Tag Archives: UT

Getting Close To The Edge

Getting Closer To The Edge

Close to the edge at Scouts Lookout, Zion National Park, Utah

There have been more than a few times when I’ve gotten “close to the edge,” but that’s been a 9-to-5 work thing as opposed to literally being close to the edge as in this shot.

I have a fear of heights. Of course, this generally doesn’t stop me, as you can see in this photo; when I am focused on photography, my fear dissipates. However, this mild acrophobia gives me a healthy awareness of my abilities and limitations, since I have rheumatoid arthritis and also am not the most sure-footed of creatures. In this instance, I stopped at Scouts Lookout and did NOT finish that last .5 mile to Angels Landing. I knew my physical limitations (mental ones, too) and knew I could not go any further with all the stuff I was lugging with me. And I was (and am) totally fine with that. I still remember my legs shaking just a little bit, from both the uphill climb as well as the fact that the rocks tilt a little bit in the Scouts Lookout area and it’s a lonnnnnng way down. Heck, I was thrilled I’d made it that far, having come from sea level elevation 2 days prior.

Moral of the story:  you may not always be able to (or want to) reach the very end, for whatever reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come away with some cool experiences/photography along the way there and back.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under National Parks, Photography, Travel, Utah, Zion National Park

Photography In The National Parks: An Armchair Guide to Arches National Park, Utah – Part 1

B5A7086_Last-Sunrise-Over-The-La-Sals.jpg

The National Parks Traveler just published my latest article on their site.  Click on the photo above to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Arches National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

Becky’s 2013 Photographic Review

Becky At The Window Overlook

While perusing several other blogs which I follow, I noted one of the photographic bloggers was preparing a year in review post.  I decided to do the same.

Going through all of my photos taken over the course of year gave me pause in which I realized that I had a really good year.  Oh, of course I had ups and downs, but all in all, I had a great deal more ups than downs.

In February, I traveled to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse State Park – all in Utah.  This was my first winter trip in many years (most of my trips are mainly during the late summer or fall seasons).  During that time, I hiked up to Delicate Arch and had the entire area all to myself for a good 30+ minutes, and was also fortunate enough on the previous day to witness a magical snow fall in an otherwise arid region.

On Top Of The World

Steps Up To North Window

In early April, I had the pleasure of conducting a portfolio photo session for  a stunningly beautiful belly dancer.

Zaras Veils

And in late April, I photographed the wedding of a former co-worker and her musician fiancee (who now has a jazz CD out on iTunes).  The weather was perfect, the bride was stunning, the wedding went off without a hitch, and the day couldn’t have been better – we all had a great time.

Bride Relaxing On The Chairs

Newly Wedded

In July, I flew to Alaska for the first time in my life, spending a week with Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris in Katmai National Park and Preserve.  There, I captured some fantastic photos of the awesome coastal brown bears as they fished for the salmon along the Brooks River.  Prior to the trip to Katmai, I spent a few days just tooleying around the Anchorage area in a rental car, further cementing my desire to return in August 2014.

Becky At Brooks Falls

Caught One

And I wasn’t finished with July travel.  Work required me to travel to London;  this time, it was via Business Class, which is a heck of a lot sweeter than economy, believe me.  In between work at the London office,  I managed to do things in that great city that I had not been able to accomplish during a visit two years prior (tour the National Gallery, ride on the London Eye at night and purchase a ticket to see Spamalot).

Becky At Trafalgar Square

At The Top Of The Eye

In October, I flew to Maine and spent a week on Mount Desert Island where I captured the gloriously-saturated colors of autumn.  Because this trip coincided with the  government shutdown, I investigated Acadia National Park via biplane rather than hiking.

Becky And The St. Augustine

Maine From Above

The Road To Cadillac Mountain

Starting on the 7th day of September, I helped my 88-year old mother hang 3 hummingbird feeders;  throughout the month, I had the wonderful privilege of photographing the beauty and antics of the ruby-throated hummingbirds that made their annual migration through my part of southeast Texas.  During those days and evenings of photography, I digitally captured hummingbird behavior that I had never witnessed before.

