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Frank Lee Ruggles

In 2007, while hiking in the George Washington National Forest, Frank Lee Ruggles' cell phone unexpectedly rang. It was the National Park Service calling to tell him he had been accepted to the position as an official photographer for the National Park Service, a position once held by his photographic hero, Ansel Adams. It seemed fitting to him that he would be awarded his "dream job" while hiking on public lands. In the four years since, Frank has visited and hiked over 150 National Parks and Forests across the Nation, on a 1000 day, 25000 mile journey that took him to the most beautiful and wondrous places in the country.

A Professional Photographer since 1992, he's done just about every type of photography a commercial shooter can do; Architecture, Portraiture, Product Photography, Photo Journalism, Scientific Photography and even Weddings. He was a photo services provider for several Federal Agencies in Washington DC, including the State Department, where he was the exclusive photographic printer for Secretary of State Colin Powell. Through the years however, his passion has always been shooting in nature, while hiking and camping. This new position with the Park Service would afford him endless possibilities to explore and photograph the country.

Nearly every day on the road, Frank would make the most of his off-duty time by grabbing his camera and backpack and head out on a trail to see what he could find. His experience as a Paratrooper in the Army gave him the skills to travel off trail to the lesser known places in the parks, and the discipline to wait for hours until the sun was just right for a shot. He slept on the ground sometimes or stayed up all night at 14000 feet to see the stars. He traversed rivers, climbed cliffs and jumped over volcanic lava to get to the places where his best photographs would be captured. He photographed the rugged cost of Maine, the glaciers of Alaska, the desert arches in Utah, the wonders of Yosemite, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and everything in between.

Frank finished his project with the National Park Service in 2010, and since has been sharing his experiences thru the Hike and Shoot workshops, based in Virginia. You can join him for a day hike - details @

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  • Alexandria, Virginia, USA