Our National Parks

Thanks to my parents, I was able to travel during my childhood and into my teens to all 48 contiguous states while camping in a 10′ x 10′ umbrella tent, together with sleeping bags and air mattresses.  A Coleman stove and lantern, along with fishing rods and reels, and numerous camping accessories, rounded out our equipment.  Dad and I fished many a river and lake across our grand country; and it was then that I was introduced to “hook and cook,” as we would clean the fish that we had caught, and then Mom would tend to the cooking.

My dad had seen a large part of the world during his service in the U. S. Army in World War II – Mainland China where he served from 1942-45, Australia, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Egypt, and more.  He shipped out from San Francisco; and, after spending just over three years in China, he returned home by traveling westward in a troop ship and made a complete circuit of our world.

In 1970, I departed from Travis Air Force Base, outside San Francisco; and following my combat tour of one year in Southeast Asia, I returned in October 1971 via a series of embassy flights across Southwest Asia – India, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, to then land in Spain and visit a number of countries in Europe.  That served as a wonderful decompression chamber of sorts before catching a contract flight from Germany back to the States, then home for a week, and on to my next Air Force assignment.

Those were grand times during my youth in which I visited many National Parks, along with numerous state parks throughout our country.  I have continued to visit National Parks; and, by 2011, I had been most fortunate in seeing 28 of the now 59 National Parks in the United States and its territories, as one is now in America Samoa and another in the United States Virgin Islands.

Together with my passion for photography that has been renewed since the late 1990s, with the advent of digital versus film, I have decided to make photographing our National Parks a principal project.  In part, I owe this idea to Mark Thiessen, Staff Photographer, National Geographic, who suggested during a workshop at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC, that every photographer should undertake a major project.

That thought was reinforced when attending a Nikonians workshop with noted wildlife photographer, Jim Stamates, in Grand Teton National Park in October 2011.  Having seen much beauty of God’s bounty throughout many National Parks since my childhood, I then decided to make photographing “Our National Parks” my lifelong quest.  With a family ski trip to Jackson, Wyoming, in March 2012, I was able to venture out and see Grand Teton National Park from the altogether different perspective of winter; and it was glorious.

In 2012 and 2013, I revisited Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, one to which I have been attracted many times over the years due to the beauty of Skyline Drive, together with its proximity to my home in Virginia Beach.  I was also able to travel to Congaree National Park in South Carolina for the first time in 2013.

Those visited prior to 2011 are indicated with an “*” in front of the park’s name.  My level of photography taken in these parks varies from having used a small box camera when I was a kid, to my first Nikon camera purchased in 1971 and used in many subsequent years, to an entry level digital SLR (single lens reflex) bought in the late 1990s.  More serious photography is being undertaken in conjunction with my current endeavor begun in 2011.  Those parks have the year in which I traveled to visit each noted to the right of the park’s name.  God willing, I will photograph them all.

I hope that you enjoy some of these images and take the time to visit some of America’s greatest treasures, our National Parks.  A listing is provided below, with the number of visits in any one year noted in parentheses, if applicable:

*Acadia, Maine 2015
American Samoa, American Samoa
*Arches, Utah 2015
*Badlands, South Dakota 2015
Big Bend, Texas 2016
Biscayne, Florida 2015
Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado 2015
*Bryce Canyon, Utah 2015
*Canyonlands, Utah 2015
Capitol Reef, Utah 2015
*Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico 2016
Channel Islands, California
Congaree, South Carolina 2013
*Crater Lake, Oregon 2014
Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio 2014
Death Valley, California 2015
*Denali, Alaska
Dry Tortugas, Florida 2015
*Everglades, Florida 2015
*Gates of the Arctic, Alaska
*Glacier, Montana
Glacier Bay, Alaska
*Grand Canyon, Arizona 2015
*Grand Teton, Wyoming 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
Great Basin, Nevada 2015
*Great Sand Dunes, Colorado 2015
*Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina 2014
Guadalupe Mountains, Texas 2016
Haleakala, Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes, Hawaii
Hot Springs, Arkansas 2016
Isle Royal, Michigan 2015
Joshua Tree, California
Katmai, Alaska
Kenai Fjords, Alaska
Kings Canyon, California
Kobuk Valley, Alaska
Lake Clark, Alaska
Lassen Volcanic, California
*Mammoth Cave, Kentucky 2015
*Mesa Verde, Colorado 2015
*Mount Rainier, Washington 2014
North Cascades, Washington
Olympic, Washington 2014
*Petrified Forest, Arizona 2015
Pinnacles, California
*Redwood, California
*Rocky Mountain, Colorado 2015
Saguaro, Arizona 2015
*Sequoia, California
*Shenandoah, Virginia 2012, 2013, 2014 (3)
*Theodore Roosevelt, North Dakota 2015
*Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands
Voyageurs, Minnesota 2015
Wind Cave, South Dakota 2015
*Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska
*Yellowstone, Wyoming-Montana (3%)-Idaho (1%) 2014, 2016
*Yosemite, California
*Zion, Utah 2015

All images, text and poetry appearing on this website are Copyright © by H. G. “Don” Mercer 1966-. As such, all content on this web site is the property of H. G. “Don” Mercer and is protected by applicable copyright laws. No images, text, or poetry may be used in any form without prior written permission of Don Mercer and, where applicable, payment of required fees. Scanning and/or reproduction in any format of any image or text, or any part thereof, is/are prohibited. To receive permission and reproduction rights, please contact Don Mercer at don@rustic41creations.com or by phone at 757-635-6016.

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