2016 was an amazing year for me regarding landscape photography. I had the opportunity to visit three of our national parks. Not just one or two, but actually three different parks, and I, of course, did landscape photography in all of them. More about that later.
First, if you ever get the opportunity to visit a national park, do it. Our parks are amazing places of scenic beauty that will help lower your blood pressure and calm your soul. There are nearly 60 national parks, so I am sure you can find one you would like to see. But, besides national parks, there are national monuments, memorials, lakeshores, parkways, preserves, reserves and many more, totaling more than 400 locations. If you are looking for an experience, visit www.findyourpark.com to search through them all. There is a lot to do and see.
The national parks were founded in 1916 as a way to preserve the scenic wilderness and historic places in our nation. I have been to many of the parks over the years, but as I said, 2016 was special in that I visited three of them on the parks 100-year anniversary. Did you know I visited two of the most visited national parks according to 2015 attendance numbers?
Grand Canyon, Glacier and Smoky Mountains
In January, my wife and I had a wonderful anniversary weekend in a historic cabin right near the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The Grand Canyon was the second-most visited national park in 2015 with 5.5 million visitors. In August, our family visited Glacier National Park in Montana. Glacier saw 2.3 million visitors in 2015 making it the 10th most visited national park. And, this fall I camped in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a few days. (I visited the area about four weeks before the severe fires broke out.) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park in 2015 with 10.7 million visitors.
Because I am a landscape photographer, I gravitate toward the national parks that offer spectacular scenic beauty. In the future, I will write more detail about each trip and provide details about some of the images I captured. Let me just say, I am thankful that our nation protects amazing areas that people can visit and see the beauty of creation. When I visit national parks, I certainly love to shoot fine art images that will make beautiful wall prints to decorate anyone’s home or office, but I realize there are many others who just love to go and enjoy being in nature. Whatever your preference, our national parks are there for everyone to enjoy. So, I hope you do take the time to experience these beautiful treasures called National Parks.