As the wheels of the land rover cracked across the dry crust of the Namibian soil I gazed across the plains ahead. It was July in Namibia and the dry season was in full swing. Arriving from the lush Zambezi river my thoughts were filled with the verdant wetland smell of damp bush and water reeds, Etosha, as I was to discover, is an altogether different beast. Approaching the centrepiece of the park one sees a vast salt pan surrounded by grasslands covered in bone-white sand. The closer you come to the centre the farther you can see on all sides, beyond the painted pale shrubbery into the smoky veil of the veld. Etosha does not rise before you, it expands.
In the past month, I have visited more National Parks than in any other time of my life. I have seen some of the most beautiful places in the world under incredible conditions, and I managed to take photos of landscapes that I had heard of since I was a young child. That’s why I am happy to say that today, August 25th, marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in the United States.
Perhaps the most famous sight in Utah’s Zion National Park is the Narrows, a slot canyon carved by the Virgin River. The dramatic patterns in these sandstone cliffs are some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, making for incredible images. I had the opportunity to photograph this amazing sight last month, which was not a particularly easy endeavor. Some of the most beautiful parts of the Narrows are only accessible after hiking upstream through the river for several miles.
It is April 21, a special occasion for all the lovers of nature and wilderness. Today is John Muir’s 178th birthday! His legacy is well and truly alive not only through National Parks, Sierra Club and National Audubon Society but also through all those who love being outdoors and relish Nature at its finest. His ideas regarding conserving ‘Cathedrals of Nature’ and importance of wilderness in modern life are not only inspiring but increasingly relevant and important today. For me, as a landscape and nature photographer, John Muir’s contribution is even more impacting as the National Parks, the State Parks, the Wildernesses, the Wildlife Refuges and many more conserved lands are the areas I find myself, often with a camera, trying to showcase the beauty that motivates me; the same splendor had inspired Muir, and numerous others before and after him.
I have been a photographer for over 20 years and have worked on several projects here in Brazil. My work is quite diverse, but I love shooting portraits, particularly environmental portraits. I started to like this site back when it was Mansurovs and it helped me a lot in finding out about the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR lens, which I use a lot today, despite being a fan of prime lenses.
This summer’s adventure brought us to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. We almost went back to Banff National Park for the third year in a row, but wildlife and landscape photos from 500px and flickr, as well as conversations with fellow travelers, convinced us that it might be worthwhile to explore the beautiful state of Wyoming. We were also aware that some of Hollywood’s western classic films, such as “Shane” and “Spencer’s Mountain,” had been filmed in the area. By April, we decided to make plans for our August adventure.
My wife, Tanya, and I recently vacationed in the Canmore/Banff area of Alberta, Canada. We settled on this location after reading a variety of reviews and looking over some stunning photos of the many attractions and wildlife. We planned a series of activities that would take us to some of the most scenic, historical, and cultural locations, provide some challenging hiking expeditions, and enable us to take a “few” photographs along the way. After receiving a new Nikon D800 (review), which I tested thoroughly, I was eager to put it to work in the field. Most of the photos in this article were taken with the D800, although some were shot with my infrared D90 (converted by Lifepixel.com). For those of you reading this on an RSS feed, you may want to consider linking to the main Mansurovs site, as there are quite a few photos associated with this post.
I’m finishing up working on the images from Yellowstone, which I will post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is a shot of a Kiva that I captured at Mesa Verde National Park:
Sergey and I headed out to the Great Sand Dunes NP last weekend for some photography. He had this crazy idea about doing some Karate shots with him wearing a full uniform with a black belt and me taking high speed images of his jumps. I really liked the idea, so I took some of my lighting equipment, along with the D3s and the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G.