America is truly beautiful. It is a land ripe with locations perfect for nature enthusiasts to explore and enjoy. If you can escape the cities and the demands of life within, then you will be greeted by a world covered in grassy fields, orange deserts, pristine lakes, and enormous mountains. They are a sight to marvel.
Perfect for photography!
There are so many picturesque places in the United States, it can be hard to choose just one to visit. Take a look at some free stock nature photography to get some ideas; otherwise, we’ve put together a list of the best places in the US to photograph nature.
So pack your camera, whichever lenses you might need, and all of the SD cards you can afford; you will be stopping to snap photos every 10 seconds on this tour of America.
While everyone knows about the Grand Canyon and the enormous potential it presents for photography, a lesser known canyon has photogenic potential as well. Antelope Canyon, outside of Page, Arizona, is a great place to tour.
Smooth curve lines in the canyon walls and floors show how the canyons were formed by fast-moving flood waters over the millennia. There are plenty of native Navajo cave drawings throughout Antelope Canyon just waiting to be photographed as beams of concentrated sunlight illuminate the slot canyon.
Grand Prismatic Spring
This hot spring in Yellowstone National Park is the hottest in North America, releasing almost 600 gallons of steam into the air every minute. Shoot your photos from afar, though. Get too close and your lenses could get fogged by the water vapor.
Fall in and you won’t survive the 160° water. The rings of color surrounding the spring are created by bacteria thriving at the edge of the heated spring where it is just right for it to survive.
Shared by both the United States and Canada, photographers flock from all over the world for the opportunity to capture the falls. One day the water will stop flowing, but until then there is plenty rushing over the cliffs and dumping into the Niagara River. The area is simply ideal for nature photography as it is surrounded by forest and rocky terrain.
Located in the Pacific Northwestern state of Oregon, Crater Lake is a remnant of a volcanic birth. Two islands trimmed in greenery still display their origins through the exposed ground as they sit in the middle of the indigo-shaded waters of the lake. Set up your tripod on the edge of the cliff overlooking the lake to capture some of the best scenery you will ever find.
Another favorite locale for photographers in Yellowstone, this geyser erupts approximately every 90 minutes, giving photographers an idea of when to be in the area.
Capturing the plume as the heated water erupts from the ground is one thing, but to get the best angle, with the forest in the background, requires perfect placement. Watch out for the water though as it could burn as it falls back down.
Blue Ridge Parkway
This stretch of road cuts through two states, North Carolina and Virginia, and three marvels of nature: Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Along this quiet road, you will see rolling hills, trees of every color (especially in autumn), and mountains of every size, all underneath a sky so wide you can’t tell where it ends. This is the perfect photography road trip imaginable.
The Delicate Arch
Utah has more than just the Great Salt Lake. The Delicate Arch is a rock formation within Arches National Park that amazes everyone who sees it. The rock on one end of it has thinned tremendously, giving it the appearance that it will collapse at any moment. Other natural formations have already fallen in the new century, so be sure to photograph this wonderful piece of natural art before it does.
Also within the state of Utah, the Grand Staircase is a series of natural steps (for giants) carved out of the cliffs and canyons. The segmented colors created by the different types and ages of rocks make this an amazing landscape to photograph. And if you see a giant stepping down off of them, make sure to capture a shot of it as well!
Take your photography equipment underground to capture the beauty that is inside the Earth as well. These caves are the heart of Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. The desert above could be a scorching 120° during the day or in the 30s at night, but the caves keep the same temperature throughout the day.
The rising monuments of rock surrounded by arid desert and low-lying brush have been featured in many movies, including Back to the Future 3. The area just goes to show how even a dry landscape so inhospitable to life can hold beauty in it. Sunsets behind the monuments are spectacular yet daytime shots can lead to a clashing of colors with the pale blue sky creating an amazing backdrop.