Taking the Wide View

A new panoramic book captures the many landscapes of Virginia.

In his new photography book published this spring, Natural Virginia, Ben Greenberg describes staking out a spot on the James River near Pony Pasture in early morning darkness and spotting a Great Blue Heron fishing in the rapids. He snapped a picture in the rising pre-dawn mists, hoping the image would capture the sharp grace of the heron against the pale blue of the coming sunrise.

The image of the heron on the James is now the cover photo for the book, and, says 66-year-old Greenberg, his “favorite photo of all time.”

After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1969, Greenberg worked as an event and portrait photographer. During a visit to Maine’s Acadia National Park in 1998, he decided he would begin to focus exclusively on landscape photography.

Natural Virginia, Greenberg’s first published book, features a collection of 122 panoramic photographs of Commonwealth landscapes. The extra-wide book opens vertically, inviting readers into the moonlit beaches of Tangier, the fiery profusion of autumn leaves in Albemarle county, the moss-slick falls of Fauquier.

The book is clearly a celebration—a meditative, reverent appreciation of the state’s natural bounty.

Says the Richmond native, who has lived in Charlottesville since 2002, “I care a great deal about the environment that we live in. I want this book to be a gift from me to the people of Virginia—one that helps encourage us to preserve our natural environment.” University of Virginia Press, $59.95

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