USA EDITORS PICK THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES VISITED IN 2018

2018 was an amazing year for seeing gorgeous destinations.  From the food to the culture to the pure eye candy, it’s difficult to highlight all of the stunning things we saw, but we’ll do our best. As you plan your 2019 travel, keep these beautiful locations in mind.

1. Tree tunnels

iStock / Mnieteq
 The Dark Hedges
Is it real life or fantasy?  It’s hard to tell when you’re surrounded by a magical passageway of trees.  We explore 10 breathtaking tree tunnels around the world to add to your must-visit list. 
CAMAS, WASHINGTON

HOKKAIDO, JAPAN

Jyväskylä, Finland
HALNAKEER, ENGLAND

Stranocum, Northern Ireland

Inverness, Calif.

Klevan, Ukraine

Lucca, Italy

Venlo, Netherlands

Copenhagen

2. Cruise in Norway



During the summer, the sun never sets on the scenery of stunning Norway.  And a cruise is an ideal way to experience that.

3. Train in the Canadian Rockies


The Rocky Mountaineer luxury railroad experience marries the glamour of world-class travel with the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.  

4. Towns of the Caribbean


Often your point of arrival to a Caribbean island, its capital city may be your first taste of a destination, but it should not be your last.

5. Columbus, Ohio



Like its namesake, Columbus is all about exploring.

6. Cliff-diving in the U.S.


Looking to take a high-speed dip? Cliff-diving can turn up some of the most scenic spots, ideal for photo ops, in addition to offering the kind of thrill you only get from jumping into the abyss. 
CRATER LAKE, OREGON

Not only is Crater Lake considered one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous spots in the world, with its true blue hue and forest setting, it’s also one of the most refreshing dives you can take. Temps near the surface hover at a chilly 55 degrees, and with a depth of nearly 2,000 feet, you don’t have to worry about hitting rock bottom. 
HAVASUPAI FALLS, ARIZONA
Waterfall jumping is a gentler alternative to cliff diving: the churning water softens the landing. Set in the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, it takes a 10-mile hike to get to this gem with turquoise blue waters and a red, sandy bottom.
For decades, young men of the Havasupai tribe took to the falls as a rite of passage. Today, adventure seekers take on the hike to jump into these crystalline waters with plenty of low-to-mid level cliffs for beginners.

Kahekili’s Leap | Hawaii


The mother of all jumps: Legend has it that in the 1770s, Kahekili, the Birdman King, spearheaded the sport by making his warriors leap from the top of the 63-foot falls into shallow waters below to prove their loyalty. While the lore might lure you to Kahekili’s Leap in Lanai, this is one of the most dangerous dives and recommended only for pros.
ST. MARY’S GLACIER

The glacier-fed lake at St. Mary’s offers several low- and mid-level spots to take the leap. Work up a sweat on the 1.8-mile loop trail before cooling off in the icy waters. Make sure to look up – you may just see people skiing down the glacier.  

7. Slovenia


Slovenia is home to some of the most beautiful places on the planet. It also leads the world in sustainable tourism. 

8. Bratislava, Slovakia


The charming city of Bratislava is located on the shores of the Danube river, bordered by Austria and Hungary. Nearly all of its 18th-century Old Town is a pedestrian zone, making it a perfect destination for touring on foot.  The bustling district features historical buildings, quaint houses and notable churches as well as diverse restaurants, lively bars and cafés, and plenty of shopping opportunities.

9. Leavenworth, Wash.


Located a scenic 2.5-hour-drive from Seattle, the Bavarian-themed mountain town of Leavenworth sits nestled at the base of Washington’s north central Cascade Mountains. This quirky, hospitable destination features unique architecture, a downtown maypole, thriving outdoor recreation scene, an ever-expanding culinary lineup and an active arts center at Sleeping Lady’s lovely mountain resort. 

10. Boise


The state of Idaho has always been known for its dramatic natural beauty, making it a much favored destination for visitors from around the world. And the state capital of Boise has equally come into its own, thanks to an ongoing urban renaissance that has added a wide variety of experiences.


10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.

