I know this is a sort of cop-out, but in lieu of a full-blown blog post (which I am working on regarding flash photography), I wanted to post the link to my latest article in the Photography in the Parks column of the National Parks Traveler website. I have noted before that I share space with another photographer. She generally has her articles posted near the end of the month while my articles are posted at the beginning of each month. Here’s the latest dealing with the use of telephoto lenses for landscapes. Check it out if you are interested.
Tag Archives: landscape
I’ve been remiss about “feeding the beast” and making regular weekly contributions to my site (and don’t even ask me about the reading catch-up I need to do with my favorite blogs). It’s the holiday season and I’ve been involved with other photo business, which has kept me occupied with non-blog issues. I now have enough vacation to take every Friday off for the remainder of the year, so hopefully these 3-day weekends will give me more time to catch up on the blogosphere.
As previously promised, this article is not about any camera/lens comparisons. Instead, I want to tell you about an interesting, somewhat out-of-the-way viewing area I visited en route to Moab, Utah.
During the planning stages of my Mesa Verde NP / Arches NP trip this past August 2012, I was looking at Google Maps and noticed a side road off of Hwy 191 (the road to Moab), with the title “Needles / Anticline Overlooks”. An anticline! Yeah! I like geology. I have a couple of degrees in geology, as a matter of fact. I’d LOVE to see an anticline. So I added that to my itinerary.
The route to Anticline Overlook is a 31-mile, 2-lane (more or less) road – 16 miles of which is on gravel . It’s a well-tended gravel so I didn’t worry too much about driving the rental car along the road (I should have taken a photo of how dusty the car looked upon my return to the main highway).
Where the paved portion ends and the gravel begins, you have the choice of turning left to the Needles Overlook or continuing on to Anticline Overlook. I decided to save Needles for another time.
This prong horn antelope was standing in the middle of the road, but by the time I stopped the car and grabbed the camera, it had sauntered off, totally ignoring me and my pleas to look my way for a portrait shot.
The ultimate destination ends in a loop, with plenty of room for parking and a nice little pit toilet. A short trail leads to the overlook, with views northwest, north, and northeast. The view is expansive and the air fresh and clear.
Some thorny bushes along the path. Wouldn’t want to get tangled in this stuff!
Solar evaporation potash ponds near the Colorado River.
Looking north toward Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands NP. The Kane Creek Anticline is to your left. The Colorado River meanders its way from the left of the photo over to the right of the photo.
A dirt road winding through the canyon landscape.
Kane Creek Canyon, to the northeast.
A view within the canyon.
Heading back to the main highway and then on to Moab.
Prong horn antelope in the distance as I leave Anticline Overlook.
If you are traveling Hwy 191 Utah - north to or south from Moab – and your vehicle can handle the gravel, this is a neat side trip for a great view of Utah’s canyon lands and geology.
I had only 2 full days (plus a half day and a morning) within Arches National Park, Utah, but during those days, one of my favorite spots was a place near the park entrance called the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint. I’d stop there each day going into and out of the park. It’s the perfect place for sunrise images.
It’s also the perfect place to get an amazing overview of the La Sal Mountains, The Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, The Organ, and some amazing views far beyond of such formations as Balanced Rock.
From this viewpoint, you can see interesting things like the hot air balloon that rose above the rocks each morning I was there.
This viewpoint is also a lovely place to stop and say good-bye to the park until the next time you visit it.
I’ve booked my airfaire for a February 2013 trip back to Moab and Arches NP. If anybody thinks they might be out there during that time, give me a shout; it would be fun to meet you and enjoy some photographic quality time together.
I once wrote that I would try to post every weekend (or closely thereafter); I’d read that to keep and increase readership, one needs to blog and blog (relatively) often.
I’m on vacation right now (Aug 24 – Sep 2, 2012). I packed up one of my Canon 5D Mk II bodies, two rented Canon 5D Mark III bodies, my 70-200mm + 1.4x teleconverter, my 16-35mm lens, 40mm pancake lens, and 24-105mm lens (in addition to the circular polarizers and Lee 4×6 .9 soft graduated ND filters) for this trip. I arrived in Denver, then flew to Durango, Colorado and am now staying at the Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde National Park. Now you know which cameras and lenses I used to take all of the photos you will see in my future posts. FYI, I’ve used my 16-35mm more than any of the other lenses so far, with the 24-105mm coming in second.
