Charleston-based photographer Drew Doggett’s recent project, Shadow’s Alight; Portraits of the American West, is the result of 14,000 miles traveled in a 23-foot airstream, visiting 21 national parks. Doggett has spent much his career photographing foreign places and people whose communities are in imminent danger due to development and a lack of conservation efforts. But he wanted to turn his lens toward his own country. In celebration of 100 years of our National Park Service, Doggett set out to capture some of America’s most classic scenes to see how they’ve changed, how they’ve stayed the same, and ultimately why they’re worth protecting. Here, Doggett shares a few favorites from his recent project.
Photo: This image was taken on the furthest part of Shi Shi beach, Washington, one of the most northwestern points in the United States. A several hour hike from the nearest road, this beach is one of the most secluded in the U.S., lending a real feeling of nature at its most untouched.Taken in Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, the aim of this image is to reveal a stark contrast between the softness of the water and the severe, coarse face of the rocks that surround the river and have done so for centuries.On this particular morning in early November, I awoke early to an unexpected snowstorm. I jumped into my car and drove as quickly as I could toward Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal Park, and captured this image just from the side of the road.In Teton National Park, I found this scene on a brisk morning: remnants of snow quickly vanishing in the textured grasses along the banks of a stream, near the Snake River. We were just in front of the Teton Mountains, hiking along the river, and I was drawn to the reflections on the surface of the water. Shortly after this image was taken, a herd of elk passed by us within a few hundred feet and crossed the stream.Nestled into the backside of Yosemite National Park, this hidden grove of aspens were at their peak, golden color. I had heard of hidden groves such as these in Lundy Canyon, and so we explored several "pockets," each more beautiful than the last, until we arrived at this final grove set against the backdrop of the mountain.After a four-hour hike in, I was rewarded with this scene of Punch Bowl Falls taken in Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.Shot along the banks of the Merced River as the last few rays of sunlight surged down the tunnel of Yosemite valley. The looming base of El Capitan, and lack of a horizon line, gives a sense of the scale of the rock formations in this area.Triple Falls in Columbia River Gorge is surrounded by intricate patterns and textures of the untouched forest on all sides, and this dramatic clearing frames the three streams of Triple Falls.While walking early one morning along the Merced River, I was drawn to this broken log and its reflection on the horizon line as fog drifted through Yosemite valley.Another early morning on the Merced River was enhanced by smoke in the air from a nearby controlled burn, which made every ray of light visible as they shot through the trees.