Guide to State Parks

State ParksPublisher: National Geographic Press

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With pictures, maps, and visiting tips, this new edition is an adventurer’s must have!

Broken into ten regions, each section gives highlights of select state parks throughout all fifty states. Each state is featured with a group of ideal state parks to visit, which includes a map showing the location of the state park within the state as well as one or two color photos that the traveler can expect to take in a certain times of the year.  Each state park also provides information on operating times, what to see and do, lodging information, and nearby sights.  Additionally, a more compressive list of other state parks is included to the few featured for each state in case the traveler’s appetite is whetted for more adventure.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was seeing how many of the state parks that I have already visited. We are a family who love to go state and national parks and enjoy nature through hiking, biking, kayaking, and so on.  This is another book that we have already earmarked pages of places that we want to visit.  We’re heading out to California in June and are planning to check out one of these new parks along the way.  It is easy to navigate and will be a resource we consistently reference.  I recommend this book for the traveler and those who love to read about nature.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Guide to Scenic Byways and Highways of the United States

Scenic BywaysPublisher: National Geographic Press

Release Date: February 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With pictures, maps, and visiting tips, this new edition is a road warriors must have!

Broken into ten regions, each section gives highlights of scenic drives throughout all fifty states. Each state is featured with a group of ideal drives, which includes a map showing the location and relative distance of the drive as well as one or two color photos that the traveler can expect to take in a certain times of the year.  Each drive is also provided with some points of interest to stop along the way as well as a little history.  Undoubtedly this doesn’t catch every scenic trip worth taking, but is sure to get even the amateur traveler started in the right direction.

One of my favorite aspects of this book was seeing how many of the drives I have already done. On the ones that I’ve completed, the pictures brought back memories of the drive and I might even add to the list of some of the points of interest.  It also gives me a great guide for future places that I want to visit.  We’ve always been an “out of the way” travel family preferring to take the less traveled path rather than get there as quick as possible, so this book was right up our alley.  I recommend this to people who like to travel and get ideas about places that they would like to visit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Photographs from the Edge

photographs-from-the-edgeAuthor: Art Wolfe; Rob Sheppard

Publisher: AmPhoto Books

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As breathtaking as the pictures are, the stories behind them will intrigue you even more!

Art Wolfe has been in the professional photography business through four different decades. He has had the opportunity to photograph for several different publications including National Geographic and Smithsonian.  Now, he has compiled some of his favorite photos from each decade to bring forth a new book that highlights not only the pictures, but also where he shot them, how he shot them, and what type of equipment he used to get them.  During this time he used both film and digital and it is very difficult to differentiate between the two as they are all just that good!

The photos are arranged by decade, beginning with the 1980s and moving into the present day 2010s. Each photo is supplied with three different narratives: a general narrative, the nature of the photo, and a photo tip.  The book is also not dedicated to a particular type of photography.  He provides several different photos on landscapes, culture, people, wildlife, night sky, and time lapse.  It is easy to see why he has had such a successful career.

I love all of the pictures in this book. I have already gone through it several times, just looking at my favorites.  But I also really enjoy learning how he got the shot.  When reading publications with pictures, I often think about how they must have just been in the right place at the right time.  Sometimes that is true, but throughout the book Wolfe discusses several occasions where the shots were actually staged.  Even so, it still takes a lot of work and local cooperation to make this happen.

Any art lovers or photographers will enjoy this book. Highly recommended!  Especially if you are a photographer aspiring to have pictures in magazines for the trade secrets.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest and thorough review. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.