Since I’m saving my photos (so far I’ve taken over 2000 which I need to cull through and edit) and commentary for the numerous travelogues I will post upon my return to Texas, I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here, except to talk about a few things.
As a fellow blogger put it, water is the most important thing to mankind. It’s one of those required staples, without which one cannot live for maybe more than 3 days. Water creates the landscape, nourishes plant- and animal-life, and in many cultures living in arid lands, is worshipped. The longer I stay in Mesa Verde NP, and the more cliff dwelling tours I take in the hot sun and dry air, the more I understand the importance of water. Yes, I’ve heard others go on about the importance of water, but when I get my water from a faucet with a few twists of the tap, I guess I’ve just taken it’s availability for granted. Out here, I don’t.
Something else that I am trying to accomplish is to become more observant during my hikes. Oh, I look around a lot in search of a grand photo op, but there are times when I’m just putting one foot in front of the other to get from Point A to Point B. With this trip, I’m actually looking, observing, listening, and smelling. I’m taking my eye away from the viewfinder to just soak in the atmosphere around me.
I can smell the Utah juniper and pinyon pine. I can smell (and see) the brilliant yellow rabbitbrush that covers the land here. I can hear the songbirds hidden in the Utah serviceberry, I can hear the night wind whipping around my lodge room balcony. I stand on said balcony (with a Buffalo Gold Ale in my hand) and watch the clouds rolling across the mesas, casting blobby shadows hither and yonder.
I did not observe the little grass snake crossing my path as I tiredly trudged back to my car, until I looked down, saw it, and jumped sky high, scaring myself and the poor little snake. I did observe the black widow spider crawling up my lodge room’s bathroom wall (no, I did not take a photo of it – I hate those things – snakes and tarantulas I can deal with, but not black widow spiders).
I am also reflecting more on each thing I learn from the rangers guiding the tours I have taken (Ranger Pete, Ranger Pamela, “Willa Cather” – aka Ranger Paula, Ranger Denice. My backcountry tour to Mug House was lead by a ranger who is an adopted daughter of the Hopi Bear Clan. Of the many interesting and thoughtful things she said, the one that really stands out is that people must respect the land, and respect all life, for everything has a spirit. To disrespect life is akin to a mental illness.
An interesting thing to reflect upon, since I don’t much care for people, although I notice that I am much more loquacious during this trip, because I am happy. When I am in my element, then I am happy and I actually like people more (most of the time, anyway, until some moron tries to tailgate me because he wants to drive faster than the posted speed limit within the park).
So, stay tuned for more thoughts, travel tidbits, and of course, lots of photos. I’ve got 2 more days here in Mesa Verde NP before heading up to Arches NP in Utah.
….Peak and Pass.
I’ve been uploading more Colorado photos to my Rebecca Latson Photography website (which I’ve re-vamped, by the way), and I realized it’s been a week since I last posted a photo to my blog site. Been too busy working on the website, I guess.
Anyway, here are a couple of photos taken during my 2011 trip to Colorado.
This is the vista seen along Lizard Head Pass. After seeing these red-tinged mountains on various Flickr images, I decided I wanted to see and photograph these mountains myself. If you are traveling the area, you too can see this exact spot by taking Hwy 145 south from Telluride. You’ll pass Trout Lake on your left. Further up is a turnout to a historical placard/sign on your right. Across the highway is another, much larger gravel turnout where I parked to set up the tripod for this image.
Lizard Head Peak (I don’t see any semblance of a lizard in this mountain at all, I’m afraid).
My mind fails me (no big news there), and I can’t remember if the stop for Lizard Head Peak is before or after the Lizard Head Pass turnout described above. To get to this particular view, you must turn to the right and drive a very short gravel road to a gravel parking lot which is the starting point for a number of trail heads.
I’ll be returning to Colorado in about 3 weeks for a 5-day stay in Mesa Verde National Park, then driving on to Utah to spend a few days in Arches National Park. These 2011 photos are whetting my photographic appetite!
I think I am pretty good with the written word, but sometimes, words fail me. Especially when it comes to expressing sympathy and condolences. Don’t know why that is, except that I feel sometimes anything I say would sound trite, clichéd, or fake.
I’m still trying to get my head around the Aurora, Colorado shooting of July 20, 2012. It’s beyond my comprehension why somebody would want to do something like that to other people. I don’t get it.
Because I don’t have the right words for something like this, I thought I would express my sympathy to the people of Aurora, Colorado in the best way I can, and that’s to post a photographic homage.
