Yosemite National Park, California
See Adams, Ansel. But also see the park’s magnificence through your own eyes and personal vision.
White Sands, New Mexico
This stunning area of desert looks like no other place on Earth. In fact, it looks so much like the moon it’s rumoured to be the location where Stanley Kubrick filmed a faux moon landing for the US government… if you believe that sort of stuff.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
An overlooked state, New Mexico is home to some geological wonders, and Carlsbad’s surprisingly well-lit stalactites and stalagmites are breath-taking to behold, but you’ll need your higher ISO settings.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
This is the most visited and photographed slot canyon in the American southwest for a reason: the bright red sandstone and seemingly flowing rocks is breath-taking to behold. Be warned, though, that photography within the canyon is difficult due to the wide exposure range (often 10 EV or more) made by light reflecting off its walls.
Zion National Park, Utah
Are you seeing a trend here? The American southwest is for landscapes what the Sistine Chapel is for paintings. Tip: book one of the many horse-riding trips on offer in the park. These 2- and 3-hour excursions get you off the beaten track, and while you can’t really bring a tripod, there is often time to stop and take pictures.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
This stunning wonder isn’t actually a canyon, despite its name. Rather it’s an amazing natural amphitheatre created by millions of years of erosion, which has exposed delicate and colourful pinnacles called hoodoos.
Puget Sound, Washington state
OK, it might be cheating to include a large body of water like this, but you could easily spend a week, let alone a lifetime, documenting Puget’s coastline, numerous islands and marine life. To experience something truly special, book one of the local whale-watching trips. Just make sure you pack a long lens!
The National Mall, Washington, DC
A must for architectural photographers. This impeccably landscaped park is full of right angles and strong leading lines, and it sits between some of the most impressive edifices of modern times: the Washington Monument and Capitol Hill.
Step back in time in this well-preserved southern city, which was one of the few to be spared by the victorious Union Army at the end of the US Civil War. Amazing gardens and architecture will keep you occupied for days.
Chicago is famous for the Sears Tower, harsh winters and Al Capone, but for street photographers it’s an ideal location, perhaps even more so than New York. Visit during summer and take your camera down to the lakefront where the city congregates to escape the humidity.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This valley sits between two of the most stunning geological features on earth: Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton mountains, which rise some 7000 feet above the valley floor. Jackson is often used as a place to rest when travelling between the two, but the winding Snake River, local elk refuges and views of glaciers make Jackson well worth a longer stay.
Have we convinced you to visit any of the above? Take a look at the National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States.
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Located in the Canadian Rockies, this resort town is known for its hot springs and, well, for being really high! Banff is great on its own, but also a nice base for exploring the surrounding mountains.
Maligne Lake, near Jasper, Alberta
One of the most photographed locations in the world, Maligne is a lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta, and is known for its crystal water, the towering peaks that surround it and Spirit Island in the centre.
Is your heart set on visiting either of these places? You might want to get hold of the National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of Canada.
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