Landscapes

Best Places for Landscape Photography

What are the best places for landscape photography?

You’re ready to go. You know which camera you would like to try, you have your lenses packed and you’ve researched what should be in your camera bag. But now what?! You know that you want to create a landscape photograph but your backyard seems dull and boring and you want to go somewhere exciting but you’re not sure where.

Often times, we’re limited by the amount of travel time we have or by the funds we have to get some place. In this blog post, I’ll focus on a few places within the continental USA.

sunrise over portland maine lighthouse

Where to take landscape photographs

To be honest, you can take landscape photographs from almost anywhere. Given enough creativity, you can make even the most mundane and dull places seem Instagram worthy. However, if you get the itch to travel within the USA, below are the top 5 locations I would recommend.

Best states to shoot photographs

  1. Alaska: An exquisite location filled with varying terrain, wildlife, and beautiful natural elements such as glaciers and wildflowers. Depending on how much time you have, consider jumping on an Alaskan cruise for a week or so. Most cruises traverse through Southeast Alaska allowing you to disembark at various cities. It’s a great way to see a lot of places in Alaska, get a few great landscape shots from the water and not worry about the travel logistics. There are also smaller boat cruises to consider if you prefer a more intimate setting.

  2. Washington: If you are looking for a great outdoorsy landscape photograph with a lot of lush greenery, Washington state should be high on your list. No matter where you turn, you will be able to find coastline, mountains and/or a state park just waiting to be photographed. Make sure to do your research ahead of time as seasonal weather patterns can alter your travel plans.

  3. Maine: If you’re anything like me and prefer to be by the ocean when you’re photographing landscapes, Maine is a great state to head to! Filled with wildlife and various coastal scenes, you’ll also find quite a few lighthouses. Make sure to take your tripod so you can capture the rolling waves and if you have a minute, stop by one of the boutique lobster shops that you’ll inevitably find along your way and try a ‘lobstah roll’.

  4. Florida: If the heat doesn’t bother you, head to Florida during the summer months to catch one of the incredible sunsets (and/or sunrises) in your landscape photographs. If you’re not sure where to start out, consider heading to the Everglades or Key West. Both locations are further south and provide beautiful flora.

  5. Hawaii: Hawaii is on my bucket list in terms of where to photograph next. The rugged, lush mountains, incredible ocean views and beautiful sunsets are among the richest in the world. If you happen to get there before me, please let me know where you recommend to photograph landscapes!

Great Places to Take Landscape Photos

As you know, there are millions of places to take incredible landscape photographs and to practice photography. Have you been somewhere special that you’d like to share with everyone? If so, please comment below and let others know of fantastic places to try photographing.

Landscape Photography in Washington

Photographing Throughout the State of Washington

Landscape Photography of Mount Rainier and Tulips

Mount-Rainier-and-Tulips-in-Washington-by-Mary-Parkhill-of-Mary's-Mark-Photography.jpg

For those of you who do not follow me on Instagram, I wanted to share a few brief video clips from a recent trip to Washington. A lot of my photography work was done in the early mornings and the evenings - around sunrise and sunset. There were a few mornings and evening when I thought I would capture the perfect photograph but the clouds moved in or the rain started pouring. I wanted to share these videos with you so you could hear the quietness of nature around me and envision what I was seeing while I was crafting my artwork.

On a side note - from a travel standpoint, one week is not nearly long enough in this beautiful state! There’s so much to see, so many trails to hike and such beautiful land to soak up. I had the chance to witness beautiful tulips blooming, hike to Rattlesnake Ledge, and see Mount Rainier poking out of the clouds.

