Tag Archives: National Parks Traveler

Photography And Trivia Tuesday

It’s #TriviaTuesday *and* my latest photo column has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler!

How many of you have ever heard of, or seen, columnar jointing? It’s a pretty cool geological formation that usually occurs with basaltic lava (as opposed to other lavas, although it’s happened with other mixes before). When lava begins to cool, it contracts, and when it contracts, it causes fracturing. This fracturing begins at the top and bottom and moves inward toward the center. Turns out (long story short) that the hexagonal pattern is the most efficient way for heat to be released when cooling. Columnar jointing occurs perpendicular to the original lava flow.

You can see really cool columnar jointing (aka columnar basalts) at places like Devils Postpile and Devils Tower national monuments. You can also see all sorts of columnar jointing along the Columbia River and in other parts of eastern Washington State, like at Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. And that’s what today’s photo column is all about: photography and exploration at Drumheller Channels.

Click on either the image above or the image below to read more and see more pics.

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Pika And Plague In Lassen Volcanic National Park

When you think of plague, what comes to mind? The Black Death of the mid 1300s? Certainly not cute, furry little mammals in a national park. And yet, plague is there. In national parks.

During my recent short visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park, I had the good fortune, thanks to the park’s superintendent and it’s chief of resources, to follow along with the park’s “pika crew” as they conducted field research on the extent of plague in the park, with emphasis on pika.

My article has been published as a feature story in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. To read the story, click on the image above.

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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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Photography In The National Parks: An Exploration Of The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail – Part 2

A view of Echo Basin from the South Alcove of Frenchman Coulee, Channeled Scablands, Eastern Washington

September is a two-for-one month regarding photo columns published in the National Parks Traveler. The first article was about smartphone photography. This article is about a photographic visit to Frenchman Coulee in Eastern Washington, a feature of the Channeled Scablands along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.

To read this article, click on the image above.

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Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 1

I admit to being an SLR-kind of gal, but I also admit that the smartphone camera is an amazing piece of technology and people are getting all sorts of really cool shots with their smartphones.

So in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler is my article about getting great smartphone (well, iPhone) shots using the photos I captured with my iPhone during the 3.5-mile hike of the Naches Peak Loop Trail at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

To read this article, 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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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #52: Water

A wake of water on Lake Chelan at Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, a part of the North Cascades National Park Complex in Washington state.

Water, water, everywhere … or maybe it’s water, water, used to be everywhere. Time to test your national parks knowledge and maybe learn something new with my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

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

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What’s With All These National Park System Units, Anyway?

Ever wondered what the difference is between a national park, a national monument, a national recreation area, etc?

The other day, during a Zoom meeting, a member asked if a national park was a single unit. Another member wondered if people understood the difference between different units within the National Park System. Heck, I write about national park units I’ve visited and sometimes I need a little primer. So, I wrote an article for the National Parks Traveler about the differences between units found within the National Park System.

To read the article, click on the image above.

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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