Top Photo Spots (And What Makes Them So Special)


While travel restrictions may be putting a damper on our wanderlust right now, it doesn’t mean we can’t dream about and plan for some great photo excursions for later on. There are endless locales for great photo-taking, but here are some top spots to include on your bucket list. What makes these spots so special? Intrinsic beauty for sure, but there are also elements that make these places photogenic as well such as light, color, line and pattern.



Iceland (Light) – Lighting in a photo is everything – it helps define a subject, set a mood, sharpen or soften definition and enhance or quiet color. When a location has naturally gorgeous light, it becomes part of the beauty of the spot itself. Iceland’s dramatic natural light is illustrative of this.



From about mid-May to mid-August the sun only sets in Iceland for around 3 hours per day. Around the summer solstice (June 21st) in the capital of Reykjavik in the south, the sun dips below the horizon for a few hours, but the sky doesn’t go completely dark. In midwinter, there are only about 5 hours of daylight, but because of the tilt of the earth’s axis, the sun doesn’t rise and set as much as it takes a long, low broad arc, extending hours of twilight.



Light (hence, day and night) is categorized as follows: astronomical twilight (not enough light to see ground objects, but enough light in the sky to blot out faint stars), nautical twilight (bright enough to see the horizon, but not bright enough for daily activities), civil twilight (the sun isn’t visible over the horizon yet, but it’s light enough for daily tasks) and direct sunlight (the sun is risen over the horizon and there is full daylight). These extended periods of light and twilight add stunning dramatic light to the landscape of Iceland.



Vermont, United States (Color) – Color in a photo can be eye-catching in its brilliance or soothing in its serenity. It can make a single statement on its own or create a layered story with shifting hues and dynamic interplays.



In autumn in the US, the state of Vermont is renowned for its stunning, colorful foliage. The state has an abundance of hardwood trees, such as sugar maples, hickories, beeches, birches, and tulip poplars, which provide the brilliant reds, oranges, golds and sunny yellows that comprise the fall landscape.



Zion National Park, Utah (Line) – Whether stark and rigid or fluid and undulating, an image’s lines can create a sense of stability or movement, of softness or hardness.



Zion National Park, Utah in the US is located along the edge of a region known as the Colorado Plateau. The Grand Staircase, a series of stunningly colored cliffs, stretches between Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. The “staircase” is actually a number of rock layers that have been uplifted, tilted, and eroded. The bottom layer of rock at Bryce Canyon is the top layer at Zion, and the bottom layer at Zion is the top layer at the Grand Canyon.



The range of colors in the mountains and cliffs – terra cotta, red, salmon pink, gold and white – is a result of the varying amounts of iron oxide in the Navajo Sandstone.



Marrakech, Morocco – (Pattern) – Our brains naturally gravitate towards patterns. We seek them out in an attempt to organize our visual world and identify when something is out of place, and perhaps a possible threat to us. Patterns are soothing to our brains – we don’t have to work that hard to process what we’re seeing so viewing them is pleasurable.



The intricately detailed tile work (known as zellij) found in the beautiful structures of Marrakech in Morocco are rich in pattern, as are the colorful offerings of the land’s legendary marketplaces.



Repetitions of colors, shapes and textures can be found everywhere – from the ornate archways of the mosques to the colorful tajines in the local markets.