It’s what you do when you are a photographer taking a break from shoveling the driveway. And yes, it’s single malt.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
Just another Friday morning, up at the crack of dawn and headed out the door at 4am to beat the traffic heading north into Houston. After opening the door, I looked around me and saw that it was SNOWING! In SOUTHEAST Texas! All thoughts of leaving for work left my brain as I grabbed my Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f1.2 lens to get some shots of this rarity. I mean, snow on palm ferns is pretty weird, ya gotta admit.
Dear Northerners: before you roll your eyes over my excitement (and the excitement of everybody from Kingwood to Houston to Katy to Clute to Galveston), please allow me to explain to you: in southeast Texas, I am currently living closer to the equator than the North Pole. It once snowed about 8 inches on Christmas Eve in my town back in 2004, and then it snowed a teeny bit (and I do mean teeny) in 2009 – more north than south. Snow is, indeed, rare, in my neck of the woods, and for many living around here, this is the only chance they may ever get to actually see, feel and even taste snow (I’m serious).
For me, it was a reminder of beautiful winter scenes I’ve photographed in previous years, and beautiful winter scenes I hope to photograph in the future. It was early in the morning, quiet, and utterly beautiful.
Tech specs: ISO between 1000-1250, shutter speed 25-30, aperture f4-f5.6, handheld, burst method.
An afternoon view from the south end of Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana.
In a roundabout way, I owe this 3-day jaunt (not counting the day to get there and the day to return to TX) to my company taking away a “floating holiday” (to be used at each employee’s discretion). I always used those floating holidays in conjunction with a planned vacation. In return, the company gave to us what the masses apparently wanted: Martin Luther King Day.
Hey, I have absolutely nothing against MLK day. A holiday is a holiday. But I much preferred that floating holiday to use as I wished, versus a “fixed” holiday. So, I decided in an I’ll-show-them sort of way to take a long weekend and head on out someplace away from Texas (all of my vacations are taken away from this state in which I’d rather not be). I’d been hankering for some winter weather, instead of the humid 78-degree weather here in SE Texas (I want my winters to look and feel like winter, dammit). To that end, I flew to Montana and snow shoed in Glacier National Park.
It was heaven on earth, despite the sub-zero temps.
-4 degrees F and frost on the tripod.
Colorful icicles off the side of Hwy 2 just before entering Hungry Horse, on the way to the park.
Some very long icicles at the West Glacier entrance to the park. I look like a bright pink beluga whale but I’m definitely warm.
Moon set during the pre-dawn hours at Lake McDonald. It was silent except for the ice cracking and the distant hooting of an owl.
The look of sub-zero at Lake McDonald.
A frosty sunrise at Lake McDonald. The mountains were still in hiding that morning.
Scenes while snow shoeing near Lake McDonald Lodge in the park. The lodge was as far as the Going-To-The-Sun Road was open.
Late afternoon brought out the mountains, along with some clear skies and lake reflections.
So, thank you, Company, for the MLK Day, because if you had not taken away a floating holiday and given us this day off instead, I doubt I would have given second thought to a deep-winter photography trip to Glacier National Park. And that would have been a shame.
Good night, Glacier National Park. See you in September 2017.
2012 ended for me on a high note: I spent a wonderful White Christmas with my sister, brother-in-law, and all of their assorted kids and grandkids. While I was there, I photographed a beautiful wedding of two awesome people. I’ve been published, both photographically and in written form (a dream come true for me). I’ve traveled to some neat places like Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, and Arches National Park. I’m still employed. I have neat camera gear. I have some great friends. And, I have a family who I love very much, and who loves me. Of course there have been low points, but that’s a given for everybody. The high points outweighed any low points, that’s for sure.
So here’s to a New Year that I hope will be every bit as great as this year has been. I have a trip already planned and paid for in February, another trip in the works, a possible new venture about which I am keeping my fingers crossed, and more columns to publish in the National Parks Traveler website.
I wish all of you the very best for 2013, and I hope that your dreams come to fruition and you have a year filled with love, contentment, happiness, and success.
From me to you:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Sometimes, you need to listen to that little voice inside your head. Usually, I don’t, but today, I did. And I’m glad.
Day 3 of my Washington State vacation saw me heading toward the Longmire entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park. I had a reservation for two nights at the National Park Inn. I love staying in historic park lodges. No, they aren’t 5-star hotels – they are very basic with no bells or whistles and usually no television or phone and definitely no internet service. But, they are always rich with park history.
April means The Mountain still has quite a bit of snow, making access to many places difficult to well nigh impossible. I’d already stayed at the Paradise Lodge, so I figured staying someplace a little lower in elevation would allow me to hike around without having to resort to cross-country skis (back in the day, I loved downhill skiing, but was a terrible alpine skier).
Naturally, I arrived at the National Park Inn way too early for check-in, having left my Seattle hotel around 7AM that morning (it only takes 2 hours to get to the Longmire entrance). So, I figured I’d try to drive up to the Paradise area to see how it looked covered with snow; I’d visited during the fall, when the huckleberry bushes were brilliant oranges and reds, and the sky was a deep, dark blue.
The best adjective I have to describe the day is: “bleak”. The sky was a hazy white. The cloud cover was high enough in altitude to not hide Mt. Rainer and surrounding mountains, but basically, the scenery was white on white, with a little bit of dark from the treeline and the rocks sticking out of the snow.
I realized I was fighting an uphill battle when my attempt to hike to Narada Falls was a total bust before even leaving the parking lot. The snow level reached above my head and I had no snow shoes (perhaps I should invest in a pair, although I do live in southeast Texas where snow shoes do nothing but make for an interesting wall decoration). Then, I heard a little voice inside my head telling me to head back down in elevation, away from the hues of white, and toward the multitudinous hues of green deep within the shadowy forest.
So, I did.
I parked, pulled out my tripod and cameras, set things up, then just stood there.
The forest is still and silent, yet alive with the sounds of nature: birdsong, wind blowing through the trees, the creak of the trees as they bend in the wind, the drip of moisture from the leaves to the ground, the flow of water from countless meltwater springs and rivulets.
I captured images I would not have thought to photograph had I not listened to that little inner voice telling me to leave the white-on-white.
Do yourself a favor – listen occasionally to that little voice inside your head because it may well lead you to the best images of the day.