World Photography Day

World Photography Day: the world’s most beautiful spots to capture

World Photography Day (19 August) is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography. Celebrate one of the finest arts by discovering a number of incredible spots showcasing outstanding beauty around the world. Set sights on gorgeous winter wonderland scenery in Yosemite National Park and stunning summer sunsets in Japan creating impressive asymmetric reflections. 

World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go, Japan ©MDHarding


Chichibugahama beach: Setouchi, Kagawa

Kagawa is home to Chichibugahama Beach, the beach is acclaimed as one of the ‘Top 10 Sunset Spots in Japan’ and with good reason. Boasting one kilometre of beach with peaceful seawater and bathing areas, many visitors come during the summer months and swim in the beautiful setting. In recent years it has been compared to the Bolivian Salt Flats for its fantastic photo opportunities as the sky is reflected on still seawater pools along the shoreline.

Chichibugahama Beach at Sunset

Tanesashi Coast, Hachinohe

The Michinoku Coastal Trail is a Tohoku-wide, collaborative project by four prefectures and 28 cities, towns, and villages. As part of the Sanriku Fukku National Park and cited as Japan’s longest trail, the trail begins (or ends) at Kabushima Shrine in Hachinohe. Spanning more than 1,000km this is one of the best paths you can take to experience the real Japan and it is now even easier to explore thanks to a recent series of videos. The opportunity for photography is varied here as the route passes along coastal roads, through pine forests and little fishing villages, offering visitors the opportunity to stop off at secluded beauty spots along the way. The jagged coastline and changing topography lends itself to dramatic coastal shots, and visitors can even stop off at the Ashigezaki Observatory, an old stone lookout. Along the way, walkers can call into a local fish restaurant to refuel or enjoy one of the many shrines and temples as they make their way down the coastline of Hachinohe Prefecture.

Tanesashi Coast, Hachinohe, Japan

The Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia

Consisting of 118 islands and atolls, including Tahiti, Bora Bora and the Marquesas Islands, The Islands of Tahiti are a true paradise in the South Pacific. Part of the Marquesas Islands, Hiva Oa provides a pristine and breathtaking landscape, with waterfalls, peaks and crossing rivers creating the picture-perfect image. Commonly named the “Garden of the Marquesas”, Hiva Oa is home to the largest tiki statue on The Islands of Tahiti. Photography isn't restricted to the daytime either, the French Polynesian Islands are a popular spot for astronomers and stargazers, with a vast and uninterrupted view to the sky above. The islands here are not affected by the light pollution commonly found in big cities nor are they overshadowed by skyscrapers which make up most modern-day skylines. The aptly named Venus Point, on Tahiti island, is where Captain James Cook first recorded the planet, Venus, transiting the face of the sun, in 1769. Today, Venus Point in Matavai Bay is home to a black sand beach and eight-story Victorian lighthouse.

Breath Taking Views From Hiva Oa, Tahiti

Capturing Colorado, USA

With four national parks, eight national monuments and a bounty of wildlife-watching opportunities, it is no wonder that Colorado attracts budding photographers from around the world. Some of the most popular spots include the Rocky Mountain National Park for elk, the Alamosa and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuges for bald eagles, State Forest State Park for Moose, Bighorn Sheep Canyon for bighorn sheep and Mount Evans for mountain goats. Those looking for help from the local experts can sign up to some unique photography sessions; 3 Peaks Photography conducts private photo tours of some of the most scenic areas in the Pikes Peak region; Rhapsody in Light offers a ‘stars and meteors night photography’ workshop in the Rocky Mountain National Park and ‘fall colours’ workshop in the San Juan Mountains’.

Maroon Creek, Aspen, Colorado, USA

Follow your architectural dreams in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Emerging from Fort Pitt Tunnel, driving into the bright lights of downtown Pittsburgh's skyline is a memorable experience. With 446 bridges throughout the city, many of which are painted in the signature canary yellow, Pittsburgh’s architecture is a photographer's dream. The “steel city” as it was once called, is now a thriving tech, eds, meds and robotics hub but still maintains much of its historic charm. As a rule of thumb, buildings are repurposed for their next use which has seen hotels from former car parks and gyms to breweries from churches. History continues as Pittsburgh is home to one of the last working funiculars in the US and rewards riders with scenic views of the city - best enjoyed at dusk as the sun sets over the city and the buildings come alive with colour. Further afield in the Laurel Highlands, visitors will find Fallingwater - one of architectural hero Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces.

Frank Lloyd Wright's - Fallingwater

Point and click in Florida’s Paradise Coast, Florida 

Florida’s Paradise Coast, consisting of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades -  is a photographer's dream. Not only is it brimming with wildlife in their natural habitats, there are also the incredible sunsets, national parks and beaches that will keep the camera roll filled for days. Naples is known for its sophisticated downtown architecture with a Mediterranean feel and the Naples Pier is a real highlight with locals at sunset as birds fill the skies. The largest of the Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, sparkling blue waters and unprecedented access to the Gulf of Mexico and mangrove-lined estuaries of the Everglades provide a multitude of colourful photography spots. To the south, the Everglades National Park is officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and where the green mainland meets the blue ocean. This unusual terrain invites itself to be photographed and the best way to experience the wilderness is by the very many guided tours on offer, kayak past playful dolphins, graceful manatees and try to spot the endangered Florida Panther.

