There are many breathtaking photo spots around the world, and many photographers are lucky enough to have the time and resources to travel to every single one of them. But even if you don’t have the option of trotting the globe all year round searching for new and stunning views to immortalize with your camera, you can still have to be a bit more selective with the places you visit. We’ve come up with a list of some of the best places to photograph from all around the world.
Whether you want to do some landscape photography, nature photography, astrophotography, or even street photography, here are some places that you’ll want to include your travel photography bucket list.
Machu Picchu (Peru)
Peru’s Machu Picchu is a dream for any photographer who loves traveling and taking large -scale landscape pictures. This world famous 15th-century landmark, which is situated almost eight thousand feet above sea level, offers stunning views of the Andes and of the ancient Inca temples and ruins. And at the foot of Machu Picchu is the Aguas Calientes, where you can also do some astrophotography and capture spectacular shots of the Milky Way.
When you do get to plan your trip to Peru, make sure to bring your landscape photography lenses (especially a wide-angle one to capture more of the scene) and wait until the sun is a little lower to eliminate those harsh shadows.
Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
Who doesn’t get awe-inspired by the majestic pyramids of Egypt? At the Pyramids of Giza complex in the outskirts of Cairo, you’ll find the three pyramids (including the biggest and oldest one called the Pyramid of Khufu) and a massive Sphinx sculpture, which should look awesome in panoramic shots.
Photographers who have been to the Pyramids of Giza warn that you should expect extreme lighting in this part of this Egyptian desert, so you can definitely utilize fast shutters. For more professional-quality images, use a good and reliable circular polarizer to give your images a boost in contrast and your skies a deeper blue shade.
Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats (Bolivia)
If you’re a fan of surreal, breathtaking images then you’ll want to bring your gear with you to the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in the Andes of southwest Bolivia. It’s basically a dried-up desert lake where a thin layer of water forms during wet climates. When the water evaporates during hotter climates, the ground gets covered with a solid layer of salt and other minerals.
It’s currently the world’s largest salt flat and it stretches over 4,000 square miles, so you would be able to take wide shots of this incredible plane without other tourists sneaking into your frame and ruining your photo. However, you’ll definitely have to learn how to take photos of amazing reflections to be able to add cool optical illusions to your shots.
Antelope Canyon (Arizona)
It would be hard not to take a ton of photos of the magnificent sandstone maze of the Antelope Canyon in Arizona. This unique geological formation has two sections (the Upper and Lower canyons) and is popular for its colorful, fractured walls. If you wait long enough and aim quickly with your camera, you may also be able to catch ephemeral “God beams” or sun spotlights from the cracks above.
The truth is, it’s actually darker inside the Antelope Canyon than it seems in pictures, plus the wide range of posure within makes it all the more challenging to capture properly exposed images. You’ll need to take long exposures (sometimes 20-30 seconds) and possibly even HDRs to ensure well-lit shots.
To see the entrancing Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights) is a dream for many, and capturing them is also an exciting feat for many photographers. Luckily, you won’t have to go very far to see these heavenly lights, because the Fairbanks region in Alaska is one of the top locations to visit if you want a great view of this fascinating natural phenomenon.
An inexperienced photographer may not be able to capture the Northern Lights in the same way that they see it with their own eyes, but here are some recommended settings to use in order to improve your night sky photography and take better pictures of these glowing lights:
- Use your camera’s Live View setting
- Set your focus to infinity
- Choose a high ISO (between 800 and 320)
- Open your aperture wide at around f/28 to f/5.6
- Set your shutter speed at 15-30 seconds.