Jonathan Irish@jonathan_irish

Contributor to Nat Geo
Travel | Photograph | Repeat
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Jonathan Irish

National Parks, Greenland, Antarctica, French Polynesia, Peru..just to name a few places in my top 9 posts of 2018. Oh what another fantastic year it has been. I’m so blessed to travel to these amazing places, and to be able to capture a small part of their beauty. 2019 is just around the corner and I’m so looking forward to more of THIS, as well as many other things (like finding and buying @istefpayne and my dream home, visiting family and friends, and so much else). I’m headed back to Antarctica next week on assignment, which I am really looking forward to. Then I have a very exciting major announcement that will come at the end of January. It is going to be hard to keep that one under my hat, but it will be worth the wait. I hope your 2018 was fantastic as well, and I wish for you and yours an even better 2019. Finally, we have one more day left of our 25% book sale, so if you haven’t gotten your hands on one yet you can do so by clicking the link in my bio. In fact, we are almost fully out of inventory, which means we will need to order a 2nd printing. Yowza! Happiest new year, everyone! Thanks for bringing me inspiration throughout the year as well 🙏 See you on the flip side.


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Jonathan Irish

Here we are...the mother of all parks: Yellowstone. Where it all started way back in 1872. Back then, the idea of land conservation for the “benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations” was a radical shift in thinking. Up until then, our natural resources were to be used/exploited as whomever saw fit. It still blows my mind that a few brave souls over 140 years ago saw the land for something else: as our national heritage to be conserved and protected so that not only current generations could enjoy them, but also future generations. And it is the “future” part of that statement that is the key. Generally, It goes against human’s thinking to plan so far ahead, to preserve something for the benefit of those they may never meet. We are selfish animals most of the time, thinking only of our immediate needs. But those that started this land conservation with Yellowstone NP accomplished something incredible. And just look at the results now. Even through varying political environments, our parks are still treasured by the people, and we will fiercely defend them not just for us, but for future generations. If you look hard enough in the parks, you will find a plaque that is in most of the parks, and it is dedicated to Stephen Mather, the first director of the park service. I won’t recite the entire quote, but it ends with this last sentence: “There will never come an end to the good that he has done”. That’s an incredible thought, and I think it is true as well of our National Parks. There will never come an end to the good that they have done (as long as we continue to protect them). As this countdown and year ends, let’s renew our vows to protect these places with all our hearts, not just for us, but so our children’s children’s can revel in their beauty as well. Thank you for following along on this countdown, and for your support of our project. Our book will remain on sale until the end of the year, if you haven’t bought one yet (link in bio). Wishing you all a fantastic and prosperous new year! 🙏
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@YellowstoneNPS (the 1st U.S. National Park) in #Wyoming and #Montana was established by the @NationalParkService on March 1, 1872.


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Jonathan Irish

As a true lover of trees, Sequoia is definitely one of my favorite parks to explore. Where else can you stand in a grove of the largest (by volume) trees in the world? It’s pretty incredible. However, for me, I will forever associate Sequoia NP with @GoodMorningAmerica. I know that is random, but let me explain. During our project to visit all of the 59 US National Parks in one year in celebration of the centennial of the park service, we had a lot of media attention. I was interviewed on several different news stations, large media companies shared our story, and our images were seen in so many different outlets and stories. The varied and wide ranging press we received was humbling. But probably the most special coverage was when Good Morning America came out to hang with us in Sequoia for a day and help tell about our adventure. It was a surreal feeling..knowing that our project was now going to reach an even broader audience. We filmed segments while hiking through the giant forest, and had the best time with the crew. That was one of a lot of special and memorable days on our epic adventure. ·
#SequoiaNationalPark (the 2nd U.S. National Park) in #California was established by the @NationalParkService on September 25, 1890.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

Hail to the chief. Oh man. We are getting down to the original parks..the ones that started it all. And it is getting harder to say something special about them. Why? Well, it’s not because there is a lack of incredible things to say about these parks, but more because they are so special, so iconic. What could I possibly add to their already well-known reputations. Yosemite NP was the third park established by the national park service, and it is one of the greats. It’s not often I am left without some inspiring words to say about one of my favorite places in the world. But then again, I don’t feel Yosemite needs that kind of explanation. It can speak for itself, right? Here’s to one of the great natural places in the world: Yosemite National Park. 🙏🙏
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@YosemiteNPS (the 3rd U.S. National Park) in #California was established by the @NationalParkService on October 1, 1890.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

