We have another Photo Premium tutorial exclusively available to Premium members today. Today, we’ll take a look deep inside the National Parks of the United States. From Yellowstone to Haleakala, we’ll see some of the most beautiful natural places in the Western hemisphere. Learn more at the jump!
The United States of America’s National Parks are a treasure of historic, geologic and geographic beauty. Stretching from shore to shore and into the Pacific and Arctic oceans, the park system has been established to preserve and make available the uniqueness contained therein to citizens and visitors alike. Presented in this Premium tutorial are some tips on getting the most from your visit to the National Parks system followed by some advice specific to a few of the more popular parks. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:
Camp If You Can
Once inside the park of your choice, it is best to find a campsite within easy access to your desired photographic objective. In some parks, such as Bryce Canyon, the campground is right across the road from phenomenal sunrise vistas. In other parks, some driving or hiking will be required.
Take The Maps
Copyright Peter West Carey
When paying to enter a National Park, grab the maps. They are typically handed over when passing through a toll booth and are also available at visitor centers or often at trailheads. Most maps are quite good. While they may not be the best for taking a backcountry hike, they will quickly orient visitors to key features, facilities and landmarks.
Get Up Early
This is a tried and true method of capturing great light whether in a National Park or walking your streets at home. You’ve heard it here before and you’ll hear it again; the “golden hour” during (and just after) sunrise, as well as before sunset, offers stunning light in the US National Parks. Raising early will also help you avoid the crowds (although you will likely find other photographers at the popular hotspots like Tunnel View in Yosemite with the classic setting seen in the famous Ansel Adams photo) and get a prime parking spot, which can be a hassle in the middle of the day or for evening shots.
Being America’s oldest national park, Yellowstone tends to be a pilgrimage for many photographers. It contains a wide variety of subject matter; from wildlife (elk, moose, wolf, bear, bison, birds of prey, etc…) to waterfalls, geysers and multicolored paint pots. It also looks gorgeous when covered in snow.
Classic shots like the Old Faithful geyser and Yellowstone Falls require a bit of planning to get the lighting right. A number of the paint pots and pools can be shot close to midday, especially if there are broken clouds to add shadows to the landscape. Image like these can be produced easier by using a polarizing filter.
In summer, expect travel times to increase from what you might assume. Road will often become blocked with people pulling over to photograph or observe wildlife. Patience is indeed needed in this well-loved park. Winter travel can offer a bit more freedom, but then road closures due to weather need to be kept in mind. Fall is a great time to visit as the crowds have abated and the tricky weather can often deliver some dramatic results.
And much, much more. With more tips and photos from Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Arches, Crater Lake and Haleakala
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