Tag Archives: spring

The Beginning of Sunrise at Sunrise Point

The Beginning Of Sunrise At Sunrise Point

Even though you can capture amazing sunrises in many places within Bryce Canyon National Park, this overlook is still one of the most popular places to view the sunrise. It can get pretty crowded, even in the winter and early spring. To photograph the sunrise, you need to arrive during the pre-dawn hours, set up your tripod and wait for the light show to start. On this, my first morning in the park, the colors of the sunrise did not disappoint. I arrived about 45 minutes prior to sunrise and was the first person at the overlook.
I used my Canon 5DS and 16-35mm f2.8 Mk III lens on a tripod.  I did not use a CPL filter and, for this image, did not use a grad ND, either.
The trail you see below is the Queens Garden trail.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under 5DS, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canon, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III, Canon Lens, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Spring, sunrise, Travel, Utah, Utah

Blooming Cacti

Strawberry Pitaya Bloom

Strawberry Pitaya Cactus Bloom

One of the reasons I traveled so far to visit Big Bend National Park, Texas, in late April, was to view and photograph the blooming cacti.  I don’t know what it is about being so excited to see these lovely flowers as opposed to any other spring wildflower.  Perhaps it’s because I am always so amazed to see something so prickly and painful produce something so colorful and delicate.

Engelmanns Prickly Pear Bloom

Englemanns (?) Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom

Eagle Claw Cactus Blooms

Eagle Claw Cactus Blooms

Bee and Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom

Pollen-Laden Bee and Prickly Pear Cactus Bloom

Claret Cup

Claret Cup Bloom

Strawberry Pitaya Cactus

Strawberry Pitaya Cactus

Cholla Bloom

Tree Cholla Bloom

Bee and Cholla Bloom

Bee and Cholla Bloom

Two Bees In A Prickly Pear Bloom

Two Bees in a Prickly Pear Bloom

Prickly Pear Bloom

Prickly Pear Bloom

Nest In The Cholla View 3

Bird’s Nest in a Blooming Cholla

I used several different methods for achieving these blooming cacti shots – all without the use of a dedicated macro lens:

  • Canon 70-200 or Canon 100-400 telephoto lens zoomed in at their longest focal length
  • Canon 40mm “pancake” lens with a close-up filter attached
  • Pentax WG-3 point & shoot using its macro mode
  • Canon 24-70mm at the 70mm focal length with the image ultimately cropped

Prickly Pear and Chihuahuan Desert

Blooming Prickly Pear and Chihuahuan Desert Scenery in Big Bend National Park

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Filed under Big Bend, cactus, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Texas, Travel, Travel and Photography

Photography in the Spring – National Parks Traveler

Being on vacation, I’d totally forgotten that my latest photography article has been published in the National Parks Traveler website.  It deals with photography in the spring.  Go on over and check it out!

 

 

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Filed under Equipment, National Parks, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Travel

Becky in a Field of Gold

Yesterday, I drove out toward Texas hill country to capture some images of the bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and other wildflowers – like this field of gold wildflowers (whose name I need to look up).  It was a beautiful day and I managed to get some great shots, more of which will be in a future post.

Becky and the Field of Gold

If you are currently in the southeast/central part of Texas, drive Hwy 290 over to Chappell Hill and then take 1155 from there toward Washington-on-the-Brazos state park to see some lovely carpets of blue, red, and yellow covering the fields as well as much smaller spots of scenery.

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Filed under flowers, Photography, Seasons, Spring, Texas, Texas, Travel

Tulip Town

5080_Yellow

The last time I visited the Skagit Valley tulip fields was back in 2005.  And I left in a huff after capturing some really cool photos because I (and a number of other people, photographers and non-), were yelled at by what I assume was the foreman of the tulip pickers.  We’d parked before they opened and our bodies were in the way of the pickers (they weren’t, I’m here to tell you).  We all understood the deal and that obnoxious cretin didn’t have to yell – all he had to do was simply ask us to please move our cars because the parking area was not yet open.  That would have done it and none of us (read: me) would have been bent out of shape. I vowed never to return and I wrote a letter of complaint to the organizers of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  There was no sign, no nuthin’ telling us the area was not open.  And apparently none of the tulip field owners or the tulip festival organizers were photographers, else they would have known that sunrise and sunset shots of the fields are the best, so there should be at least one field allowing people (who might buy their bulbs or their  cut tulip bouquets) to come and set up their tripods.

Fast forward to 2012.  I decided – now that I understood most parking areas were not going to be open at sunrise-thirty AM – this year would be a good time to break my promise never to return, and actually go back to the tulip fields.

Although I try to have no expectations, I guess for the tulip fields, I had way too many.  I do admit to being tired on the day of my arrival, having driven a little over 3 hours from Mt. Rainier National Park up to the Mt. Vernon area (about 60-70 miles north of Seattle).  I did capture some really nice images (I think).  But….well….it just wasn’t what I thought it would be.  When I lived in Seattle some 17 years ago, I remember there being more than just 3 fields, which is the number of tulip fields I found that day of my arrival  (Ok, I didn’t look too hard, I’m sure there must have been more).  Only one of those fields was open and available to the public:  Tulip Town.

