All of America’s national parks have their own treasures to offer visitors, but some are more popular than others.
Each year, the National Park Service tracks the total number of visits made to each of the parks, revealing the most and least visited. While the country’s least-visited parks can take a bit more planning to reach, they offer incredible experiences to all those who make the trek: Watch synchronous fireflies, hike among the world’s oldest trees, take in views of the Northern Lights, or enjoy wildflower blooms at these lesser known national treasures.
These 15 national parks had the fewest visitors in 2018, despite the fact that avid travelers that make it their mission to visit all the parks have touted them as the best in the country. If you’re looking for adventure and scenery without the crowds, here are the parks to travel to next.
1/3 of the photos shown here were in Alaska. 1/3 of the least visited National Parks in the United States are in Alaska. 1/3 of the most beautiful, least visited national parks in the United States are in Alaska. Hmmm, makes me want to go to Alaska! What do you think? I think that I would like to go in the middle of summer there, however. It may warm up to nearly 50 in the middle of summer there. But, whatever the weather is like I think there are some beautiful photos to be found there. Let’s see if I can find some more from those National Parks in Alaska:
So this should give you some ideas of some great places to go that have very few people, and the scenery is just beautiful. Any of these locations go on your bucket list?
SPRING HAS SPRUNG, OFFICIALLY !!! This is one of my favorite seasons. Summer is probably my favorite, because everything is out in bloom, except for the spring flowers, but, no more dead looking plants, or things coming to life, they are alive. But, spring is nice because you are coming out of the DEAD of winter. It does bring a sense of a refreshing feeling to get out in the sun now, that you couldn’t do so much in the winter. And there are colors now. Winter you only had white to deal with. Spring brings a new variety of spring flowers, and new buds, and new animals and things are generally just coming to life, and people feel it.
So, you photographers, there are obviously some good pointers that should be brought out to all at this spring time, to make your photos look even better. So, here you go:
The moment when snowdrops start appearing through the final snowfalls of the year, Mother Nature seems to go into overdrive, and it’s almost as if not a week goes by without something new, different, and exciting appearing in gardens and parks.
As a photographer it’s my favorite time of the year. The light seems fresh and crisp, and the sun remains fairly low in the sky throughout the day so to my mind it feels a little more gentle than the harsh sunlight of high summer.
To me it offers a little more freedom to the photographer. On many occasions you can abandon reflectors and diffusers and shoot with impunity. It’s almost as if the golden hours just after and just before the sun rises and sets seem to last so much longer.
That is not to say that everything becomes simple and easy. Everything tends to be on a much smaller scale as spring emerges, and getting up close and personal with either a macro lens or a macro diopter opens up a whole new world. Everything from wasps and bees collecting pollen through to spring rainfall collecting on leaves and flowers. There are two major difficulties with this type of photography: light and wind. Don’t be afraid to give your ISO levels a little boost or invest in an off camera flash and some radio triggers
Erratic spring winds are my chief nemesis. Working at close quarters with bugs and blossom can rapidly become very frustrating as even the slightest of movements can throw off your focal point and leave you with a less than optimal picture. I’ve been shooting at a pretty standard ISO 400 with a shutter speed in the region of 1/800 of a second to ensure that I get more pictures. Sure, you’re going to get more noise in your picture, but to my mind a little more noise in a picture as opposed to having no picture at all is a simple choice to make.
Another thing a photographer should never be afraid to do is get down and dirty. When shooting flowers and bugs, you should be down at their level. If you don’t have to brush yourself down after a photo session, you’re not doing it right, in my opinion. In order to give your close up subjects a sense of scale, you should be at their level. When shooting a blossom, try to get up at its level, and conversely, when shooting stuff on the ground get down there and shoot from the ground up.
I try—wherever possible—not to shoot with a tripod. It gives me more freedom, although sometimes I wish that I had the discipline to be a little more structured and spend the time setting up my tripod and lighting—but I am always worried about missing a picture!
But spring is not all about little things. It’s a time that sees the return of migratory birds. It’s also a little easier to spot and photograph creatures like pheasants and deer in fields that will in just a few short weeks be filled with crops that reduce your chances of getting that great shot. I’m certainly not an experienced wildlife photographer, and I don’t really have a lens with a long enough reach to get great wildlife shots, but I do know that you need to be as close as you can get, so patience and an understanding of how your subject will behave is critical to getting that killer shot.
Lastly, the sky in spring offers a wealth of opportunities. With the sun lower in the sky, you can capture superb cloudscapes that are lit wonderfully. In mid-summer with the sun high in the sky, it’s difficult to get an optimally lit shot.
In spring, it’s as if Mother Nature is doing the work for you. All you have to do is spend a little time working with what she has given you and you should end up with a fist full of photographs that really encapsulate the wonders of spring!
