Or maybe I should have titled this post “The Lure Of The Trail.” Both are appropriate and actually meld into one another. I love leading lines – they are my favorite theme – and my favorite type of leading line is a trail. That trail leads the viewer’s eye deeper into the composition and onward to whatever adventure awaits. And trails within forests are my favorite, if for no other reason than the forest’s interior glow surrounded by green and brown shadows.
All of the images above were captured with my Sony Alpha 7riv and a 16-35mm lens during my 2020 October visit to Redwood National and State Parks. And all of these images were captured along one of the many trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California. The tops of the trees are veiled a little bit in mist, as this trip was during the height of all the wildfires in California. Smoke drifted in from everywhere.
I look back as some of my photos and wish I could revisit a particular landscape and capture the same scene with my newer-model cameras (bear in mind, newer-model also includes the high-megapixel Canons I’ve had since 2016). Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah is one such place, and this is one such scene.
I photographed this landscape back in 2013 (8 years ago – has it been that long – or that short – of a period of time??). The February winter midday light was harsh, but the distant snow/rain storm was pretty cool. I’d like to go back and see how much more detail and dynamic range my current cameras could pick up. Maybe someday, I’ll do just that.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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As you wander along the trails, marveling at these very tall coastal redwood trees in Redwood National and State Parks, you’ll notice all sorts of interesting knots and bumps and “molten wood sculptures” around the bases of these trees. Those are burls and are another way for the redwoods to sprout new growth, in addition to growing from seeds the size of a tomato seed. The ranger told me burl sprouts occur usually during some sort of traumatic event like a fire.
So, if you find yourself roaming the trails in this series of parks, take a look at the bases of these trees, photograph those burls, and notice whether or not you see any sort of growth from those “bumps.”
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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Yahoo! The Great American Outdoors Act has been passed! So, now what? How will that $1.3 billion a year over the next 5 years be spent, and who gets the money? Remember, there are 419 units in the National Park System.
The National Parks Traveler has an interesting article asking that very question. Go check it out.
To read the article, click on the image above.
As for that image, I had arrived at the Crater Lake Lodge area around 4:00 a.m. and realized it was too cloudy to get any pre-dawn star shots. So, I sat in the car for awhile before finally venturing out to find the steps leading to the overlook, then setting up my tripod and camera for Blue Hour, sunrise, and after-sunrise shots.
I used my Sony Alpha 7R IV camera and 16-35mm lens for this shot.
It’s the weekend! Where will the trails take you? Will you be hiking into adventure or staying closer to home. Wherever you will be, have fun, stay safe, and, if you *are* out hiking, then pack out what you pack in.
This image was captured at the beginning of my walk through the Hall of Mosses Trail in Olympic National Park during my August 2019 visit. The boardwalk made a perfect leading line, and I was hurrying with my camera and 14mm lens to get a nice, wide-angle shot of the boardwalk, the trees in the distance, and the couple on the trail before they disappeared within the shadows of the forest. I thought the two people made a nice bit of scale and reference to the scene.
Summer is a nice time to visit this park, believe it or not. There were lots of people, but nothing compared to the masses I encountered when visiting Yellowstone National Park the previous August of 2018. If you get out early enough, you’ll escape the crowds that appear later in the morning and afternoon.
Artist Paint Pots Geothermal Basin with Mount Holmes in the distance, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
It’s a short walk along a well-trod path to get to the boardwalk beginning the loop around the Artist Paint Pots basin. As I stepped onto the boardwalk, I passed a couple of men talking to each other. Another friend approached and they told him that their wives were off looking at the sights while they remained there, since they were not that enthused about the area. Lo and behold, as I passed the men, their wives returned and one of them said sarcastically “Well, that was a blast.” They were not impressed, either.
