Today the National Park Service celebrates its 106th birthday. To mark the occasion, entrance fees are waived at all park service units for the day - so enjoy!
I'm not one to get excited about government agencies but as for the parks themselves? Nothing but love. From Maine to Hawaii and Alaska to Florida, I have yet to find one I don't admire. Picture FrameGrand Teton National Park, Wyoming
[Though national parks take top billing, the park system includes Lakeshores, Memorials, National Monuments, Recreation Areas, Historical Parks, Battlefield Sites, Seashores, Riverways - and more - in all 50 states and D.C.]
For the past seven years I've lived in the shadow of not one but two iconic national parks. Nine more are within reasonable driving distance. For a nature photographer, that's hitting the geographic jackpot.
To say this turn of events was unexpected would be an understatement. As a kid growing up in the Midwest, the closest I got to a national park was watching Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo-Boo trying to steal "pic-a-nic" baskets at Jellystone. Who knew I'd one day end up with the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in my backyard?
Obviously, nature photographers can work anywhere; national parks aren't prerequisites. Photo opportunities surround us. That said, everyone knows there's something special about the parks.
I'm not in the Tetons or Yellowstone every day - but I could be. That kind of proximity to two of the crown jewels in the park system is an embarrassment of riches. I never take it for granted.
While it's gratifying to work with my camera in these beautiful places, I get just as much fulfillment from simply experiencing them.
I hope the same is true for you.
“A national park is not a playground.
Autumn colors frame the Grand
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Lime greens of early spring
Mist and fog at Jordan Pond
Shadow PlayThe setting sun creates beautiful long shadows at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Feeling MistyAs early morning fog rolls over Jordan Pond, the shoreline dances in and out of sight. Low water levels expose a great deal of pink granite.
Ghost Trees IIIce crystals created by steam from thermal features cover nearby vegetation. Combined with snowfall, the result is a stand of "ghost trees."
Keywords: Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, Death Valley National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Olympic National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Yellowstone National Park
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