Tuesday, March 16, 2010
National Park Hot Spots Of The Pros
A selection of favorite places for photography in the national park system
The national park system is the ultimate playground for nature photographers. Between parks, monuments, preserves and other designated locales, it’s impossible to fully explore and photograph them all. In this issue of OP, we place a special emphasis on the U.S. national parks and, in connection to that, we asked a select group of top pros for their favorite hot spots for photography in the parks. There’s no way to include all of the amazing locations in a single issue of OP, much less a single article, and we don’t think of this list as being the definitive national parks hot spots. However, we do hope that you’ll be inspired by these images and the pros who made them to go out and explore some of these places or, better yet, to find your own hot spots. And when you do, please show us your best shots. The Your Favorite Places section of the OP website is the perfect place to show your favorite locations and to share ideas with your fellow readers—log on to www.outdoorphotographer.com/your-favorite-places.html.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend is one of those places I fell in love with at first sight. Its spare Chihuahuan Desert vegetation and sky-island mountains feel like my Sonoran Desert home in Tucson. The actual Big Bend in the Rio Grande marks a circuitous border between Mexico and the United States. There are camps along the bluffs lining the river where you’re standing in the U.S. looking across a stretch of Mexico at the Chisos Mountains in Texas. You find that this mighty river has zigged and zagged all over the place. Seemingly every bend provides yet another chance at reflections in the river or startled waterfowl on the wing.
For me, the stratification of plant life from river level to the Chisos Mountains, with life zones defined by annual rainfall, typify nature’s adaptation. Giant species of yuccas (giant dagger) and agave (Agave havardiana) give way to oaks, pines and junipers. With flowering yuccas and agaves and sprinklings of bluebells (lupines), a spring in Big Bend can be spectacular. All you need is rain! There are amazing vistas where sunrise and sunset light colors the Chisos mountain crags. This a desert landscape where light can streak unimpeded across an open land, rim-lighting the convolutions and providing cool shadow textures, enough to make any photographer smile.
See more of Jack Dykinga’s photography at www.dykinga.com.
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