Some of this article was written by Lanny Cottrell, chief editor for 123Photogo, but, the bulk of this article was written by Brian John Jones.
Brian John Jones is a stock photographer and small holder originally from the UK (bjonesphotography dot co dot uk), now based on the Hungarian Great Plain.
Some other great spring photos for you to enjoy:
Can I be so bold as to say: If you don’t have a tripod, you are not a serious photographer yet? But, maybe that is not a fair statement yet, because you just haven’t had the need to use a tripod yet. So, I won’t fault you yet for not having a tripod.
Not too long ago, I purchase a camera kit, and it came with a tripod. I am glad that the company I purchased this from felt that the need was there to include a tripod with the camera outfit. Now, keep in mind, I used to work in a camera store, and sold tripods that sold anywhere from $12.95 US dollars to $399 US dollars. Was I delighted with this tripod I got? Absolutely not !!! I wasn’t sure I would give it to my best friend! Who would dare put that in a kit and call it a tripod. (Mad face) It wasn’t long before I purchased a $180 tripod, complete with a ball head, and built-in mono pod leg as well. Now I am a happy person. The new tripod goes taller than me.
Digital cameras offer a level of technology that was unimagined only a few short years ago. The funny thing is, the old techniques are still as important as ever.
A tripod is still an essential piece of equipment for good photography. For beginners, the purchase of a tripod is usually a sign that one is ready to move beyond the snapshot stage and get more serious about photography. But if you have managed without a tripod in the past, perhaps you have wondered if you should take the plunge, or continue to get by without. So here is the first question you need to answer: “Do I need a tripod?”
The answer depends on how seriously you take your photography. If you’re happy with simple snapshots and have no ambitions of delving into more serious photography, you would probably be wasting your money. Tripod photography takes a little more time, thought and effort; if good photography is not important to you, you will not get value out of a tripod and probably would not use it even if you had one.
Now for the second question: “Why do I need a tripod?”
A tripod keeps your camera completely still, so you can take photos that will not be blurred by any movement of the camera caused by an unsteady hand.
There are two reasons why you might use a slow shutter speed for your photos. Sometimes the light is very low, and you need a slow shutter speed to get a good exposure. Or you may choose to use a slow shutter speed to capture a special effect. In either situation, your tripod will ensure that the camera is perfectly still and the photo will not be blurred.
An additional benefit is that the tripod allows you to compose a photo carefully, without having to concentrate on keeping the camera still in your hand. It is much easier to check that the horizon is level, and all parts of the photo are as you want them before you press the button.
Let’s assume for a moment that you have a tripod. Now for our third and final question:“When do I use my tripod?”
Some people will tell you you should never take a photo without a tripod below a certain shutter speed. The trouble is, different people recommend different speeds. Some photographers will tell you 1/125 of a second is the lower limit; other will recommend 1/60 or 1/30 second.
So who is telling you the truth? Actually, all of them. Because the truth is, it’s not that simple.
When you use a large lens to magnify your subject, you also magnify the effect of any camera movement. So if you use a telephoto lens, a shaky camera will affect your photo much more than if you use a wide-angle lens. So it could be that a photo you could take hand-held with a wide angle lens would require a tripod with a telephoto lens.
How do you know, then, when to use a tripod? This is a guideline that was recently told to me, and it is a good one to keep in mind.
Let your choice of shutter speed match the size of the lens. For example, if you are using a 200mm lens, you should be able to take photos without a tripod at speeds of 1/200 second or faster. Once your speed drops below 1/200 second, be sure to use your tripod.
For a smaller lens, you can go with a slower shutter speed to match. So if you are using a standard lens (around 50–60mm) you could set your cutoff point at 1/60 second. Faster, and you can take the photo hand-held; slower, and you should use a tripod. With a wide angle lens of 28mm, your cutoff point would be 1/30 second.
There are some photographers who insist that all photos should be taken with a tripod, no matter what lens or shutter speed you use. This is simply not practical, but it does point to the simple fact that the tripod is always steadier than the hand. If a photo is important to you, it is worth going to some extra effort and leaving nothing to chance. So if in doubt, use a tripod, even when the shutter speed suggests you can get by without it.
Oh, and one more thing. Never, ever, ever take a photo slower than 1/30 second without a tripod.
About the Author
Andrew Goodall writes for http://www.naturesimage.com.au and is a nature photographer based in Australia. He manages a gallery in Montville full of landscape photography from throughout Australia.
Note: A special thanks to Andrew Goodall. I have used his articles before, and I like his simple approach to the basics of photography. Thanks again Andrew. You are my hero ! And thanks to Picture/Correct for publishing his articles.
Here are a few extra photos that could not have been taken without a tripod. If you have ever wondered how these have been taken, keep in mind that these kind of photos are done only because of a tripod.