 

Landscape Photography of Mount Rainier and Tulips in Washington

Roadway-to-Mountain-Washingto-by-Mary-Parkhill-of-Mary's-Mark-Photography.jpg
Landscape-Artwork-of-San-Juan-Islands-by-Mary-Parkhill-at-Sunset.jpg
Bird on Tulips in Washington by Mary Parkhill of Mary's Mark Photography.png

Landscape Photography Equipment

For this landscape photography adventure, I decided to take 2 camera lenses, 1 camera body, 1 tripod and 1 camera bag. When I first started packing for this trip, I wasn’t sure if I would be taking wildlife photographs or more landscape photographs. I decided on taking just 2 lenses but these two cover a fairly wide spectrum of distances. Here they are below:

 

Landscape Photography Video of Gig Harbor

 
Quick video showing behind-the-scenes when I'm photographing the San Juan Islands from the mainland. Beautiful sunset! Check out the final piece of artwork at: https://bit.ly/2XwF5a2
 
 

Landscape Photography Video of Skagit Valley Tulip Festival at Sunrise

 
Quick video showing behind-the-scenes when I'm photographing tulips at the Skagit tulip festival from as the sun comes up. Check out the final piece of artwork at: https://bit.ly/2XwF5a2
 
 

Landscape Photography Video of Rattlesnake Ledge

 
Quick video showing behind-the-scenes when I'm photographing from the top of Rattlesnake Ledge in Washington. Check out a few pieces of my artwork at: https://bit.ly/2XwF5a2
 
 

Landscape Photography Video of Sunset at San Juan Islands

 
Quick video showing behind-the-scenes when I'm photographing the San Juan Islands from the mainland. Beautiful sunset! Check out the final piece of artwork at: https://bit.ly/2XwF5a2
 
 
 

 

Landsape Photographer Mary Parkhill

Mary Parkhill, Photographer

Mary Parkhill, Photographer

 

Landscape Photography Locations in Florida

Florida Landscape Photography Locations

6 Places to Take Landscape Photographs in Florida

Over the last couple of years, I called sunny Florida ‘home’. As I became more familiar with the ocean and the Florida way of life (#saltlife), I started exploring as much of the state as I could through my camera lens. With the ever-changing weather, constant sunshine and beautiful landscape, Florida is a treasure chest of eye candy!

As a photographer’s paradise, there is almost always a beautiful sunrise or sunset and the weather is always pushing the norms providing texture in the skies. Getting started, I leveraged Google Earth quite a bit to plan my shooting locations. Below are a few of the wonderful locations that I had the chance to explore and photograph while I was in Florida.

If you’re ever in the area, check out the states tourist website for tips/ideas of what to do / where to go. It’s a great resource to begin planning your trip. If you’re looking for more specific locations, feel free to reach out to me here.

Landscape Photography Location - Everglades:

Crocodile - Everglades, Florida

Crocodile - Everglades, Florida

Landscape Photography Location in Florida: Pass-a-Grille:

Walkway to beach - Pass-a-Grille, FL

Walkway to beach - Pass-a-Grille, FL

Landscape Photography Location in Florida: St. Petersburg:

Sail Away  - St. Petersburg, FL

Sail Away - St. Petersburg, FL

Landscape Photography Location in Florida: Tampa:

Tampa  at Night

Tampa at Night

Landscape Photography Location in Florida: Fort Lauderdale:

Lifeguard  - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Lifeguard - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Landscape Photography Location in Florida: Key West:

Key West  - Key West, Florida

Key West - Key West, Florida

 
 

 

12 Hours in Hong Kong, China - Four Places to Photograph Around the City

Landscape Photography in Hong Kong

Capturing Landscape Photography in Hong Kong China

Hong Kong is a photographer’s playground! There’s so much to photograph, from wildlife to architecture, beautiful ocean shots to skylines. Throw in street markets and historical cultural buildings and you could spend years photographing this city.

But if you’re like me, a tourist passing through, unfortunately you don’t have the luxury of time to explore every angle. So here’s a list of a few areas that I stopped at to photograph. This is not an all-inclusive list but highlights some of the treasures in Hong Kong that can’t be found elsewhere.

 

Landscape Photography of Sai Wan Swimming Shed

Sai Wan Swimming Shed - Location: Victoria Rd, Mount Davis, Hong Kong

Sai Wan Swimming Shed in Hong-Kong-Stairs-by-Mary Parkhill of Marys-Mark-Photography.jpg

To get to this location, it can be tricky. I did not have a car (driving in Hong Kong was too intimidating to me) so after chatting with the hotel concierge and showing the taxi driver the address, I was dropped off in what felt like the middle of nowhere… somewhere along a steep grade. Using Google Maps, I found the opening to the staircase which plummeted down the side of the mountain.