Having lived in Seattle, Mount Rainier was always a beautiful and constant sight. It was said that, when the clouds parted and Mount Rainier revealed herself, the entire Washington state stopped to take notice. Traffic was noticeably slower, people walking in the streets had their heads noticeably tilted toward the sky. The mountain literally stopped traffic. Such is the love of a mountain as iconic as this one in a state that loves the outdoors. When I lived in Seattle, I used to drive to work in the direction of Mount Rainier, and it always took my breath away. It was my ballast point in the region. Often, we would go to the national park and explore..a simple weekend backpacking trip or a quick hike. And it always delivered on the awe-factor. This is especially true in the summer when the wildflowers bloom. We missed the wildflowers on our epic road trip to visit all of the US national parks in one year during the centennial of the park service. But still, Mount Rainier delivered. This was shot in the morning from the appropriately named Reflection Lake. For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas to you and yours! ·
@MountRainierNPS (the 4th U.S. National Park) in #Washington was established by the @NationalParkService on March 2, 1899.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

I’ve spent a lot of cold, dark nights out under the skies in our national parks. They offer some of the darkest skies and brightest stars in the country. Watching the Milky Way slowly pass overhead near a sandstone arch, a gorgeous mountain, through an old growth forest, or from the banks of a river is always a treat. But I have to say, the stars over Crater Lake NP in Oregon are some of the best in the entire park system. The lack of light pollution, combined with clear skies and elevation, is enough to take your breath away when you brave the night. Shooting astrophotography is usually a solo endeavor, as not a lot of people like to stay up to the wee hours of the morning out in the darkness. But for those who do, Crater Lake is a relative Astro-smorgasbord. Are you someone who likes to sit out under the stars, or someone who prefers to be in a comfy bed? No judgement is passed here..they are both fantastic and addictive options. I just prefer the stars. Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours! ·
#CraterLakeNationalPark (the 5th U.S. National Park) in #Oregon was established by the @NationalParkService on May 22, 1902.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

Rulers of the road. Wind Cave NP is home to a beautiful herd of about 250-400 bison that can be found roaming the park. Before being hunted to near extinction by the late 1800’s, these bison numbered in the tens of millions..possibly as many as 60 million. That’s a lot of bison. Can you imagine what a sight that must have been? Now, their numbers are small and fiercely protected. The Wind Cave herd is one of only four free roaming and genetically pure herds on public lands in North America. Interestingly enough, the Wind Cave bison herd was started with stock from the Yellowstone bison herd, which is the only herd in North America that didn’t go locally extinct from hunting. If you are diving through Wind Cave NP, this is a sight you are most likely to see. Just watch your speed (especially at night) and give these beasts plenty of room. And be sure to stop and watch them from time to time...they truly are kings here. ·
@WindCaveNPS (the 6th U.S. National Park) in #SouthDakota was established by the @NationalParkService on January 9, 1903.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

Our national parks don’t just protect natural wonders...they also protect cultural sites as well. In Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park, an incredible array of ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings are preserved for your wanderings and imaginations. We explored these cultural sites in absolute wide-eyed and jaw-dropping amazement. The structures are so well preserved that you can stand in any place and imagine what life must have been for these strong and capable people. You can almost see the young Puebloan children running around the dwellings, the women grinding grain, the young men building store houses. With the tiniest bit of imagination, it is easy to make these sites come alive before your very eyes. I enjoyed photographing the different cliff dwellings so much, that I put it on my list to one day apply to be an artist in residence at Mesa Verde. With the permission of the Park Service, and unfettered access, I believe photographing these structures could become a real passion of mine. The artist in residence opportunities that the park service offer are really incredible, and this park (in particular) piqued my interest in this program. Have you been lucky enough to go to Mesa Verde and see these cliff dwellings? Or have you been an artist in residence before? ·
@MesaVerdeNPS (the 7th U.S. National Park) in #Colorado was established by the @NationalParkService on June 29, 1906.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

