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Travel stories

Photos and tips from a U.S. National Parks trip

Nov 18, 2014 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

white text overlade on us national parks saying us national parks

profile of photographer jimmy with quote from tour of national parks

Here in the United States, we sometimes take our expansive western landscapes for granted. From their unique natural rock formations to the sheer amount of open space they offer, the U.S. National Parks remind us that exploring our own backyard can be just as exciting as traveling to Europe. With his camera in hand, Jimmy captured the best views out west.

3 tips for taking landscape photos

woman standing on edge of lake in national park taking a picture

1. Use the rule of thirds

“Often, people take landscape photos with too much sky—and blue skies can be boring. If there is interesting light, a sunset or some cool clouds, the sky can fill two-thirds of the photo. Otherwise, stick to one-third sky, two-thirds land.”

2. Use landscape mode on your camera

“If it’s an iPhone, use the pano setting—and learn how to use it properly! This will allow you to create really stunning images of large landscapes. Once you learn how to take panorama photos, you’ll use it every day.”

3. Work with the light

“Sunny days aren’t necessarily the best for taking great photos. Slightly cloudy, overcast days provide more optimal light for taking a stunning picture. Take advantage of those days and look for other opportunities for good lighting, like the “golden hour”—the hour of dawn or dusk where landscapes are beautifully lit.”

A closer look at the U.S. National Parks

tree branches in front of cayons in grand canyon national park This tour visits six incredible U.S. National Parks—see what Jimmy had to say about each of them.

Mesa Verde National Park

“At the highest point, you’re 8,500 feet above sea level, which makes for incredible views. Just make sure to drink enough water to combat the elevation!”

Zion National Park

“I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful Zion was. It sits down in a valley and the road blends in with the red rock that surrounds you. It’s a really powerful place.”

Grand Canyon

“A classic—if you’re a U.S. resident, it’s mandatory to see this once in your life! We got to spend a decent amount of time here, which was great for taking plenty of good photos.”

Bryce Canyon National Park

“Out here, it’s all about the landscapes. While you can find similar places in Europe, they’re so far apart—it’s really unique to have all of these incredible parks so close together.”

Grand Teton National Park

“Wow, just wow. The entire place just looks like a postcard.”

Yellowstone National Park

“It was so cool to see all the wildlife up close. There were so many buffalo!”

cars driving along road towards monument valley in arizone

Jimmy’s favorite view: Monument Valley

“Monument Valley is ridiculously unique. All of the shapes and the rocks that seem to stick out of nowhere… it’s unbelievable.”

Want to learn more about the U.S. National Parks? See the full tour itinerary here!


National parksPhoto tipsTraveler stories
About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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