Pro Tips:

  • Take bug spray: There are tiny bugs that bite as you get closer to the water. I wasn’t prepared and spent precious time slapping away the bugs. The locals didn’t seem to be bothered by them too much.

  • Be Prepared to Stand in Line: Thanks to social media, there are hundreds of people who want to take selfies on the pier. In an orderly fashion, people line-up so that everyone has a turn to take their photo on the pier. As you can see in my photo, there’s no one in it as I wanted a landscape image. Even if you don’t want anyone in your shot, be prepared to stand in line.

 
Yick Fat Building Yick Cheong Building by Mary Parkhill Hong-Kong-Photograph-by-Mary-Parkhill-of-Mary's-Mark-Photography.jpg

I haven’t seen movie ‘Transformers - Age of Extinction’ but apparently this building is in it. For this photography location, make sure to put the address in Google maps - reaching the inside of the building’s courtyard (which is where this photograph was taken) is not the easiest to get to. Once you’re at the street address location, you will need to turn and walk into what looks like a hallway with a couple of shops inside (I think one shop was a meat butcher). Walk past the shops a bit and you will eventually find yourself inside of the courtyard.

Pro Tips:

  • Spend time getting various angles: While the attraction of the Yick Building is the view / angle looking up, don’t overlook the currently-lived-in apartment porches with sheets hanging to dry, kids toys and plants that add to the texture of your image.

  • Concrete Block: There’s a concrete block towards the one end of the courtyard. If you are looking for a selfie spot, jump on top of the concrete block and angle the camera outward/upward. This will provide a decent angle.

  • Stairs: At the other end of the courtyard (opposite the concrete block), there is a set of stairs that allows you to photograph from below ‘ground’ level. Consider taking a few photos from a lower angle.

 

To save on time, take a taxi to the top of Victoria Peak (you can walk and/or take a tram but be prepared for quite a hike and potential rain showers depending on which season you’re traveling). At the top, there’s a walking path and a building that offers a couple of restaurants, shops and of course, the incredible view overlooking Hong Kong. There is a nominal fee to go to the very top but it’s well worth it. You will take about 4+ escalators to the top of the viewing pier so make sure you budget enough travel time especially if you’re trying to capture the sunset.

Pro Tips:

  • There are 2 levels of platforms at the top: While the highest platform is only 5 or 6 steps above the lower platform, consider photographing from it. Make sure to take a couple of lenses so you can exercise depth of field, distance, and various light conditions.

  • Wildlife: Yes - the purpose of getting to Victoria Peak is to capture the Hong Kong skyline; however, be on a watch out for beautiful, soaring birds that are high above the city line.

 
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Be prepared for interesting aromas that fill this street market. There are several seafood and meat stalls as well as vegetables, toys and clothing stalls. This unique blend of merchandise makes for incredibly textured photographs but mixed with warm seasonal rains, the photographing conditions can be somewhat tough.

Pro Tips:

  • Street Car: There’s a working street car that runs down the center of the market. In addition to your safety (e.g. don’t get run over), the street car divides the craziness of the market and offers a wonderful focus point.

  • Umbrella: It often rains in Hong Kong so make sure you take an umbrella (or purchase one from the market).


Landscape Photography in China

 

In this article:

  1. Sai Wan Swimming Shed

  2. Yick Cheong Building

  3. Victoria Peak

  4. hun Yeung Street Wet Market

 

Camera Bag for Making the Trip to Hong Kong

Several of you have asked which bag I took with me when traveling from the United States to Hong Kong (especially as airlines are focusing more on the weight of your bag and there are several limitations on the size of your bag). Here is the camera bag that I took with me:

 

Why I like this backpack:

I like this backpack for a few different reasons. Not only does it do a great job of protecting my gear and allowing me to bring multiple lenses without fussing, it also has easily accessible side pockets that are fantastic for stuffing camera cards and business cards into. I carried this bag onto the plane without any issue.

