The 59 U.S. national parks, taken together, form one of the most visited and loved attractions in the world. They preserve an unparalleled variety of pristine natural environments. Existing pictorial books are not comprehensive enough to capture their diversity. Although they inspire readers to visit the locations for themselves, they do not offer them the information they need to be able to stand at the places and times where the photographs were made.
Treasured Lands features more spectacular images than any existing book, capturing all that is great about each of the 59 national parks. Adding to the personal voice of a single-photographer work, images are complemented by information and impressions that Luong gathered during the twenty years of his journeys. As the only person known to have photographed each of the 59 national parks in large format, Luong brings to this project the combination of artistry, intellect, outdoor experience, and dedication that led Ken Burns to feature him as one of the characters in his 2009 National Parks PBS series.
Following a foreword by Dayton Duncan, the book consists of two parts that operate in synergy to form a visual guide. Both of them consists of 59 sections, one for each national park.
The first part works like an illustrated atlas or coffee-table book. For each park, images are chosen for their artistic value as well as their ability to illustrate a number of remarkable spots that together give a good sense of the park's highlights. Their beauty inspires readers to discover iconic, as well as out-of-the beaten places for themselves. Interesting extended captions, grouped in a paragraph of text, explain what is being seen in the images, telling a natural history story in an easily-digestible format. Readers improve their knowledge of the natural world and better understand what makes each national park unique.
The second part works like a guidebook, helping readers plan their visits. For each park, a concise and informative guide, keyed to a map, provides first-hand recommendations on the most interesting spots, which correspond to the images that appeared in the first part. The contents are geared toward visitors interested in photography which these days include almost everyone. Besides location access, it includes hard-to-find information such as evaluation of photographic potential, the best times of the day and the year to be there, as well as relevant brief photography tips. Anecdotes and memories enliven the descriptions, in particular for wilderness travel outings.
Treasured Lands appeals to a wide general audience, managing to be at the same time an art book, a nature book that eloquently uses photography, and a book about photography loaded with practical information.Treasured Lands is sure to become the reference illustrated book on its timeless subject.