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Inspirational Trips for Photography Students

By Laura Blake

Posted: 14th July 2014 14:58

North America is a place primarily known for its vast cultural diversity, history, and powerful landscapes and landmarks.  Whilst there are an abundance of popular landscapes and landmarks relatively more visited than others, the richness of so many countries throughout North America makes it a place just waiting to be explored and captured.

Monument Valley - USA

Treading the line between Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley remains one of the most definitive and enduring images of southwest America.  Though very much isolated, the continual vastness of this world-famous red rock butte and surrounding sandy plains makes for an exceptional photo opportunity.  While the stretch approaching the border is generally considered the most iconic of the entire valley (if not the whole southwest itself), Monument Valley offers copious prolific snapshot prospects throughout its complete magnificence.

Despite the fact it has been incessantly photographed and featured a thousand times over in movies, the sense of familiarity is neither here nor there.  Whether the signature rock formations of Monument Valley are recognisable to you or not, its depiction onscreen or in pictures doesn’t quite compare to the reality of it.  The natural colours set it far apart from anything you had ever envisioned of such space, and the more time spent wandering its greatness, the more you see and experience of its countless crevices and brilliance.

Montego Bay - Jamaica

As Jamaica’s second largest and most visited city, this once dispersed area of Arawak Indian villages is now concealed by an immensity of wealth and tourism.  Swarmed by high-rise hotels and restaurants, the assumed unattractive coastal landscape surprisingly doesn’t affect the beauty of the bay.

Complacently nestled amid the gently sloping Bogue, Kempshot and Salem Hills, Montego Bay – also known amongst locals as MoBay – is a remarkably relaxed haven.  It’s a grand location if you’re looking to capture a rich but, raw paradise, and while it may be spit by definitively residential spots and luxuriously rich and commercially cheesy tourist areas, MoBay is a great place to capture all three encompassing elements of one intriguingly diverse area.

Though the bay may have become a major attraction for the somewhat wealthier crowd, it has in turn meant that the rich and famous are wonderfully gracing the bay’s hill tops with villas that now overlook the fabulously golden sands and the perfectly clear sea view, ideal for an all encompassed MoBay snapshot.  The contrast between authentic rural living and contemporary tourist hotspot marks a distinctly divided area, making for an exceptionally telling-picture of two worlds in one place.Yucatán Peninsula Mayan Ruins - Mexico

Notorious for its endless offering of rich and mysterious history, Yucatán Peninsula presents a fantastic opportunity to follow in the footsteps of many Mayan Priests, courageous Spanish conquistadors, and 19th Century adventurers in a quest to climb what beauty remains of ancient Mayan cities.

While Mexico’s ancient civilisation dates back to somewhere around 1000BC, the remains of its southeast Maya civilisation is still very much a part of many Maya cities.         While scattered right across southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, the Mayan ruins of the Yucatán Peninsula range from elaborate ancient cities to impressively towering pyramids.  Though the Chichén Itzá is undoubtedly the most famous of all Maya ruins, the Maya people weren’t shy to eclipse their brilliantly vast architectural skills.  Not only does this trip make for an educational journey that signifies a deeper understanding of Mexican history, but it is one of the greatest, and most recognisable for being a definitively awe-inspiring photo opportunity of so many years of history.

Willmore Wilderness Park - Canada

One of the last untouched and unexploited ranges of wildlife in Canada’s Alberta Province, the remote Willmore Wilderness is a relatively unknown but, nevertheless, just as much spectacularly competitive to its neighbouring national parks.

This 4600km² of wilderness is essentially the most authentic, original area unaffected by public roads, bridges or buildings.  The preservation of history, traditions, and culture within the area only enhances the beauty and uniqueness of such an underrated location.  From pristine mountainous areas with rugged forest and alpine expanses, a backpack hike amid the Canadian Rockies presents an array of outstanding photography opportunities.  Aside from glorious landscapes and appraisable crystal-clear rivers and streams, the assortment of wildlife available to capture ranges from mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer and moose, wolves and coyotes, cougars, lynx, and black bear grizzlies.  The capsizing colour of the abundance of wildflowers is just as breathtaking as the spectacular mountain top views or up close and personal treks alongside the magnificent wildlife.

Havana - Cuba

Whilst it sees millions of tourists annually – most of whom would rather seek out exceptional but ordinary sights like the Bellas Artes – it’s the Old and Central streets of Havana that capture a much more authentic portrayal of Cuban street life.

Nestled within every nook and crevice of Havana’s streets, you’re offered a fabulous opportunity to look into and capture the ultimate ‘street life’.  Despite its wickedly rundown and crumbling exterior of architectural magnificence, the streets are a place where you’ll undoubtedly find a colourful, energetic and vibrant energy running right throughout it.  It’s a place that solemnly or not declares to attain any and every Cuban cliché from classically vintage American cars of all colours and conditions, the old gent out-front on his door step smoking a cigar, or the sound of salsa from the closest bar.  

Everyday life is primarily and most gloriously fixated on socialising, enjoying and embracing those around you, whether that means capturing the smiles of a group of children or the fiercely-friendly competition amongst domino players, Havana is a grand photographic occasion for real street photography.

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