Terra Galleria Photography

QT Luong receives the Ansel Adams Award for Photography


I am humbled and grateful to have received the 2022 Ansel Adams Award for Photography from the Sierra Club. Named Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography until a few years ago, the annual award “honors superlative photography that has been used to further conservation causes.”

Given its provenance and past recipients, I couldn’t be more honored. Founded in 1892 by John Muir, the Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential environmental organization in the United States with close to four million members. Without the national parks, for the establishment and protection of which the organization made such strong contributions, my life may have been quite different.

Back in 1993, as a fresh newcomer to America, I discovered the work of Ansel Adams and viewed his original prints in Northern California galleries and museums. Their beauty made such a great impression on me and I learned that the landscape is not a fixed subject, but something as transient as the light that makes it visible. This set me on my course to embrace large format photography and photograph the national parks and other public lands.

I studied the work of Galen Rowell, Robert Glenn Ketchum, William Neill, Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, and James Balog among other past Ansel Adams Award honorees. Several dozens books from this distinguished group are part of my photography book collection and have served as a continued source of inspiration to explore and cherish the natural world. I hope that my photographs can do the same for younger generations.

When I read the texts in the books of Ansel Adams, I understood the significance of his contributions to the environmental movement, and how important it was to continue those efforts. Almost three decades later, I am proud that my own work has been called “photographic environmental activism” and that during the presentation, which this year was virtual, Ramón Cruz, the president of the Sierra Club, stated “Our National Monuments is the most beautiful and persuasive statement ever for the protection of our national monuments”.

The Ansel Adams Award for Photography, maybe one of the highest lifetime awards in photography of the natural world, recognizes a body of work. It takes a village to create that. I want to thank you everyone for your help along this journey. I am appreciative of the opportunity for collaboration from environmental organizations through my photography career. May we work together and do our best for this amazing planet that is our shared home.


  1. Congratulations and thank you for all your fantastic always inspiring work.

  2. Congratulations! I received the Ansel Adams award a few years ago (decades ago!), and it was deeply gratifying. Your lovely books and photographs truly do advance the cause of conservation.

    • QT Luong says:

      Thank you Stephen for your kind words, your Grand Staircase-Escalante introduction in Our National Monuments, and your own books, where the writing is as eloquent as the photography. The Sagebrush Ocean is a classic, I learned so much about the Great Basin from reading, and it has nurtured my appreciation for this austere place. By the way, the too short list of names I mentioned were those who inspired me the most during my formative years. There are many others with great work on my bookshelf including Bruce Barnbaum, Clyde Butcher, Chris Jordan, Nick Brandt, Tim Palmer, Joel Sartore…

  3. Greg P. says:


    Wow…congratulations! To be made a member of such an illustrious group of people is a rare honor…and well deserved!

    Please keep up the great work!


  4. Frank Field says:

    QT – I am so very happy to see your many years of dedication to capturing our national treasures recognized with this signal award. The recognition is hugely deserved, all the more so given the high caliber of the company your name now keeps. Congratulations! Frank

    • QT Luong says:

      Thank you Frank. It’s been almost 3 decades since I started to photograph on public lands, but it is only after seeing the impact of the Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan series that I resolved to focus all my efforts in communicating the value of those lands.

  5. Paul says:

    Congratulations QT. This is such a wonderful and deserved achievement

  6. Laurence Segil says:

    I cannot imagine a more worthy recipient for the award than you and your magnificent body of work. Your books will be treasured for generations by nature and photography lovers to come.
    All the best wishes for your future health and achievements,

  7. Steve Carter says:

    Very well deserved award for a photographer who has done so much to further the vision and philosophy of Adams and other greats. Congratulations!

  8. Richard Wong says:

    This is a real honor and we’ll-deserved QT. Congratulations!

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