If you happen to be traveling to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, in Utah, along Hwy 211 after turning off of State Hwy 191, you’ll probably pass right by this parking area (with restroom) and a very short path leading to this amazing rock panel crammed with petroglyphs in a fenced-off, quiet sheltered area. Don’t pass by this place. It’s really cool!
This spot records about 2,000 years of human activity from B.C. to A.D. 1300. I can’t find out who actually discovered this spot to make it into an archaeological site, and nobody really knows what all the petroglyphs mean. Do they represent magical symbols, map symbols, calendar events or just doodles? I noticed some current graffiti on the panel (even though the area is fenced off), and I have to tell you, the current graffiti is not half as imaginative or pretty as the ancient stuff. Just sayin’. There’s a reason this archeological site is fenced off.
I had to do a little internet searching, but it has been called a state historical monument that apparently was once part of Bears Ears National Monument, but it’s now been chopped off and is part of the Indian Creek National Monument (according to visitutah.com), located 15 miles west of U.S. Highway 191 (about 60 miles south of Moab).
What’s the difference between petroglyphs and pictographs? Well, petroglyphs are actually carved into the rock, while pictographs are painted on rock. These petroglyphs were etched into the dark rock coating called “desert varnish” to expose the light, buff-colored rock beneath. You can tell the older petroglyphs from the others because they are dark and covered with a bit of desert varnish, again.
It never ceases to amaze me how this particular rock panel was discovered among the vast and imposing mesas, buttes and canyons. If you stand on the road, you can see the panel in the distance, but only if you are really looking for it
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
The view beyond Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah
This morning’s “Featured Story” in the National Parks Traveler deals with an interview I held with Kate Cannon, superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group. I spoke with Superintendent Cannon during the first week of January while I was in Utah, photographing in both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
To read the article, click on the photo to be taken to the site.
Filed under 5DS, 5DSR, Arches National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Canyonlands National Park, Equipment, Holidays, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, New Year, Photography, Travel, Utah
Happy New Year! The National Parks Traveler published my first article of the New Year regarding photography in our national parks. This first article deals with my five favorite images captured in 2017.
To read more, click on the photo to be taken to the article.
Filed under 1DX, 5DS, 5DSR, Canon, Equipment, Glacier National Park MT, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks Traveler, nature, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Travel
Not trying to be political here, folks. Before the 25th, I usually wish people Happy Holidays. On the 25th, I wish them Merry Christmas. And to show that I also appreciate globalism, I wish you not only a Merry Christmas but a Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weihnachten, and Buon Natale. I’d do the wishing in Japanese, Korean and Chinese, too, but I don’t have the keyboard for it.
Anyway, you get my point. I hope everybody has a great day, today, no matter whether you celebrate the holiday or not. And, start planning for some great adventures for 2018. I know I’m going to!
My final installment (Part 4) of the Armchair Photography Guide to Mount Rainier National Park has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Click on the photo to be taken to the site if you want to check out the article (and read Parts 1 – 3, if you haven’t already done so). 😉
Filed under 1DX, 5DSR, Armchair Photography Guide, Canon, Equipment, HD PENTAX-DA645 28-45mm f/4.5 ED AW SR Lens, Mt. Rainier National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, nature, Pentax 645z, Pentax Lens, Photography, Travel
Just another Friday morning, up at the crack of dawn and headed out the door at 4am to beat the traffic heading north into Houston. After opening the door, I looked around me and saw that it was SNOWING! In SOUTHEAST Texas! All thoughts of leaving for work left my brain as I grabbed my Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f1.2 lens to get some shots of this rarity. I mean, snow on palm ferns is pretty weird, ya gotta admit.
Dear Northerners: before you roll your eyes over my excitement (and the excitement of everybody from Kingwood to Houston to Katy to Clute to Galveston), please allow me to explain to you: in southeast Texas, I am currently living closer to the equator than the North Pole. It once snowed about 8 inches on Christmas Eve in my town back in 2004, and then it snowed a teeny bit (and I do mean teeny) in 2009 – more north than south. Snow is, indeed, rare, in my neck of the woods, and for many living around here, this is the only chance they may ever get to actually see, feel and even taste snow (I’m serious).
