Education is the key to conservation, and Ian Shive’s photographs in The National Parks: Our American Landscape enlighten viewers with a rare, adrenaline-filled look at the phenomenal beauty of the American backdrop. Shive’s photography offers a fresh outlook on nature, making a hairy tarantula in the Chihuahuan Desert featured in an extreme close-up, appear as a dazzling wild gem, and depicting a giant Sequoia Tree as it reaches deep into the sky, its branches blending with the stars. In the book’s collection of 200+ photographs, Shive manages to both capture the magnificence of too grand for words settings while enabling the viewer to interact with the environment and process moments in time on an individual level.

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The National Parks: Our American Landscape includes photographs of parks from Maine to Alaska and everything in between. From Yellowstone to Yosemite, New Mexico’s White Sand Dunes, and Arizona’s Petrified Forest, Shive preserves and immortalizes the land in this exquisite collection of photos — a visual narrative that reads like a photographer’s love letter to the planet earth.

At age 30, Ian Shive has clearly found his calling as an environmental photographer. Aware that national parks are protected by invisible boundaries, but threatened by environmental issues, his images are not only colorful captured moments, they are also a call to action for a generation now responsible for turning back the tide on circumstances such as global warming. According to the Glacier National Park’s website, “If current trends continue, some scientists have predicted that by the year 2020, there will be no more glaciers in Glacier National Park due to global climate change.”

Shive’s poignant photograph above is of Montana’s Grinnell Glacier and upper Grinnell Lake, which is newly formed due to the fast receding glacier. Shive hopes to deliver a message of the melting glaciers in our own backyard to inspire and educate those who are unaware of this demise — a mere decade away. Where words can’t possibly tell the story and statistics seem perplexing and inapplicable, Shive’s photography delivers undeniable understanding with the snap of a shutter.

Shive’s goal is to “pursue photography as a platform to introduce different ideas about conservation in the US.” As a complement to the book, join Shive in Wild Exposure, a series of 6 minute segments which offer a behind the scenes making of the book on Current TV. Shive takes you on location to see the adventure-filled situations behind his shots (ie: 90 mph winds in the Grand Canyon), and viewers gain further insight into his mission and his photography — which is a national treasure in its own right.

+ The National Parks: Our American Landscape $26.37 via Amazon

+ Ian Shive Photography