Becky And The Hummingbirds

Pulling The Head Feathers

In November (well, actually, that last day of November and the first day of December), I spent the weekend with my friends The Merchant Prince and his Lady Michelle, photographing their food & beverage venues and some crazy characters out at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Christmas Becky

The Kings Feast Staff

Basil Drake and Fans

Gypsy Dance Theatre

In December, I managed to salvage enough vacation days for a 13-hour drive to Big Bend National Park, where I spent 4 full days in this incredible southwest Texas park.  I was so taken with this place that I will be making the long drive back in late April 2014 for a week’s stay.

I Made It

The Chisos Mountains And Chihuahuan Desert

Casa Grande and A Gibbous Moon

And, throughout the year when not traveling far and wide, I have visited and photographed the nearby Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge as well as Brazos Bend State Park.

A Golden Burst

Evening At Creekfield Lake1

Things have gone well, workwise.  My health has been good, as has the health of other members of my family.   I continue to contribute articles and photographs for the National Parks Traveler and my Facebook photography page has over 6000 Facebook Fans. Open-mouthed smile

Throughout the year, I got to do a lot of traveling and photography – the two things I love doing the most.  I guess I could have eschewed many of the trips and bought the big honkin’ prime lens that I’ve been lusting after for a couple of years now.  Instead, though, I chose to spend my discretionary income on traveling.  An old “rockhound” friend of my parents once told us “You can’t take your stuff with you but you can take your experiences with you”.  I totally believe that.  So, I opt for the travel experiences and thank my lucky stars for lensrentals.com Winking smile

Yes, there have been a few tough times, but not as many tough times as good times.  I’ve got a roof over my head, food in my tummy, a good job, and my family.  It’s been a really good year.

I look forward to next year and hope that it’s as good as this year has been.

Official Big Bend Fan

How has 2013 treated you?

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Filed under Acadia National Park, Alaska, Arches National Park, Big Bend, Blogging, Katmai National Park, Life, Maine, National Parks, Parks, Photography, Texas, Travel, Utah, Vacation

A Telephoto Landscape, Arches National Park, UT

199  La Sal Mountains Telephoto Landscape

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.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/03/photography-national-parks-use-your-telephoto-lens-those-park-landscapes22872

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Filed under Arches National Park, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, telephoto lens, Travel and Photography

February in Arches National Park, Utah

The Walk To Park Avenue_U9A8035

The path toward Park Avenue

Ever since returning from my vacation in Arches NP, I’ve been swamped with day-job work as well as updating my Facebook photography page, uploading images to my photo website, working on a contract for a wedding and another one for a possible bellydance portfolio photo shoot, as well as writing a new article for the “Photography In the Parks” column on the National Parks Traveler website (which will show up in early March).  So forgive me for such a long absence.

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When I visited Arches National Park in 2012, it was only for about 3 days.  Not much time to actually take time to explore the park.  So as soon as I returned to Texas, I began planning an early 2013 re-visit to Arches for a longer period of time.

Here are a few thoughts for you photographers:

  • February is an awesome time to visit the park, if you can handle the cold temperatures. There are absolutely NO crowds – not even tour buses. That means you can explore popular spots like Balanced Rock, the Windows section, and Delicate Arch without having to clone people out of your images.  At times, I was the only person there (Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch) and it was an incredible feeling. Plus, it might snow in February like it did for me when I was there.

Becky and Balanced Rock

Becky and Balanced Rock

On Top Of The World

Delicate Arch All To Myself!

Turret Arch Vista

Snow Day in the Park!  Five inches of snow, actually.

  • As you are heading into the park, along the main paved road, everything on the left side of the road (the west side) is best photographed during the morning hours.

Salt Valley Sunrise

Salt Valley and the Devil’s Garden during Sunrise

  • Everything on the right side of the road (the east side) is best photographed during the afternoon and evening hours.

Balanced Rock In The Snow

Balanced Rock and the La Sal Mountains in the Afternoon

This is, of course, a general rule of thumb, not set in stone.

  • Visit a particular place more than once, at different times of the day. You will be surprised at how different your images look simply because of the time of day

La Sal Morning

The La Sal Mountain Viewpoint in the morning

Afternoon At The Same Scene

The La Sal Mountain Viewpoint in the afternoon

  • When you encounter one of those days during which you simply can’t get the landscape images you want, try concentrating a little more close-in; use your telephoto lens rather than your wide-angle lens.