Artwork as an Investment: Things to Think About When Purchasing Artwork

Artwork is an investment. Like any other investment that you make, you want to make sure you are thinking about various aspects that might influence your decision. While everyone’s evaluation criteria is different for selecting their artwork, here is a quick list of items to consider before making a purchase. This list is based on the questions that I receive from clients as they work through the process of selecting their pieces and displaying them.

  • Placement: Is the artwork placement permanent or is there a chance you will move the artwork to different places in your house or summer house?

  • Longevity: How long are you thinking of displaying this artwork? Would you like to pass it down to your children or are you looking to change out your pieces as the seasons rotate?

  • Artwork Weight: How sturdy are your walls and how secure is your artwork mounting? Some acrylics and frames can be heavy (especially the larger pieces). If applicable, consider purchasing a lighter canvas or photo print for less sturdy walls.

  • Budget: Sometimes people ask me how much $$ they should spend on artwork (in comparison to other items in their monthly budget). This depends on the person, their desired lifestyle, income, etc. I encourage you to spend only what you feel comfortable with. Please note that many small businesses and artists are willing to work with you to find the right price. If you really like a piece, do not hesitate to contact the artist to discuss.

Have questions about investing in a Mary’s Mark piece of artwork? Feel free to reach out to us here and we’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have.

Photographing Oceanscapes in Florida

Florida Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography taken in Florida

I have always found that when you visit or move to a new city or town, it becomes a piece of who you are. You tend to look at things differently and certain foods or scents can flood your brain with beautiful memories of the people you meet along the way.

My husband and I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida for about 2.5 incredible years! One of our favorite parts of this area was the natural beauty that seemed to be surrounding us at all times. From the pretty parks to the incredible fishing piers and the wonderful wildlife that called this place home - we loved every piece.

Now whenever we visit, each sunset reminds me of how incredible Florida is. Here are a few photographs of the Florida sunset that I captured on my last trip through Florida.

What Florida photographs have you captured lately? Feel free to share them here in the comment section or send me your @Instagram handle. I’d love to check out your work!

Ocean Landscape Photography

Beautiful Ocean Sunset

Beautiful Ocean Sunset

Ocean Photography Taken in Florida

Ocean blanket greeting the beach with a fishing pier in the background

Ocean blanket greeting the beach with a fishing pier in the background

Sea Turtle Photography at the Ocean

Sea turtle heading to the ocean

Sea turtle heading to the ocean


Ocean Landscape Photography Equipment

To capture these photographs, I used my ‘go to’ camera equipment. If you are interested in learning more about what I take along with me in my camera bag, check this section of my website out. However, if you are interested in just the camera and camera lens that I used to capture these images, here is the camera body, lens :

 

Photographing Southeast Alaska: Wildlife, Glaciers and Landscapes

Orca Whale Nature Photography

Photographing Orca Whales and Alaska Landscapes

Orca Photograph taken in Southeast Alaska

Orca Photograph taken in Southeast Alaska

Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to travel through Southeast Alaska and set eyes on beautiful vistas! The air always has a refreshing crisp to it and the scenery is grand and powerful. It’s one place in the world that feels raw and untouched. If you’ve ever cruised through Alaska or have had the opportunity to travel there, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, hopefully my photographs below will help show you what I mean.

One thing that I love about Alaska is that it is ever-changing. The environment changes rapidly under the extended summer sun and the wildlife is constantly moving. It’s exciting to see a whale fluke, an eagle in a tree or a bear scrambling up a stream for a salmon. However, as a photographer, it can also be extremely challenging.

Often times, you get one shot (no pun intended). As fast as you see a whale fluke breech the water line, it disappears below the surface. A seal that was once laying on a chunk of ice is now just a tiny head bobbing above the water. A beautiful mountain range disappears under a thick cloud of fog. For all of these reasons and more, Alaska can be a tough place to photograph but if you are up for the challenge, you will have an adventure of a lifetime.

Interested in recommendations of where to photograph during your Alaskan vacation? Send me a message here and I’ll send you a few tips and locations! Happy photographing!

