Tag Archives: national parks

Photography In The National Parks: My 10 Favorite Shots From 2022

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest Photography in The National Parks column. It’s the same thing every year, in keeping with a tradition I began back in 2015 when I started listing between 5 – 10 of my favorite images captured the previous year.

This month’s column is about my 10 favorite images I took during 2022, including the one you see here.

Now, I’m pretty sure you are wondering why on earth I might like an image like *this* one. Well, sometimes it’s not so much the landscape itself that makes for a favorite shot, as it is a pattern, color, texture, or memory of when / why that image was photographed. In the case of the image here, I thought the lines from the bottom of the photo leading my eye toward the Old Faithful Inn in the distance were pretty cool (aka leading lines). I liked the colors, the texture, and the parallel patterning of that thick ridge of snow and ice on the boardwalk (a good reason to be wearing traction devices on one’s boots, btw) on that very cold winter day in February 2022.

To see the rest of my 10 favorites, and to read why they are faves and how I got the shot, click on the image above.

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Happy New Year!

Where’s that trail going to take you in 2023? For me, it took me along a New Year’s Day snowshoe hike at Mount Rainier National Park. I think it was the prettiest winter day I’ve seen at the park, to date (not that I’ve been up there too many times in the winter, but of those times I *have* been there, this day had to be the best).

Mount Rainier staff only open the Paradise area on the weekends, now, due to understaffing, so I thought it was going to be a zoo. When I first arrived, there were rangers out there directing traffic and helping people park (correctly), so every single parking space was taken. Really, though, the only real crowding I saw was in the parking lot, near the start of the snow climb. About a mile into the hike, there were few people. And oh, the scenery!

I gotta send a shout out to all those skiers who hiked (most on their skis, some on snowshoes) way up to a snow-covered ridge on what I believe is part of the Skyline Trail. That was a good 2-3 mile hike to get there. Those people are in very good shape, and serious about their skiing, powerhousing it up to the ridge.

Speaking of skis and snowshoes, if you decide to take a little weekend trip up to Paradise, then go early (the gate at Longmire usually opens at 9 a.m. unless weather dictates otherwise), and for goodness sake, take snowshoes or skis. I noticed some people did not have either, so they stuck close to the parking lot, or risked “post holing” (where your foot sinks waaaaay down into the snow, potentially causing an injury or at the very least, a face plant). Not even the “packed” snowshoe/ski trails were that hard-packed. I can tell you that from personal experience, because I lost one of my snowshoes (due to faulty securing on my boot) and had to back down the trail to get it, post holing a couple of times along the way, on the trail. Not so much afraid for myself, but rather for getting snow in/on the camera 😉

Oh, and make sure you keep track of your time, because the Longmire gate closes at 4 p.m. You miss that deadline and you are stuck – seriously. Annnnd, drive slowly. Black ice (that’s ice invisible to the naked eye, more or less, so it looks like a part of the asphalt) was all over the road. One SUV ahead of me skidded completely off the road, and I skidded slightly a couple of times, even with my 4WD and great tires. I finally figured out if the road was shiny-looking, it was probably icy, and drove accordingly.

This morning, muscles hurt in areas I guess I haven’t used much. And I was exhausted yesterday once I made it back to my vehicle. But oh, what a day. Couldn’t have been a better start to the New Year for me: gorgeous scenery, great exercise, and awesome photography.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Holidays, Mount Rainier National Park, National Parks, New Year

What’s Around The Corner For 2023?

What’s around the corner in 2023? What have you learned in 2022?

Today is the last day of 2022. It’s time for 365 days of 2023. What’s in store? For me, I hope it’s more travel and photography and articles for the National Parks Traveler.

I truly enjoy the travel. Sometimes, I enjoy the journey as much as the destination – although a 15-hour drive is really pushing it in the “enjoyment” department. That aside, I love seeing new places and photographing new things – well, new to me.

Quite a few of the images I post here are of iconic locations that have been photographed a gazillion times. It’s ok, though, to photograph that iconic location, you know. You are capturing the image with your own camera, and the time of day, weather pattern, and season make slight differences to the photo taken a previous day, or any photo taken in the future. It’s like one photographer I follow on Flickr said (and I paraphrase): you don’t avoid a very popular restaurant just because there are so many people who go there. You go to that restaurant because the food is fantastic (and that’s why it’s popular). Same thing with photographing an iconic spot.

I look back to the images I captured this past year. I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to – that whole money thing, you know. I stayed closer to home for photographic day trips. And I learned about the area around me. I’d never heard of the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, and yet a majority of this route is in eastern Washington. Heck, I’d even studied the Channeled Scablands when I was a geology student in college, but I’d still never been there. It’s one thing to read about it in a textbook, and an entirely different thing to actually see the landscape about which you’ve read. So, it really worked out that I photographed landscapes closer to where I live.