Everglades National Park, Florida

Snowfall over Yosemite National Park, California 

Ansel Adams is one of the most celebrated photographers of all time and his images of Yosemite National Park and the Eastern Sierra are familiar to millions. Follow in the footsteps of this legendary photographer and wilderness pioneer with a trip to Yosemite Mariposa County.  One of the best times to photograph in Yosemite is during the winter. From January through March, there are fewer crowds and the chance of fresh snow or frost. You can also enjoy certain natural phenomena that won’t be found anywhere else: there are lunar rainbows at the base of Yosemite Falls on a full moon night and there is the Horsetail Fall. At sunset, the seasonal waterfall can glow like falling fire for as long as 10 minutes daily. It only happens during the winter when the snow melts and lasts for up to three weeks. Additionally, Winter in Yosemite makes for intense light, especially in the afternoon.  From snow-covered mountain peaks to a thundering waterfall spilling over an icy ledge, it's no wonder that artists have long been drawn to the Eastern Sierra.

When in the park stop by The Ansel Adams Gallery, located in the heart of the Valley with incredible views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. Join the Gallery on an unforgettable photography excursion or step inside to experience a unique variety of fine arts, handicrafts, and an extraordinary collection of Ansel Adams original photographs and exclusive editions.

Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park

Scenic Vistas continue in Yosemite's Tuolumne County, California 

Consisting of the lion's share of Yosemite National Park, Gold Country, and the High Sierra, this diverse mix of terrain (north of Mariposa County) provides incredible roadside vista views that don’t require miles and miles of hiking. En route to Yosemite National Park, stop by the ‘Rim of the World’ for a picturesque snap of Tuolumne River on Highway 120. This beautiful highway opens up providing a wide view of the surrounding pine trees, winding river and jaw-dropping vista. Continue on and avoid the crowds exploring the less visited, but still awe-inspiring, Tuolumne Meadows and Tuolumne Grove to see the majestic redwoods. Just off of Highway 108, Pinecrest Lake awaits. A beautiful drive deeper into the Stanislaus National Forest, this sunken lake provides the ultimate pull-up view of one of Tuolumne County’s most iconic destinations.

Firefall, Yosemite National Park in Winter

Ghost towns and mountain ridges in Mammoth Lakes, California 

California's Eastern Sierra is a photographer's dream and one of the most unique of western landscapes with snow-capped mountain peaks, Bodie ghost town, wildflowers, autumn colours and interesting rock formations. No other place in California encompasses more dramatic scenery. Bodie State Historic Park, the largest unrestored ghost town in the West; and Mono Lake, an ancient inland sea with odd-shaped tufa towers make for unique and dramatic photo subjects. The breathtaking Minaret Vista is a highly popular spot for keen photographers too. The sharp, jutting spires of the Minarets are dramatic and unworldly visitors can capture Mount Ritter at 13,157 feet (4,010 m) and Banner Peak at 12,945 feet (3,945 m), the two tallest peaks in the Ritter Range. Mammoth Lakes is also a haven for a wide range of animal life with the California Black Bear, the Mule Deer, and over 3,000 species of birds in the region. Be careful not to disturb any of the wildlife and stay a safe distance away when photographing them in the natural habitat.

The LA skyline captured from West Hollywood’s rooftops, California

Glittering lights, colourful rooftops, azure swimming pools and the curving palms of Beverly visitors get quite the view from way up high in West Hollywood. The West Hollywood EDITION boasts unparalleled panoramic views of Los Angeles, enjoy a sip on a drink whilst capturing the twinkling lights of the LA skyline with one of the best views in the city. Those who don’t want to hike to the Hollywood sign can head to the London West Hollywood hotel, peer over the edge to take in the mayhem of the bustling Sunset Strip, gaze outward at the homes of Beverly Hills and capture the famous Hollywood sign at this truly 360 degrees view.

West Hollywood EDITION at Sunset

Highway 1 and Big Sur’s dramatic cliffs, California 

Highway 1 is the quintessential California road trip, an undulating strip of asphalt that snakes along the coast for 655 miles, with the route’s most iconic section - Big Sur.  Bixby Bridge stands as one of the world’s highest single-span concrete arch bridges, over 700 feet long and over 260 tall it is one of the most photographed pieces of the coastal route. For nature photography, pay a visit to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and McWay Falls where the oceanfront overlooks flawless views of McWay Falls. Pfeiffer Beach, inside Los Padres National Forest, is a slice shoreline known for its naturally purple sands and the arch rock just offshore which turns daily sunsets into spectacular photo ops. Whilst exploring the area book a stay at Post Ranch Inn, which is recognised for its organic architecture and dramatic location. Located just off Highway 1 and spanning 100 acres along the cliffs of Big Sur, the hotel offers 40 uniquely designed rooms, each with panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Los Padres National Forest to the east, making it a top photography spot for its guests. It even has its own black and white photography gallery - The Post Gallery - located in the meadow in an old Quonset hut covered with redwood.

Post Ranch Inn Overlooking the Pacific Ocean

I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to travel to one of the world's most beautiful spots to photograph.

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