One Little Tree CROP

One Little Tree in Park Avenue in the Afternoon (while everything else is totally in the shade at this time of day)

  • February is a bit of a sparse month for wildlife.  There are 50 Desert Bighorn Sheep living in this park, but I didn’t see a single one.  I did see 3 deer and a few ravens.  I did not see any reptiles, tarantulas, or scorpions.

Hello My Deers

Hello There, My Deers

February is a great month also for discounts on rental vehicles and deals on Moab hotel rooms.  It’s the slow time of year for them, so they LOVE having people visit in the winter (the Moab Brewery was practically empty the one time I went there for a yummy lunch of beer cheese soup and a Scorpion Pale Ale).  Make sure, though, you make your plane reservations and any other reservations ahead of time (I made my plane reservation to Grand Junction CO and car rental reservation 5 months ahead of time, then, when I arrived in Grand Junction, I actually upgraded to an SUV because Hertz offered me a sweet discount).

If you can’t find a room for a hotel you like on one website, either go to another website, or wait a few weeks and then try again.  I originally used Hotels.com to make a room reservation in Moab at a hotel other than the one I really wanted because Hotels.com couldn’t find a vacancy for that time period.  About three weeks prior to my departure date, I went onto the website of  my original hotel choice (Aarchway Inn) and found a room for a great deal (they actually put me in the very same room I’d stayed in before).  Perseverance pays off!

Yes, February is a great time to visit Arches National Park….and nearby Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park, as well.

I Made It - Again

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Filed under Arches National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Utah

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everybody!

Guess which national park I am at this week? Open-mouthed smile

Happy Valentines Day

I had the image for this photo in my head about two weeks prior to my trip to Arches National Park, Utah. After I figured out what I wanted to do, I went into MS Word and chose a heart from Clip Art to print on 11” x 17”. I then folded the paper up and packed it away for my Utah trip. I just *had* to make the hike up to Delicate Arch at some point in time during my stay in Moab, but the question was: when? If the weather remained below freezing and/or snowy during the day, I probably would not have attempted the hike because of any icy conditions on the slick rock. But, that one day that dawned crystal clear and the temps felt like spring, well, I *knew* that was the day. So I hiked to Delicate Arch with the paper heart folded into my camera backpack.

I Heart Arches NP

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Filed under Arches National Park, Holidays, Humor, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Utah, Valentine's Day

Utah Geology Rocks!

B5A6838_Fault and Runner

I have a couple of degrees in geology, and although I am not a geologist by profession (I graduated with my MS degree at the wrong time), I am still totally enthralled by geology and geologic processes.

Utah is an earth sciences treasure trove. The few photos here that I captured along Hwy 191, at Anticline Overlook, and in Arches National Park are just the tip of the geologic iceberg.

The factoids in this post were taken from the internet as well as three different publications:

Roadside Geology of Utah, by Halka Chronic

Canyonlands Country, by Donald L. Bars

Geology Unfolded, by Thomas H. Morris et al

Travel with me as I depart Monticello, UT and head toward Arches National Park, along Hwy 191.

B5A6517-Church Rock

C2C7643_Church Rock

Sitting by itself, all rounded and monumental, Church Rock, along Hwy 191 heading north from Monticello to Moab, is an erosional remnant (a bedrock formation that remains after extensive erosion).

C2C7664_Cane Creek Anticline

Anticline Overlook, some 32 miles west-northwest of Hwy 191 along a scenic byway (15 miles of which are well-tended gravel), is so named for the curved, uplifted shape of the Cane Creek Anticline visible across the Colorado river (the left portion of this photo).

C2C7696_Kane Creek Canyon

Anticline Overlook sits upon a promontory with views of the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Kane Creek Canyon, pictured here (yeah, I don’t get the difference in spellings either, but that’s how they appear on the internet).

C2C7720_Wilson Arch

One of the first arches one sees along Hwy 191 toward Moab is Wilson Arch, which  formed from massive sandstone eroded on both sides by water and wind into a “fin”.  Further erosion on both sides of the fin along joints in the rock formed  an alcove, then a cave, then ultimately the arch seen here.

