Get back to nature with Outdoor Photographer. From landscape photography articles that include the rugged beauty of the West to the bustle of the urban jungle, use our nature and wildlife photo essays to find your next adventure.
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore believes photography can make a difference in helping protect the environment
Imagine a dream National Geographic assignment: photographing America’s Gulf Coast from the tip of Florida to Brownsville, Texas. Who could resist traveling the coastline and capturing stunning images of sunsets and coastal beaches? But what Joel Sartore saw on his second assignment for the magazine turned out to be much more than pretty pictures for a national publication. He walked along debris-strewn beaches near Galveston. Recalls Sartore, "I saw dead dolphins and garbage that included medical waste and plastic bottles from around the world."
The rugged mountains, sweeping vistas and sublime auroras are among the subjects waiting for your lens in Canada
Photographing in the Far North during the summer is a great advantage because of the extended amount of time you get to spend with that long shadow-casting, low-hanging, sweet, warm light at sunrise and sunset. Mid-August to early September is my favorite time. Autumn colors start early there, mosquitoes and black flies will be on a serious decline, weather is generally more moderate, and the sun can hang near that horizon for an hour or more before finally setting. But that’s not all—the sun can then underlight any lingering clouds and turn the sky crimson for another 15 to 20 minutes of magic. Wait, there’s more! Because the nights start to get darker this time of year, chances for seeing and photographing the Northern Lights greatly increase. Sweet!
Use these techniques to add a feeling of motion to your images
As a visual storyteller, I sometimes look at my video-shooting colleagues with more than a little envy. They carry only one camera (albeit a big one) with one zoom lens of incredible range and speed; they not only capture sound, but seem to be able to shoot in pitch-dark conditions as well; and most enviable of all, they can record movement and the passage of time.
Great Falls National Park is a natural jewel situated just 14 miles northwest of our nation’s capitol. The park is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and covers some 900 acres on the Virginia side of the falls. On the Maryland side is the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Parkland, which stretches for 184 miles from D.C. to West Virginia. Both sides offer excellent vantage points with easy access, including wheelchair, to the falls by way of level paths and overlooks. The falls have a total vertical drop of some 76 feet in less than a mile and are comprised of several major cascades, the largest of which is 33 feet. The Potomac here is rated as a class 5 whitewater, which is considered a serious risk, and an average of seven people die every year in its powerful grip.
Elizabeth Carmel's expressive landscapes are a combination of subtle details and majestic scenes
A summer day starts early in the high Sierras for photographer Elizabeth Carmel. Arriving at the trailhead in total darkness, she straps on her backpack, and for the next hour, with only a headlamp illuminating the path, she treks up a meandering mountain trail.
Your best images come when you see the photograph as a whole
Why do people climb dangerous mountains, and why are people so obsessed with the quest for adventure? These are common questions among people who don’t climb mountains. And for that matter, I’m also asked about what pushes me to pursue adventure photography. Couldn’t I have opted for any number of less dangerous photo careers?
A look at some of our readers' favorite places around the U.S.
In 2006, we launched the Your Favorite Places section of the OP website. We invited you, our readers, to submit photographs of your favorite spots to photograph, then the editors of Outdoor Photographer would select the best images and post them in a gallery. Within a few weeks, Your Favorite Places became one of the most visited areas of the website, and the editors were overwhelmed with submissions. In fact, we were so impressed with the photographs and the variety of locations that were being submitted, we decided to put together an article in the magazine showcasing some of our favorites. We hope you’ll be inspired to submit your own images as well. It’s easy. Go to www.outdoorphotographer.com and click on the Your Favorite Places tab.
Situated in the village of Yellow Springs about 20 miles east of Dayton in southwestern Ohio, Glen Helen Nature Preserve is an uncommonly beautiful and pristine parcel of land that’s safeguarded as a laboratory for the observation, study and enjoyment of natural ecological processes. Within it, all wildlife, vegetation and rock formations are protected. The preserve consists of approximately 1,000 acres—more than 20 miles of often challenging hiking trails through hills and valleys, two scenic creeks, an attractive waterfall known as the Cascades, several springs (including Yellow Spring, after which the village is named), an enchanting pine forest, and many limestone rock formations and ledges. This spectacular landscape was created by glacial meltwaters around 10,000 years ago.
Discover the diverse photo opportunities in the southern Appalachians
Ranging from northern West Virginia to northern Georgia, the southern Appalachian Mountains have a biodiversity without rival. Combine this with rugged beauty and easy accessibility, and exploring the gifts of spring in these ancient mountains can become a consuming passion. Most areas set aside for recreational use are smaller than those found in the Southwest, but this just means it’s easier to explore more than one area. You won’t be too far from civilization but far enough to feel like Daniel Boone is looking over your shoulder.
For intrepid photographers, Alaska is still the gold standard for untamed landscape and wildlife photography
Alaska is often referred to as the last great wilderness for nature photographers who want to see the big game of North America. Africa’s Serengeti and the Alaskan frontier are in the same class when it comes to the diversity of wildlife and the vast regions of unspoiled habitat that support these animals. Like Africa, it’s not easy to reach North America’s ultimate wilderness, but if you want to see the splendid flora and fauna this special place has to offer, the trek is well worth it. From bald eagles to caribou to whales, every aspect of the landscape offers its own treasure trove of wildlife.
Mentally prepare yourself to think like a pro adventure photographer
At first glance, it would seem that unless you’re a full-time adventure athlete, photographing action and adventure photography is something to which you’ll have little opportunity to apply yourself. I believe that nothing could be farther from the truth. When considering the steps to shooting action photos, there are many ways you can use these ideas when practicing and honing your photographic skills far from the mountains or wild rivers.
Mount Shuksan rises in the North Cascades just south of the Canadian border. It’s easily accessible by paved road 55 miles east of Bellingham, Wash., on State Route 542, the Mount Baker Highway. The last 24 miles, from the town of Glacier, has a National Forest Scenic Byway designation. The road winds along the North Fork Nooksack River and climbs to a 5,000-foot elevation at Heather Meadows. This subalpine setting includes several small lakes, a picnic area, visitors center and well-maintained hiking trails. In the winter, it’s a popular developed ski area. From these meadows and Artist Point, a few miles farther, there are excellent views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including Mount Baker (10,778 feet) and Mount Shuksan (9,131 feet).
Northeastern India is home to a rich palette of culture, wildlife and color
India’s enduring cultures, ancient architecture and stunning landscapes have drawn photographers since the infancy of photography more than 150 years ago. The vibrancy of color, the diversity of wildlife and the beauty of its people have held a special allure to those who not only enjoy traveling to distant locales, but who also hope to experience and make photographs of places whose history is measured not in hundreds, but thousands of years.
Rising more than 2,000 feet above the plains, the Flatirons rock formation is the iconic backdrop of Boulder, Colo. These iron-rich sandstone formations were tilted on-end 300 million years ago when continents collided and the ancestral Rockies were uplifted. At 5,430 feet of elevation and 28 miles from Denver, Boulder is where the Great Plains meet the foothills of the Rockies.
Diversity is the textbook definition of Texas. The Lone Star State offers a menagerie of faces that define a natural heritage known to photographers throughout the world. From the palette of color in the flora and mountains along the historical Rio Grande River to the oceanic sky over the undulating grasslands and canyons of big ranch country, Texas offers a variety of locations, subjects and seasons to fit your photographic needs.