Take one national park (Big Bend, in this case), add clear and dark night skies, introduce a telescope, and sit back and enjoy the star show, as Contributing Photographer Rebecca Latson did during a recent visit to Big Bend National Park in Texas.
Big Bend National Park
Quiet spreads across Big Bend National Park during the winter months, both in the lack of visitors to this grand rumpled slice of parkland in southwestern Texas as well as audibly. Silence pervades the Chihuahuan Desert, both day and night. The wind blows, but it’s felt more than heard. The Chisos Mountains are quiet as well. The cactus and Ocotillo plants look drab and thornier than usual without their brilliant spring blooms to grace and hide the sharp spikes. Cooler temperatures prevail, and occasional snow- or hail-storms punctuate the season.
When you and your camera visit a national park known for its vista or wildlife, you tend to carry with you some pretty high expectations of framing in your viewfinder that perfect shot of a bear or wolf. Sometimes, though, you might not see what you hoped to see. What then? Photographer Rebecca Latson urges you to lower those expectations just a little bit and focus on other things within that national park, and ultimately you will come away with some great imagery despite those dashed expectations.
Anyone who has heard Terry Tempest Williams speak or who has read her writing knows how personal her approach is to her subject, thus the “personal topography” of the subtitle of this book. Visits to 12 units of the National Park System, including seven national parks, two national monuments, a national military park, national seashore, and national recreation area, provide grist for her exploration of this topography and a sampling of different elements of the system.
What if you want to clearly capture a plant or tree or person in the foreground of some shaded or backlit vista within a national park? What if you spy a gorgeous flower or unusual plant, and the inside of the flower or the plant’s stems or leaves are deeply shaded? Photographer Rebecca Latson describes a couple of techniques used to lighten up your subject within a less-than-well-lit venue.
If you have limited luggage space when traveling to a national park, you are more than likely going to pack along a zoom lens or two. But, wait. Leave one of those zooms home and bring along a prime lens instead. Photographer Rebecca Latson demonstrates the advantage of bring along a fixed-focus lens or two in her most recent Photography In The National Parks article.
Winter in Big Bend National Park can be a desolate affair. Photographer Rebecca Latson's latest article shows, though, that desolate does not mean devoid of photo ops in this national park.
Wildfire In Big Bend National Park Covers Estimated 2,000 Acres, But Threats To Facilities Diminished
While a wildfire in Big Bend National Park has blackened an estimated 2,000 acres, the threat to facilities at Panther Junction has diminished and all roads in the park are open to the public.
During a mid-January visit to Big Bend National Park in Texas, photographer Rebecca Latson tried out the photo app Instagram in addition to her usual arsenal of SLRs and lenses. Here's a quick rundown of her thoughts.
The vast, clear sky at Big Bend National Park is the perfect setting for stargazing, star photography, and the Dark Sky Dinner hosted by the Big Bend Conservancy. Contributing photographer Rebecca Latson was lucky enough to have a seat at the dinner table, returning with a report of the dinner as well as some tips for your own national park dark sky photography.