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The National Parks of America

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I am Judy Gutlerner, living in Amherst Massachusetts, U.S.A., a retired music teacher.
Some of our favorite family vacations have been to visit some of the National Parks where we learned to appreciate and understand the Natural World.

Some of the most magnificent places to visit in America are our National Parks. These are beautiful places that have been preserved and protected by the federal government. There are 300 million acres of such lands and 58 National Parks, located all around the country. Some plants and animals have had their habitats diminished, but in these parks, they can safely exist and thrive.

The first National Park preserved was Yellowstone, which was considered to be the first National Park in the world in 1872. It is the most popular of the parks.
Because of how vast the United States is, these parks reflect almost every type of landscape, from ocean to forests, mountains, canyons, deserts, etc. For example, there is the Petrified Forest National Park in New Mexico where you can see fossilized, petrified trees of stone, a Redwood National Park of California where you can find the largest trees in the world, in Southern California you can visit the Joshua Tree National Park where you will see the most unusual trees, one of a kind in the world, in the Southwest region of the country you can visit 2000 natural stone arches at Arches National Park, etc.

I have visited many of these National Parks and have always marveled at their breathtaking beauty and landscapes. Here are some photos I took from Death Valley National Park where the wildflowers were blooming coming up from the driest of earth, where there is only 2 inches a rainfall a year. Those sand mountains were incredible to see. In the other photo, you will see examples of a Joshua tree, which is the photo I have chosen for my icon.

Have you ever visited one of our National Parks? if so, please tell us about it and share your photos too.

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21 replies

Userlevel 7
Thank you for highlighting the US National Parks, @Judith. They are truly a national treasure. I lived in Colorado for almost 8 years and often went hiking (and sometimes snowshoeing) in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here's a photo from one of my autumn visits.

Some of my other favorite national parks are Arches and Zion in the state of Utah. Mesa Verde is pretty fascinating, too. It was established to "preserve and interpret the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from 600 to 1300 CE. Today, the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings."
Thank you@Laura for sharing this with us. I always wanted to visit Mesa Verde and for explaining its importance. Thanks for your photo too.
I just looked up which animals were actually saved from extinction as a result of a National Park.
The one I recently read about was the gray wolf. They were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Other animals saved from extinction include: Bald Eagle brought to the Channel Islands National Park in California, the California Condors brought to Pinnacles National Park in California, and the Elk reintroduced in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Anyone else have any photos or stories to tell about our national parks?😀
Userlevel 6
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Wow,@Judith and @Laura , they are so beautiful. Nature walk is one of my favouirte activity, whatever place I visit. It is like awe walk for me everytime.
I have visited only Central park in Newyork, USA.
In all my other trips, I could recall a few
1. Blue mountain national park, Sydney
2. Kuranda scenic rainforest
3. BNHS, Mumbai , Karvi festival, nature's trail
4. Garden's by the Bay, Singapore
5. Arthus park national park, on the way to Christchurch
6. Awe walk to glacier, Fanz joseph
7. Rangitoto Island
8. Kuranda scenic rainforest
9. Cairns botanic garden
10. Featherdale, wildlife park, Sydney
11. Periyar, Kumaracom, Kerala, India
12. Central Park NewYork
13. Bharatpur, sanctary
14. Casela park, Mauritius, (7 colored earth).

