When I learned that Q.T. Luong was publishing a landscape photography book of his work in America’s National Parks, I was filled with envy. Ever since I can remember my life has been dedicated to visiting and photographing National Park Service sites, and this man’s work has always been then looming large over my journeys. He’s the first man to visit and photograph all 59 National Parks in large format film. He is featured in Ken Burns’ 2009 park documentary, and even had his photo of Yosemite featured on the cover of the associated book and DVD. His website is my gold-standard for landscape photography, and although he isn’t aware of it I’m happy now to declare that we’ve been in a silent competition for some time (at least in my head). In fact, my Undiscovered America project was in part a reaction to his extensive work. I asked myself what I could do to distance myself from his overwhelming shadow… so I set off to photograph potential National Parks because he hadn’t photographed them yet.
In October 2016 Luong’s book “Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks” released and became a one-stop-shop for planning your adventures into our public lands. In it’s 454 pages it details, with photography examples, the defining features of each park and the best methods of visiting the locations. Text excerpts provide personal stories, maps, stats, and photographic advice for maximizing your time in the parks. Each entry carries images for a variety of seasons, times of day, and hiking abilities so you can tailor your visits. Many landscape photography books have been published since the invention of the camera, and possibly even more travel guides have been produced, but no other book seems to have grasped the experience of actually visiting our natural wonders by combining these aspects. The book is the ideal companion for the park-minded traveler, however the author would be the first to point that while his book is a significant recourse few people would be willing to carry it around on trips due to it’s size and weight. An optimized digital version is also available, although owners of the print book will find a link on page 13 to buy the discounted digital companion, enabling you to bring the work and recommendations with you on your travels.
Treasured Lands is a book we’ve desperately been needing, and the one man best qualified to lead us visually into the parks has finally done us the honor of creating it.