For me, it was a reminder of beautiful winter scenes I’ve photographed in previous years, and beautiful winter scenes I hope to photograph in the future. It was early in the morning, quiet, and utterly beautiful.
Tech specs: ISO between 1000-1250, shutter speed 25-30, aperture f4-f5.6, handheld, burst method.
I subscribe to Petapixel. It’s an online magazine with all sorts of neat articles about the latest photography news (did you know Lensrentals.com and LensProToGo are merging?), cameras, camera gear, projects, etc. The other day, I read an article that piqued my interest and I ended up sharing it to my Facebook photography page (Rebecca Latson Photography). I thought I’d share it in a blog post too. To read the actual article, click on this link.
After reading the article, I decided to do some experimenting with strings of multi-colored Christmas lights (since I had 5 strings of them and only 2 strings of the white lights), using the same settings that the photographer, Irene Rudnyk applied (ISO 500, f1.2, 1/250 shutter speed, 85mm lens). Heaven knows, I didn’t have anything better to do, like laundry, dishes, or packing. It was a fun little experiment and I gained some valuable insights. Photography is about experimentation as well as about learning new techniques and ideas and stepping outside one’s own comfort zone to apply something new that they’ve learned. That’s how a good photographer becomes a great photographer.
- Ignore the clutter in the room and concentrate on the camera/light/backdrop/light setup. Just as in Ms. Rudnyk’s room, this light project can be accomplished in a very small space.
- Yes, you can do this project with just one person (yourself), but it’s not as easy. Because I was both photographer and model, and because I was using a remote shutter release instead of being the one to look through the lens at the subject, I kept checking the images to ensure I was positioned correctly in front of the lens and that the string of lights did not get in the way of the lens. You can see what happens when a colored light is in front of the subject and too close to a lens wide-open at f1.2. You also may notice just how shallow the DOF is on a 85mm lens wide-open. I didn’t mind that too much, as it added a teeny bit of dreamy quality to the shot.
- I carried out this project twice, over the course of 2 days. During my first attempt, I wasn’t using an 85mm lens, nor did I have the aperture wide-open to get the maximum bokeh. I used different settings as well, since I didn’t remember what Ms. Rudnyk’s settings were – I didn’t learn that until I actually watched her YouTube video embedded in the article.
- Ms. Rudnyk used white lights in a light, neutral-toned room with a large picture window letting in natural blue/white side light. Her model was pale and wore light-colored clothing. I was in a cluttered spare bedroom, in the evening – so no natural light – using a black backdrop and strings of multi-colored lights. The strings were dark (as opposed to the white strings used in Ms. Rudnyk’s images, which is why I used the black backdrop). I used a tall lamp near the camera for side-lighting. Sometimes the strings still showed through, but I don’t consider them too distracting.
- Because of the darker atmosphere, I used Curves to lighten, and sometimes Levels to brighten the composition. I also had to clone out a dark spot on my front tooth – I have a natural indentation on the tooth and it catches the shadow, so in some photos, it looks like a speck of food (sigh).
- I used my Canon 5DSR for this shoot. I love this camera, but it totally stinks regarding low-light, higher-ISO noise (what’s up with that Canon?). So I applied some Imagenomic-brand Noiseware noise-reduction software to the overall composition, which reduced/removed grain and helped my skin look a little more even (I’m definitely not as young as Ms. Rudnyk’s model).
All-in-all, it was a fun project and I like the results. Plus, I learned a new technique for neat portrait shots.
Note: If you are doing this all yourself:
- Use a wireless remote rather than the timer on your camera. Really, it is easier.
- Make certain you have a sturdy step-ladder and/or a spotter to keep you steady while you hang the light strings from the ceiling.
- Unless you want to put holes in your ceiling, I would suggest using something like duct tape. Gorilla-brand tape works really well. If you use any other kind of tape, it may be too weak to hold up the light strings for any length of time. I noticed this morning that the tape and lights had fallen from the ceiling to the floor.
- If you want light strings to lead to your lens, don’t use tape or anything else to secure the strings to the lens. Simply wrap the string around the lens itself to keep the string in place.
- Remember to stand in front of the light strings to get the nice bokeh.
- Have fun! Despite getting all sweaty and hot as I hung the lights up, set up the camera and ran back and forth to take a shot then look at the result, it was a neat, educational project.