American West

Few sights evoke the American West more than the saguaro cactus, found only in the Sonoran Desert. Saguaro National Park, close to the urban center of Tucson, Arizona, protects these majestic cacti. At the park, you can hike through fantastic desert scenery year-round. #Sunset photo courtesy of David Olsen.

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Silverton, Colorado - August 1981 by Larry Syverson
Via Flickr:
I drove Colorado’s ‘million dollar highway’ from Durango to Silverson and Quary in August 1981. Being a flat-lander, the highway was very scary. A couple of times I wanted to turn around and go back. Fortunately, I didn’t. Silverton, Colorado in August 1981. It was worth the drive up!

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German-born (although he was only one when his family emigrated to the United States) and -trained landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, visited Yosemite in the 1860s. The paintings that resulted did much to enshrine Yosemite as an unspoiled Garden of Eden in the minds of people across the United States. As a result of the publicity generated by his Yosemite paintings, his presence was requested by every explorer considering a westward expedition.

Although critics felt that Bierstadt overly romanticized his subject matter and his use of light was excessive, his images did much to promote the West as a land of promise in the public mind.  By the time of his death, he had produced over 500 works.