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.
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.
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.
The Appalachian Mountains have always served as a source of inspiration for me. Born and raised in the remote recesses of southern West Virginia, these ancient mountains became my mentors as I explored their steep slopes, narrow ridges and constricted valleys. Once I became smitten with nature photography, the Appalachians became my favorite location to explore through a viewfinder.
James Kay has a passion for the grand vistas of autumn in the wide-open spaces of North America
To photograph colorful fall foliage, the conventional wisdom says go to New England, but for photographer James Kay,no place is better in autumn than the American West. Kay, who makes his home in Salt Lake City, has photographed the mountain west for almost 25 years, and he still relishes its grand vistas of vivid autumn color.
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the best places in the world to see wild tigers. It’s located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, an 18-hour train ride southeast of New Delhi. The journey by train is the best and easiest way to reach this remote reserve. The nearest airport is six hours away, and you should avoid the pothole-covered roads that lead to Bandhavgarh.
The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) is devoted to using photography to help people better understand environmental challenges
Special among the ranks of nature photographers is a group of individuals who have dedicated their careers to document not only the beauty of nature, but also the threats facing the world’s most remote wildlands and endangered creatures. Called the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), members of this newly formed association combine their skills, talent and experience to help save the places all nature photographers cherish.
Crex Meadows is a mix of flowages, wetlands, prairies and forest located in northwest Wisconsin. About 30,000 acres in size, it has an excellent system of gravel roads that allows you to travel the edges as well as cut across the central areas of the park. The easiest way to find the park is by taking Interstate 35 north from Minneapolis, Minn., to Highway 70.
Surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, Colorado’s San Luis Valley is the largest and highest inhabited alpine valley in the world. Though settled, it’s home to relatively few inhabitants; in fact,a mere 47,000 people live in the basin, a Rocky Mountain wonder tucked between the San Juan Mountains to the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east.
A mere two hours north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert is the 25,000-acre Red Rock Canyon State Park. The exposed geology is stunning where the Sierra Nevadas link up with the El Paso Mountains. Shades of pink, red, brown and white eroded volcanic and sedimentary layers provide a fascinating vista. Softer sediments have been worn away into a variety of cuts and channels capped by harder volcanic material. For thousands of years, native peoples used the unique tributaries as trade routes and as part-time homes. Later, prospectors and emigrants seeking a new life plied through on the way west.
The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge protects more than 240,000 acres in four states and is the longest wildlife refuge in the contiguous 48 states, stretching 261 miles along the Mississippi River from the Chippewa River in Wisconsin almost to Rock Island, Ill. Steep bluffs, interesting islands, ancient burial mounds, unusual flowers and migrating birds are just some of the photographic subjects waiting to be discovered. The Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway, runs along both sides of the refuge, providing easy access to the refuge and adjacent public lands. Many public boat landings offer photographers with watercraft more options for exploring the area.
The Caribbean National Forest, locally known as El Yunque (the anvil), is located about an hour’s drive east of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. Established in 1903 as the Luquillo Forest Reserve, El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the National Forest System. Relatively small at 28,000 acres, the forest’s highest elevations (about 3,500 feet above sea level) can receive more than 250 inches of rain per year.
Among the many rivers, ponds and swamps in southern New Hampshire, the Merrymeeting Marsh in New Durham is a standout for photographers who have discovered the fun of shooting from a kayak. The Merrymeeting River flows out of Merrymeeting Lake and into Lake Winnipesaukee, opening up into a marshy expanse on the west side of Route 11, about 90 miles north of Boston. The parking lot and the easy put-in are just past the junction of Route 11 West and Ridge Road.
The master photographer shares his personal picks of the country's national parks
David Muench enjoys the exciting blend of history and landscape that exists in Big Bend, where the Rio Grande serves as a watery border between the United States and Mexico. With more than 800,000 acres of land, the park features a rich collection of some 1,200 species of plants, including more than 60 cactus species, massive canyons and an expansive desert—all against the beautiful backdrop of the Chisos Mountain Range.• Park Headquarters: Big Bend National Park, Texas
The out-of-this-world formations of the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark have been used as a backdrop in a number of science-fiction films. There are about 500 towers of various shapes that reach as high as 140 feet above the base. The formations are the weathered remnants of tufa (a form of calcium carbonate) towers created under water between 10,000 and 80,000 years ago in an ancient lake that’s now dry.