OP Home > Locations > North America > Pinpoint Hot Spots Of The Pros

Locations



Sunday, May 1, 2005

Pinpoint Hot Spots Of The Pros



Have you ever seen a beautiful landscape photograph and wondered where it was composed or how to get there? In landscape photography, there are a number of iconic locations well known to the pros, but often missed by the general public. We asked these landscape masters to share with us images and insights from some of their favorite places—15 photographic treasures from around the country. We've included maps and directions so that you, too, can find these "secret" locations. As many of the photographers told us, the real joy isn't in the finished image, but in being out there to shoot it. We hope you'll be inspired to experience these magical places yourself.

1) Palisade Head, Lake Superior, Minnesota
  • Photographer: Gary Alan Nelson
  • Location: Palisade Head, Lake Superior, Minnesota
  • Directions: Palisade Head, a part of Tettegouche State Park, is just off Highway 61, about 55 miles northeast of Duluth, Minn. A steep and winding road leads you directly to the top of the palisade. From the parking lot, hike north and down along the edge and then back up an incline from where you'll look back and see the cliffs. The whole distance is about a half-mile.
  • Best Times: The best time to photograph Palisade Head is early morning, as the unobstructed sun rises over Lake Superior. Fog often lingers on the surface of the lake, adding a mystique to the scene. Spring and autumn are the best months for shooting because the sun's at the best angle to highlight the cliff. During the winter months, the road leading to the top of the palisade isn't plowed, but remains open to foot traffic. Palisade Head's combination of precipitous cliffs and ice can make it dangerous in winter, though.
  • Photographer's Notes: For images like this one, I take advantage of my 4x5-inch view camera's ability to lower the lens independently of the rest of the camera. This lens' "fall" gives me a composition showing more of the rocks without tilting the whole camera. Because the film stays vertical (parallel to the cliff face), the rocks maintain their correct perspective.
  • Contact: Tettegouche State Park, (218) 226-6365; Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, (651) 296-2270, www.dnr.state.mn.us.



    2) Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, Colorado
  • Photographer: James Kay
  • Location: Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, Colorado
  • Directions: From the center of downtown Aspen, travel one mile to West Maroon Creek Road and turn left. Travel 10 miles southwest until the road dead-ends at Maroon Lake, where you'll find a parking lot; the location is less than 100 feet from the parking lot.
  • Best Times: The last week of September provides the peak color of the brilliant yellow leaves of the aspen trees, but the peak can vary by a few weeks, depending on the previous summer's temperature and rainfall patterns. The 14,000-foot Pyramid Peak to the east prevents the first rays of sun from hitting the Maroon Bells until June when the sun rises more to the north of the Peak's bulk. You'll need to wait until later in the morning if you want to have more of the Maroon Bells illuminated by the sun to reflect in the calm water of Maroon Lake.
  • Photographer's Notes: While it's always worth getting up before sunrise in the hopes of getting lucky with spectacular cloud displays and shafts of light illuminating the peaks, using a polarizer during high noon also can provide dramatic results, especially when the aspen leaves are at their peak color. The filter will enhance the color in the leaves and provide more contrast between the sky and clouds.
  • Contact: Aspen Ranger Station, (970) 925-3445; Campground Reservations, (877) 444-6777, www.reserveusa.com.



    3) Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
  • Photographer: David Middleton
  • Location: Appalachian Trail, Green Mountains, Vermont
  • Directions: The Little Black Brook runs along the Appalachian Trail where it crosses Route 7—a great place to capture Vermont's beautiful displays of fall color. Take State Route 7 to the village of Danby, then turn east at Crosby's Lumber onto FS 10 (known locally as the Mt. Tabor-Weston Road). Drive three miles into the mountains to the well-signed trail and parking lot.
  • Best Times: The leaves usually are at their fall-color best from about October 7 to 21. Any time of day is all right—the real key to a great shot here is the weather. While the leaves are most photogenic when they're wet, a cloudy day will work, too. Avoid direct sunlight because the contrasty light will make it difficult to preserve detail in both the sunlit areas and the shadows underneath the trees.
  • Photographer's Notes: My favorite time to photograph the fall leaves is during or right after a light rain. Be sure to use a polarizing filter to cut the shiny wet glare from the leaves. This will allow all the rich colors of the scene to come through beautifully. Use a lens hood to keep rain off the glass. For warmer color under these conditions, try an 81-series filter; an 81B should work well.
  • Contact: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, (906) 387-2607, www.nps.gov/piro/.