I’ve chosen to post some Colorado sunrise images because – to me – that represents the beauty of a new day, a fresh start and sunlight shining to illuminate the darkness of the night.
My thoughts and sympathies are with you, Aurora.
Most photographers come to Brazos Bend State Park in Texas for the wildlife. I do that too, but I also come to this place for the landscape photo ops. On this particular morning, I left home at a little before 7AM to arrive at 40-Acre Lake by 7:30; just in time for some nice morning light. This is the observation/fishing pier. Fishing is free here, but no boating or swimming is allowed (note the sign regarding alligators, of which I saw several).
No flags (can’t find any in my photo archives), no fireworks (my little town isn’t going to be having a fireworks display afterall) – just a beautiful July 4th morning with bright rays of sunshine, dramatic clouds, and a silhouetted symbol of the Texas coastal prairie.
For those of you who celebrate the 4th of July (or at least, get the day off), I wish you a happy day. For those of you who have not the slightest idea of what this day stands for in America (and for those of you who don’t even give a rip what day it is), consider this just a nice landscape for your viewing pleasure.
I was going to post this photo on one of the Montana- or GNP-related Facebook pages out there, only to discover, to my chagrin, that these pages not only do not allow for visitor uploads, but some of them are basically just place markers directing visitors to go to the actual website. Ok, that’s fine. I want people to visit my website (and maybe purchase something). And I don’t allow for visitor uploads on *my* Facebook page either (probably because the page says Rebecca Latson Photography – a rather specific page). Nonetheless, I have a bit of a beef with those public pages that *are* simply used as place markers and don’t have any interesting stuff or postings on them. It’s a bit of a turnoff. If you are going to have a Facebook page, then for heaven’s sake, post stuff to it! That way, if people really *are* interested in seeing more of your stuff (like your photo galleries on your website), then they will go visit that website. And, they will “Like” your page, showing visitors that your page actually has some merit to it.
Ok, I’m off my soap box. I admit to being a bit cheesed off about not being able to upload my photo to one or more of those specific pages. *Maybe* it hurt my inflated ego just a little bit, since I am proud of my work and want to advertise my photographic talents (in the hope of snagging some bizness). Nonetheless, I think what I wrote above is still true.
What do *you* think?
Rain has been predicted for the past couple of days. With that rain, I figured there might be some interesting storm clouds over at the Brazoria NWR. I woke up this morning at 6AM, peeked out the window, saw some big puffy clouds, and was on the road to the refuge before 7AM.
The morning did not disappoint: dramatic storm clouds, distant thunder, sporadic flashes of lightning, and hordes of herons, egrets, black-necked stilts, terns, some roseate spoonbills in the background, and four different sightings of American alligators.
For photography with storm clouds (or any kind of clouds, really), always make sure you have a graduated ND filter with you. During the really dark part of the morning, I removed the circular polarizer. However, as the daylight progressed, I placed the polarizers back on the lenses. Polarizers make blue skies bluer, clouds more dramatic, and can darken water and either enhance or eliminate reflections, depending upon which way you turn the polarizer ring.
My first stop was the refuge center’s lawn, where I photographed a bunny that looked a little the worse for wear, bless its heart.
After that, it was a few hundred feet to the boardwalk over Big Slough (pronounced “slew”).
Before getting into the car to head to Olney Pond, I stopped to photograph this little mockingbird. They are wonderful posers.
As I closed in on Olney Pond, I could hear a cacophony of noise before I even saw the birds. I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was a freaking heron and egret convention (along with some stilts, terns, and one or two alligators in the mix). So, if you ever are in the area and want to visit the refuge, I’d say the early morning is the best time to see the birdlife. Oh, and make sure you have your bug repellant. Those Cutter wipes are awesome.
This guy was looking for breakfast, and no, it did not get the heron you see in the background.
As the thunder rolled in the distance, and a teeny bit of rain sprinkled on the car, I continued along down the road and set up my tripod.
This is looking back up the road from whence I came. I could see a “thunder bumper” beyond, as the storm rolled over and past me with but a few sprinkles.
By the time 8AM arrived, the storm clouds had departed the area and the sky was starting to get its typical hot, hazy look on a humid Texas day. Plus, the mosquitoes were ganging up on me (but the Cutter wipes held true), and I wanted to get home to start working with my new photos.
All in all, it was a very good, stormy morning, at the Brazoria NWR.