“From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters…”

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Many songs, like This Land Is Your Land, reflect a special feeling and conjure up verbal images of the natural beauty of our country. Paul Ingevaldson is hardly a recognizable name like the aforementioned tune’s Woody Guthrie. In fact, he is not a songwriter in any sense. As an amateur photographer, however, he is a storyteller who has used what he sees through the lens to tell a visual narrative of a trip across America, touching down to snap an image in each state that captures the essence of the destination.

The book, 50 State Odyssey from Sea to Shining Sea: An Amateur Photographer’s Perspective, is a photographic essay that provides comfort and satisfaction during a most unusual time for our country. Under most

Osprey Nest, Florida Everglades

circumstances, a collection of images from majestic places would spur readers to pack their backs and set out on a journey. With discretionary travel largely curtailed until safer times emerge, people can find joy and harmony in Ingevaldson’s work, admire the pictures, and dream about places to go when budgets and sensibilities allow. 

The fact that Ingevaldson is an amateur photographer helps readers (and the many amateur photogs among them) relate these images to their own photographic musings and set expectations about what’s in store. Perhaps as much fun as anything is trying to guess which image Ingevaldson has chosen as his subject for each of the states. While some might be obvious, others are sure to surprise.

“My goal was to take pictures that represented all of America,” he says. That includes everything from images that depict involvement in wars to ones that show natural resources, canyons, waterfalls, volcanos, glaciers and mountains, sports, entertainment venues and iconic places.


The book opens with a striking photograph of a cotton field in Alabama, followed by a majestic Bryn Mawr Glacier within Alaska’s College Fjord. Also impressive is the shot from Horseshoe Bend along the Colorado River in Arizona. For California, Ingevaldson chooses a lone cypress tree overlooking Pebble Beach.

Entrance Path to Sea Island Resort, Georgia

Historic places are also included. Who would have known that The Golden Fleece Tavern in Dover, Delaware, is where the first state Assembly gathered to ratify the U.S. Constitution?

The photographer himself makes a cameo appearance at Four Corners, where New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona intersect. Any guesses for New York? Ingevaldson chose a shot of a mounted policeman gazing over New York City’s Central Park.

If you like potatoes, ice cream, auto racing, horse racing, gambling, great stone structures and sour mash whiskey, you won’t be disappointed.

“This project has been very inspiring in this time of domestic and international strife,” Ingevaldson says. “Our country is breathtaking, varied and unique.” With 50 State Odyssey from Sea to Shining Sea, you have an inspirational armchair guidebook to take you on a grand tour.

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Paul Ingevaldson is a retired executive who worked for 25 years for Ace Hardware Corp. Upon retirement, he has kept busy guest lecturing on technology in the MBA program at Northern Illinois University and engaging in his lifelong hobby of photography. Since Ace Hardware has stores in all 50 states and over 70 foreign countries, travels in his business life took him to the four corners of the world and to every U.S state. This book reflects Ingevaldson’s vision of his country in pictures.