Quite the little enterprise, is Tulip Town.  For $5, you can park your car, enter and walk through a huge tent full of cut tulip bouquets, a couple of food stalls, a couple of art gallery-type stalls, a few tables and chairs, and then find yourself out among a couple of small tulip fields.  Although walking between the rows was prohibited, people were allowed to get as close as possible to the flowers.  They even had a tractor trailer to ferry people around  (for a fee, I believe).

It’s been a very cool spring up there (ironic, since it’s been an exceedingly warm spring here in SE Texas), so the majority of the tulips were not in bloom or only just beginning to open up.

5169_TulipField

The red and yellow tulips were in full bloom, so  I have a lot of red and yellow tulip photos.

94C3501_One Lone Red CROP

5120_Red Row

5104_Red Row

5163_Red

5150 Red Tulips CROP

94C3508_RedRow

94C3498_Yellow Rows

5088_White Tulips

The day was sort of ho-hum, but I could discern a little bit of detail in the uniformly-spread cloud cover, so with my Lightroom 4 gradient tool, I managed to get that slight detail/drama to show through in some shots.

_MG_6329

For these images, I used a 70-200mm lens and my trusty 24-105mm lens (for the close ups).  I don’t have a macro (next on my “to buy” list) at this point in time, so no really close close ups.

I left satisfied with my image captures.  No dramatic sunrise or sunset with the mountains and foothills in the background.  No barns surrounded by tulips.  That was ok, though.  I got photos of my favorite flowers and I was content.

5174_Fuscia

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Filed under flowers, Photography, Travel, tulips, Vacation, Washington State

Spring Has Sprung

6081_Little Purple Flowers

I wrote a post awhile back about Brazos Bend State Park  in the winter.  This post is about Brazos Bend State Park in the spring – well, almost spring – I visited 3 days prior to the official first day of spring (March 20).  I wanted to see if anything had  changed since my winter visit.  Plus, I didn’t have to return the Canon 100-400mm rental lens for two more days.

First thing I noticed:  water.  More of it.  In all the places that had been high and dry before.  In case you were not aware, Texas has been experiencing a horrendous drought.  Everything that should be wet and swampy, instead was dull  brown dirt covered over with  clumps of green dry slime that reminded me of  nori (seaweed).  For this visit, everything looked as it should look in a swampland.

5206_SwampGreenREV

5122_Swamp Flora CROP

5293_SwampVeg

5561_Spanish Moss

5490_Swampland

I saw more spring flowers, like these primroses,

5387_Primrose CROP

and this herbertia,

5571_trefoil

and these spider lilies,

5009_Spider Lilies

and this sweet little purple flower which I can’t identify (I’m not very good with wildflower identification, even with two Texas wildflower books in my possession).  Anybody know what this flower is?  The photo at the very beginning of this post is a wider-angle shot.

6040-2_Fuschia

I saw Indian paintbrush, blowing in the wind.

6095_Indian Paintbrush

And these yellow flowers (which I can’t identify, either), in the swamp waters.

5659_Yellow

There were more alligators.  I overheard one set of walkers tell another set of walkers that during the mating season in April, the alligators get quite aggressive and can sometimes be seen clamped to each other’s necks, rolling over and over in the water or even along the pathway.  Now that would be a photograph!  All I saw were alligators lounging in the still, reflective swamp waters, posing for the tourists and looking menacing; it really doesn’t take much for an alligator to look menacing, and woe betide the person who so close as to elicit  a low, rumbling growl from deep within, as the alligator’s jaws gape open to warn the hapless visitor to back off.

5640_Alligator Reflection

5339-3_Eyes On You

5354-3_Alligator Eye

5871_Toothy Grin

6019-2_Lurking

I saw lots more birds.  It’s ironic that my photos of the alligators turned out better than my photos of the birds, since the birds were  the main reason I drove to the park that day  (0f course, alligators don’t’ move much, while birds move  a lot).  I saw three different little blue herons (you can tell they are the little blues by their brilliant blue beak),

5751_Herons Reflection

5797_Little Blue Heron

Spying lunch:

5926_Spying The Prey

Taking the plunge.

5927_In For The Kill

Crawfish catch of the day:

5928_Catch Of The Day

Lunch!

5929_Catch Of The Day2

I saw a number of snowy egrets,

5418_Snowy Egret

5447_Snowy Egret

roseate spoonbills (way off in the distance, so it’s not exactly a stellar image),

5399_Spoonbill

cardinals,

5889_Redbird

5849_Cardinal

red-winged blackbirds,

5283_Red Wing Blackbird

white ibis,

5362_Ibis

5254-2_Ibis Eye

American coots,

5156_American Coot

5168_HelloThere

turtles,

5697-2_Turtle On Log

5714-2_Turtle Head

one moorhen in its breeding plumage (none of my photos turned out very well), and a number of other little birds that I could not identify nor could I photograph very well (they just won’t stand still for me, dammit!).

The next time I visit will be later in the summer.  We’ll see what other changes (if any) have occurred during that season.

5815_The Wide Path

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Filed under Brazos Bend State Park, flowers, Parks, Photography, Seasons, Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!

Little Blue Flowers

An interesting little image of some lovely blue flowers taken while wandering around Brazos Bend State Park, Texas.

Sometimes, an image doesn’t have to be “tac sharp” to evoke a mood or a feeling.

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Filed under flowers, Photography, Spring