QT Luong • Photographing Everglades National Park

The sheer variety and size of Everglades National Park in Florida makes it unlike any other. As a palette for nature photography, it stands at the top of the tree. QT Luong tells us about his experiences of making images in this remarkable location

Everglades National Park is one of the world’s largest marshlands and the biggest subtropical wilderness in North America. It was the first national park created to protect a unique and endangered ecosystem rather than spectacular scenery such as mountains or canyons. The park is renowned as one of the best wildlife photography destinations in the world, but in spite of first impressions, there is also a wealth of unique landscape photograph opportunities to be found if you know what to look for.

Most photographers visit Everglades National Park for the wading birds and alligators. Nowhere else in North America are the birds that diverse, abundant and easy to observe and photograph along one of the park’s famous boardwalk trails. On the other hand, the scenery at first appears flat and monotonous. It is a park whose highest point is only 10 feet. However, in the Everglades, this means that a difference in height of just a few feet changes the vegetation dramatically. The park supports a variety of ecosystems that include marshes, sawgrass prairies, pine forests, tropical hammocks, mangrove swamps, coastal beaches and cypress domes. There are expansive views over prairies or water, with dramatic clouds in the summer and plenty of intimate scenes unusual for their lushness and watery character. Since this iconic national park has no specific iconic places, understanding the ecosystems and what distinguishes them from each other helps in finding subjects. As a case in point, no other photographer has ...

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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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