A shooting guide to some of country's most incredible landscapes
Acadia National Park (ME)
Photo by: Tim Fitzharris
Acadia’s Mount Desert Island serves up a compact collection of natural attractions, including sand beaches, precipitous headlands, rock and boulder shorelines, mountains, small lakes, marshes, and a blend of two major forest types—northern coniferous and eastern deciduous. Wildlife? Present, but most species are hard to see and even harder to photograph. Scenes with the most potential: seascapes, landscapes, and still-life studies of forests and wildflowers. Fall’s colorful show makes it the best time for an expedition.
Must shoot: The pink granite slabs on Cadillac Mountain, with sea view.
Insider tip: Visit Machias Seal Island (2 hours north at Cutler) for a rare opportunity to photograph Atlantic puffins.
This photo:A 2-hour drive north of the park takes you to Cutler, a mustering site to photograph the Atlantic puffin. Best time is mid-June through mid-July.
Everglades National Park (FL)
Photo by: NPS.Gov
This is the park to head for when you just can’t endure another day of winter. The Everglades’ forte is wildlife, especially birds. Big, colorful, and easy to approach, the pelicans, herons, spoonbills, storks, cranes, oystercatchers, and skimmers are an irresistible draw for bird photographers worldwide. Despite its relatively featureless terrain—a vast expanse of marsh interrupted occasionally by treed islands—Everglades offers surprising landscape possibilities. Evocative targets of mist and fog add drama to this watery environs on winter mornings.
Must shoot: Alligators in the reeds at sunrise on Nine Mile Pond.
Insider tip: For pondside telephoto bird studies, place your camera on a beanbag at ground level for alluring background bokeh.
Blue Ridge Parkway (VA, NC)
Photo by: Brian Leon (Flickr User: NCBrian)
A drive-by shooter’s dream, the Blue Ridge winds 469 miles through a spectacular collection of well-preserved Appalachian Mountain habitat. The road follows the ridges for mile after peaceful mile, for elevated views of the surrounding terrain at frequent, regular intervals. There are campgrounds and numerous pullovers to capture the many spectacular roadside scenes. Trails lead into the valleys to waterfalls, streams, wildflowers, and more.
Must shoot: Autumn forest patterns from Steestachee Bald Overlook.
Insider tip: Take a deep breath and relax—this is America’s most pleasantly productive roadside shoot.
Want to see more beautiful photos from our National Park Round-up? Head on over to our Bonus Gallery.