Nature does a fine job at making her own Christmas tree, don’t you think? I photographed this lovely, snow-frosted evergreen along the side of the road in Mount Rainier National Park.
And, since it’s Fun Fact Friday as well as Christmas Day, here’s a little bit of Mount Rainier tree trivia for you: The trees in this park extend all the way up to over 6,000 feet along the mountain flanks (over 1,800 meters, more or less). Forests cover approximately 58% of this national park. And most of the trees here are evergreen conifers, meaning they have needles and they keep their needles on their branches year-round.
If you’re thinking of getting out in the parks this winter with mask, hand sanitizer, and camera in hand, then you’ll want to read my annual winter photo column published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. It might be a bit redundant if you read last year’s photo column, but a little winter photography refresher never hurts, right?
Happy first day of winter! Is it snowing where you are? It’s raining here and going to be 55 degrees, which is unusually warm for my part of Washington state this time of year. Feels odd. It’s supposed to start getting chillier tomorrow.
The shot above was captured 3 years ago, in January, along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I was trying out new snowshoes (and having a devil of a time with the straps), and of course lugging a loaded camera pack with me, so I ultimately did not get too very far. The view, nonetheless, was pretty nice. There were a few cross-country skiers who zipped on past me that morning, but overall, not many others venturing outside, which was just fine by me.
Even though it’s a Monday, I hope your first day of winter is a good one.
It’s #FunFactFriday so I thought I’d write about the geology seen in Big Bend National Park (Texas). The Chisos Mountains (part of which you see in the image above) are volcanic in origin. One of those volcanic things you’ll see while driving the road through the park are intrusive dikes. Igneous means the rock is volcanic in origin. Dikes are igneous, and they are called “intrusive” because the magma intrudes upon and into the existing rock layers above it. You can see a long stretch of dikes exposed and sticking up out of the ground in this shot. The rocks around the dikes eroded away, leaving those flat-looking walls of rock, sort of like a zig-zaggy-edged rock fence running over the hillsides and up into the mountain flanks.
I’m looking through past Big Bend (as well as other parks) images to see if there are shots I have not edited, or – at the time – didn’t do as good a job of editing. I honestly can’t remember if I ever posted this image or not, back in 2013 (can it be 7 years ago??) captured during my December visit to this national park in southwest Texas. It was my first (out of four) trips there.
On my next-to-last day in Zion National Park, I happened upon a flock (actually, it’s called a “rafter”) of wild turkeys. I first encountered them along the road through the park and thought that was pretty cool and I was tickled to have seen them then. Then, during a hike where I was crossing the bridge from Sand Bench Trail toward the Court of Patriarchs, I found a flock – er – rafter – of them hanging out around a park maintenance building. I had the best time walking along with them, photographing them. They weren’t the least bit afraid of me and that’s where I learned they can actually fly – enough to get up into a tree, at least. Wild turkeys, for all their grizzled faces, are pretty cool birds to watch, and their feathers are beautiful.
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
It’s a gray, rainy, cold day here in my part of central Washington. So, I thought I’d post a black and white image, courtesy of a freezing winter’s day in Glacier National Park. Some landscapes were made for monochrome, like this view of the mountains from the icy shoreline of Lake McDonald.
May the day find you exploring someplace beautiful, camera in hand.
My friend and I would like to wish you all a Happy Winter Solstice. The morning after having had fun playing in the powdery snow the previous day, I woke and the weather was warmer and the snow was wet enough (because it was melting, to some extent) for me to very quickly roll together a lovely little snowlady. I didn’t really have enough time to spend with the details – the mouth and nose are wrapped chocolate candy kisses, and the – er – anatomical details are a couple of baubles I took from the Christmas tree. I let her borrow one of my hats. Because the weather kept getting warmer, the candy kisses kept falling out. The tripod was set up and I used my wireless remote. I’d get a photo and then realize her nose was on the ground, or part of her little smile had fallen, so I’d have to get another shot or two. And then, I noticed she was leaning, like the Tower of Pisa. It got worse as the day grew warmer. By the afternoon, with a temperature of 58 degrees F, there was nothing left of my friend except a couple of small piles of slush. Ah well, we had fun in the snow for a little bit and I can say I was able to make my snowman – er – snowlady.
I may be an SLR gal, but I freely admit that point-and-shoots are great at capturing national park images, too. When I am out in the parks, I always carry one of my two little point-and-shoots in my pocket. They are not only backup in case the photographic unthinkable happens, but they are great at getting macro shots.
This photo of a ponderosa pine growing atop a cross-bedded red-rock knoll (probably a little lithified sand dune) and framed by other trees, was captured with my Canon GX7 MkII. While it’s not the most sturdy of cameras around the lens area (the dainty little shutter blades that made up the “lens cap” and opened and closed when the camera was powered on and off broke off when the camera accidentally fell out of my vest pocket. Thankfully, it still works and I purchased a push-on lens cap to protect the lens.
So, don’t knock the point-and-shoots. They produce some nice little images, too.
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.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org