did photograph with a film camera but no longer have the prints or the film strips, unfortunately).

Most photographers will tell you they have no specific favorite park for anything. Well, while I love every single one of these units I’ve visited, I do have favorites for specific photography categories. You probably do too, although you may not have thought about it much. For instance, what are your favorite parks for photographing color? No, not autumn color, but landscape color. What is/are your favorite park(s) for photographing a sunrise or a sunset? What is/are your favorite park(s) for photographing mountains?

Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my latest Photography in the National Parks column. In this Part 1, I list my favorite parks (of the ones visited and photographed) for specific categories (sunrise/sunset, landscape color, mountainous landscape, wildlife, etc.). I don’t include the recent visits to sights along national historic or geologic trails, or the national natural landmark. So, there’s the caveat to my favorites. Future national park unit visits may change the order of my favorites. We’ll see.

For now, check out the article by clicking on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #51

Wow, Beck, what a – um – er – lovely photo you have there (???)

Yes, all you smarty pants out there – it’s not my usual stunning landscape image. Instead, it’s a grab shot I captured of Liberty Cap travertine cone at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park during my first visit ever to this park in 2018. But, I’ll bet you don’t know how Liberty Cap got its name, do you?

That’s one of the quiz questions in National Parks Quiz and Trivia #51 published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To take the quiz (and find out how Liberty Cap got its name) and read the trivia (and maybe learn something new about the National Park System), just click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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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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Help Out The National Parks Traveler And Check Out The Traveler’s New Apparel Store

The National Parks Traveler has a new apparel store! Designed around the national park photography of Yours Truly, the shirts and hoodies let you align as a traveler in your favorite park. While this initial launch offers images from Yellowstone, Glacier, and Olympic national parks, future editions will let you claim Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Katmai National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, and other destinations around the National Park System.

You also can forgo a park image and simply declare yourself a parks traveler with the National Parks Traveler logo on the left breast and “National Parks Traveler” running down the left sleeve in the news organization’s colors.

Click on any of the images above to go to the Traveler store, then save the link as a Favorite. The images above are examples of what you can find on the store (different sizes, shirt colors, designs).

Keep an eye on the store for new editions. By purchasing these items, you not only can align with your favorite park, but support the Traveler, as a small percentage of each sale goes right towards operational expenses.

P.S., I’ve already done a little shopping myself, and once I receive the products, I’ll show you how they look. Ever the little shopper, I’m pretty excited the Traveler finally has a store out there.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #49

Click on the image to go to the Traveler’s Quiz and Trivia #49

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest quiz and trivia piece. There’s plenty to learn about the 423 units within the National Park System. Just how much do you know? Click on the image and test your knowledge.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Traveler June Webinar: Slough Slogs and Park Funding in Everglades National Park

Traveler editor Kurt Repanshek and Yvette Cano on an Everglades “slough slog” / Traveler correspondent Kim O’Connell photo

If you listened to the National Parks Traveler’s podcast episode 166, you’ll know what a “slough (slew) slog” is. It was a fun podcast to listen to and I learned some new things from it. It’s worth a listen. Anyway, this June 6th will be the Traveler’s monthly webinar, and it’s about slough slogging and park funding in Everglades National Park. The Traveler’s editor Kurt Repanshek will host Yvette Cano, the park’s education director.

If you are interested in registering for this June webinar, click on the image above.

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Photography In The National Parks: More Favorite Spots For Photography

Sunrise Viewed From The Sinnott Memorial Overlook At Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

If you have ever visited a national park more than once, then you probably have a few favorite spots in that park that you like to revisit, right? I certainly have favorite spots, and managed to find more than a few in the park units I visited since late 2019. I have written about these spots in my latest photography article for the National Parks Traveler.

To read my article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca Latson, all rights reserved.

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Don’t Throw Those Dud Photos Away Just Yet!

Looking Out Into The Evening – Original (Glacier National Park, Montana)

I was wandering through my Glacier National Park photo archives, looking for a particular shot, when I spied an original, unedited image I’d not touched. I remember exactly where I was when this shot was captured. I stood at the Wild Goose Island view area at St. Mary Lake, and turned to the side to photograph the scene there as the sunset afterglow turned the sky and clouds into a bright, fiery display.

You can tell that from this photo above, right?

It was the very first photo workshop I’d ever attended, back in 2008. I’d just purchased my first full frame camera: a Canon 5D with 12 huge, magnificent megapixels. I was still learning how to use it because I’d never heard the advice about knowing how to use your camera before you set off on a photo adventure. I pretty much knew zilch, to be honest (although I learned so much from that one workshop). Oh, I was not a newbie to photography; I’d photographed with SLR cameras since high school, but always using that Auto mode. I never really used the Manual mode in depth until I purchased that full framer. And, as you can see, I failed miserably at capturing that evening vista. The ISO was 100, shutter speed was 1/100 of a second, and the aperture was f/4 (although I think that was the widest aperture I could get with that particular lens, having never heard of a “fast lens” before). I can’t remember if the camera was on a tripod or not, although I might have been handholding it – the ostensible reason for using such a fast shutter speed.

You’ve read this from me before: the camera always has the data, it just needs to be brought forth with proper editing. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to not throw this original image away, which is surprising. Probably I just saw it, didn’t know how to work it, and just moved on to the next shot on the memory card. Hell, I was still trying to wrap myself around this new program called Adobe Elements – I had not even graduated to Adobe Photoshop yet.

Now, segue to 2022. I returned to the archives and picked up this original to start working on it for yucks and giggles.

Looking Out Into The Evening – Revised Image (Glacier National Park, Montana)

Quite the difference, huh?

Oh, I wouldn’t try to make a print out of this shot, because it’s still pretty grainy even after using noise reduction to the scene. But it definitely looks like the view I witnessed, with the fiery sky and the inner glow to the landscape as the evening settled in.

This, folks, is a great example of why you should NEVER immediately throw out a shot you think is a dud the first time you look at it. Unless it’s totally blurred or unfocused, there is always the chance that image can be rescued. It might take a few weeks or a few years or even a decade of learning new editing skills before you touch that “dud” image, but as you can see here, the beauty of that evening has been teased out for all to view.

Twelve megapixels back then was quite a feat. Now, I work with cameras possessing between 50 – 102 megapixels. Like editing skills, camera technology has come a long way in 14 years.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Lahars (Mudflows) Can’t Be Predicted, But They Can Be Simulated

A View Of Mount Rainier From Seattle’s Elliott Bay

Lahars (mudflows) can’t be predicted but they can be simulated using a special computer application. My latest contribution to the National Parks Traveler is all about this subject, so check out the article by clicking on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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