The birds you see in national parks and other protected lands are part and parcel of these places, fleshing out the story of your visit. You don’t need to stake out a site for your tripod and use a mega-telephoto lens to capture great images of the birds.
This month’s photo column in the National Parks Traveler is all about bird photography with whatever camera/lens you happen to have on you during your hike or stop at a park overlook.
After a presidential election, what better photo to post than the symbol of American democracy, the bald eagle. As I post this image, I am listening to National Parks Traveler podcast episode #91, about bald eagles in Chesapeake Bay and how populations in the national parks around the Bay have a bit of a better chance of survival. It’s a good podcast, if you feel like listening. It’s about 41 minutes long, and you can download it to listen to later.
To listen to the podcast, click on the image above.
This image was of a bald eagle taking off from a snag in the Brooks River in Katmai National Park, in Alaska was captured with my Canon 1DX and rented 500mm lens.
National parks and protected lands are not immune from ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night. There are all sorts of scary stories out there about spooky forests, dark park roads, haunted inns, and lonely gravesites. In honor of Halloween, I’ve created a National Parks Quiz and Trivia piece which the National Parks Traveler has published in today’s edition.
If you feel like testing your ghostly knowledge while learning something that might raise the hairs on the back of your neck, then click on the image above.
According to one of my twin nephews, nobody uses wall calendars anymore when they can keep everything digitally on their computer and smartphones. I guess I’m old school, because I (and my sister, at least) still use calendars onto which we write everything. Plus, we love the beautiful scenes for each month.
So, here, for 2021, are four 12-month wall calendars filled with gorgeous images (at least, I think so) captured at three national parks, one national monument, and one national recreation area this year. I ended up safely traveling around to more places than I imagined I would this year, and four of those five places were new to me.
According to the National Park Service, there are over 5,000 miles of paved roads through the National Park System. Park roads (paved or unpaved) allow us to reach amazing vistas we might not otherwise see within a national park, national monument, or national recreation area. These roads are marvels of construction and merit a nod of appreciation to those builders who may have risked life and limb to ensure completion of that navigable ribbon of gravel or pavement.
So, my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is all about National Park unit roads, paved and unpaved, and what you can see along those roads. Why not test your knowledge of these roads by clicking on any of the photos. If you take the quiz, try to answer them first before looking at the answers at the bottom of the piece.
Let’s see: I managed to visit Crater Lake just prior to all the stupid stuff people started doing there, like illegally hiking (slipping, sliding, rolling) down the very steep rim of Crater Lake to get to the shore (FYI there’s only one legal place to get down to the shore and that’s the Cleetwood Cove Trail). I also managed to visit prior to people defacating along the shoreline of the lake, flicking their cigarette butts into the lake, throwing underwear into the lake, and bringing their little paddle boards and other illegal watercraft to navigate the lake (illegal watercraft can have invasives like quagga mussels encrusted on their bottoms), all of which pollute the pristine waters of this amazingly blue lake that only gets its water from rain and snow and no sort of creek, stream, or river.
There’s a new kind of visitor to the national parks since the coronavirus pandemic: those people who are used to going to Wally World and waterparks and theme parks where there are restrooms and trash cans and food kiosks. These people don’t know how to conduct themselves in a national park, where there may not be those little conveniences. Unfortunately, there are not enough ranger staff to educate the ignorant, so environmental destruction has run wild in these places. While I think it’s great that more people discover the joys of being outside and exploring national parks, it would help if they visited the NPS.gov sites for these national parks to learn what they can and cannot do and can and cannot bring and at least care a little bit about keeping parks in good shape for future visits.
Since that Crater Lake visit, I’ve taken a short, mid-August trip to the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park to fulfill a bucket list of goals such as photographing sunrise, sunset, and the Milky Way in that particular area of the park. I accomplished that and have written a photography article that should post late next week (Sept 4th) in the National Parks Traveler.
As for future plans, I am considering a trip in October to Redwoods National and State Parks to see (and photograph and report) if the California wildfires affected the redwoods there, but that remains up in the air at this point in time.
I still practice social distancing and wear a mask when out. Many people don’t do either, unfortunately. Until we have a valid, tested vaccine for Covid, I’ll continue doing that. Washington state has three face mask orders currently in place.
That’s pretty much it. In between writing photo articles and creating national parks quiz and trivia pieces for the Traveler, I help out around the house and yard and plan for future trips I may or may not take.
