QT Luong • Photographing Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Every National Park in North America has been photographed endlessly. Or has it? In Texas lies a fairly unknown location that could prove an exciting new photographic furrow to plough, as QT Luong explains

Although one of the least-visited and little known U.S. National Parks, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, often described as an island in the desert, offers a great variety of scenery and juxtaposition of landscapes. The park features desert, canyons, sand dunes and seven of the nine tallest peaks in Texas. I was surprised by the diversity of vegetation, which ranges from desert plants to woodland trees, whose color in autumn rivals New England. Outside of the eastern forests, no other national park offers fall foliage that brilliant! Because Guadalupe Mountains National Park is off the beaten path for most park-goers, it is mostly free of crowds, and because it is not well known among nature photographers, it provides the opportunity to create relatively fresh images. As an added bonus for those of you who would rather not photograph landscapes at midday, you can do a quick jaunt to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, only a bit more than half an hour away.

While the mountains may look like a sheer wall from Hwy 62, the main road skirting the park, surprising discoveries await photographers who take the time to hike into the park. Most of the trails can be reached by ...

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About Author


QT Luong is known for being the first to photograph all America’s 59 National Parks – in large format. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured him in The National Parks: America's Best Idea. His photographs are extensively published and have been the subject of four large-format books including Treasured Lands (winner of 6 national book awards), several magazine and newspaper profiles, solo gallery and museum exhibits across the U.S.

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    Interesting topic on photographing Guadalupe Mountains National Park. And I am happy to see more people are getting to know this beautiful park. I go to the park almost every year in the past 9 years, camping, hiking and photographing. There are so much to see, to learn, and to photograph in the park. I would like to share a few collections of my photos of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park from my website and on YouTube. All comments and critiques are welcome.

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