(as of May 30,2021 07:41:05 UTC – Details)
From the Publisher
In 300 visits over a quarter century, QT Luong ventured deep into each of America’s 61 national parks. Combining in a unique way art book and guidebook, Treasured Lands presents the photographer’s explorations in a sumptuous gallery complemented with informative and practical notes on nature, travel, and image making. Together they inspire and invite photographers and nature lovers to trace his steps to both iconic landscapes and rarely seen remote views.
Discover the diversity of the national parks.
Equal treatment is given to well-known parks and lesser known hidden gems, using more large photos (600+) than any national park coffee table book before.
Learn what each park has to offer and what makes it unique.
Within each park, carefully chosen locations highlight a captivating and fact-rich story, represent the best of the park, and cover each of its corners with at least 6 photos.
Plan to visit and photograph the locations pictured.
A photographer’s guide shares how readers can visit each of pictured locations at the best time of day and year. The 62 maps with location pins and 140,000+ words – equivalent to a 400-page paperback – are also available as a mobile PDF for a nominal charge to book owners.
Sendero Esperanza Trail, Saguaro National Park
The Sonoran Desert’s biseasonal rainfall pattern supports unusually lush vegetation for a desert. Originally a jungle that dried up, the flora of the lowest and hottest desert in North America evolved from southern, tropical plants. Deserts are known as hot and dry places, but this one teems with biodiversity.
Petrified Forest, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
The park is home to the third-largest petrified forest in the country, which takes the shape of stumps. The fossils here differ greatly from those in Arizona’s petrified forest because the trees in North Dakota are related to modern sequoias, creating stumps up to 12 feet in diameter.
Garden Key, Dry Tortugas National Park
Like Atlantis rising out of the water, Fort Jefferson towers above islets surrounded by the most varied underwater coral reefs in the country. […] In the nineteenth century, Dry Tortugas was chosen by the United States Navy to become the “Gibraltar of the Gulf,” a strategic location to control shipping between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Despite formidable logistical challenges, Fort Jefferson was built using six million imported handmade bricks, which makes it the largest brick structure in the Western Hemisphere.
Out of the beaten path in popular parks
North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park
The North Rim is almost a different park. Although only 10 miles away as the condor flies, the entrance to the North Rim is a 225-mile drive from the South Rim. The North Rim is 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim, offering different views, with considerably fewer facilities and scenic overlooks. Only 10 percent of visitors to the Grand Canyon stop at the North Rim, so this is a good place for quiet photo explorations if you are tired of the carnival-like atmosphere of the South Rim.
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park
For a full view of the mountain that reveals its size, my preferred viewpoints are from the Tatoosh Range, which lies in the south. The easiest access to the Tatoosh Range is from the Pinnacle Saddle Trail (2.5 miles round trip; 1,000-foot elevation gain), which starts directly across the road from the Reflection Lakes parking area. The light is good all day, although early morning and late afternoons are the best.
Slot Canyons, Zion National Park
On the Zion Plateau, there are many hidden places to experience canyon hiking. The easiest, a short distance from the road with several entry points, is Clear Creek, the main stream bed that follows Hwy 9 on its south side throughout Zion Plateau. After joining Pine Creek, it morphs into a subterranean canyon, a route of classic status for technical canyoneering. In Pine Creek Canyon, I hiked, swam, and rappelled my way into the bowels of the earth through claustrophobic passageways and huge chambers that allow only a glimmer of glowing light into their depths. The twisting canyon traps potholes of water that remain frigid as the sun never reaches them. Even when temperatures in the desert soar over 100°F, it would be easy to get hypothermia there without the protection of wetsuits. The highlight of the visit was a pair of juvenile owls perched on a sculptured log—sitting perfectly still during the 1-second exposure. Who said that a 24mm lens isn’t appropriate for bird photography?
Iconic locations revisited
Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park
With many lakes in the valley, there are quite a few choices for photographing the Teton Range reflected in water, but some are a bit too close while others are a bit too far. The body of water that yields the best reflections of the Grand Tetons is a modest beaver pond called the Schwabacher Landing. To reach it, watch for Schwabacher Landing Road, a dirt road 4 miles north of Moose Junction on Hwy 191, and follow it to the end. Then walk 0.25 miles along the river until you see a spot to your liking. Since the view is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain scenes in America, many gather there for sunrise. The light is most beautiful when clouds catch the alpenglow shortly before sunrise. Because the shot was straight west and it was after sunrise with no clouds, the scene looked flat, as there was no cross-lighting. I returned at midday when the sun from the south defined the shapes better.
Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park
The 1-mile round-trip paved trail leads to a bridge that overlooks Yosemite Creek flowing from the lower falls in an alcove. In the spring, despite the crowds, standing in the soaking spray and listening to the water’s roar felt like a wild experience. I prefer the shade of late afternoon for this classic scene. Scrambling off-trail on the west bank of Yosemite Creek until reaching the base of the rock wall leads to a favorite spot of mine that is rarely photographed in modern times, with the Upper Falls visible right above Lower Falls. Being so close to Lower Falls, this spot is exceedingly wet in the spring. I had to use a special device that keeps the front element of the lens dry by deflecting water drops with extremely rapid spinning. […] Yosemite Falls is possibly the easiest place to photograph “moonbows,” which are rainbows produced by moonlight, on the nights around a spring-time full moon.
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park
At Zabriskie Point, you’ll find one of the most outstanding views in the park. The undulating hills and jagged peaks of the badlands take on different hues at various times of day but are excellent at sunrise, looking toward Telescope Peak, and also at sunset, looking south. On my first sunrise visit, I stood in front of the very popular observation platform reached via a short and steep paved trail. Although I was surrounded by some of the most dramatically shaped and colorful badlands in the park, with a nice foreground of snowcapped Telescope Peak and the salt pan, I was disappointed by the flat light resulting from having the sun straight behind me. After a bit of exploration, I found a narrow user trail north of the paved trail. From there, I saw more of the salt pan and was able to include Manly Beacon and Telescope Peak in the same shot.