Tag Archives: women

Women, National Parks, Solo Travel – At Any Age

Becky at the boundary line between North Cascades National Park and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (Washington)

I originally wrote this in honor of International Women’s Day, but really, this is for any day of the year, any year, and definitely for all women of any age. When I wrote this on my Facebook photography page, it was March 8, “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” I may not have accomplished as much as other women (I’m pretty certain I’ll never climb Mt. Everest or photograph a mother whale and her calf beneath the ocean’s surface), yet I feel I’ve achieved quite a bit in my almost-62 years of life. At least, in certain areas. And the photos you see here prove it. This post here, is just for the ladies, as a matter of fact. No, I’m not eschewing the men in your lives, but on this particular day, here’s to the ladies. And ladies – here’s a little bit of advice: travel solo on occasion.

Becky heading into the Quinault Rainforest at Olympic National Park (Washington)

Ladies, travel ignites the sparks of learning, imagination, and creativity. Solo travel does that in addition to highlighting strengths, accomplishments, and maybe even pointing out areas needing improvement. Yes, there is always risk with solo travel. In truth, there’s risk with just about everything in life, from job to relationships to planning your future. The main thing is that at least once in your life, you should strike out on a brand new adventure all by yourself.

Becky on the Grinnell Glacier Trail in Glacier National Park – my very first photo workshop and first photo adventure back in 2008

Take me, for instance. Yeah, it’s all about me (snort), but hey, it’s my photography page and they say to always write about what you know.

To get all these images you’ve seen here, I can thank the internet. I can also thank trains, planes, and automobiles. I travel with my cameras to units of the National Park System all over the U.S. and even into Canada. Solo. And I love it. As a matter of fact, I think solo travel for women is empowering. I’ve traveled solo pretty much all my life, excluding a few group photo workshops here and there. I prefer solo travel because it allows me to do what I want, when I want, where I want, how I want. I can stop at a view area photographing for as long as I like, breathing in the beauty of the landscape or watching in awe a herd of bison navigate across a valley. I can eat whatever I want, stay where ever I want (well, where ever I can afford), and pack whatever I want (now that I drive instead of fly). I don’t have to worry about a bored traveling partner who wants to stop sooner than I like, who wants to do something other than what I want to do, who doesn’t want to eat where I want to eat – you get the gist. No, I’m not dissing group travel, which can be a rich experience in and of itself. I’ve had grand times with group photo tours. I’m simply telling you that the energizing experience of traveling includes solo travel. It’s good to strike off on your own, now and then, and do something for yourself. Do what you want to do.

Sure, solo travel can be a bit daunting, particularly for women. It doesn’t matter if you’ve traveled by yourself for years or if you are just starting out. Traveling by oneself means paying closer attention to safety and security. You need to check those rental car tires yourself. Get good locks for your luggage. Carry important items such as wallets or passports in a jacket or vest pocket on your body. Carry bear spray. Carry a whistle. Make noise when hiking. Yes, they say you should never hike alone, but when I’m traveling, I’m not going to stand around waiting to tag along with strangers who might not want a third wheel. As a solo traveler, I’m responsible for my own safety, and I have no problems changing my hiking itinerary if warranted.

As I grow older, I find myself slowing down a little more, taking more breaks along the trail, gauging my level of fitness when tackling a slightly more strenuous trail. But as long as I can continue traveling solo, with camera in hand, I’m going to do just that.

FYI – these images of myself were captured with the camera on a tripod and me holding either a wireless remote or using the camera’s 10-second self-timer.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Photography, Travel

A Wedding In Galveston – The Bride Getting Ready

Taking A Break

Judging by the room Josh and Maegan had, I’d say the San Luis Resort penthouse suites are – well –  sweet 😉

I entered with all of my gear, set it out of the way of the ladies in the room, and began picking up cups and plates off of the coffee table and moving chairs and other things around the room to make space for forthcoming photo ops. I decided there would be no need for any flash as the ambient light from the balcony windows mixed nicely with the interior shadows. The bride finally returned from the salon and the photography process began.  And this, folks is where the art of photography really comes into play when capturing the beauty of the Bride and her Ladies.