For those of you who travel to national parks and protected lands, you can now identify yourself as a national parks traveler With a donation to the Traveler of $50 or more, you’ll receive an American-made Liberty Bottleworks double-wall water bottle with the Traveler logo and an image of Grand Teton National Park captured by yours truly.
The Traveler is a non-profit institute that needs your help to continue publishing daily articles (with no paywall) about our national parks and protected lands. No other news organization does that – they only publish articles about big issues that will grab the eye, like a person being gored by a bison in Yellowstone or falling off a cliff in the Grand Canyon. Not many organizations – if any, other than the Traveler – will publish stories about satellites being used for wildfire detection in Denali National Park & Preserve, or the Traveler Special Reports about climate change and invasive plants and animals within the parks, or how continued retreat of glaciers at Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve could force park staff to choose between protecting Johns Hopkins Bay for seal pupping or opening more of it up for cruise ships.
Make a donation, get a bottle, and capture a photo of yourself with the water bottle in a national park and the Traveler may publish it as a Park Photo of the Week on the Traveler’s website to show that you, too, are a national parks traveler and you’re helping the Traveler continue to publish stories about these special places within our nation.
To see where you can make a donation and get a Traveler water bottle, click on the image above.
Yahoo! The Great American Outdoors Act has been passed! So, now what? How will that $1.3 billion a year over the next 5 years be spent, and who gets the money? Remember, there are 419 units in the National Park System.
The National Parks Traveler has an interesting article asking that very question. Go check it out.
To read the article, click on the image above.
As for that image, I had arrived at the Crater Lake Lodge area around 4:00 a.m. and realized it was too cloudy to get any pre-dawn star shots. So, I sat in the car for awhile before finally venturing out to find the steps leading to the overlook, then setting up my tripod and camera for Blue Hour, sunrise, and after-sunrise shots.
I used my Sony Alpha 7R IV camera and 16-35mm lens for this shot.
The Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park provides some of my favorite views for photography in this national park. And I’ve included this with a number of other national park fave spots in this month’s photography column published by National Parks Traveler. Go check out the article to see if my faves are your faves.
To read the article and view the photos, click on the image above.
It may come as absolutely no surprise, but Covid-19 has not prevented people from traveling hundreds of miles to visit a national park. So says an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.
To read the article, click on the image above.
Yes, I’m going to visit Crater Lake National Park in less than a week. I’m going to be armed with: masks (lots of them, thanks to my sister’s sewing abilities), disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, my own food (I’m not eating out anywhere) that does not require anything more than the addition of hot water, and plenty of social distancing (I’m not a people person, so I was practicing social distancing long before it was the norm). My goal for this trip is not only to enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous scenery, and to bring back photos and material for articles for the National Parks Traveler, but to also demonstrate that it is possible to have a safe trip to a national park, as long as one practices social distancing and wears a mask.
Right now, the White House is discrediting Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the foremost epidemiologists around. Of course, I think everybody in the WH, including POTUS, are fucking liars, traitors, crooks, and nutbags (if you haven’t read my About Me, then I guess you are just now learning where my politics lean). In defense of Dr. Fauci, he and all the other doctors and scientists knew very little about the coronavirus during the first of the year, so of course, all of them were making points based upon the data they had at the time. Now, because of all the illnesses and deaths, they know much more about how this horrible virus works. It’s not a hoax, folks.
To that end, I made my own YouTube video about wearing a mask. I actually got the idea from watching a Tik Tok video by Bill Nye the Science Guy, who did a simple demonstration of the effectiveness of wearing a cloth fabric, 2-layer mask.
Now, if you decide to view my video, please, please bear in mind that I’m short, dumpy, overweight, out-of-shape, and when I don’t smile, I look like my Aunt Doris (sigh). Also bear in mind that, due to my not being the most telegenic person in the world, I come off as being more than a bit self-righteous … although, come to think of it, I am self-righteous, just like my sister and the rest of my family. And that’s not a bad thing, imo.
Have I gotten trolled over the mask? Hell yeah! Do I care? Hell no! The main thing is that the experiment is cool, my sister feels vindicated over the masks she’s made / making (right now, I have enough masks to wear a different one every day for at least 2 weeks, if not more), and I feel good about protecting others. Am I protected? Well, while I’ve read studies showing that mask wearers seem to get a more diluted version of the virus when confronted by non-mask wearing covid-infected idiots, I’m really more protected if others wear a mask, too.
So, please, wear a damned mask. It shouldn’t be a political thing. It should be all about how much you care about your health, the health of your family, and the health of those around you … even the health of people you don’t really like.
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