Where would I like to go in 2023? Well, I do want to take a day to see a couple of National Natural Landmarks along the way to visit Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. I’d also like to visit San Juan Island National Historical Park. I’ve got plans to travel (15 hours) to Sequoia National Park this year in mid September. Fingers crossed nothing occurs to prevent the trip, since it will be the third time I’ve tried to get there. I will, of course, continue making trips now and then to Mount Rainier National Park. During the summer, it’s only 1.5 hours away from where I live. In the winter, with the passes closed, it’s about 3 hours. I’m actually thinking of going there tomorrow, if for no other reason than to report on the crowds there because the Paradise area is only open on the weekends this winter due to a staffing situation.

There are a couple of other places I’d like to visit. Not end destinations (like Yellowstone or Glacier or Olympic national parks), but rather destinations on the way to an end destination. I’ll just have to see how that pans out.

Here’s to a hopeful New Year. For me. For every one of you. And thank you all, again, for keeping up with my posts and tidbits of trivia and photo tips and techniques.

Oh, yeah, about the image here. I was standing in the Olmsted Point parking area with my zoom lens and I thought it would be a neat photo of that car rounding the corner of Tioga Road, with a distant view of Tenaya Lake and the rounded granite Sierras within Yosemite National Park. Sort of a “what adventure is just around the corner” shot.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Holidays, National Parks, New Year, Photography

2022 Year In Review: Photography A Little Closer To Home

It’s been quite a year for the National Parks Traveler, with new units of the National Park System explored and resulting news, general interest, and photography articles written. If you follow the Traveler (and you should, if you want DAILY news from an editorially independent source about national parks in the U.S. and Canada), then you’ll know that the Traveler – like other news outlets – has been publishing various year-in-review articles the past week.

Published in today’s edition of the Traveler is my own 2022 Year In Review Photography article. Aside from a couple of 9- and 10-hour road trips to single destinations (Yellowstone National Park in winter and Lassen Volcanic National Park in autumn), the majority of my photography explorations have been a little closer to home along routes you might not even realize are parts of the National Park System.

To read the article, click on the image above.

This image is one of those closer-to-home venues, although I guess “close” is a relative term. It only took me 5 hours total drive time for a couple of days of photography including photographing the waves resuling from the annual king tides at Cape Disappiontment in Washington state, where the Pacific Ocean meets the mouth of the Columbia River.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #55

It’s time to check out this month’s quiz and trivia piece I wrote for the National Parks Traveler. How much *do* you know about the units of the National Park System?

One of the questions in the quiz – actually, the very first question – deals with the images (one of them, anyway) you see above of the large dacite boulder seen in the Devastated Area of Lassen Volcanic National Park. What are those round-ish things you see within the dacite bouler? Btw, dacite is an igneous rock that forms from viscous (thick, slow-flowing) lava. Those small white inclusions you see are bits of quartz.

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on either image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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3 Days In Lassen Volcanic National Park

What can you do and see in Lassen Volcanic National Park if you only have three days? Plenty! Today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler has published my three-day itinerary of this park.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this image: this is one of the views you get at the top of Cinder Cone, located in the northeastern corner of the park. From right to left: Lassen Peak, Fairfield Peak (I think – the closer tree-covered cinde cone), Painted Dunes and Fantastic Lava Beds.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Where The Trails Take You Photography: 2023 Photo Wall Calendars

Finally! My Zazzle Storefront now lists my 2023 wall calendars for sale. If you are like one of my ultra-tech-savvy twin nephews, you will laugh outrageously over the thought of paper calendars, but hey, they have a place. I live with my sister and youngest nephew and we use a single calendar on which to write appointments and events, so we can all see it at a glance without having to scroll through our phones. Plus, the photos for each month are pretty nice. Oh, and right now, a 50% discount is going on, so you get get these calendars way cheaper than usual. And no, I don’t really make much in the way of profit, but every little bit helps. 😁

Click on each image to go to that specific calendar page.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #54

It’s time for another National Parks Quiz and Trivia piece, courtesy of yours truly and published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Just how much do you really know about the national parks and other protected lands of the National Park System? Find out with the multiple choice questions, followed by a bit of park trivia, followed by the answers. You might learn something new with which to dazzle your friends, family, and coworkers.

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #53

Visit a unit of the National Park System and you might come across a raven giving you the once over, like I did during a 2021 trip to Yosemite National Park. In addition to their raspy croak/caw, how many other vocalizations do ravens have?

That’s one of the questions in this month’s quiz and trivia piece I penned for the National Parks Traveler. If you feel like stretching your mental muscles and testing your national park knowledge, click on the image above. The questions are multiple choice or True/False. Who knows – you might even learn something new or decide to travel to one of these park units mentioned in this quiz.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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My Favorite National Parks For Photography – Part 2

Can you remember that first time you ever visited a particular national park, and hiked up to an iconic scene you’ve only ever read about or seen in textbooks? It’s a pretty cool feeling, isn’t it? I remember that feeling the first time I ever visited Arches National Park and hiked to Delicate Arch. This was back in 2012, the same year I began writing and photographing for the National Parks Traveler.

Published in today’s edition of the Traveler is my Part 2 to my favorite park units for photography. Arches National Park (among a couple of others) is one of my favorites for photographing cool geology.

To see what other photographic favorites I have, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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