Bridesmaids On The Couch

Bride and Bridesmaids Robes

I first saw Maegan in her little “Bride” robe when she waltzed down to the salon for her hair appointment. She told me the bridesmaids and matron of honor each had robes as well only they were in the bride’s color (aqua) with white embroidery writing on the backs.

Showing Bella The Locket

I’ve noticed this about the “getting ready” sessions I have photographed prior to the actual wedding ceremony: they are all very relaxed and intimate, with hugs and fun chatter and quiet excitement of the ceremony to come. Talk centers around family. In the image above, Nana was showing her granddaughter the locket that will someday belong to her.

When you are hired to photograph a wedding, it’s so very important to get to know the couple prior to the Big Day.   Why?  Because having the couple  feel comfortable with you and your style is worth so much in terms of the kinds of photographs you can achieve on their behalf.  When everybody feels comfortable around you, then they tend to not feel so self-conscious and worried about having a camera around them on a constant basis.  They relax in your presence and the photographs you capture reveal the love, affection, and emotion of the day.


Getting a photo of the wedding dress is almost a de rigeur photo nowadays.  And Maegan was cracking me up.  Pretty much everything she wore said “Bride”, from her robe to her tank top.

That quiet excitement began to build as the bride was helped into her gown and finishing touches were applied.

In The Wedding Dress

I made use of my 70-200mm, 50mm, and 24-70mm lenses for these images. All of them hand-held. No flash. In all of the photos with people (excepting the reception images), I added a touch of Imagenomic’s Portraiture. It’s all about looking good for the wedding, you know.

If you are in a situation where you can utilize side-lighting, then by all means do so, as it is fantastic for portraits.

Buttoning Her Dress

Putting On The Wedding Jewelry

Bride and Bridesmaids

Portrait of Happy

If you are in a situation where you can utilize backlighting for the bride, then this is another one of those “by all means do so” moments.

Maegan-Wedding Dress-Window

Maegan-Wedding Dress-Window

Bella And Maegan At Window

Yes, the backlit bride and her dress are clichéd shots that all photographers get, but nobody can argue they aren’t beautiful images and every backlit bride image is different from wedding to wedding, so it’s not *quite* the same thing as photographing a landscape that everybody else with a camera has captured.

Standing At The Window

Bella And Maegan At Window

Portrait Of The Bride VIGNETTE

I also made use of black & white with some of the photos. Weddings, IMO, were made for monochrome. In some cases, I noticed the black & white images bringing out more dress detail than in the color images.

Next post: Posed Shots – The Bride, Groom, The Bridesmaids, The Bridal Party


Filed under Black & White, Life, Photography, wedding

A Galveston Wedding – The Big Day: Hairstyling and Makeup


My day of photography did not start until 10AM, when I met the bride, her mother, her daughter, and bridesmaids down in the resort’s spa for a morning of hairstyling and makeup.

The salon portion of the spa is relatively small – or rather, I should say it’s styling cubicles are relatively small, so one of the things I had to watch out for was accidentally getting in the way of the shot. I photo-bombed myself more than once, I’m afraid.

Working The Photo

Since this was an interior photo op, I increased the ISO to 500. I had my Gary Fong dome diffuser attached to the flash on my 1-DX, but never used it as it would have reflected in the salon’s mirrors.

Bella In The Chair

Hair and makeup sessions make for great ops, despite the above considerations. Make use of the mirrors and their reflections. Frame your compositions at different angles for some variety.

Reflection of Valerie

Bonnie Hair Mirrors Reflections

Valerie's Updo

And try to get images that the ladies would like (i.e. try not to take unflattering straight shots of faces without makeup – if you do happen to get those shots, then make sure you’ve added a little interest or humor to the comp).

Maegan and Bella at Hairdresser

Becoming Beautiful

I was there from 10AM to about 12:30PM. After that, I was off to photograph the groom and his men.

