The National Parks: Our American Landscape Paperback Edition

Ian Shive is proud to announce a new version of his popular photography book, The National Parks: Our American Landscape, as a paperback edition, on shelves March 2011. This new edition will be available at a new easy to carry size and a more affordable price point, just $24.95, and feature over 40 new images from America’s National Parks and Ian’s continued journey since the original publication of the hardcover edition.

To purchase your copy in advance, click here and buy from Amazon at over 30% discount!

To read and download the full press release as a PDF, click here

Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

What do you dream of when your days are filled with the activities usually reserved for those fantastical visions that come with a quiet, deep sleep? This was the thought that went through my mind as my small Cessna left a dirt and snow runway of the remote backcountry town  of Port Alsworth, Alaska in the last hours of daylight. As the engine sputtered bringing me and my pilot higher and higher, the valley below disappeared into a royal blue shadow punctuated by spearheads of wild salmon pink mountaintops. My door was completely open though I was harnessed to my seat by a four point belt that would make any mother feel a bit more at ease. Still, with temps dipping below zero and traveling at 85 knots, the windchill itself was a dangerous -60 fahrenheit. At these temps, a hot cup of coffee would freeze before it would hit the ground. Wrapped in down jackets but still tearing up as I hung out the side of this small aircraft, we bounced around above the tops of the mountains while I captured image after image of the dreamscape. Elated but not satisfied, I went back up again at sunrise. I struggled to keep the lens steady in the wind while I fought my own breath from fogging up the view finder. These are a few of those images:


Jagged peaks of the Chigmit mountains frame Mt. Iliamna, an active volcano.

Last light on the Aleutian Mountain Range

Last light on the Aleutian Mountain Range


Unnatural Color in Utah’s Arches National Park?

Tonight I read a review of my book that – on a whole, felt pretty good. It was written by Kyle Wagner of the Denver Post. You can read it here. In the piece, Ms. Wagner made mention of something that has been a common topic of conversation – not only in the numerous interviews I’ve given – but in many of the lectures and book signings I’ve given. That subject is digital alteration and while Ms. Wagner falls just short of actually calling it that, she did label some of my photos in the book, including one of the opening spreads of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, as “unnatural” in it’s contrast and saturation. One must wonder how well the book was reviewed as an entire page in the book was dedicated to discussing the strong use of color as well as my techniques for capturing it.

Since I was never invited to an interview by Ms. Wagner, I couldn’t comment or discuss this topic with her, however I’ve decided to post a graphic of my entire digital capture that evening in Arches National Park. As you can see, I stayed out until the very last of the winter light hit the arch. At first the color was boring – perhaps what many editors are accustomed to seeing. But as the clouds, haze and last light of the day moves in – you can clearly see the colors becoming more vibrant, full of shadow and contrast and truthfully – seemingly unnatural. It is exactly this reason why I spend so many late, late hours in the parks, often photographing far beyond sunset. It’s because I realize that almost always I’m out there alone, cold, tired but patient and unrelenting in capturing something that so many people miss because they pack it in early. I’m there to bring these spectacular colors that are natural into your home. As always, I’m happy to share my RAW files with anyone to share the moment as purely as it comes so you, too, can see what I saw that night and know that it wasn’t adjusted or faked or “unnatural.”

The final, circled frame was what was used in the book. Click the graphic below (screengrab from adobe bridge) to see a larger version of how the nights light took shape.

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Yellowstone Country: Barefoot in the Tetons

Even for us travelers who seem to wander endlessly from stunning location to exotic location, it can sometimes be easy to forget the most important reason we do so – to find solace, relax and just let go of whatever it is we call our daily grind. These days, my daily grind is more often about coffee and free wifi signals, but nonetheless, places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park will always bring me back to my center. A few weeks ago, with two wonderful friends, I decided to randomly detour from the prescribed trip and float the Snake River, hike mosquito-filled trails and just sit back and forget that anything else existed. 
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Ian Shive featured in Sunset Magazine

In a stunning, 8-page feature in the August 2009 issue of Sunset Magazine, seven photos from Ian’s new book, The National Parks: Our American Landscape, are sprawled across the pages. Sunset is the magazine of Living in the West and will reach millions of homes over the next few weeks. Be sure to pick up your copy available on news stands today! 
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Plitvice National Park, Croatia

16 lakes are connected by hundreds of waterfalls in a National Park here in Croatia that is so stunning and magical, that it is yet another UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, my time here was short and the few hours I had to explore were all done in a cold rain. While not a downpour, it was the sort of rain that is misty and blows every which direction making it nearly impossible to keep the lens free of water spots. Still, I managed a few frames. 
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