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America: 50 States in 50 Photos

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In the past, I've composed many photo essays that took viewers on virtual tours of distant countries. Today, I decided to do the same thing, but focus closer to home, collecting one recent photograph from each of the 50 states in the United States of America. The photographs are not necessarily meant to represent the whole of any state. They are simply interesting, noteworthy, beautiful, or otherwise caught my eye. Sit back and enjoy a quick jaunt around the USA in 50 photographs from mid-2012. [50 photos]

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A cowboy rides his horse through town as he watches a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Beardstown, Illinois, on May 6, 2012. There are approximately 900 immigrant workers from 34 countries employed in Beardstown at the Cargill meat packing plant and most are willing to work hard at just about anything for a better life in the United States. While both longtime community residents and immigrants agree that most people accept the newcomers, the beginnings were rocky and some problems still remain. (Reuters/Jim Young)
A cowboy rides his horse through town as he watches a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Beardstown, Illinois, on May 6, 2012. There are approximately 900 immigrant workers from 34 countries employed in Beardstown at the Cargill meat packing plant and most are willing to work hard at just about anything for a better life in the United States. While both longtime community residents and immigrants agree that most people accept the newcomers, the beginnings were rocky and some problems still remain. (Reuters/Jim Young)
Beach visitors watch the sunset in Dauphin Island, Alabama, on August 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
View from the south Rim of the Grand Canyon near Tusayan, Arizona, on August 10, 2012. (Reuters/Charles Platiau) #
The USS Constitution passes the Boston skyline as it is tugged back through Boston Harbor in Massachusetts, on August 19, 2012. The USS Constitution set sail under her own power for the first time since 1997 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over HMS Guerriere during the War of 1812. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) #
Fans cheer during a football game between the Florida Gators and the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, on September 8, 2012. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) #
The moon passes between the sun and the earth behind a windmill near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 20, 2012. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson) #
A race fan watches a preliminary race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky at the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, on May 5, 2012. (Reuters/Jeff Haynes) #
A tribal fisherman sits on rocks below the Willamette Falls during the annual lamprey harvest along the Willamette River, in Oregon City, Oregon, on July 13, 2012. As long as Indians have lived in the Northwest, they have looked to lamprey for food. This jawless fish popularly known as an eel has steadily declined until Columbia Basin tribes have just a few places left to go for lamprey. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) #
Mud flies in front of a competitor as he swims through mud underneath electrified wires during the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow in West Dover, Vermont, on July 15, 2012. The Tough Mudder is a nine-mile endurance event which runs competitors through a military style obstacle course complete with mud, water and fire. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) #
A bicyclist rides in view of downtown Seattle and past grass turned brown from lack of water, on August 31, 2012. Not too many people are complaining in typically soggy Seattle, but the city is on a surprising run of dry weather. The gauge at Sea-Tac Airport reached the end of August without a drop of rain. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) #
The sun sets as fishermen work to catch the winning Landlock Salmon during the annual fishing derby on Lake Winnipesaukee, in Alton, New Hampshire, on May 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) #
In St. Paul, Minnesota History Center senior curator Adam Scher shows a damaged bridge highway sign, one of a collection of artifacts at the History Center from the disastrous Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, that took place on August 1, 2007. Photo taken on July 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) #
A member of the U.S. Army Old Guard places a flag at one of the over 220,000 graves of fallen U.S. military service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia, on May 24, 2012. (Reuters/Jason Reed) #
A combine cuts rice in a field near Tucker, Arkansas, on August 16, 2012. Arkansas rice farmers planted 1.135 million acres in 2012, equal to 59 percent of the nation's rice crop this year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) #
Boys and girls compete with their sheep at the West Virginia State fair on August 11, 2012 in Lewisburg, West Virginia. (Image was created using an iPhone 4s with Snapseed's vintage filter) (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #
Confederate infantry re-enactors participate in the Battle of Bloody Lane during an event to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 15, 2012. The Battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862 and was the bloodiest battle in American history with more than 23,000 men killed, wounded, and missing in one single day. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) #
As a sign summer is coming to a close, Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation hosted its annual "Swimming Gone to the Dogs" event on September 5, 2012, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. More than 350 dogs took to the water at the Terrace Park Family Aquatic Center for an end-of-season swim before the pool was to be cleaned and closed for the winter. (AP Photo/Amber Hunt) #
An unfinished grand ballroom inside Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel's dream mansion named Versailles in Windermere, Florida, on July 27, 2012. The Siegel family is the subject of the documentary film "The Queen of Versailles" that documents their life as they construct their 90,000 square-foot dream mansion in the middle of the real-estate crisis. Siegel filed a lawsuit against director Lauren Greenfield for defamation following the completion of the film. (Reuters/David Manning) #
Fisherman Lester Toothaker uses a dip net to fish for elver along a river near Portland, Maine, on May 9, 2012. May 31 marked the end of what has become a Gold Rush for a small group of Maine fishermen - the 10-week season for catching juvenile eels known as elvers, whose price has increased nearly a hundred-fold over the past decade. (Reuters/Joel Page) #
The Lima Lima Flight Team flies near the Gary/Chicago International Airport above Gary, Indiana, on August 16, 2012. The planes, Beech T-34 Mentors, were used as training aircraft for the U.S. Navy and Air Force during the 1940's. (Reuters/John Gress) #