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Filed under Equipment, Life, Photography, wedding

C.A.F.E. Dance Company

1111_Cafe Dance

Or, to those of us bilingually-challenged people (like moi):

Creation Art Figure Elegance

1171_Cafe Dance Group

My co-workers possess many hidden talents apart from their work in the office, and this never ceases to amaze me.  I see them on a day-to-day basis as geologists, engineers, managers, admins.  These office workers have lives outside of the office.  One of my co-workers runs marathons, another co-worker taught ballroom dance, while another was a lead singer for a touring band.  And one of my co-workers is a dancer for a Colombian dance troupe.

Maria noticed my photography and started looking through my blog posts, chancing upon the post  I published about the Colombian Orchid Ballet troupe and capturing the art of the dance.

One day, Maria approached me to ask if I would be willing to photograph the dance troupe to which she belongs:  C.A.F.E. Dance.  I told her I would love to photograph them.

On July 22, 2012, I packed up my Canon 5D Mk II bodies, my 24-105mm, 70-200mm, 50mm f1.2, and 85mm f1.2 lenses, pulled on my photo vest stuffed with memory cards and extra batteries, and drove to downtown Houston to capture images of the dancers as they prepared for their performance onstage during the Colombian and Venezuelan Festival.

1257-2_Applying Makeup

1364-2_Applying Makup CROP

0955_Orange and Green


1016_Getting Ready

1450_Getting Ready

1272-2_Costume Colors

Yes, I captured images of the men, too.  Some of these photos required a little artistic license on my part.  A hotel room is not the ideal backdrop for these brightly-dressed performers.




Coco Mendoza is the group’s artistic director. An amazing woman, constantly on the move. She was a hard one to pin down that day, for a photograph. I’d spy just the right moment for a portrait image, and by the time my eye reached the camera’s viewfinder, Coco had moved on to the next task.


1314-2_CoCo and Dancer

1110-2_Getting Ready with CoCo

And then, it was time to move from the hotel to the outdoor stage.

1519_On Their Way To The Stage

1565_Waiting To Go Onstage

0841_Stage Lights

I was actually allowed onstage to photograph the action!  I’ve never gotten to do that before!  I stood at one corner in front of the stage, next to the soundmen and the booming speakers (I guess that would be “stage right”, right?).

1582_Getting Ready to Dance

My goal that day was to try and capture the pure energy, enthusiasm and joy these men and women poured into their performance.  It’s high-energy stuff that made me want to dance – heavy camera backpack and all Winking smile


1457-2_Carrying The Dancer






1906_Twirling The Ladies

1752-2_Holding Him Up

1882_Dancers Onstage

1921_Dancing Onstage

1701_Balancing Act

1467-2_Having Fun Dancing



1739_Dancing Onstage

I also used a little of that artistic license again, in order to blur out some things (like the onstage fire extinguisher) and focus the eye more on the dancers.  Granted, unless one is a Photoshop Magician (which I am not), sometimes one must make do with what one has, photographing onstage, away from a studio or other set backdrop.


1843_Up In The Air

1843_Up In The Air_Blurred Background

This whole session was pretty much an experiment for me.  For you photographers interested in my settings: I used the AI servo focus mode on my 70-200 lens, because I captured close-up and portrait images during the dancing.  With the 24-105 lens, I kept it on one-shot focus and just hoped for the best as I snapped away.  ISO was between 250-400, and shutter speeds were high.  Apertures were between 5.6 and 7.1.  Having never seen their routines before, I didn’t know where the really good parts were – you know, the acrobatic parts, or parts of the  dance with a lot of flourish to it.  I just hoped for the best.  In the end, I was pleased with what I captured on digital “film”.

After the performance, as the energized dancers walked back to the hotel, Maria turned to me and remarked that they were a young group in terms of performances and years performing together.  I told her it didn’t  matter.  If they have a fun time onstage, then the audience will see that and in turn have a fun time, themselves.  That’s what it’s about, right?

1550_Costumed Group Shot CROP


Filed under dance, Houston, Photography, Texas