    4) Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida
  • Photographer: Michael Turco
  • Location: Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park, Florida
  • Directions: Travel two miles south of the park entrance (main gate) near Florida City and turn left at the turnoff for Royal Palm, Anhinga Trail and Gumbo-Limbo Trail. Drive 11/2 miles to the parking lot on Paradise Key.
  • Best Times: Winter, from December through March, is the best season to see wildlife in the park. The best hours are after sunrise until 10 a.m., and two hours before sunset until dark.
  • Photographer's Notes: The Anhinga Trail offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, and animals here tolerate the presence of humans better than in other areas of the park. You'll see a wide variety of birds, including ospreys, double-breasted cormorants, herons and more—and the Everglades' well-known alligators, too. To catch a great sequence of a bird in flight, shoot as it comes toward you. Use a zoom lens and autofocus to capture the action. Keep the AF sensor on the eye of the bird and shorten the focal length as the bird approaches.
  • Contact: Everglades National Park, (305) 242-7700, www.nps.gov/ever/.



    5) Appalachian Trail, Green Mountains, Vermont
  • Photographer: David Middleton
  • Location: Appalachian Trail, Green Mountains, Vermont
  • Directions: The Little Black Brook runs along the Appalachian Trail where it crosses Route 7—a great place to capture Vermont's beautiful displays of fall color. Take State Route 7 to the village of Danby, then turn east at Crosby's Lumber onto FS 10 (known locally as the Mt. Tabor-Weston Road). Drive three miles into the mountains to the well-signed trail and parking lot.
  • Best Times: The leaves usually are at their fall-color best from about October 7 to 21. Any time of day is all right—the real key to a great shot here is the weather. While the leaves are most photogenic when they're wet, a cloudy day will work, too. Avoid direct sunlight because the contrasty light will make it difficult to preserve detail in both the sunlit areas and the shadows underneath the trees.
  • Photographer's Notes: My favorite time to photograph the fall leaves is during or right after a light rain. Be sure to use a polarizing filter to cut the shiny wet glare from the leaves. This will allow all the rich colors of the scene to come through beautifully. Use a lens hood to keep rain off the glass. For warmer color under these conditions, try an 81-series filter; an 81B should work well.
  • Contact: Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, (802) 747-6700, www.fs.fed.us/r9/gmfl/; Green Mountain Club, (802) 244-7037, www.greenmountainclub.org.



    6) Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California
  • Photographer: Michael Frye
  • Location: Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California
  • Directions: Traveling north on Highway 41 through the southern entrance to the park, drive 24 miles down Wawona Road. Pass through the tunnel, and almost immediately after exiting the tunnel, park your vehicle in an available spot within the parking lot. There are two lots north and south of the road. The spot to set up your camera immediately adjoins the north parking lot.
  • Best Times: The ideal time to photograph at Tunnel View is when a storm is clearing in late afternoon around the spring and fall equinoxes—sunlight strikes both El Capitan on the left and Cathedral Rock on the right. There usually will be more water in Bridalveil Falls during the spring equinox, plus a better chance of storms.
  • Photographer's Notes: There's only room for about three tripods at the best spot, so arrive early and be prepared to take your turn. Intrepid photographers can find similar viewpoints nearby that are less crowded, but use caution—there's a 500-foot cliff below. Pay attention to the arrangements of the foreground trees. A normal lens is perfect for the classic view, but try a wide-angle lens and vertical orientation if you see some interesting clouds above. A telephoto zoom lens can isolate part of the scene for an interesting image.
  • Contact: Yosemite National Park, (209) 372-0200, www.nps.gov/yose; Lodging Reservations, (559) 253-5635, www.yosemitepark.com; Camping Reservations, (800) 436-7275, http://reservations.nps.gov.



