The 50 Best Places to Photograph 2014

50 perfect photo destinations

The Drake Passage, South America to Antarctica

This 500-mile strait separating the southern tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, is at the whim of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which carries a volume of water 600 times larger than the Amazon.

The Neck, The Falkland Islands

To reach this privately owned, mile-long isthmus on Saunders Island requires a flight from Stanley in a Britten-Norman Islander, an overnight stay with the Pole-Evans family, and a 12-mile, hour-long ride down a rutted, muddy, jeep track.

Torres del Paine, Chile

This 935-square-mile park averages 150,000 visitors per year, which is to say there’s plenty of wide-open space to capture the natural drama: wild weather, intimidating peaks that stretch like fingers to the sky, eerie blue-iced glaciers, and the turquoise water of the Rio Baker.

Lake Clark, Alaska

Grizzlies from a boat in this 2.47 million-acre wilderness as they fish from the shore.

Ladakh, India

This northwestern region sits higher than 10,000 feet and looks like a barren moonscape.

White Sands, New Mexico

The fine particles here are really white gypsum; that’s why the dunes of this 275-square mile desert glow against the sky.

Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Visit the “Galápagos of Canada” to capture sea lions, porpoises, humpback whales, and three species of orcas.

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

With near-zero light pollution and overnight stays allowed (with a camping permit) this national park is amazing for astral shooting.

The Kimberly, Australia

This remote landscape has ancient pictographs, bizarre beehive-shaped mountains, and a huge marine park off the coast.

Mongolia

Go 50 miles northeast of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, home to brown bears, 250 bird species, the chilly Terelj River, and a granite behemoth shaped like a turtle.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

This natural Navajo cathedral is an intricate maze through a sandstone slot canyon where, if you time it right, you can capture a ray of sunlight shining through the curved whorls like a beam from a light saber.

Sicily, Italy

Almost everything in Italy is photogenic, but Sicily feels especially lost in time.

Havana, Cuba

With cigar factories, curbside checker players, outdoor boxing rings, crumbling façades, and ’57 Chevys, this city is a shooter’s dream.

Gray Whales, Baja California, Mexico

They’re 52 feet long and weigh 36 tons, and every year in November, more than 10,000 trade Alaska’s Bering Sea for the warm water of Scammon’s Lagoon and Bahia San Ignacio.

Aurora Borealis, Fairbanks, Alaska

Within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the auroral oval, Fairbanks is one of the best places to see the aurora.

Waimea Bay, Oahu, Hawaii

30-foot waves break here November through February.

Central Park, New York City

This oasis holds 21,500 trees in 31 different families.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The Society Islands’ Bora Bora has two extinct volcanoes ringed by a turquoise lagoon.

Temples, Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest Monastery looks carved out of a cliff.

Tunisia

With Mediterranean beaches, Roman ruins, Berbers on horseback, and a peaceful political scene, Tunisia is a less photographed, equally exotic Morocco.

Tikal, Guatemala

Tucked into the lush Maya Biosphere Reserve of northern Guatemala, Tikal National Park covers 222 square miles and is the largest remaining site of pre-Columbian civilization.

Museo Subacuático de Arte, Mexico

In the warm Caribbean waters between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Jason deCaires Taylor’s sunken “Silent Evolution,” 400 life-size human sculptures, lie 28 feet underwater.

The Ice Hotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Artists from around the world submit room-design concepts.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey’s largest covered market dates back to 1520 and has 4,000 shops under ornate, grand passageways.

Jetsonorama, Navajo Nation, Arizona

On buildings lining U.S. 160 from Kayenta to Tuba City, shoot enormous black-and-white photos that Chip Thomas, an artist and physician who has documented his Navajo friends, has blown up.

Plaza Botero, Medellín, Colombia

This square is filled with bronze sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

MONA, Hobart, Tasmania

The Museum of Old and New Art looks like a post-apocalyptic bunker.

Scotland, Distilleries

There is no shortage of whiskey distilleries in Scotland, but the Speyside is home to more than half.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Visit the 15th-century site via the Salkantay Trek, on which you’ll see 30 other people per day and capture stunning images of the Andes and, eventually, the ruins.

Car Art Reserve, Nebraska

Located in the northwestern region of Nebraska, this outdoor art compound features sculptures created out of vintage American-made automobiles.

State Fair, Minnesota

“I look at the State Fair in terms of dawn and dusk. At sunrise every day, it’s kids getting their animals ready to go at the livestock competition. They are the only people up at that time. In the middle of the day when the light gets harsh, I look for interesting things inside. When the light starts to get tamer, I’ll go out and look for what the last light holds. And don’t miss sunset in front of World of Wonders. It’s visually loaded.” —Photographer Joel Sartore

Copacabana Beach, Brazil

This 2.5-mile long beach, bookended by Sugarloaf Mountain, is a riot of beauty and color.

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan

The population density surrounding the world’s busiest street corner is more than 13,000 people per square kilometer.

Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India

In January and February, the world’s largest religious gathering draws 70 million pilgrims.

Cowboys Game, Dallas, Texas

Nearly 80,000 football fans attend the average Dallas Cowboys game.

Lei Chau Island, Hong Kong, China

The world’s second-most densely populated island houses 86,782 in less than one square mile.

Fireworks, Chicago, Illinois

More than a million gather on July 4 to watch the fireworks over the Navy Pier.

Papal Audience, Vatican City

Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. from spring through autumn, the Pope holds an audience in St. Peter’s Square.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

To capture the largest crowds, visit on a weekend from July 1 to August 10, when the Lagoon is open until 11:30 p.m. and take advantage of the midnight sun.

The Metro, Moscow, Russia

Its 194 stations are some of the world’s most beautiful.

The Pillars, Tasmania

“There’s so much potential for drama with those steep, dark, foreboding cliffs. The day I shot this photograph it was stormy and I was right out on the end of a peak called the Blade, looking back along the coast. If the wind is blowing in the right direction it’s almost like it can support you, but you wouldn’t want it to drop off at the wrong time or you’ll fall off the cliff.” –Photographer Grant Dixon

The Alps, Switzerland

From the top of the 13,661-foot Breithorn, photographers have views to the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps, with the Matterhorn front and center. Summitting isn’t easy, but neither does it require vast expertise.

Maasai Mara, Kenya

Two million wildebeests migrate 1,800 miles from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve every year from July through to October.

Day of the Dead, Oaxaca, Mexico

Most villages in Mexico pull out all the stops for this late-fall celebration, but few are as rich as the Tlaclolula, Ocotlan, and Etla valleys of Oaxaca.

Ouray Ice Park, Ouray,Colorado

More than 200 ice and mixed climbs are located a 15-minute walk from the park entrance.

Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua

At this active volcano, little in the way of fencing or security stands between the photographer and the crater.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Ninety percent of visitors see it from the South Rim, but most of this national park is wilderness.

Macau Tower, Macau, China

At 765 feet, China’s Macau Tower hosts the world’s highest bungee jump.

Gray Wolves, Yellowstone

In winter the Yellowstone Association Institute offers a course on the park’s gray wolves.

Holi Festival, India

Use your camera in a housing during this spring Hindu love fest, where revelers sing, dance, and fling dry paint mixed with water at each other.