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Golden Country is a traveler's guide to exploring and understanding California's visually stunning landscapes—from the waterfalls and granite domes of Yosemite National Park to the rocky shores of the California Coastal Monument, from the soaring redwood forests of Redwood National and State Parks to the surreal sandscapes of Death Valley National Park. Author and award-winning photographer Susan M. Neider provides all the information you need to plan a tour of the state’s premier outdoor destinations and to come...
Golden Country is a traveler's guide to exploring and understanding California's visually stunning landscapes—from the waterfalls and granite domes of Yosemite National Park to the rocky shores of the California Coastal Monument, from the soaring redwood forests of Redwood National and State Parks to the surreal sandscapes of Death Valley National Park. Author and award-winning photographer Susan M. Neider provides all the information you need to plan a tour of the state’s premier outdoor destinations and to come away with your own striking photographs to treasure forever.
*at-a-glance profiles of national and state parks, national and state preserves, national monuments, and national seashores
*stunning full-color photographs and maps
*expert photography tips
*geographic information and little-known facts
*best times to visit and suggested lengths of stay
(1) Preface (2) How to Use This Book (3) The Geography of California (4) Traveling California (5) General Precautions (6) California Coastal National Monument (Central Coast) (7) Death Valley National Park (8) Joshua Tree National Park and Adjacent Desert Parks (9) Lassen Volcanic National Park (10) Mojave National Preserve (11) Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve (12) Muir Woods National Monument (13) Pinnacles National Monument (14) Point Reyes National Seashore (15) Redwood National and State Parks (16) Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (17) Yosemite National Park
Posted November 18, 2007
'Golden Country' is, quite simply, an extraordinary book by an extraordinarily talented individual. I am in awe of the sheer quality of the work product created here. The book's photographs are gorgeous and sumptuous: flawlessly composed, tack sharp, bathed in perfect natural light, and offering a wide variety of interesting content (ranging from soaring panoramas to tight close-ups of individual trees, foliage, rocks, and animals). Some images are simple 'matter-of-fact' recordings of beautiful landscapes, while others show off clever interpretations of unusual but naturally-occurring effects (like discreet angled beams of sunlight shining crisply through the green canopy of a section of woodlands, or low-hanging gray clouds appearing to kiss the twin peaks of the Golden Gate bridge, or mountain ridges seamlessly mirrored in salt water pools lying below). But every picture is powerful and emotive, setting its own emotional tone and a distinct mood. All of them are compelling and emotional. But this is hardly just a pretty picture book for the coffee table (though it would do just fine there and anyone should be proud to display it there or fascinated to peruse it there). This book is also a highly effective travel guide. Unlike other travel guides that bombard the reader with boring historical information and poorly presented details, this book's information is accessible, well organized, and cleanly laid out on the page in a way that anyone can use. Only the essence of what you need to know to visit, observe, and photograph the destinations is provided: no fat, just what you need to know, presented in a highly efficient manner with journalistic-like precision and accompanied by clean, usable maps of the destination areas. But it is not just a travel guide. It is actually a beautiful piece of literature because of the remarkable quality of the author's writing. The opening preface captures, in a single page, California's majesty, massive expanse, and remarkable physical complexity and contrasts. Later text explains the origins of the landscape -- the geological processes that actually caused the topography to develop the way it did: why things look the way they do, why the weather patterns act the way they do, why the mountains are positioned the way they are, how they came to be that way. It is pure fascination, but communicated in an easy and accessible way, scientifically accurate but not at all overwhelming for the lay reader. The prose is so beautiful, the words so well chosen, the sentences so well crafted and rhythmic, that the text is simply a joy to read -- packed full of information but yet flowing and engaging. I am struck by how Ms. Neider's descriptive writing often manages to combine a soaring, lyrical quality with a crisp, scientific precision, all at the same time. It is very rare to find these qualities combined so artfully. Before she began her career as a photographer, Ms. Neider was a scientist and a teacher. In Golden Country, she has accomplished the truly remarkable feat of combining together in one book the technical observations of a keen scientist, the engaging education of an inspiring teacher, the graphic design of a fine artist, the talented eye of a world-class photographer, and the emotional intensity and honesty of a great writer. Rarely, if ever, has a photography book or a travel guide managed to provide such a unique combination in a single article. I consider this extraordinary book to be one of the four or five most impressive creative works I have ever owned, and I highly recommend it to others. You will not be disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.