    7) Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Photographer: David Muench
  • Location: Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Directions: From State Highway 389, take either County Road 5 or County Road 109 south, following signs to County Road 115. (Road 5 is just east of Colorado City, and Road 109 is about six miles west of Fredonia.) Continue along Road 115 to a parking area by the overlook, about 60 miles from Highway 389. A short walk from the end of the road will take you to Toroweap (aka Tuweep) Overlook itself on the canyon's rim. The county roads are dirt roads and are impassable in bad weather. Although they're maintained regularly, the roads aren't recommended for low-clearance vehicles. SUVs and pickups with heavy-duty tires are preferable—flats are common, and an additional spare tire is a good idea. Top off your gas tank before hitting the dirt, and bring water.
  • Best Times: Sunrise is a great time to photograph here. During the summer, the angle of the sun will put more reflected light on the Colorado River. Earlier in the year, light is more direct on the left-side cliff, and the river goes more dark.
  • Photographer's Notes: Toroweap is a more remote place than many, so there's great solitude and a sense of wildness. It's a special place—very serene. Be sure to look around and behind you before and after you shoot—you may see an even better shot than the one in front of you!
  • Contact: For road conditions and maps, call the Interagency Visitor Information Center, (435) 688-3246 (ask for the BLM Arizona Strip Visitor Map); Grand Canyon National Park, (928) 638-7888, www.nps.gov/grca/.



    8) Bandon Beach, Oregon
  • Photographer: Rob Barbee
  • Location: Bandon Beach, Oregon
  • Directions: Drive south on Highway 101 from Old Town Bandon and turn west on Eleventh Street Southwest. Travel 0.9 miles to a four-way stop and turn left; you'll be on Beach Loop Drive, which will take you to Face Rock Wayside (0.5 miles), where you'll find one of the best collections of sea stacks on the coast. From the south side of the Face Rock Wayside parking lot, take the stairs to the beach. Here you'll find yourself in a wonderland of sea stacks with unlimited possibilities.
  • Best Times: The beauty of this location is that sunsets are spectacular and full of potential any time of the year. Summer can provide foggy mornings while a winter storm can add power and drama to the scene.
  • Photographer's Notes: The southern coast of Oregon, known for spire-like sea stacks, high cliffs and crashing waves, contains some of the most spectacular coastal scenery found anywhere in the United States. Sea stacks, offshore towers of rock, give landscape photographers a myriad of possibilities. It's important to check the juxtaposition between sea stacks as they can merge into a big blob in your final image. The scene will offer some wonderful colors in the pre-dawn sky surrounding the towering sea stacks, which often reflect in the tide pools.
  • Contact: Bandon Chamber of Commerce, (541) 347-9616, www.bandon.com; Oregon State Parks, (800) 551-6949, www.oregonstateparks.org.



    9) Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
  • Photographer: George D. Lepp
  • Location: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
  • Directions: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge lies midway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, just south of Socorro. From Socorro, take I-25 nine miles south to exit 139, then travel east on U.S. 380 and follow the signs.
  • Best Times: From November through January, about 30,000 snow geese and 10,000 sandhill cranes reside in the refuge. Most photographers start their day at the Flight Deck viewing location before dawn to await the en masse liftoff of thousands of snow geese. Sandhill cranes take off a little later. During the day, you can drive the loop road looking for opportunities; in late afternoon, head back to the Flight Deck for the birds' return.
  • Photographer's Notes: This premiere wildlife refuge plays host to as many as 340 species of birds, as well as reptiles, fish and mammals. A 12-mile loop road around offers you a great opportunity to photograph the animals up close in their natural environment. Come dressed warmly and layered. Although the mornings can be brutally cold, the afternoons warm up if the sun is shining. Gloves and mini-heat packs are essential until then. Expect a lot of photographers around Thanksgiving and into the first week of December, with numbers tapering off after that. There's plenty of room, and a camaraderie exists as the photographers congregate.
  • Contact: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, (505) 835-1828, http://southwest.fws.gov/refuges/newmex/bosque/.



