Great Landscapes to Photograph
In many ways I've lived a blessed life. I've been able to combine my 2 great passions, photography and travel and, over recent years, begun to share many of my photos and experiences from those journeys. There's no doubt travel has informed my own world view and helped me better understand my own place in this world. Travel has helped forge my independent nature and has also contributed, together with my upbringing, to my views on justice and spirituality.
While I've traveled to many amazing places, some of them on numerous occasions, I'm glad to say I've barely scratched the surface. So, despite journeys to 6 of our world's 7 continents, my travel glass is by no means full.
There are so many incredible places that I'd love to visit. Festivals, temples, landscapes, natural phenomenas, wildlife migrations and people provide the enthusiastic photographer with seemingly endless options for engagement and creative exploration. Given that I'm often dreaming of future journeys I thought it would be fun to list a few of them here. It's by no means a definitive list, but it's a pretty good one just the same.
Its long been a dream of mine to photograph the stone monoliths on the island of Rapa Nui. The problem is that it's just so far away from, well, anywhere. In fact it's said to be the most remote inhabited island in the world.
The closest I came to visiting Easter Island was in November 2010 when I went to Argentina as a staging point for a photo tour I co-ran to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. But I had work commitments either side of the trip and, as Easter Island is reached from Chile, rather than Argentina, it just wasn't going to happen. But I will get there and I'm very much looking forward to spending up to a week photographing the magnificent Moai sculptures throughout the island.
Terraced Rice Fields in the Philippines
I've seen some stunning photos over the years of the UNESCO World Heritage listed terraced rice fields at Banaue in the Phillipines. The geometrically designed environment provides a great example of harmonious existance between man and nature and would be an amazing place to photograph.
Way back in the early nineties I traveled to the Dragons Backbone near Longsheng in south east China. It was a great trip and I was really happy with the results which, back then, where made on a medium format Hasselblad film-based camera.
I was the only westerner on the mountain at that time. There's at least one hotel on the mountain now and I understand these days the joint is flooded with tourists. Though photography opportunities would exist throughout the year I think, if I do return, it'll probably be in the middle of winter, primarily to avoid the crowds.
Monument Valley and Canyons of the South West, USA
The USA is a long way from my home in Melbourne Australia. A not terribly informative observation is that it's a similar distance for those traveling in the reverse direction(?).
But it's not just Americans that grew up with classic John Ford movies set in epic locations like Monument Valley. I've wanted to visit these places for so long and, ever since the devastation caused to some of the eastern states of the USA by Hurricane Sandy, I've decided that its important to travel there as soon as I can.
Travel is a great way to inject money into an economy and, depending on the choices we make, to disperse it widely and ethically. By traveling to the USA I hope to both contribute financially and also make images that illustrate the variety and importance of that countries landscapes and, by implication, the society that has been built upon it. Needless to say I would hope to travel widely and photograph on both sides of that great land.
Yoesemite National Park
I'm a huge fan of the great American photographer Ansel Adams. His long term relationship with Yosemite is evidenced through his interpretative photographs of icons such as El Capitan and Half Dome.
I'd expect to spend at least a week within the national park and would hope to visit in Spring, sometime before the Grisswold's arrive.
Yellowstone National Park
I know a lot more about Yosemite than I do about Yellowstone. Perhaps that's because Yellowstone is known more as a location for wildlife photography while Yosemite, thanks to greats like Ansel Adams, has become a mecca for landscape photographers.
It's an area which I'd love to visit in all four seasons. But winters are extreme in that part of the world and, at that time of year, I'd likely want to travel with another photographer or even as a participant on a small photography tour. Winter isn't always the best time to explore. Sometimes it's advisable to follow the lead of a local expert.
Namibia Sand Dunes
A classic location for landscape photography, these gigantic dunes are transformed at the edges of the day by the warm hues from the low angled sun. This is a monumental landscape and, as it's so far away for so many of us, should probably form part of a larger trip including, for example, a photography safari, a flight along the Skeleton Coast or a little bit of indulgence on one of South Africa's famed train journeys.
The Kimberley, Western Australia
I've undertaken 3 trips to Central Australia, including an extended stay of 3 months which included a trip up to the top end (i.e, Darwin, Katherine and Kakadu National Park). I loved Central Australia so much I even bought a place up there. But things didn't work out and, rather than move up to Alice Springs, I decided to stay in Melbourne.
So, while I'm very familiar with the landscapes of Central Australia, a photography trip to the more remote Kimberley in north west Australia has been in the back of my mind for years.
The vibrant ochre and orange colors of the gorges, the clear blue of an expansive and unpolluted sky, the still beauty of waterholes and the variations in light from dry to wet season would be amazing to photograph. But, when it comes to the wet, be sure to have an exit plan. Alternatively, be prepared to be stuck up there, as the rivers rise many meters in depth, with huge and overly curious salt water crocodiles ready to welcome you.
This is a truly ancient landscape and one cannot but feel humbled in its presence. It's also a remote and wild landscape and, while distances are extreme, it's important to find space in your schedule to stop driving and spend a few days at a time in some of that country's more unique locations. Just ensure you are properly resourced for this kind of adventure. The passing of time, at least as we understand it, will change. As will you.
The Isle of Aran and the Shetland Islands would form part of a long dreamed journey that would see me exploring as many of these often cold, windswept and brutally beautiful islands as I could. Needless to say I'd be anticipating a prolonged visit during the Summer months.
During my formal photography studies I was introduced to the classic 1934 Robert Flaherty documentary film The Man of Aran. I've wanted to explore the wild windy isles around Britain, Scotland and Ireland ever since.
But it's not just the landscape that draws me. I'm equally interested in meeting and photographing the local folk whom I anticipate would, for the most part, be salt of the earth types.
I first became aware of Banff in the 60's while watching The Singing Mountie episode on the TV series F-Troop. One of the episodes featured a character whom, as the plot unfolded, was revealed as the Burglar of Banff (in this case pronounced as Banf-f-f).
Banff promises fantastic opportunities for landscape and nature photography. I'd particularly like to visit during winter.
Here's an island I know very little about, but have long wanted to visit. It's rugged coastline and mountainous interior have always seemed very exotic to me. And of course, from an Australian's point of view, once you're there there are so many other amazing places in the region to visit.
I'm seriously considering including Sardinia in my next European trip: an extended adventure of up to 5 months during the middle of 2016. And why not, dreams are free and are the beginning of so many great adventures.
Let's Hear From You
I'd be interested in any countries or locations that are on your own travel bucket list. Whether you're thinking photography or otherwise, there's a lot of folks who could benefit from your ideas. Feel free to leave a comment below and, as always, share this post widely and wildly.