A nodding donkey pump extracts oil from the earth at an abandoned farm near the old ghost town of Dore, North Dakota, on April 19, 2012. Dore has seen a rebirth with booming oil activity in western North Dakota. (AP Photo/ James MacPherson) #
Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, silhouetted against a bright red sky as the sun sets on May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Three-year-old Christian Haupt throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball game against the San Diego Padres, on September 4, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) #
Storm chaser and photographer Brad Mack shoots a tornado as it makes its way over the 135 freeway near Moundridge, Kansas, during the third day of severe weather and multiple tornado sightings, on April 14, 2012. (Reuters/Gene Blevins) #
Chris Bayer tours "The Hole" at Nevada State Prison in Carson City, Nevada, on May 18, 2012. The prison, established before Nevada's statehood, was decommissioned after 150 years of operation. (AP Photo/Sandra Chereb) #
Fairgoers spin on a ride at the State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on July 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) #
A man walks on a hill near crosses set up at the memorial to victims of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, early Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) #
A couple enjoy a sunny afternoon against the backdrop of the Midtown skyline from Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 25, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #
Thousands of people head south during the annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk, on September 3, 2012. Governor Rick Snyder led thousands of walkers and runners across the bridge for one of Michigan's most popular Labor Day traditions. (AP Photo/John L. Russell) #
Julia Douglas, 18, of Honolulu, watches lanterns float by at the Floating Lantern Hawaii ceremony in Honolulu, on Monday, May 28, 2012. Some 40,000 participants floated roughly 3,500 candle-lit lanterns into the ocean to memorialize loved ones at the annual event. (AP Photo/Oskar Garcia) #
A sculpture adorns the front grounds at Medway Plantation in Goose Creek, South Carolina, on February 17, 2012. The plantation contains 6,728 acres of land and is staffed by 7 full-time employees. Upkeep on the property can run as high as $500,000 a year. In the South Carolina Lowcountry, more than a half-dozen antebellum plantations, which don't change hands often, are now for sale. (Reuters/Randall Hill) #
Wrangler Denise Boyd laughs by the campfire during Montana Horses' annual horse drive outside Three Forks, Montana, on May 4, 2012. The Mantle family, who own Montana Horses, held their last horse drive where they rounded up approximately 300 horses and drove the herd 35 miles from their winter range to the Mantle ranch. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
A sky diver performs at the NASCAR Sprint Car Series auto race on Saturday, August 25, 2012, in Bristol, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #
Peyton Barnes, age six, of Duke, Oklahoma, practices her roping skills at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) #
Oracle Team USA Spithill (left) sails against Team Korea during the quarter-finals of the America's Cup World Series Newport Racing Championship in Newport, Rhode Island, on June 28, 2012. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi) #
Children watch area veterans in the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2012 in Fairfield, Connecticut. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #
On August 11, 2012, the sun sets on 17,400-foot Mount Foraker in Denali National Park, the fourth-highest mountain in the United States and the second highest peak, behind 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, in the Alaska Range. The Chulitna River is in the foreground. (AP Photo/Dan Joling) #
Bethany Walters, a veterinary student at North Carolina State University, examines Holden III before surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 19, 2012. The endangered juvenile green sea turtle underwent experimental surgery to repair a deep skull wound. (AP Photo/Allen Breed) #
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Madagascar Chevrolet, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on June 3, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) #
The Bernacchi family from left; Joel Bernacchi, Liliana Bernacchi, Tiffany Bernacchi and Olivia Clark, take a photo along the beach as Hurricane Isaac approaches Gulfport, Mississippi, on August 28, 2012. (Reuters/Michael Spooneybarger) #
A firefighting helicopter fills a bucket of water in heavy smoke as the North Merna wildfire burns in the Bridger National Forest west of the town of Pinedale in Sublette County, Wyoming, on September 16, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Visitors walk through the "infinity room" before a public memorial service for U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, on August 29, 2012. Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, died in August at the age of 82. (Reuters/Matt Sullivan) #
A bear cub with second-degree burns to its paws is examined and treated at the Garden Valley Ranger Station in Idaho, on August 28, 2012. The cub, who is about four months old, was injured in the Mustang Complex Fire. Wildlife veterinarian Mark Drew said the cub, nicknamed Boo Boo, will require long term care to survive. Efforts to locate the cub's mother were unsuccessful. (Reuters/USFS/Kari Greer) #
Spectators watch as fireworks light up the sky over the Hudson River during the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show in New York City, New York, on July 4, 2012. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) #
Kameron Hays, 7, sports a mohawk while attending the Iowa 80 truck stop's 33rd Annual Truckers Jamboree in Walcott, Iowa, on July 12, 2012. The Iowa 80, located along Interstate 80, is said to be the world's largest truck stop. (Reuters/Adrees Latif) #
Don Duplantier walks through his flooded home as water recedes from Hurricane Isaac in Braithwaite, Louisiana, on September 2, 2012. In the foreground is a sign marking the waterline from Hurricane Katrina, but floodwater from Isaac went all the way up to the second floor. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
Ross McCleary sprays water on a fire at the Fairfield Creek fire near Springview, Nebraska, early on July 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver) #
Competitors race towards the shore of Lake Michigan during the pro surf paddling competition in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on September 1, 2012. This event brought freshwater surf enthusiasts from all over the region to Sheboygan over Labor Day weekend. (Reuters/Sara Stathas) #
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (right) tours the Flight 93 National Memorial with Families of Flight 93 President Patrick White during ceremonies commemorating the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 2012. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images) #
A view of Monument Valley Tribal Park in Utah, on August 14, 2012. (Reuters/Charles Platiau) #

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