A century ago, legendary photographer Edward Curtis set about to capture the traditional world of Native Americans before that world vanished. Now, Ben Greenberg has done the same for the natural areas of Virginia. Devoted to preserving and celebrating Virginia’s diverse but sometimes threatened natural richness, Greenberg has spent years creating a collection of more than one hundred stunning images that range from the Commonwealth’s most well-known to its rarely explored landscapes. By framing all of these photographs—whether of the Shenandoah Valley in full fall blaze or of Tidewater piers in the afterglow of sunset—as panoramas, Greenberg heightens the drama and immediacy of the moment, forging an enduring composite portrait that captures Virginia’s natural heritage and at the same time reminds us of its fragility.

Natural Virginia divides the state into three regions: the Tidewater, Piedmont, and the Western mountains and valleys. The images in each, whether of a great blue heron emerging from river mists or of an almost leafless autumnal tree on Skyline Drive, convey a sense of grandeur while simultaneously inviting the viewer in to the intimacy of the settings, as though one might be able to smell the musk of the salt flats or to feel the brush of the fall wind. The photographs highlight the wide-ranging diversity of the Commonwealth’s national and state parks, wildlife refuges and management areas, their rivers, lakes, mountains, and wild creatures. Deane Dozier’s introductory essays to each region offer further insight into the geography and geology of Virginia.

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