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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pro Tips For Summer Hot Spots

Check out these top shooting locations from some of the best Outdoor Photographer contributors

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Bret Edge
Moab, Utah
Every July and August, monsoonal weather patterns arrive in Moab, bringing with them some of the most interesting and dynamic conditions for landscape photography in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Gone are boring blue skies. In their place, dramatic clouds tower high above natural arches, sandstone spires and sweeping canyon vistas. Thunderstorms shower the desert with short, but intense bursts of rain that collect in sandstone potholes, offering crystal-clear reflections of the surrounding landscape. Ephemeral waterfalls cascade off high cliffs, occasionally conspiring to create flash floods that roar through usually dry washes. Moab's summer monsoons afford photographers an opportunity to create images in conditions that are more reliably dramatic than at any other time of the year. With views like this, your wide-angle to moderate telephoto lenses will get quite the workout. A graduated neutral-density filter will help balance the exposure between that amazing sky and the landscape below.

Moab is a small town in southeastern Utah, and it's the gateway town to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park. The closest major airport is in Salt Lake City. A regional airport in Grand Junction, Colorado, is a 1½-hour drive.

Kevin Schafer
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State
This 14,000-foot volcano looms over the Puget Sound basin where I live, a constant reminder to grab a camera and get out into nature. This national park protects a remarkable chunk of wilderness, nearly 370 square miles in size, with a lifetime's worth of trails and hidden corners. Rainier is justly famous among photographers for its world-class wildflower gardens, especially on the ridges and meadows around Paradise. Yet, those flower shows can vary from year to year, and depending on the snowpack, can peak anytime from mid-July to nearly September.

Happily, Rainier has much to offer even when the flowers are less than ideal. In fact, step away from any of the parking lots and you'll quickly find yourself in wild, lonely country, with camera-worthy landscapes in every direction. Yes, you'll find it hard not to take pictures of the spectacular, ice-covered peak of Mount Rainier itself, but if you can force yourself to look away, you'll find plenty of other pictures worth taking.


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