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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: National Parks Photography

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May 11, 2011

Book Roundup Wednesday: National Parks Photography

Book Review Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, we're recommending books featuring photography from national parks. Can't get enough? Find more books about the national parks from our past reviews.

Ansel Adams in the National Parks (by Ansel Adams, $40, Little Brown and Company, Oct. 2010): Whether it’s a photograph of the Old Faithful in Wyoming or one of Mount McKinley in Alaska, Ansel Adams’s black and white photography is consistently iconic. As the most comprehensive book showcasing Adams’s talent for preserving nature through a lens, Ansel Adams in the National Parks includes many rare and never-before-seen images. To appease even the most fanatical of Adams fans, it features commentary from experts regarding Adams's various photo techniques as well as a variety of quotations from the famed photographer himself.

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns, $33, Alfred A. Knopf, Sept. 2009): Those who enjoyed Ken Burns’s six-episode PBS series highlighting some of nature’s most beloved spots will want to get their hands on this companion book. Not only does it contain 440 color and black-and-white illustrations (free removable full-color map included), but it features a comprehensive history of America’s parks as well as exclusive interviews with the many people moved by them. Some might even say that this is a more immersive way to experience America's best idea than turning on the television.

Soul of Yosemite: Portraits of Light and Stone (by Ed Cooper, $20, Globe Pequot Press, Feb. 2011): If you don’t plan to make use of the next Free National Parks Entrance Day, curling up with Ed Cooper’s Soul of Yosemite is a good alternative. It won’t be hard to immerse yourself in the beauty of the celebrated park with the stunning photographs found in Cooper’s collection. As the introduction to the book indicates, the photographs are more or less arranged to parallel the formations that a visitor would see when visiting Yosemite for the first time. You’re welcomed by a snowy image of El Capitan, one of the most popular spots for climbers all over the world, taken across the many falls and mountain peaks deeper into the valley, and sent home with a dreamy photo taken at Tunnel View on Wawona Road.

Path of Beauty: Photographic Adventures in the Grand Canyon (by Christopher Brown, $40, St. Martin’s Press, Aug. 2010): It’s easy to believe Christopher Brown when he writes, “My life has been a love affair with the Earth.” Each of his visually impressive photographs serves as a love song to the canyon, filled with enough eye-popping color and detail to get you turning each page with anticipation. Luckily for us, Brown's love affair with the Grand Canyon in particular has been a long one, resulting in no shortage of pictoral and breath-taking views. The book encapsulates 35 years of hiking and rafting in the Grand Canyon, where Brown spent the majority of his time as a boatman on the Colorado River.

Prairie Lake Forest: Minnesota’s State Parks (by Doug Ohman and Chris Niskanen, $30, Minnesota Historical Society Press, April 2010): If you’ve never been to Minnesota’s State Parks, you'll probably get the urge to go after flipping through this book. Fortunately, the pictures are more than enough to give you a glimpse of what the 66 parks have to offer. The photos of the waterfalls in particular are mesmerizing, but as a whole the book features a wide range of notable landscapes, people, and animals. As with any good photography book, the warm hues of each page breathe life and energy into the subjects they depict, second only to seeing them up close in person.

--Shirley Mak

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