Alaska, or as it is affectionately nicknamed, the “Last Frontier,” is the wildest of the 50 states. Large enough to be its own country, Alaska spans over 660,000 square miles, and inside its borders, it is home to eight incredible national parks, as well as the tallest mountain in North America, Denali, at 20,310 feet. Alaska’s mountains are big, its wilderness is vast, and its natural wonders are plentiful. The most intriguing aspect of Alaska is that there areas of the state that have yet to be photographed, and “blank spaces” on the map waiting to be filled. For anyone searching for adventure and opportunity, Alaska is the state for you.
California is one of the most sought after states in America, known for its cities and beaches. However, California for outdoor photographers is a true mecca, and offers some of the most incredible and diverse destinations on the planet. From the massive granite walls and formations of Yosemite National Park, to the towering Redwoods and Sequoias in the north and south regions of the state, California boasts a gorgeous coastline, massive mountains, and unforgiving desert. It is truly magical, and can offer so much for any photographer in love with the outdoors.
When you think about mountains, you think of Colorado. The heart of the Rocky Mountains runs through this incredibly beautiful state, and it offers some of the most iconic mountain destinations in the United States. From the Elk Range and the iconic Maroon Bells in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park in the Front Range, or the magical San Juans in the southwest corner of the state, Colorado is a dream to shoot, and offers endless opportunities. There’s even a giant mountain sandbox, Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is great to play in, and offers some of the wildest shots in the west.
Utah is one of the wildest places on this list. Not only does it have the “Mighty Five,” or five national parks including Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyon lands, and Arches, but it is home to some of the most incredible colors, textures, and landscapes you will ever see. From slot canyons a few feet wide, to vast canyon overlooks, Utah offers opportunities to feel incredibly close to these amazing places, and shoot some of the best photographs of your career.
Oregon is absolutely alluring, and like many on this list, quite diverse. People best know Oregon for its magical and rugged coastline, but it is also home to some of the most beautiful forests, lakes, and mountains you’ll see in this region. The rows of Douglas firs and lush, temperate vegetation is enough to pique many photographers’ interest, but Oregon is also home to some of the most beautiful and epic waterfalls in the country, from the Columbia River Gorge to down south near Eugene. Add a stop to the famous Bend, Oregon area for high desert landscape at Smith Rock State Park, that will surely take your breath away. Oregon has it all, so it’s no wonder many move to this state to pursue their photography careers every year.