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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

25 Top Locations For Nature Photography


The pros of OP share some of their favorite locations from around the world

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Bandhavgarh National Park, India (Art Wolfe)
Two words: wild tigers. The magnificent beasts are some of the most endangered on the planet, and this is one of the few places left where you can see them in the wild. Bandhavgarh is situated reasonably close to Jabapur, and it’s part of the rugged Vindhyan mountain range in the central part of the country. Beyond the tigers, there are populations of many other rare animals. Prepare to be patient, and have a good telephoto lens.

Big Bend National Park, Texas (Jack Dykinga)
Big Bend is a park that continually draws me back to its lush (by desert standards) Chihuahuan Desert. The sky island Chisos Mountains harbor stratified life zones and endless opportunities to juxtapose harsh desert agave and cacti with delicate floral displays. All this with the meandering bend in the Rio Grande and the Sierra del Carmen beckoning from across the river in Mexico.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (Mark Lissick)
The Norris Geyser Basin contains the hottest water in all of Yellowstone National Park. With the cold autumn air, the Back Basin is oriented to take advantage of the rising sun shining through the steam from the hot springs. In fall, the bull elk are in full rut and occasionally can be spotted in the basin as they gather their harems. I like to sit on the boardwalk as the dawn paints the scene while listening to the sounds of steam percolating from the vents. The haunting sounds of elk bugles in the distance make the basin one of the most perfect places to photograph.

McNeil River, Alaska (Moose Peterson)
With only the sound of the river rushing by and with big, brown bruins lounging right beside, there’s no other place on this planet like the McNeil River. This sanctuary for coastal grizzlies has been preserved for decades, and each year a few by lottery are afforded the honor of sharing four days with these big ol’ teddy bears.

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Minnesota (Rob Sheppard)
Minnesota’s most visited state park, Gooseberry Falls is a phenomenal location. Within a short distance, you can access waterfalls of varying size, depending on rainfall, but they’re great subjects anytime of year. A valley below the falls has many photo ops, a trail along its southwest side overlooks the Gooseberry River, and at the end of the valley, you reach Lake Superior. You can hike there or drive through the park. Terrific rocks line the shore, plus the huge expanse of water provides good sunrise and sunset photos.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Jay Goodrich)
Mexico is becoming a worrisome place along the southern U.S. border, but further south, in towns like Playa del Carmen, things are still safe for travelers. A recent trip highlighted stunning beach sunsets, and the color palette is mind-boggling—one evening boasted seven different rainbows in a 30-minute period. The white sand beaches give way to the emerald waters of the Caribbean, which lead your view right to the pink hues of sunset. In addition, there are cenotes, temple ruins and jungle paradises that keep you longing for return trips.

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