Tag Archives: spring

April Showers Bring May Flowers Part II

Here’s another spring (and summer and maybe even fall) flower you’ll see in quite a few national parks: Indian paintbrush (aka scarlet paintbrush, magenta paintbrush, pumice paintbrush, etc. etc.). Here’s an interesting little fact that you would have picked up if you’d read my National Parks Quiz and Trivia Piece #28: the paintbrush flower is quite opportunistic, digging its roots into neighboring plants to steal their nutrients. This plant, therefore, is hemiparasitic – it has chlorophyll, so it doesn’t get all of its nutrition from other plants.

The next time you are out in a park, or even when you look alongside the road and you spy a paintbrush flower, look around to see if there are other flowers nearby. You’ll usually (not always, but usually) see Indian, scarlet, magenta, or pumice paintbrush quite close to other flowers and plants.

Oh, and if you are interested in looking at that wildflower quiz, then click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under flowers, National Parks, Photography

National Parks Quiz and Trivia #28 – The Spring Wildflower Edition

Blooming claret cup cactus in Big Bend National Park (Texas)

It’s time to test your knowledge with my latest quiz and trivia piece published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It’s all about spring wildflowers in the national park system. See just how much you know and maybe learn something new.

To take the quiz, click on the image above. After you’ve finished with the quiz, take a look at the other articles in today’s edition of the Traveler, while you are at it.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under flowers, National Parks, National Parks Quiz, National Parks Traveler, Photography

Steps Up The Trail

A leading line shot, Flood of Fire Trail, Foree Area, Sheep Rock Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

It’s Saturday, folks! Or does it matter? For the past year, the days have all run together and I’m glad I have a calendar (a real paper one, no less) to which I can refer and find out what day it actually is ;).

This photo is looking up the very short .4-mile round trip Flood of Fire Trail in the Foree Area of the Sheep Rock Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, in Oregon. It was the last trip I made pre-pandemic, before things shut down. Not the last trip I made during the entire year, mind you, but the last regular trip I made prior to Covid.

Anyway, if you are ever looking for a nice little road trip to make, a trip to any of the three units within this national monument will allow you to stretch your legs, since the few trails in each of the units are short. I really wish there were more, longer trails, but I have a feeling that perhaps, national monuments don’t get quite the love (or money) that national parks get. Then again, national monuments probably don’t get the visitor headaches that national parks get – or do they?

Last year, I saw a post, either on Facebook or Instagram, by this national monument asking that people park responsibily in the Painted Hills Unit. Apparently there was a crowding issue, brought on by people wanting to get out and away from Covid for a little bit. Many of those people were probably the kind who are only accustomed to water parks or theme parks, and a trip to an actual, outdoor, in-the-wild-type park unit is a new experience for them – an experience for which they don’t know how to practice the Leave No Trace etiquette.

But, I digress. Central Oregon is a place of winding roads, slower driving (so as not to hit the cattle ranging freely), stunning geology, awesome landscapes for your camera, but few large towns or gas stations. If you prepare accordingly, it’s a great excuse for a road trip.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Parks, Oregon, Photography, Sony Alpha a7r IV, Travel

Fun Fact Friday 3-12-2021

Velvet Landscape, Painted Hills Unit
Folds Of Velvet – A Telephoto Landscape

Here;s a wide-angle and a telephoto shot of the same area in the Painted Hills Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in east-central Oregon. The telephoto image focuses more on those beautiful folds of maroon and olive hills, which was the objective with the telephoto shot. This is also to prove you can get some really nice telephoto landscapes, too. Telephotos are not just for wildlife, birds, and sports.

It’s #FunFactFriday , so here’s some interesting facts about this national monument located in Oregon. There are three units in this national monument, and each unit is about an hour’s drive from any other of the two units (the roads are winding so it’s important to drive the actual speed limit). The monument, as a whole, contains fossils of plants and animals that date back as far as 44 million years. The varigated colors of the hills denote periods of climate change, between wetter and drier periods. The darker colors of the hills represent wetter atmospheres, in which water oxidized (rusted) the iron minerals within the soils.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, National Parks, Oregon, Photography, telephoto lens, Travel

It’s Fun Fact Friday 11-27-2020

Our neighbor to the North sure has some pretty national parks of its own, don’t you think? And since it’s #FunFactFriday here are some pieces of trivia about Banff National Park:

Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park. The mountains in this park are believed to be between 45 and 120 million years old. Before Europeans came into the region, this area had been inhabited by the Peigen, Kootenay, Stoney, and Kainai aboriginal peoples, to name a few.

