Tuesday, March 16, 2010
National Park Hot Spots Of The Pros
A selection of favorite places for photography in the national park system
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah • Zion National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park: Nothing can prepare you for your first view of Bryce Canyon as you stroll up to the canyon’s rim. Carved from the sediments of an ancient lakebed, the multitude of pinnacles, hoodoos and crumbling sandstone towers filling the amphitheaters of Bryce are unique even here in this region of wildly convoluted, dissected desert landscapes. With an unobstructed horizon to the east, the first rays of the rising sun illuminate these formations with warm soft light as seen in this image captured from Sunset Point with a graduated-neutral-density filter. Sunrise at Bryce Point is perhaps the best single location within the park to capture the entirety of Bryce, but each overlook provides a unique view. If, after a while, all the overlooks begin to look the same, drop down into the canyons via the Navajo Loop Trail or the Peekaboo Loop Trail to photograph the formations from a completely different perspective.
See more of James Kay’s photography at www.jameskay.com.
Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida
Shaped by water and fire, in flood and drought, the subtropical Florida wetlands known as the Everglades spills far beyond the borders of the national park that bears its name. The “River of Grass” flows slowly, inexorably south from Lake Okeechobee in south-central Florida to the Ten Thousand Islands and Florida Bay.
Contiguous with Everglades National Park to the south and east, Big Cypress National Preserve comprises a vast swath of what has been called Eastern America’s Last Great Wilderness. Sprinkled with distant palm hammocks, wide vistas call out to the landscape photographer. Hey, Montana! This, too, is Big Sky Country.
Wood storks, otters and white-tailed deer. Turtles, roseate spoonbills and alligators by the score. Even the occasional black bear and the elusive (and nearly extinct) Florida panther. You never know what you’ll come across on a tour of Big Cypress National Preserve.
Extending due north 21 miles into the heart of the ’Glades from Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41), the out-and-back Turner River Road is a personal-favorite photo drive here. An adjacent canal offers a steady diet of photo ops, especially early and late in the day.
A long lens, a quick finger, a dose of serendipity—and you may come back with some keepers from a day on the prowl in America’s first national preserve. Leaving the car behind, I suggest a paddling trip through the mangrove tunnels of the Turner River or an off-road swamp slog in a cypress slough.
See more of John Moran’s photography at www.johnmoranphoto.com.
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