Pictures by QT Luong
California is richest and most populous of the 50 US states. It has 12% (33 million) of the US population, and is responsible for 14% ($1.4 trillion) of the US GDP, a figure exceeded only by four countries in the world. The third largest of the states, it boasts an extraordinarily varied geography. There are more than 850 miles of dramatic coastline, unique forests featuring the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in the world, semi-dormant volcanoes, endless mountain ranges comprising Mt. Whitney, the highest point (4418 meters/14,495 feet) in the Lower 48, and wide deserts including the lowest point (86m/282 feet) in the western Hemisphere. The vast wilderness areas, some of which nearly the size of some Eastern states, contrast with two of the most sophisticated metropolitan areas of the world, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I have made California my home for well over a decade, yet I still have many areas to discover, so watch this gallery for frequent updates.