HOW TO TAKE GREAT NIGHT PHOTO PICTURES !

Let’s qualify your equipment on this just a bit….. we are mostly going to explain how to take great night photos with your DSLR, and this probably won’t work with your cell phone. I have seen some pretty good photos taken with a cell phone, but, the type of photos I want to cover in this article would be for those who have a DSLR.

If your digital camera has manual mode and manual focus, you can learn to take successful night photographs on your first try.


Photo by Michiel Buijse.

Try various control combinations and check your results on your camera’s LCD screen. Start with these settings then alter your shutter speed as needed:

  • ISO: Try starting with a low ISO speed to maintain clarity and reduce noise. Only change this to a higher number after trying different shutter speeds. Your camera should be able to have shutter speeds as long as 30 seconds. You will know when you’ve reached seconds when your camera displays the ” mark for your shutter speed. (Example 1″ = 1 second.)
  • Focus: You might be able to use automatic focus if there is enough light, but you will probably have to use manual focus. Recently, I was able to use automatic focus during Live View by moving the focus box over the moon then letting automatic focus do its thing. If your camera doesn’t have manual focus, find a light in the scene to focus on. Auto focus will require light. If there isn’t a light, use a flashlight. You can turn it on and put it where you want to focus or use it to illuminate your focal point.
  • Aperture: Use f/11 or f/16. This will give you greater depth of field so that more of the subject will be in focus.
  • White Balance: Try Daylight. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but it will usually result in different light sources such as tungsten, fluorescent, halogen, neon, etc. looking better.
  • Speed: Try 1/8 second then use a shorter shutter speed if the photo is too light. Use a longer shutter speed if the photo is too dark.
  • Tripod: You must use a tripod or other stable support. You can’t handhold long exposures.
  • Cable Release: If you have a cable release, use it. If not, set your timer so that the shutter will release several seconds after you press the shutter button. This helps prevent camera movement.
  • File Type: I almost always shoot Camera RAW + JPEG. This gives me a raw file that I can manipulate and a JPEG that I can use immediately.


If your camera doesn’t have a manual setting, you might still be able to successfully take night shots. Look under the Scene (SCN) menu for the following settings:


Photo by Andrew Sutherland; ISO 100, f/9, 15-second exposure.


  • Fireworks: This setting should extend your exposure long enough to capture night lights.
  • Night Portrait: This setting extends your exposure and causes the flash to go off. This setting is designed to take a picture of someone with city lights behind them. You may have tried to take this kind of picture before and the background didn’t show up at all. Night Portrait fixes that problem.
  • Tripod: You still need a tripod to stabilize the camera. If you have a timer, use that, too.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with enough information for you to give night photography a shot. It really is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

About the Author:
Gary Ramey (
trickphotographyideas.com) is an instructor at three colleges in South Florida teaching graphic design, Photoshop, digital photography techniques, concept development, desktop publishing, website design, application quality assurance, and project management

Here are some more great photos of night photography:

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com
Photo by Jose Francisco Fernandez Saura on Pexels.com
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Article written by Gary Ramey

PHOTOGRAPHY TERMS THAT PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOULD KNOW:

When you’re just starting out with photography, you stumble across many technical terms. Failure to understand the basic photography terms can later create big hurdles. It’s essential that you understand your ABCs well before venturing out.

APERTURE AND RELATED TERMS

Aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens through which light enters the camera. A larger opening allows more light to pass through, while a smaller aperture allows less light to pass through. The size of aperture is measured in terms of an f-number or f-stopSmaller f-numbers, like f/1.2, represent a larger aperture, while larger f-numbers, like f/11, represent a smaller aperture.

Changing f-numbers also affects depth of field. Depth of field determines how much of the total area in the frame is in focus from front to back. A wider aperture (smaller f-number) means that less of the area will be in focus (shallow depth of field) while a narrow aperture (larger f-number) means that greater area of the frame will be in focus (greater depth of field).

You can use a shallow depth of field for a sharply focused subjecting and a blurred background. The blurred out background is referred to as bokeh and helps in isolating the subject. On the other hand, by setting the lens to have a greater depth of field, you can get more of the image in focus.

