Hawaii. Just saying the name conjures up visions of a tropical paradise–palm trees, trade winds, sunsets and hula dancers gyrating to the rhythms of the eight major islands that make up the archipelago. Our fiftieth state boasts two national parks. There’s mighty Haleakala on the island of Maui and, the subject of this article, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.
Did you know that all of the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanoes over millions of years? Molten lava bubbling up through vents of a well-known hot spot on the floor of the Pacific Ocean is responsible for their creation. As the entire archipelago moves northwest in conveyor belt fashion, Hawaii is presently the island directly over the hot spot. Continue reading →
In 1980, seven Alaska parks were created in one fell swoop. Specifically, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (or ANILCA) was passed by Congress on November 12, 1980 and signed into law a couple of weeks later. Among other things, the act provided for more than 43 million acres of new national parklands in Alaska. Kenai Fjords National Park is one of them.
Giving birth to Kenai Fjords came with some really sharp labor pains. The local citizenry was initially opposed to setting aside these lands, but they came to enthusiastically support their expansion as they experienced the injection of tourist dollars into their local economies. Continue reading →
Once you get past the Anchorage city limits, the rest of Alaska is nearly as wild and untamed as the old West was in the late nineteenth century. Denali National Park and Preserve, for example, encompasses more than six million acres of mountains, glaciers, valleys, rivers, wilderness and hills.The premier national park in all of Alaska is renowned for its unparalleled scenic splendor and array of wildlife. Within Denali’s borders is a good chunk of the magnificent Alaska Range. As the North American tectonic plate continues to slowly ride up and over the Pacific plate, the Alaska Range is thrust ever upward in growing scenic majesty. Tallest among these rugged peaks is Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). At 20,340 feet, towering Denali is far and away the highest mountain in all of North America. Continue reading →
When most people imagine the Everglades, they probably picture large swaths of grass or some deep dark swamp loaded with alligators. In reality, it is a very complex ecosystem with a diverse landscape that includes pinelands, hardwood hammocks, cypress swamps, fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove forests, and beach dunes.
One of my favorite habitats is the rocky pinelands of the southern Everglades. Considered a globally imperiled habitat, the rocky pinelands are the most floristically diverse habitat in Florida. Historically covering more than 186,000 acres, there is now somewhere around 22,000 acres left, in part because it was the “high ground” and fell victim to urbanization and agriculture. Fortunately, most is now protected and Long Pine Key is a perfect place to explore this unique habitat. Occurring on the fringe of tropical and temperate zones, the range of plants found together is unique to South Florida.
Sultry patterns of light and shadow on Mesquite Flat dunes in Death Valley National Park, CA., (c) Jerry Ginsberg
Story and photographs by Jerry Ginsberg
For those of us old enough to remember, there was once a TV series called “Death Valley Days.” The show used the vast Death Valley National Park as a backdrop for its slice of life vignettes. It greatly romanticized the harsh desert environment made commercially viable by its borax deposits. Twenty mule teams pulled heavy wagons laden with the stuff out of the valley and off to market. Today this valley encompasses the biggest U.S. national park outside of Alaska. With 3.3 million acres, it is half again the size of Yellowstone. Continue reading →
While the national parks of the American West feature scenery that is stunningly dramatic, those East of the Mississippi possess a scenic charm that is more subtle. This is only partially true of the compact jewel that is Acadia National Park.
Lying mostly on Mt. Desert Island on the central coast of Maine, this meeting of land and sea provides more than enough drama for just about any photographer. Surf crashing against yellow granite cliffs and colorful lakes as flat as glass are just two of the many highlights.
Easily the best time to visit Acadia is the first half of October. Autumn color is at its peak and the road-clogging traffic of summer is gone. The park offers several opportunities for great sunrise photography. Allow enough time to drive to your chosen sunrise location and get set up at least 15 to 30 minutes before the rising sun actually cracks that horizon. Continue reading →
I have always been a conservationist and one who photographs to share the beauty and importance of nature and the place humans have in it. Because I also believe that carrots are more effective than sticks, I focus on the allure of nature.
For 25 years I have documented conservation. My passions have been primates—lemurs of Madagascar, chimpanzees of Africa and orangutans of Indonesia. Commissioned by a variety of NGOs, what was always critical for me was the human factor. My last assignment was for UNESCO-Asia covering World Heritage Sites. Beyond the iconic images, I was to understand and expose the effect of the local population on the site and the effect of the site and its visitors on the local population. Continue reading →