Grab your friends, start saving, and get ready to plan those 2019 photo adventures. We know how hard it can sometimes be to keep feeling inspired in the same place after so long. So we challenge you to get out during 2019 and go somewhere different for a few days. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to use it as your canvas and guess what! You don’t have to go abroad to find it, nor do you have to empty your bank account. While some savings are in order, these are some of the coolest places you should head to in the U.S. to snap some photos. So, don’t wait another minute, plan it, and go, you don’t even need a passport.
Visually rich and undeniably gorgeous, these American destinations are perfect for photographers of all skill levels. I mean let’s be real if you go to the Grand Canyon, it’s pretty hard to screw up a breathtaking photo. Remember, you don’t have to be in the photo. So many of us want to have a picture of ourselves in front of something, no matter what that something is. The majority of the most exciting travel shots are not the proof-of-visit variety. They are the small moments that make people feel what you feel as you stand on the edge of the world. Always, always, always avoid shooting in the middle of the day. You want to try to take your photos within say, two hours of sunrise or sunset. But we all know that already. This also will help at times with crowds. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but these hours tend to yield the best shots in most situations.
Arizona’s Antelope Canyon
Located in Page, Arizona on Native American land this is a natural wonder you don’t want to miss. It’s also best if you visit these canyons when the sun is at it’s highest in the sky to make sure that you catch the light beams striking the walls of the canyons creating a beautiful light for portraits. Oh yeah, and the canyons are cool too I guess.
Spreading through southern Utah and northern Arizona Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is magnificent. It’s a very cool vista as the sun sets. It has been a backdrop for countless Western movies. While here consider doing a jeep tour through the valley, or a horseback ride. It will cost a little extra, but will definitely be worth it for a cool experience camp in the Navajo Tribe lands.
The Chicago Bean
Chicago’s Millennium Park features cutting-edge architecture and art, including Cloud Gate aka the Bean. Also home to delicious food, fun music, and a very creative atmosphere you will find yourself loving Chicago.
Yosemite National Park
Best time to visit Yosemite National Park in California is early to mid-May. It helps you avoid the summer crowds, but you’ll still get to witness the waterfalls at their peak. Winter is beautiful too though. Just be careful about places like Glacier and Taft Point. Many tourists have fallen to their deaths from these high place while taking photos. Don’t become the next tragedy.
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge, which connects the city of San Francisco with Marin County, is named after the Golden Gate Strait. The strait is the entrance to San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a beautiful sight from both San Francisco and the Marin headlands. Give yourself the challenge of taking photos of this bridge from as many different angles as you can find.
Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Located in northern Idaho in the small skinny part that touches Canada there lies Cour d’Alene Lake. It’s a beautiful place tucked away from it all, and guess what you could even see the northern lights here if you hit it just at the right time. Pretty cool huh? For your best chance at seeing the lights head between September and April when there is a new moon, and it is relatively clear so that the sky above can be seen.
If you make it to Chicago, you might as well detour to Wrigley Field to get some pictures of baseball. It may not be natural, but it’s historical, and it is a way for you to put your creative energy to the test.
Hotel Bellagio, Las Vegas
Vegas is a world unto its’ own. Even if you aren’t a gambler or partier you still should take a trip to Vegas it’s a bucket list experience. While there, make sure to get photos of the insane architecture that many of the hotels have.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
A wonderful reason to head to New Mexico this year. The balloon festival is quite the sight. You can also kill two birds with one stone and visit the White Sand Dunes National Monument afterward for some very moody portrait sessions. Bring sunglasses or goggles the sand can get pretty crazy. Don’t feel like heading to New Mexico? There’s also a cool balloon festival in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado every September. It’s an excellent backdrop with the fall foliage.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Believe it or not, Oregon is home to many hidden gems that photographers must see. From waterfalls to hot springs, from food trucks to breweries this state has a lot to offer besides these magnificent falls. If you love this then just wait you will fall head over heels for Oregon.
Crater Lake, Oregon
Crater lake is a brilliantly unique location, with the island volcano providing an unmissable focal point for photos. It’s not hard to find an amazing location to photograph along the crater rim, although the best angles can be found along the southwestern corner, close to the volcanic cone protruding from the lake waters. The higher you are, the better the perspective of this lake.
Trail Ridge Road, Colorado
This is one of the most scenic drives inside Rocky Mountain National park as the road takes you peak to peak within the park. You need to have an Annual pass or pay for a weekly pass to enter the road. This entire road is filled with trailheads for hiking, wildlife with the visitor center at the peak — great place for some Milky Way shots.
Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Death Valley
You will feel like you are on another planet. Death Valley has some of the most unusual colors you’ll ever see in a landscape, and the Zabriskie area is no exception. It’s an alien landscape of maze-like canary yellow ridges tiger striped with chocolate browns. It has ravines of pistachio green rock topped with pink gravel—bizarre and wonderful. You don’t need clouds to make a beautiful photo as the surrounding mountains can make a dusky red, brown or even blue background depending on the light. To get the best shadows in the valley plan your visit between May and July (the hottest months, unfortunately).
The Flatiron, New York City
The Flatiron was constructed in 1902 and at the time was one of the tallest buildings in New York City. It’s characteristic triangular shape, formed by Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and East 22nd Street makes it one of the most iconic buildings in the city. The most common place to photograph the Flatiron lies just north of the building at the tip of a triangular road divide where 24th Street merges onto Fifth Avenue. This divide is accessible by crosswalks and has several large planters in place to prevent traffic from crowding the area. This location allows you to capture the frontal facade of the Flatiron and to move traffic from both 24th Street and Fifth Avenue.
The best time to photograph the Flatiron is just after sunset as the street and traffic lights emerge. The building is not well lit at night so to get the best balance in your shot; it’s best to photograph the scene when the luminance sky matches that of the street lights.
Point Reyes National Sea Shore
Point Reyes has a collection of places to visit – you can go down to the beach and see stunning ocean colors banging off the rugged coast or travel to the Point Reyes Lighthouse and visit its history while getting some dope portrait shots along the way. Make sure to visit on foggy mornings as well as sunny days and spend sunset at the Cypress Treet Tunnel; you won’t be disappointed.