I don’t know what those two couples were expecting, but I have a feeling they have not been reading my photo column in the National Parks Traveler, where I urge people to 1) keep their expectations on the low side since it’s likely they will not see exactly what they expect to see, and 2) observe what is around them. Really *look* at where they are and what they see. I am assuming that the couples, like many other people who come to this area, were a little jaded and didn’t stop to think about what they were standing upon: thin crust with a busy geothermal system beneath them. It’s amazing that we can enter a national park that is so geologically active. How many other places in the world can you see so many active geysers, hot springs and fumeroles all in one area? How many other places can you actually hear the hissing of the steam and see the bubbling water and mud pots? I know there are some, but I’ll wager not that many that you can actually get to. When you are someplace like Artist Paint Pots, you are walking beside geysers and hot springs with boiling or near-boiling water.
These couples probably did not appreciate the many colorful hot springs around them (hence the name “Artist Paint Pots”), or the panoramic view that included a snow-iced Mount Holmes in the far distance.
I brought with me the mindset of a geologist and photographer, so I saw beauty everywhere I walked in that small basin. As a matter of fact, that’s what I told a retired gentleman and his wife as he approached the trailhead, with a daughter and active 6-year old in tow. He stopped me and said: “Two questions: how far to get there and is it worth it?” I told him I thought it was worth it but I was seeing everything through a geologic and photographic background. I then told him about the reactions of those two couples. I told him that I’d also seen another couple with their 4-year old child who was managing the walk and the uphill climb to the bridge overlook (which is where I stood to take this photo) with no problems. I said to him that they’d have to judge for themselves as to whether or not the hike and the view were worth it. I certainly thought both were.
It’s Waterfall Wednesday! So here’s a photo I took during my recent trip to Olympic National Park. It’s Marymere Falls, an easy .7-mile (one-way) hike on a well-trafficked trail behind the Storm King Ranger Station just a hop and a skip from Lake Crescent Lodge.
I talk about photographing Marymere Falls as well as Sol Duc Falls in my next installment of the Armchair Photography Guide for Olympic National Park, to be published Oct 1st in the National Parks Traveler site, so be on the lookout for Part 2 – The Forests. I mention this now because I’ll be in Yellowstone National Park at that time and don’t know what kind of internet service I’ll have around there.
In the meantime, this shot, taken at the upper level of the overlook, demonstrates the “silky water” technique and making use of the surrounding ferns for natural framing around the photo subject.
I was so darned tickled with myself for staying up and capturing the summer sunset on this beach while I was there. I was still wide awake and decided to stick around a little longer. I had a feeling there will continue to be some sort of light show as the sun produced a “last hurrah” of color, and I was right.
I needed my camera on tripod in order to open up the shutter and let the light in. Because the shutter was slower, I might have shaken things up for a blurry photo if I’d handheld the camera. Besides, the slower shutter speed meant the water in Kalaloch Creek (what you see below) would become more “silky.”
The moral of this story is that you should always stay a little longer after sunset. You’ll either get an afterglow like you see here, or you’ll at least photograph the coming of the “blue hour.”
I was hiking along the Rim Trail between Sunset Point and Lower Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park when the summer monsoon clouds started to arrive, providing thunder, lightning and subsequent rain. I captured this shot before hotfotting it back along the trail to the lodge cabins, where I took shelter from the storm.
A bacterial vein leading from a geothermal pool at Biscuit Basin, Yellowstone National Park
During my road trip move from Texas to central Washington, I stopped off for a couple of days at Yellowstone National Park … in August …
While summer in this national park is filled with great weather, it’s also filled with crowds, crowds, crowds. To the point where parking is slim-to-none. Luckily for me, I did manage to snag a parking spot at Biscuit Basin, and began to explore and enjoy the first day of my first visit to America’s first national park.
Bacterial mats and veins trailing from hot springs made bright, colorful leading lines, like the one in this photo here.
I’m heading back to Yellowstone in the fall, when – I hope – crowds will be fewer and I’ll find more parking spaces at places I never got to see during my first visit.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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