This image was captured off of the Icefields Parkway, while on my way from Banff National Park into Jasper National Park. Even in April, when it’s spring in the lower elevations, it’s still winter in the higher elevations of the mountains.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Banff National Park, Canada, Fun Fact Friday, National Parks, Photography, Travel

Photography In The National Parks: Back In Business Again

Forest Magic in the lower elevations

My photo article has been published on the National Parks Traveler. Usually, my columns are published a little closer to the end of the month, but this one is different in that it deals with what you might see if you happen to visit Mount Rainier National Park anytime soon, since it’s reopened the road from the Nisqually entrance to Paradise.

To read the article, click on the image above.

As for this photo – the rain was pelting down as I got out of the car with my camera. I captured this image handheld because it was a pain to get out the tripod and set it up in the downpour. Even my camera’s rain protection was beginning to get saturated, and my bangs were plastered to my forehead. Yes, I did wear a rainjacket but didn’t pull the hood over my head because water kept dropping from the hood onto the camera. It was a mess and I was lucky to get this shot.

This was using my Nikon D850 and 24-120 lens. This is the lens that I won’t ever use again because out of all the shots I took with it, only this and one other image turned out. I’d read about problems with this lens but didn’t think it would happen to me. I guess sort of like people thinking coronavirus won’t happen to them. I *thought* everything was hunky dory after doing some lens calibration, but apparently not. Live and learn. Better to have this happen with a nearby park trip than next month’s Crater Lake trip.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks, Travel, Travel and Photography, Washington State

It’s Fun Fact Friday 2/21/2020!

The View Along Lost Mine Trail - 14mm

The view along the Lost Mine Trail, Big Bend National Park, in Texas

Hey folks, it’s Fun Fact Friday! Here are some interesting facts for you about Big Bend National Park, in Texas.

  • There are over 60 species of cactus, 450 species of birds, 1,200 plant species, and 3,600 insect species found in this national park.
  • The name Big Bend comes from a bend in the Rio Grande River, which runs along the park boundary.
  • In 2012, the park was named an International Dark Sky Park, which means it’s awesome for star gazing.

I first visited this national park in 2013 and made 4 more trips there before moving out of Texas. I visited during the winter and spring, when the temperatures were at their most ambient. Late spring was awesome for blooming cactus. And, speaking of visiting, Big Bend is entering it’s busy season, so if you are planning to travel there anytime soon, you’d probably better have alternate lodging plans in case you can’t find an available campsite, according to an article published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler.

To read more of that article, click on the image at the top of this post.

Strawberry Pitaya Bloom

A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Canon, flowers, Fun Fact Friday, Landscape, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Texas, Travel, winter

Dawn Along The Seashore

Dawn Along The Seashore

How about a nice, peaceful, beach scene colored by the blush of “rosy-fingered dawn” to start your weekend? I have a feeling dawn won’t be as pretty where I live – it’s been overcast with a low cloud ceiling for the past few days.

Padre Island National Seashore in Texas is a great place to watch the sun rise. I got there at dark-thirty a.m. and just watched the play of colors over the sky and Gulf of Mexico, as the shore birds pattered along the water’s edge looking for breakfast.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

 

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Canon, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, Canon Lens, National Parks, nature, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Seasons, Spring, sunrise, Texas, Travel

The Geometry of Nature

Water And Woods On A Rainy May Day CROP

When we go out into nature with our cameras, our attention is grabbed by geometry, whether we realize it or not. We are fascinated by patterns, lines, arcs, angles, circles and ellipses.

In this particular image, the first thing catching my attention on that rainy morning in Mount Rainier National Park were the tall trees standing at attention next to that somewhat-arc of a swiftly-flowing stream.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 24-105mm, 5DS, Canon, Canon Lens, Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, nature, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Travel, Washington State, weather

Have A Safe (But Adventurous) Memorial Day Weekend!

Sunrise Over The Tatoosh Range

What are your plans for this Memorial Day weekend? My plans are to stay at home and work on another article for the National Parks Traveler. My nice little 3-day trip was last week, before the hordes ascended upon Mount Rainier National Park. This past Thursday, while grocery shopping at the local Fred Meyer, I drove past the Fred Meyer gas station and saw all sorts of RVs lined up for gasoline. Some of them even towed boats behind them. All were getting ready for their trips out into Nature. I will admit, the nice thing about living in central Washington is that I’m so close to so many beautiful places for R&R.

This shot was taken after the sun had risen a bit above the horizon. Mount Rainier behind me was still hidden by the clouds, so I concentrated my camera lens on the Tatoosh Mountains in front of me, in the Paradise area. At the time I captured this shot, there was only one other person out there some distance away – another photographer using his telephoto lens. Getting out in the early morning is a great way to start a day of photography, because most people are not yet up, so it feels like you have the entire place to yourself.

For those of you who celebrate Memorial Day (mainly the U.S., I guess), have a safe and enjoyable 3-day weekend.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 24-105mm, Canon, Canon Lens, Memorial Day, Mt. Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Travel, Washington State