Humpback Whale Nature Photography

 
Whale Fluke, Alaska

Whale Fluke, Alaska

 

Southeast Alaska Nature and Wildlife Photography

Mature Bald Eagle sitting in a tree

Mature Bald Eagle sitting in a tree

Orca breeching in Alaska

Orca breeching in Alaska

Crab Pot Buoy

Crab Pot Buoy

Alaska Forest & Fog

Alaska Forest & Fog

Juneau Alaska Landscape Photography

Snow capped Mountains in Alaska

Snow capped Mountains in Alaska

Glacier Photography

Glacier

Glacier

Alaska Landscape Photography Equipment

In addition to the normal camera gear I tow along with me on each trip, I decided to take two weatherproofing items to Alaska. It rained almost everyday when I was there so I’m extremely happy that I had these two items. One item was for my camera and the second item was for my backpack (I didn’t want the rest of my gear getting wet while I was hiking around). Below are the two lifesaving pieces I had with me:

 

Traversing Through Central Park in New York City

Landscape Photographs of Central Park

Central Park Landscape Photographs During Fall

There’s so much to photograph in New York City! During my latest trip, I traversed through Central Park photographing the autumn colors and the park’s beauty. Below are a 3 of my favorites from the beautiful oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Bethesda Terrace, Central Park   After walking from Manhattan to Central Park, I continued towards The Lake crossing under the Bethesda Terrace. I love how the sun lit up the beautiful tile artwork.

Bethesda Terrace, Central Park

After walking from Manhattan to Central Park, I continued towards The Lake crossing under the Bethesda Terrace. I love how the sun lit up the beautiful tile artwork.

Central Park, New York City   The Park’s Autumn colors were illuminated by the late afternoon sun. This tree begged to be noticed with it’s incredible warm hues of yellows and oranges acting as a gateway to the entrance of the walking path.

Central Park, New York City

The Park’s Autumn colors were illuminated by the late afternoon sun. This tree begged to be noticed with it’s incredible warm hues of yellows and oranges acting as a gateway to the entrance of the walking path.

Central Park, New York City   The green ivy gives the old architecture a contrasting texture.

Central Park, New York City

The green ivy gives the old architecture a contrasting texture.

Capturing Beautiful Lighthouses in Maine

Photographing Maine Lighthouses

I traveled up the coastline of Maine starting in Portland and ending in Acadia National Park in an effort to capture the ‘Essence of Autumn’. I’ve been intrigued by Maine’s lighthouses and the natural beauty of the rugged coastline for awhile. Add in the beautiful colors that Fall brings and I could not have imagined more stunning scenery.

Portland, Maine   I arrived in Portland during a ‘Nor-Easter’ which included high winds, ferocious waves, and a lot of rain. Mother Nature’s intense backdrop provided a unique photography opportunity to capture the lighthouse.

Portland, Maine

I arrived in Portland during a ‘Nor-Easter’ which included high winds, ferocious waves, and a lot of rain. Mother Nature’s intense backdrop provided a unique photography opportunity to capture the lighthouse.

Portland, Maine   The following morning, the sun greeted us for about 3 seconds. Just enough time to capture the light peaking through the clouds. Temperatures were frigid but at least the rain held off.

Portland, Maine

The following morning, the sun greeted us for about 3 seconds. Just enough time to capture the light peaking through the clouds. Temperatures were frigid but at least the rain held off.

Rockland, Maine   I continued up the coastline of Maine and stopped in Rockland. Right before sunrise, I scrambled over the ocean rocks to catch the lighthouse’s reflection. The crashing of the nearby waves kept me on my toes the entire time I was shooting.

Rockland, Maine

I continued up the coastline of Maine and stopped in Rockland. Right before sunrise, I scrambled over the ocean rocks to catch the lighthouse’s reflection. The crashing of the nearby waves kept me on my toes the entire time I was shooting.

Acadia National Park, Maine   What this photograph does not capture are the jagged rocks and boulders between the end of the footpath and where I took this photograph. It was quite the adventure getting to this location but I think capturing this angle of the lighthouse was well worth it.

Acadia National Park, Maine

What this photograph does not capture are the jagged rocks and boulders between the end of the footpath and where I took this photograph. It was quite the adventure getting to this location but I think capturing this angle of the lighthouse was well worth it.

A Few More…

Here are a few more photographs from trekking along the coast of Maine. There’s so much to see and do - it’s a location worth a thousand visits!