Tag Archives: photography

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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Filed under Channeled Scablands, Geology, Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

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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Filed under iPhone Photography, National Parks, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

A Sunrise For Your Saturday

A sunrise at Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado) – the edited version
Same image as above, unedited

Here’s a sunrise for your Saturday, courtesy of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

And now, class, here’s your lessons for today.

My editor wanted me to send him some images of cliff dwellings I’d captured during my visit to this national park some years ago (10 years, actually – same year I started volunteering photos and articles to the National Parks Traveler). As I was perusing all the images, I came across this sunrise shot photographed from the balcony of my room at the Far View Lodge. I noticed I’d never done anything with it – probably because I thought it wasn’t very good afterall, and because I didn’t have the editing skills to bring out the beauty of the shot. I did something that all of you should do with photos you don’t think are worth anything but that are technically ok (i.e. not blurred or really grainy): keep it until you have the skills to return to work on it.

I don’t care what anybody says, it’s my opinion that every image you capture needs some bit of tweaking. Sometimes, it needs quite a bit of tweaking to bring out what your eyes saw when you composed and captured the image. This image is a good example.

The original image is dark and muddy and has some extraneous junk in the corner (a part of the balcony roof) as well as a couple of sensor spots. I could have deleted the image and gone on about my business, but I chose to keep it (actually, I think I just passed by it and forgot about it for all these years). Now, some 10 years later, I’ve returned to work on it, and it’s not turned out too badly, I think. With improvement in my photo skills, I’ve been able to bring out details and color previously hidden, and cleaned up the composition as a whole.

You can do all this too. Just keep practicing and learning new editing skills, and don’t delete those photos you think are not that great. They might be real keepers.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mesa Verde National Park, National Parks, Photo Editing

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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Filed under National Parks, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel and Photography

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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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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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler

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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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Trivia Tuesday, Yosemite National Park

Road Trippin’

Road Trippin’ Through Oregon Landscape

Despite the price of gas, you should not be dissuaded ever from taking a road trip. You see far more, closer, than you would in a plane filled with maskless people hacking, coughing, and sneezing and prone to fits of rage. I should know. I have flown my share of miles over the years. Now, I drive to places I would not have thought to go, otherwise.

Road Trippin’ Up Washington Pass To North Cascades National Park
Road Trippin’ Along The Chisos Basin Road In Big Bend National Park

I read a great article this morning in the National Parks Traveler. It’s written by the Traveler’s Editor-in-Chief about his 2,500 mile road trip from his home in Utah to attend a family wedding. Along the way to and from, he stopped at four park units within the National Park System, in Kansas and Nebraska, America’s heartland. He’s written about these places before, but he acknowledges that it’s one thing to write about them, but another thing entirely to actually visit them and speak to the rangers helping to protect these pieces of history and landscape. There’s a visceral feeling and a certain amount of satisfaction in reaching your destination via a road trip as opposed to flying (although reaching your flight’s end in one piece and on time – more or less – is a visceral satisfaction of its own, too, I guess).

Anyway, these images represent road trips I’ve taken in my own SUV. These are trips I might not have driven had I not been able to finally afford a vehicle that would not only take me to these places, but allow me to pack what I want without having to worry about weight limits and, if I wanted, I could camp overnight in (sorry, poor grammar here).

You might want to read the Traveler’s article, yourself. It’s a good one and might urge you on your own road trip.

Just click on the very top image to be taken to the Traveler’s article.

Oh, I don’t plan on driving to Nebraska or Kansas or anyplace out East anytime soon, but it brings to mind the road trips I’ve recently taken in Washington state and Oregon, along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, and even my winter road trip to Yellowstone National Park.

I’ll be continuing my road trips as long as I am able to do so.

On Top Of Columnar Basalts At Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel

Photography In The National Parks: Exploration Along The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail

Dry Falls Vista

The National Parks Traveler has published my latest photo column. This month, it’s all about my day trip to Eastern Washington’s Dry Falls and Channeled Scablands landscape along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail.

To read the article, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Eastern Washington, Geology, Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Travel, Washington State