America The Beautiful as Seen Through Landscape Photography

“O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties….. Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood ….. From sea to shining sea!”

Scenes of America and its Wide-Ranging Beauty

"Wilson Peak 'Sunrise" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of Wilson Peak, Colorado. Click on Photo to Purchase

As a child growing up in the 1960s, America the Beautiful was one of the songs I learned in elementary school. The words thrilled me then but today, as a fine art landscape photographer, they take on greater meaning.

America the Beautiful is a patriotic song written by Katharine Lee Bates while on a trip to Pikes Peak in 1893. She was so inspired by the Pikes Peak landscape that she wrote a poem about it. Years later, the music to go with the poem was composed by Samuel A. Ward, a church organist. It was first published in 1910. America the Beautiful is one of the most well-known patriotic songs. It emphasizes the beauty of nature within our country.

I have had the privilege of photographing scenic sites in different countries around the globe. But my favorite country to take landscape photography remains the United States due to the variety of landscapes. Our country has a wide range of landscape features from mountains to valleys; from forests to deserts; coastal shores to inland lakes.

"Nubble Lighthouse Sunset" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of sunset on the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine. Click on Photo to Purchase

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain…..

Spacious skies…what does that mean to you? For me, the words bring to mind the wide, open skies that can be seen in many parts of America. I have stood gazing out at the open fields over the valleys around the Tetons. There are endless stretches of skies meeting the horizon on the coasts of Florida and Maine.

The spacious skies form the perfect background when photographing wild horses running through the plains. America’s beautiful spacious skies create stunning landscape photo opportunities. One gets a sense of endless possibilities as the horizon stretches out in front of you.

"Lido Key Sunrise" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of an amazing sunrise at Lido Key, Florida. Click on Photo to Purchase

For purple mountain majesties….. Above the fruited plain!

As a landscape photographer, the words “purple mountain majesties” truly summarize the thoughts often forming in my mind. Mountain peaks may take on a purple hue at sunrise or sunset as the sun’s rays travel through the atmosphere. The word “majesties” summarizes the majesty of the mountain range in front of my camera lens. There are many beautiful mountain ranges in America that bring to mind words such as “grandeur” or “splendor”.

The Rocky Mountain Range stretches about 3,000 miles from end to end. The Rockies are home to many national parks including Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Winter landscape photos of the Rocky Mountains are among some of my favorites.

"Factory Butte Sunrise" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of sunrise in the Utah desert. Click on Photo to Purchase

The Oregon mountains also provide the backdrop for stunning photos of purple mountain majesties especially when the images are reflected in a nearby lake.

From sea to shining sea

One of the unique aspects of the United States is we are bordered by two distinct shorelines. Our landscape truly is “from sea to shining sea.” Our various coastlines are beautiful in themselves. The East Coast has long stretches of beaches as well as the rocky coast of New England. Facing east, it is a great location to capture sunrises.

The West Coast also has rugged and rocky shorelines and quaint picturesque beaches. Unlike the East Coast, it faces west. Sunsets can be spectacular.

"Bandon Burst" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of sunset on the beach in Bandon, Oregon. Click on Photo to Purchase

America the Beautiful as Seen in Movies

There is no doubt that the American landscape has played an important role in the enjoyment of movies. Filmmaker John Ford was known for his films that were set in the American West. The Western landscapes with their rugged mountains and stunning views formed the foundation for the epic storylines. Two of his most famous movies that were also known for their beautiful cinematography were “Stagecoach” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”

One of the pivotal scenes in “Forrest Gump” was watching Forrest as he ran through Monument Valley with the endless skies and red buttes.

“Dances with Wolves,” directed by Kevin Costner, was set in the American West and showcased the landscape of the area. This film won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

And who can ever forget the scenes from “A River Runs Through It” directed by Robert Redford? The natural beauty of Montana’s Big Blackfoot River even made me want to become a fly fisherman. These are just a few examples of America’s beauty playing a role in filmmaking.

"Monument Valley Sunrise" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of a stunning sunrise in Monument Valley. Click on Photo to Purchase

America’s Beauty as Seen in Photography and Paintings

The perception and realization of the diversity of America’s beautiful landscapes have been recorded and captured by many photographers. For example, the famous photographer, Ansel Adams, is known for his stunning black and white photographs of Yosemite National Park and the Grand Tetons.

America the Beautiful has also been the subject of interest for many painters. Winslow Homer was a landscape painter who specialized in marine landscape paintings. Thanks to the talents of famous artists and landscape photographers, we can appreciate the beauty of America’s natural landscape.

"Southwest Harbor" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of sunset in Southwest Harbor in Acadia Natl Park. Click on Photo to Purchase

The Joy of Capturing the Beautiful Landscapes of America

For me, personally, I find great joy in being a landscape photographer. The beauty of nature changes with the seasons and is always awakening me to new possibilities. Within our country’s boundaries, there are a variety of landscapes—mountains and valleys. There are coastal areas and dense forests. The diversity in our country’s landscapes is endless.

Nature can make me feel small and humble me. It also can inspire me with its beauty. I always look forward to my next photography journey. I hope the photos in this gallery will also inspire you to see and appreciate the beauty of America.

"Angel Oak" - A Limited Edition print of 100 of Angel Oak Tree in Charleston, SC. Click on Photo to Purchase