    10) Teardrop Arch, Monument Valley, Utah
  • Photographer: David Muench
  • Location: Teardrop Arch, Monument Valley, Utah
  • Directions: Monument Valley straddles the Arizona-Utah border along U.S. Highway 163. Although a large section of the valley is open to visitors for self-guided tours, you'll need a local Navajo guide to take you to Teardrop Arch. You can arrange for one through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center or Goulding's Lodge and Tours.
  • Best Times: Because the arch is on a west-facing wall, late-afternoon images work in any season. For warmer light and drama, consider March and October. (Avoid the shaded cliffs in the winter months.)
  • Photographer's Notes: Teardrop Arch is a great place to spend time and watch the changing light. Although the light is in the wrong place for photography, sunrise is beautiful. To position the buttes properly within the opening, raise the camera high enough to put them in the widest portion of the window. You also can make the window itself smaller or larger within the image by moving your camera back and forth. The faraway rocks won't change much, and you easily can adjust the relative size of the window to the buttes.
  • Contact: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center, (435) 727-5874, www.navajonationparks.org/monumentvalley.htm; Goulding's Lodge and Tours, (435) 727-3231, www.gouldings.com.



    11) Schwabacher's Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  • Photographer: David Muench
  • Location: Schwabacher's Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  • Directions: From Moose Junction, drive about four miles north along U.S. Highway 191 to Schwabacher Road. Take Schwabacher to the parking lot at the end and then walk about 300 yards upstream (north) to the beaver pond.
  • Best Times: Dawn is the most exciting time to be out there, as the warm light gives the mountains shape and texture. Any time of year is fine, but spring and summer are best because of the vegetation. During the summer, the mountains are lit even more from the side, which really brings out their form.
  • Photographer's Notes: At Schwabacher's Landing, beaver ponds create a gorgeous reflection of the Tetons rising above the forest. The dawn moods are mirrored in the water with grasses and reeds in the foreground. At this spot, the trees don't get high enough in the scene to block the mountains. At popular locations like this one, get up early to get a good spot. Be willing to share it with others—the spirit of cooperation will make it easier for you to get the images you need, and you might make some good friends, too. For me, being out there's a ritual, and I feel complete after an early-morning shoot.
  • Contact: Grand Teton National Park, (307) 739-3300, www.nps.gov/grte/.



    12) Morton's Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  • Photographer: Bill Campbell
  • Location: Morton's Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  • Directions: Leave Gatlinburg headed southwest on Route 441 for about 2.5 miles until you arrive at the Sugarland Visitors Center. Continue south on 441 for about 12.5 miles until right before arriving at Newfound Gap. A small parking area will be found immediately to your right; slow down, as it's easy to miss. If you reach Newfound Gap, you've gone too far. Arrive early, as there's only space for fewer than eight vehicles.
  • Best Times: Late spring and early summer provide the best times to photograph the valley from the overlook. The sun will set in the crook of the valley as opposed to the extreme left, which occurs during winter. The best time to shoot is immediately after a storm, where light breaking through the clouds can lead to a dramatic shot. Weather changes rapidly in this area of the country, so don't assume that because it's raining, it's not worth the trip.
  • Photographer's Notes: Use a split neutral-density filter to control the contrast between the sky and the valley floor. If fog is present, set your camera for a slow shutter speed. The movement of the fog as captured by the slow shutter speed of the camera will create a striking contrast to the trees and the valley.
  • Contact: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, (865) 436-1200, www.nps.gov/grsm/.



