Tuesday, October 26, 2010
25 Top Locations For Nature Photography
The pros of OP share some of their favorite locations from around the world
I remember my childhood days, recalling the most polluted river, which actually caught fire! The Cuyahoga, outside Cleveland, has since become the poster child for what’s possible in terms of environmental cleanup. Today, its valley comprises much of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I had the good fortune to see firsthand the many “staircase” cascades with members of the Cuyahoga Valley Photographic Society, who opened my eyes to some amazing waterfalls, like this one, Blue Hen Falls.
As a native son of the Mountain State, I’m partial to the photographic wonders of this piece of Appalachian heaven. The Highland region is particularly a gem, and it’s considered to be one of the prime nature photography locations in the U.S. With waterfalls and wild rivers, autumn’s amazing colors painting the forest and hillsides, and spring’s abundant profusion of wildflowers, the Highland region offers something for every taste. There are hundreds of miles of country roads and a host of national forests, state parks and national wildlife refuges to explore. While more and more photographers are discovering this jewel of the mid-Atlantic, it still offers space to roam.
While Utah is home to five national parks, Capitol Reef is the most undeveloped and least crowded. Within the park’s borders are huge chunks of wilderness that few people ever visit. The convoluted and dissected sandstone canyons of the Waterpocket Fold would take several lifetimes to explore. Although I’ve photographed in the park countless times, I’ve just barely nicked the surface. It’s a treasure trove.
I’ve led several photo workshops here, but my most intimate encounters have brought me some of my most memorable images. Fall colors reflected in pools or coastal granite outcroppings turn magical with autumn’s color. Even poison ivy looks amazing against the blue-gray coastal boulders.
Visit the Lake Mead Recreation Area just to the east of Las Vegas, and you’ll find an amazing location for landscape photography. The area is far more than just the lake. It’s a place filled with desert mountains, badlands, volcanic rock formations and more. The Muddy Mountains run through much of it, and you’ll quickly see where they got their name. You can reach many great locations by hiking short distances from the main road, Highway 169. Remember to bring water as it’s very dry here. There are also dirt roads that will take you further into the rugged landscapes, though you’ll often need four-wheel drive.
Few natural wonders are as accessible and as beautiful as Lake Tahoe. Azure water, golden sand beaches, granite peaks and tumbling waterfalls make this region a photographer’s heaven. Although the ecosystem in and around Lake Tahoe is under siege, it’s still one of the loveliest settings anywhere. The color of the water is unique, and it needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
For 25 years, I ran spring and fall workshops in the Mono Lake area. The lake and the surrounding mountains offer such a variety of photographic opportunities that a five-day workshop could hardly do it justice. Great landscapes, tree-nesting birds, interesting small mammals and wildflowers are all at their peak in June, and snowcapped mountains and brilliant foliage color the fall. Mono Lake is located on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the junction of Highways 395 and 120.
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