One of photography’s simple pleasures is that it’s possible to take an exceptional picture in whatever environment the photographer happens to find herself in. There is no overriding necessity to craft and compose that perfect shot, so long as the view before you is sufficiently awe-inspiring, you can capture a shot to rival those in travel brochures.
It’s why digital photo sharing has exploded in popularity, as well as why someone with a good eye and an iPhone can produce moments of magic at every turn – in short, this is the democratisation of photography.
As importantly, this democratisation of digital photography has created a convenient and never-ending excuse to travel to breath-taking and jaw-dropping places, so that you can share these visual treasures with your family and friends upon returning home. Here we present twelve of these astounding locations – a mixture of both the well-traversed and less known – to inspire your next snap-happy getaway.
The Pyramids, Egypt
While we don’t recommend repeating the behaviour of these Russians who hid from guards for four hours before climbing The Great Pyramid of Giza, visiting the most mysterious of the world’s great wonders still merits a place at the top of the bucket list.
This state in north-western India, known as ‘The Land of the Kings’, is home to a glorious trinity of desert, river and mountain as well as tiger and nature reserves, spectacular palaces and the oldest archaeological ruins on the Indian subcontinent.
Black Rock City, Nevada Desert
For one week every year, tens of thousands of people gather together to build a city in the desert. It’s built on four principles: community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. When it’s time to return home, all art installations are burnt to the ground to emphasise to attendees the concept of the ‘impermanence of everything’.
With cars, cigars and the looming presence of Fidel Castro on every enchanting corner, Havana doesn’t need to try very hard to warrant its status as the most colourful city in the world. Don’t miss Malecon, the city’s famous sea wall, at sunset.
Angkor Watt, Cambodia
There’s no shortage of visitors to Siem Reap, the gateway town for what is technically the largest religious monument in the world. Crowds pack in front of the stone lotus flowers and bustle for the best shot at sunrise, but the myriad of temples in the jungle beyond await a more discerning photographer.
© Jono Hey
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
It often comes as a surprise when people haven’t heard of the waterfalls at the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, especially when official figures clock visitors at the 1,000,000 mark. They’re easily accessible as an UNESCO World Heritage site, and the temples can be approached as pure photographic indulgence.
New York, USA
Given the colour and vibrancy of the Big Apple, some might say it’s hard to take a bad photograph in its bustle and bright lights. Adopting this perspective means that you’ll be ignoring truly unique photographic opportunities, which beckon at every turn in this metropolis. For truly great works to stand out, they require something a little bit different – so approach photography in the Big Apple in your own way.
The nooks and crannies of Italy’s Amalfi Coast occasionally fold out to reveal deep blue seas, villages that teeter on cliff tops and vistas made for honeymooners. From dusk until dawn, the immensely charming town of Positano just twinkles with possibility.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
To some, it’s the largest area of pristine land in the continental United States full of wondrous flora and fauna. To others, it’s a super volcano that’s going to explode one day. Whichever way you spin it, there’s no denying the spectacle of Yellowstone.
The surreal landscape of Cappadocia is filed with fairy chimney rock formations and rock houses carved among its spectacularly coloured valleys. These eye-popping and unique rock formations were inhabited over a millennia ago, but still make for an enchanting sight. If you are feeling particularly brave, a hot air balloon over the valleys is the best way to appreciate this otherworldly place.
Another one on our list that’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Guatemalan town of Antigua isn’t, you’ll be pleased to hear, a super volcano like Yellowstone. Instead, its well-preserved colonial churches and squares are set under a skyline featuring three small (but still active) volcanoes.
© James Wu
The Kyoto Gardens, Japan
You may have tended some shrubs in your time. You may even call yourself a gardener. But the extraordinary levels of diligence, intricacy and precision of these magical locations will cast a spell over any visitor to Japan’s temple gardens.
How many of these awe-inspiring locations for photography have you travelled to? Are there any other locations you’d like to add to the list?
The twelve photos above would make for an inspired calendar. To remind yourself daily of all the unforgettable places you have visited around the world, PhotoBox’s personalised calendars would be perfect as a special gift to yourself, and the whole family!