Photographing the natural world has become increasingly difficult over the 20th and 21st centuries. Perhaps Ansel Adams is the photographer most synonymous with National Parks. His artwork not only supplied the world with permanent views of untouched nature in North America, they also served as inspiration for society. Adam’s images helped create momentum for the environmental movement thriving today.
Go into our National Parks and bring back images of what we’ve nearly lost. Let the landscape lead your artwork, but there are four things to consider before jumping in, and clicking away.
Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park
Lodging And Camping For Photographers
For photographers, National Park lodging
has unique advantages. Lodges are often staffed with professional photographers who take aspiring photographers on guided tours guaranteed to lead you to sublime scenes. It’s nearly impossible to walk away from one of these tours without at least a few gorgeous shots. Lodging also ensures photographers will have a place to keep their equipment dry, and batteries well charged. Of course, National Parks are full of spots for camping. More experienced photographers often go out in small groups to explore rarely seen sights, and capture some good shots.
Best Time Of The Year To Photograph National Parks
Without a doubt summer is generally the best time of the year for photographing outdoors in National Parks. Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular without the clutter of a modern skyline blocking light. A lot of photographers prefer doing work in National Parks when they aren’t flooded with visitors. Autumn is a less populated time for visiting National Parks, which is a blessing because the leaves changing with the season at this time of year is stunning. For winter shots, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the least populated time. Winter is an ideal time for dramatic high contrast environments. However, despite this amazing time of year it can be dangerous. in parks like Yosemite you must cross great mountain passes which can be home to extreme winter conditions
. Springtime brings tons of visitors to parks, but capturing images of springtime flowers makes dealing with the crowds worth your time. Summer brings many visitors to parks everywhere, but it’s also a great time to camp out without guided tours and explore.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
Ideal National Parks For Photographers
Any National Park makes an ideal setting for enthusiastic photographers so picking ideal parks is a little problematic. However, photographers have developed a list of common favorites over the years. Death Valley offers surreal landscapes for photographers looking for the unusual. The Badlands also present a truly one of a kind landscape with eroded hills of rock decorated by lines marking layers of sediment. Both Death Valley and the Badlands give you the sense you’ve landed on another planet. The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia preserves the old American country landscape nearly lost in today’s over developed world. Experience the country as founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson experienced it. You can point your camera anywhere in the Blue Ridge Parkway, and create images that take us back in time to an America largely lost to time.
Special Photography Equipment For National Parks
National Parks require a permit for commercial photography. Unless you plan on getting a permit, it’s best to avoid hauling tons of photography equipment into a National Park. A reliable GPS instrument can provide much needed security. Don’t expect to be able to use your smartphone out in the wilderness. It is important to bring along cameras that make the best large images. You want a camera capable of soaking in as many details as possible while giving a great sense of depth. Large and medium format film cameras still produce the best details when photographing nature, but high resolution digital cameras can make equally compelling photographs. Film cameras have the added benefit of being more resilient in all kinds of weather, and they don’t requiring a constant power source. High resolution digital cameras let photographers make more images faster. They have some advantages over film cameras. For example, trying to capture the blurred movement of a waterfall of mountain stream is easier with a digital camera camera because you can see your results, and experiment more without shooting in the dark so to speak.