Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Assignments: April 2013, The National Parks
The Best Of The Assignments Submissions From Outdoorphotographer.com
WE'RE INCREDIBLEY FORTUNATE to have our National Park System (NPS). For nature photographers, the NPS yields an unlimited number of opportunities to create landscape and wildlife photos. The parks have grown so popular that complaints of overcrowding are frequent topics in newspapers and blogs, but even in the most heavily-traveled parks, you can find solitude by venturing just a short distance from the parking lots and campgrounds. The vast majority of people who visit the parks never go more than 100 yards from their cars. And, you don't have to go off-trail to get away from the masses. Put on a decent pair of hiking shoes, grab some water and hit the trail, and within an hour, you can find yourself far from human contact.
I buy an annual pass every year. It's like a little talisman of hope that I'll be able to carve out time away from the day-to-day editing of OP to get to favorite places like Death Valley, Sequoia and Joshua Tree, and also explore new locations like Canyon de Chelly (I've still never been there) and the recently designated Pinnacles National Park.
When I ran the National Parks Assignment in 2012, I was inspired by the response. We received submissions from all over the U.S., and my list of must-visit places grew longer as a result. Here are some of the best shots from that Assignment.
—Christopher Robinson, Editor
Location: Bryce Canyon Park, Navajo Loop Trail
Equipment: Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-105mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX, circular polarizer
My father and I decided to take an adventure through the Southwest Four Corners area while towing a Jeep® CJ-5 from North Carolina to the Seattle area. On our way from Moab to Zion, we were able to fit in a quick stop at Bryce Canyon National Park, but only having a couple of hours, I ran down into the canyon from Sunset Point with only camera in hand. My father was waiting on the rim, so I jogged the 1.3 miles, stopping to take photos. On my way out, I came across Thor's Hammer and stopped to take a variety of compositions at different levels on the trail. I loved this image for its depth of field and contrast between the magnificent red rocks and the dark blue of the storm brewing over the distant mountains.
Location: Yosemite National Park, Merced River
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 17-40mm ƒ/4 L, circular polarizer, Induro tripod and ballhead
Yosemite Valley is lush and green by late spring each year, and in 2011, after a winter of near-record snowfall, the resulting melt-off made for unusual and beautiful conditions there. The vegetation was wildly lush and green, and the Merced River was well out of its banks. I try to visit the park around this time of year, every year, to see the waterfalls roaring and photograph the delicate white blossoms of Pacific dogwood found throughout the park. On this day, I also had great weather conditions, with dramatic cloud formations rolling through the valley all day long. Those clouds and the flooded river framed Yosemite Falls perfectly, showing off its snowmelt-fueled flow.
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