    13) Window Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
  • Photographer: Rod Barbee
  • Location: Window Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
  • Directions: From Moab, drive north on Route 191 for six miles to the park entrance. There's one main, paved road through the park, with two paved side roads. Turn onto the side road just north of Balanced Rock (9.2 miles from the park entrance) that leads to the parking lot from which you'll take the trail to Turret Arch. Follow the trail to the North Window. Pass through the arch to the east side of the Window. You'll find a short trail leading to the promontory where you'll be able to see Turret Arch through the North Window.
  • Best Times: Spring and fall provide the best times, with everything accessible and the temperatures tolerable. In the springtime, you can photograph desert flowers; in autumn, the Fremont cottonwoods add an exciting yellow to the red rock of the arches. Turret Arch through the North Window is best photographed right at sunrise and about half an hour after sunrise.
  • Photographer's Notes: Arches National Park is a place for big landscapes. Make the best use of deep depth of field to sharply render all the wonderful foreground elements. A telephoto zoom lens works well in isolating these details. Arches also is a place where lighting can surprise you. Just because it's an overcast day doesn't mean there won't be a dramatic sunset.
  • Contact: Arches National Park, (435) 719-2299; Park Headquarters, (435) 719-2100, www.nps.gov/arch/.



    14) Otter Point, Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Photographer: Bill Campbell
  • Location: Otter Point, Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Directions: Otter Point is reached by driving the Acadia one-way park loop road down the eastern shore for approximately two miles past the entrance station, where it's well marked at the parking area
  • Best Times: Pre-sunrise through the first several hours of direct light is the optimum time since the cliffs face southeast to east. The rocky coast takes on a wonderful, warm glow in the early light, revealing the texture and colors of the granite. Equally as intriguing are foggy mornings or wet days when the pink granite is rich in tone and forms are more isolated.
  • Photographer's Notes: Otter Point is a definite sunrise shot. You should arrive at least 30 minutes before official sunrise time. A wide-angle lens allows you to place the magnificent granite formations tight in the foreground while still looking over the cove to Otter Cliffs. On a clear day, the sun skims across the northern Atlantic and brushes the cliffs with a radiant red glow that brings out the warmth of the granite. Be careful when walking on the wet boulders at low tide because they become very slick.
  • Contact: Acadia National Park, (207) 288-3338, www.nps.gov/acad/.



    15) Avalanche Creek Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Photographer: James Kay
  • Location: Avalanche Creek Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Directions: Enter Glacier National Park at the West Glacier entrance. Proceed about 16 miles on the Going-to-the-Sun Road along the south shore of Lake McDonald, passing the Lake McDonald Lodge. Some six miles beyond the lodge, look for the Avalanche Creek parking area. The waterfall is located approximately a quarter-mile up the trail.
  • Best Times: For this summer shot, August provides the best opportunity. By this time, the winter's previous snow has melted and the creek is no longer a raging torrent. Anytime during the day is a good time to photograph as long as there's no direct sunlight on the waterfall. The waterfall faces west so the falls are shaded in the morning until the sun rises high in the sky.
  • Photographer's Notes: In order to accentuate the green foliage and the turquoise color in the water, it's best to photograph this waterfall when there's no direct sunlight illuminating the area. A cloudy sky provides the ideal situation, but if you have a clear blue sky, the large cedar trees surrounding the waterfall provide shade during much of the early and later part of the day. Use a slow shutter speed of six to eight seconds to blur the moving water. Be aware that the bridge in this image gets crowded during the day, so an early-morning arrival is suggested.
  • Contact: Glacier National Park, (406) 888-7800, www.nps.gov/glac/.

  • 0 Comments

    Add Comment

     

    Popular OP Articles