Glacier National Park in Montana will always hold a special place in my heart. I hate to pick favorites, because I truly do love ALL the U.S. national parks, but if I were forced to, Glacier would be one of them. I’ve spent a lot of time in Glacier. Almost 20 years ago I used to lead cycling trips through Glacier NP for @TrekBikes and @TrekTravel. Those were amazing times...cycling through this park is not easy, but feeling the wind in your hair as you take in one jaw-dropping scene after the next is an amazing feeling. And cycling over the Going-to-the-Sun road is one of the best road rides in the entire country. I’ve been back to Glacier many times since then, sometimes on photo assignments and sometimes just to explore and hike for fun. I always feel like coming to this park is coming home, in a way. Some places just speak to you, and for me, Glacier whispers the sweetest melodies. There’s a feeling I get when I’m in this park that is hard to explain. Sure, the beauty is incredible and the hiking trails are some of the best anywhere. But it’s deeper than that. This park has an old soul.....that’s the best way I can explain it. You can feel its deep rhythms in the rock, the trees, the wildlife, and its Native American ancestry. This park breathes...and lives. It’s such a special place. Am I alone in feeling this way about Glacier? What park(s) speaks deeply to you? ·
@GlacierNPS (the 8th U.S. National Park) in #Montana was established by the @NationalParkService on May 11, 1910.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

It’s good to be lucky. Persistence will usually get you the desired results (in photography, at least). But sometimes you just get lucky on the first try. I’d been wanting to photograph the aptly named Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park at sunrise ever since I first laid eyes on it. I knew that, if preparation and effort happened to mix with a little bit of serendipity, it would be a beautiful scene. It had snowed the day before this attempt, and @istefpayne and I got up super early from our campsite for the early morning hike. It was icy and slippery on the short hike in the dark to get to this spot. We questioned our sanity a few times on the way as we slipped and slides in the dark. But we made it to the spot with plenty of time, and waited for the magic to happen. And boy, did it ever. It was an insanely beautiful sunrise that morning, accented by the freshly fallen snow. I love the alpine glow, but fell in love with the orange reflection on the iced over lake. It was a sunrise to remember. I would have kept going back day after day until I got this shot..but sometimes it’s really nice just to be lucky. ·
@RockyNPS (the 9th U.S. National Park) in #Colorado was established by the @NationalParkService on January 26, 1915.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

The fragility of nature. Our national parks protect some of the most incredible natural wonders in the world. One such wonder, in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, is the Holei Sea Arch. Found at the end of the chain of craters road, and at the beginning of the parkside hike to see the flowing lava, the arch is a delicate formation that sits beautifully along the lava formed shoreline. Forever growing (from new lava flows) and shrinking (from ocean caused erosion), this shoreline reveals many such beautiful structures like this. However, formed only about 100 years ago, this sea arch will not last long. The crashing waves will eventually win and take down this iconic view. But fear not, another will take its place. Such is the ebb and flow of creation and erosion. My advice? Go see it now. ·
@HawaiiVolcanoesNPS (the 10th U.S. National Park) in #Hawaii was established by the @NationalParkService on August 1, 1916.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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Jonathan Irish

Into the belly of the beast. I’ve talked before about our favorite hiking trails on this crazy project, and here’s another. In fact, it may be one of my top three trails we hiked the entire year. Why? Because it was so amazing, and so unearthly that it absolutely took my breath away. I’m talking about the Sliding Sands Trail into the crater floor at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. Most people won’t hike this trail, as they have blinders on for only watching the sunrise from the crater rim (which is truly an awesome experience too). But for those adventurous souls who venture well below the crater rim, a surreal and beautiful world awaits unlike any park experience in the entire system. It’s a world of strange endemic plants (silversword) found only in this small ecosystem, of barren red moonlike dirt, and of scattered volcanic cones on all sides of the trail. Simply said, it’s like walking on Hollywood’s version of Mars. Some trails you remember, some trails you forget, and some trails are truly epic. This one definitely falls into the epic category. Have you visited Haleakala NP, and if so, did you hike down this trail? Also, our parks countdown is almost over...have you purchased a book yet? If so, thank you so much for your support. If not, Giddyup! 🙏
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@HaleakalaNPS (the 11th U.S. National Park) in #Hawaii was established by the @NationalParkService on August 1, 1916.
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Stay tuned as @istefpayne and I count down all 60 of the U.S. national parks, sharing previously untold stories and/or photos from our epic road trip to visit all the parks during the 2016 centennial of the park service #onassignment for @natgeo and @fujifilm_northamerica.
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While we are counting down, you can get your hands on a copy of our gorgeous 240-page National Park coffee table book for 25% off! Just go to the link in my bio and order a copy through Amazon. No coupon code needed, discount already applied! Price is as marked.


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