@Namrata Tejwani ...I am speechless, looking at these most magnificent, beautiful photos! I feel as if I have taken an “awe” walk with you.
Did you take these photos? They are excellent and make you feel as if you are right there.
You have been to so many amazing places. It is so important to appreciate nature and all the special places on earth like these. Thank you so much for sharing these. I will look at them again and again today and feel renewed. 😀
Userlevel 6
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Thanks, @Judith . Yes, all these are clicked by me. I have several thousand pics of nature, scenery, flowers, animals, trees, rivers, snow peaks, mountains. I frequently see them and live thru them again. Nature in abundance, each place has beauty to it.
You are an amazing photographer, @Namrata Tejwani ! It is so wonderful to have these as photos you have personally taken because of their special meaning to you.It’s so good to be able to revisit a place through its photos which can bring you back to the very beauty you experienced. Have you framed any of your photos or created a book from them?
Userlevel 6
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Thanks, @Judith. No, I have not framed or created a book. A few I shared on Facebook and WhatsApp and remaining are soft copies in my external hard drive. The houses in Mumbai are small, so wall space is also very limited and can accommodate only a few personal pics with beautiful locales/ moments, on a rotation basis. With the invent of digital photography, I think we are overloaded with pics as well but these experiential moments are still precious.
@Namrata Tejwani , yes these experiences through our photos are so precious as you said., As long as you have an easy way to frequently see them and enjoy them, that’s so important. I tend to make photo books of my special pictures and view them frequently.
We do tend to take more photos now that they are digital. The cost of film was so expensive, and you never knew if your photos would be good or not. Then you would need to send them away and pay for them to be developed. It made us more cautious about how many pictures we would take. Do you think we were better off when our photos weren’t digital?
Userlevel 6
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Absolutely @Judith. Pre-digital age was unaffordable. Planning for trip expenses and always ending up on the higher side lead to delay in developing the role, of 36 pics only 10 pics were satisfactory, remaining would keep reminding how bad the photography was😝.
Also choosing to click with the person in it or purely a scenery was a tricky decision to optimise the experience.
I am happy that now we have digital photographs, where we are able to capture candid moments unlike earlier, where say cheese was a definite ritual 😜.
My hard drives are accessible, a select few I have arranged year wise in micro sd/ pen drive to view frequently, on tv/ laptop with family.
So I am for digital pics, where no work is involved post clicking except sorting- selecting. It is like decluttering.
Just like ebooks, where in just one Kindle you carry your library, else keeping and maintaining books/pics in humid weather is a task in itself.
@Namrata Tejwani , The only concern I have about not having the real photographs is for the future. I have very old family photos. What will happen to the digital photographs if they remain digital? Will our future generation lose them if they are in our computers and not printed?
Userlevel 6
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@Judith, I think it is another way around. I have scanned all my physical photos to save them as digital/ soft copies. My reason is that 1. Digital photos become shareable.
2. They occupy less/ no space.
3. They are almost zero maintenance.
4. Physical photo print film gets spoiled.
5. Photo albums gather dust, photos get sticky to plastic covering, lose color over time, turn dull, yellowish.
6. Anytime you want to share/ show, you are stuck with the physical presence of the person.
7. While looking at them only the person holding them gets the best view.
8. Digital prints can be passed on from one generation to another without anyone losing access or rights over it. It saves the pain of letting go of your possession.
9. In a family setting, you can view them on a large screen of smart tv and enjoy, physical photos cannot be zoomed😜.
10. Most importantly, you are saving trees by using less paper.
I can go on and on...😝
Personally, in my family, all these years all I have done is clean albums and keep them back. But the digital version is kept in the external hard disc as the stock of all pics and pen drive (that is kept handy near the tv, sorted pics). Whenever there is any recall/ discussion going on around something, all I have to do is to plug in pen drive, look at the folder of the year and enjoy. The generation next is more tech-savvy and imo not very inclined to physically maintain things, for them the best option should be just a click away. They can keep and carry the treasure with them forever. I recall I have access to only 2 pics from my grandparent's generation and less than 10 pics of my childhood (because their film is spoiled, and a physical copy has other siblings in them, so whoever got to get them first became owner). Now we agreed to scan and share them.
What do you think? Isn't it a good idea to have a digital treasure that is almost maintenance free, can also be saved in google drive, jic we lose our pen drive also.
You are amazing, @Namrata Tejwani ! I never would have thought of all these incredible reasons why digital photos are preferable! Probably the greatest hindrance I have to acceptance is my reluctance to trust technology. I would fear everything would be lost in an instant. But being able to store and even make a copy of a small pen drive certainly makes it more appealing now. Having too many old dusty photo albums just as having too many old books isn’t necessary in this day and age. I find myself reluctant to totally embrace it though.
However...back to the purpose of this thread to show beautiful places on earth where the plants and animals we love can be preserved and cared for...I have visited so many magnificent National Parks but all I have are photo albums. Had they been stored in my computer, I would have had so many more to share.
This is such an interesting discussion....I think I will start a thread about it to see what others think. Thank you, for shedding light on yet another fascinating topic: photography. 😀
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@Judith you have amazing photographs. You can use any app (camscan) on your mobile (some have the inbuilt app) and scan pic and email to yourself or shift to your laptop. Share with us. We are allergic to dust as well, so we prefer nothing that gathers dust or turn smelly due to high humidity. As far as loss is concerned, I feel if it has to happen, it will happen. I met a couple during my Australia visit, who has twice lost everything to a forest fire. Yet she put it "I am climbing harbour bridge to built new memories".
@Namrata Tejwani thank you for a way to show my photos. I have a friend who doesn’t believe in taking pictures at all. She says she likes to keep her memories of places rather than see them in photos. I prefer photos, 😀.
Following @Namrata Tejwani ‘s advice, here are 3 photos of National Parks I visited in the past. I just took a picture of the picture.The first was taken on a hike at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington.
Next is a photo of some of the most enormous trees in the rainforest at Mt Olympic National Park, Washington.
The third photo was taken at Yellowstone National Park at a geyser. You can see the water bubbling and see the steam coming from it
Enjoy, and please post some of your photos!

Userlevel 6
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Wow, now we can see more pics from you @Judith . The one at Yellowstone national park, the thermal geyser is amazing.
Here are my pics of thermal geyser, at Pohutu and Te Whakarewarewa at Rotorua, Auckland (New Zealand). We had a walk thru amidst thermal geyser.

@Namrata Tejwani , wow! That was some geyser you witnessed! The contrast with the bluest of skies is so beautiful. You could almost feel the heat of the dark blue waters too. These photos are so clear and amazing, thank you for sharing them with us.
Userlevel 4
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Beautiful photos @Judith and @Namrata Tejwani and @Laura! I love nature and love photography. One of my favorite photographers is Ansel Adams who is famous for his black-and-white photos of the nature. I have recently learned that there is an area of Sierra Nevada in California that is named after him, the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
@Danijela , black and white photography is a true art. I always thought people look better in black and white, but nature needs color, unless you are depicting winter. What do you think?
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@Judith Color photos vs. black and white? Both can work well, depending on how talented is a photographer. Some black and white nature shots by Ansel Adams or Tokihiro Sato are simply stunning. But I also like colorful photos by Takehito Miyatake and Rinko Kawauchi.
@Danijela , thanks for links to these amazing photographers. I agree that if you are an excellent photographer then you could show us the beauty through your lens, no matter what the color.
Black and white shows a different aspect of a scene. You can’t focus on the color so you find beauty elsewhere...quite the challenge!
We used to live more in a black and white world. Television as well as movies were all in black and white. I wonder if we were better off that way?