You may think that setting two different lenses to the same f-value should let equal amount of light to pass through. While you’re theoretically correct, light amount varies in practice due to the difference in materials used. There’s another parameter called the t-stop, which is a measure of the amount of light transmitted through a lens into the camera. Cinema lenses are usually characterized by t-stops instead of f-stops.

SHUTTER SPEED

Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter exposes the sensor to light. It is measured in fractions of second. For instance 1/1000 of a second means that the sensor is exposed to light for a very short duration. So, only a tiny amount of light will reach the sensor. A faster shutter speed is useful when you have sufficient ambient light and when you’re taking action shots.

On the contrary, a shutter speed of around 1/2 a second or 2 seconds exposes the sensor to light for a longer duration. A slower shutter speed is useful when shooting in low light conditions or taking long exposure shots creatively.

EXPOSURE TRIANGLE

Exposure is the amount of light per unit area reaching the sensor. Shutter speed and aperture together affect exposure, as they physically control the amount of light reaching the sensor.

The exposure triangle is the relationship between three basic pillars of photography: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. By making adjustments to these three parameters, you can affect exposure.

Now that you understand the concept of aperture and shutter speed, let’s move on to ISO. While most understand ISO as the sensor’s sensitivity to light, it actually has to do with the amplification of sensor data after an image has been taken. A higher ISO amplifies the sensor data more and results in a brighter image. Keep in mind that while higher ISO allows you to use faster shutter speeds in low light conditions, it also introduces more noise to the image.

Along with noise, a higher ISO image also shows variations in color and brightness information. This happens due to a difference in the signal to noise ratio (SNR), which is the ratio of light to noise in a digital image. A high SNR value results in a crisper image with very low background noise, whereas an image with a low SNR value contains information that is barely recognizable from the background noise.

You may wonder about the source of the noise. It may come from the light itself or even from the electronic interference.

By understanding the concept of SNR, you can take photographs that are optimized for SNR and have the least background noise. In general terms, it is also know as the expose to the right method. To use this method, select your aperture and shutter speed to expose for the brightest highlights so that no signal is lost. If highlights are unreasonable to expose for (like when shooting into the sun), allow only minimal clipping to occur. And if some shadow regions are too dark to contain any information, you can bracket images using multiple shots to create a final high dynamic range (HDR) image.

FILE FORMATS (RAW AND JPEG)

Your camera allows you to save photos in two formats: RAW and JPEG.

Ledvina suggests that you immediately switch the format to RAW in your camera settings. RAW files save all the data captured by the sensor in a lossless format and allow great flexibility for post-processing. RAW files take up a lot of space and also require special software like Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom, or Photoshop to open and edit.

JPEG files, on the other hand, are processed by the camera and are less flexible. However, JPEG files take up less space and also come in handy if you want to quickly share images to social media.

SHOOTING MODE

When starting out, many beginners choose to shoot on auto mode. This mode automatically determines which aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to use ; all you have to do is compose and release the shutter. Try to move out of this mode as quickly as possible.

Shutter priority mode, denoted by S or Tv on the camera mode dial, is a semi-auto mode. It allows you to choose the shutter speed, and the camera selects the other parameters automatically. If you’re out taking action photos, this mode can come in handy. Just choose your shutter speed to avoid motion blur and the camera will assist you with the rest. Wildlife and sports photographers use this mode quite frequently.

Aperture priority mode, denoted by A on the camera mode dial, is another semi-auto mode. It allows you to have control over the depth of field by letting you choose the aperture value while the camera takes care of the rest.

Manual mode, denoted by M on the camera mode dial, gives the photographer complete control. In this mode, you can adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO independently for total creative control. Continuously fiddling with the camera settings can slow you down, but it teaches you how each of the camera settings affects your photo.

The terms discussed in this article are a part of the foundation that you will need to develop your photography.

Did that seem like a lot of terms to learn? When you first get your camera, this may all seem overwhelming. But, as you start to learn photography, this will all start to make sense. These pictographs that are displayed here are designed so that maybe you can print them, and cut them out and have them available for further reference. That way you can learn this all even faster.

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com
Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com