B5A6983_Afternoon At La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

Subsurface magma intrusions squeezed in between rock layers to form dome-shaped igneous  “laccoliths”. The overlying sediments were eroded away, exposing these laccoliths to become what we call the La Sal Mountains.

B5A6689_Moab Fault

B5A6696_Moab Fault Sign

I couldn’t quite get the big picture and it took me a bit of puzzling to figure out exactly where the Moab Fault is located (I mean, relative to me.  I know the Moab fault is located near Moab, UT).  After re-reading the sign at the Moab Fault overlook, right inside the park, I finally got it.  Looking at the photo of the area across the highway from where I stood (I was at the “you are here” part of the sign) is the upthrown fault block, while the area on my side of the highway is the downthrown fault block.  The fracture line is basically parallel to the highway. The fault displacement (how much it’s gone down/up) is about 2500 feet!

B5A6773_Geology

Arches in the making.  With continued erosion via water and wind, those holes you see now will eventually become arches….but not in my lifetime….or your lifetime…..or your kids’ lifetimes…..or….well, you get it.

C2C7799_Entrada SS and Dewey Bridge Member

C2C7802_A Closer Look CROP

Those squiggly rock layers along the bottom of this big sandstone structure are collectively called the Dewey Bridge Member.  A “member” is a distinctive rock within a formation (a formation is a distinctive, mappable rock unit).

B5A6787_Balancing Act

The Dewey Bridge Member erodes far more easily than the sandstones sitting atop it.  This is called differential erosion.  The pinnacle known as Balanced Rock was formed because of differential erosion.

B5A6881_Dwery Bridge Member and Pinnacle TEXT

Another example of a pinnacle, the Dewey Bridge Member, and differential erosion.

B5A6894_Salt Valley Explanation

Salt Valley does indeed consist of salt deposits. Hundreds of millions of years ago, this entire area was a sea. Layers of salt thousands of feet thick were deposited right here. Salt domes were formed, creating uplift in the land. Huge cracks occurred in the uplifted layers, water poured in, salt leached out leaving empty spaces, and collapse ensued, creating this valley. OK, it’s a simplistic explanation, but I’m writing this for mostly non-geologists and this is indeed what happened.

B5A6896-2_Salt Valley and Devils Garden

B5A6889_Salt Valley and Devils Garden

The above photos are looking over Salt Valley toward Devils Garden (consisting of a bunch of those “fins” I described earlier).

B5A7026_Salt Valley

B5A7035_Salt Valley and La Sals

These two photos are looking the other way, across Salt Valley toward the La Sal Mountains and the Windows Section of the park.

B5A6908_Erosion

Here’s a nice example of weathering by water (frost and rain) and erosion.

C2C8446_Landscape Arch

All arches struggle with the pull of gravity, and Landscape Arch is no exception. This was proved back in 1991 when a 60-foot slab of this arch fell to the ground (that’s 180 tons of rock debris, according to the sign near this arch). There is no longer a path leading to a view beneath the arch.  It’s all fenced off now, although I’m pretty sure some photographers still risk it to get that perfect image.  The thing is, nobody can predict there won’t be more slabs of rock sloughing off from this arch unexpectedly.  Who knows? Maybe in my lifetime, that arch will indeed totally collapse.

B5A7290_Geologic Panorama CROP Text

Heading out of Moab, UT on toward Grand Junction, CO, I stopped to photograph this view. I later discovered this very same scene had been published in one of the books referenced at the beginning of this post: a real-life stratigraphic column of the Jurassic-age (140 – 200 million years ago) rock found within Arches National Park.  I just originally photographed it because I thought it was really cool, with all those differing layers of sandstone….and I figured it would make a great addition to a geology blog post I was thinking of writing Winking smile

These few photos show just a little bit of the wonderful geology found in Utah.  You don’t have to be a geologist or a geology student to totally understand the processes that created all of these wonders.  All you really need is an observant eye and an appreciation of the geologic results.

C2C7741_Becky At Wilson Arch

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Filed under Geology, Photography, Travel, Utah