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.
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.
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.
A strawberry pitaya bloom, Big Bend National Park, in Texas
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.
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.
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.
The National Parks Traveler has published my Feature Story of the Paradise Inn Annex renovation. If you are planning a trip to Mount Rainier National Park and want to stay at the Inn, then check out this story to read about the amazing undertaking to renovate this historic Annex. To read the story, click on the image above.
I thought the time for iris blooms was over, since it is one day away from May and even the daffodils are gone, and the tulips, while still around, are waning in my yard. Guess I was wrong! The first thing I thought when I saw these lovely yellow iris on the side lawn was Arya, in GOT, saying “Not today,” when asked what she would say to Death.
The iris will shrivel up “not today,”
P.S. Instead of using a macro lens for my flower close ups, I like to use my telephoto lenses. This image was captured with a Canon 1DX Mk II and a 100-400mm lens.
The tulips are now blooming. Our house only has small patches of them in yellow, red, and the striped orange & gold you see here. I believe they are my favorite flowers, although I do like the colorful calla lilies, too, and fragrant sweet peas. I’m posting this bit of sunshine because I think it’s supposed to be a little overcast today. That’s ok. I finished sweeping up the shop roof yesterday and trimmed the overhanging branches. And don’t worry – I was very careful. I have a slight fear of heights – well, maybe more than slight, since there is no way in hell I would ever hike that last half mile on the Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park 😉😟🗻
This photo is brought to you by my 100-400mm telephoto lens, then cropped a little more. I used to own a macro lens but realized I didn’t use it much. So, I traded it in for a different lens. And this is a lesson to you in how to get close-up “pseudo-macro” shots using just your telephoto lens on an SLR or telephoto setting on a point-and-shoot camera.
After a search on Google, I discovered that the spindly, dead-looking “bush” out there that keeps sprouting these long-petaled blooms is called a Star Magnolia! This is certainly not the same kind of magnolia that I used to see blooming in southeast Texas, that’s for sure. I learned there are actually 8 species of magnolia. I might have to go out, now, and take a sniff to see if these blooms are fragrant (and hopefully not trigger any spring allergy).
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