8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020

Want to explore the road less traveled? Shoot off the beaten path with these eight far-flung destinations beloved by pro photographers.

From “nomadic travel” the resurgence of the RV, 2020 is set to redefine the way we travel. These days, we crave the road less traveled, and more tourists are opting to see the world at a slower pace—often using less conventional means. As more places around the world adapt to crowds of tourists, a few remote (and culturally unique) regions of the world beckon us with promises of adventure and wonderment.

We asked eight photographers from around the world about some of the most spellbinding locations they’ve visited in recent years. While some of them offer a unique perspective on popular destinations, others take us to those rare corners of the world where few feet have trod. Read on for their behind-the-scenes stories and their best tips for taking pictures that capture the imagination and inspire awe.

Sossusvlei, Namibia

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Sossusvlei, Nambia

Image by Radek Borovka. Gear: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II camera, Canon EF 100-400/4,5-5,6Lens. Settings: Focal length 400mm; exposure 1/500 sec; f8; ISO 200.

What’s the story behind this photo?

The Sossusvlei salt pan in the Namib desert is an iconic destination. No matter how many times I visit this place, it’s always exhilarating. This time, I encountered a group of oryxes, set against the backdrop of some of the world’s tallest and oldest dunes.

The whole scene was further enhanced by the warm evening light, turning the dunes a deep orange. The peculiar calm of the desert in this moment will stay with me for my whole life.

I’ve found that no two experiences in this desert are ever the same. For example, during my next visits, Sossusvlei was filled with dense fog each morning. It was an exceptional atmosphere that made the place I remembered from these sun-drenched photos seem unrecognizable.

Pro Tip

I try not to feed into mass tourism. Sometimes, I’ll pick up my map and look for empty spots where it seems like there’s nothing extraordinary. That’s how I find hidden gems.

When I return to my favorite places, I don’t travel with a group. I might bring only my best friends but no one else. These landscapes are precious and must be treated with care. Unfortunately, it seems like too many people forget that these days.

When spending time in nature, too much technology can be harmful. Limit the electronics and gear you bring with you. Packing only the bare minimum gives you the chance to absorb the atmosphere of the location without a flood of distractions.

Website

Laguna Brava, Argentina

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Laguna Brava, Argentina

Image by Martin Schneiter (reisegraf.ch) . Gear: Fujifilm X-T20 camera, Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. Settings: Focal length 25,4mm (38mm on 35mm equivalent); exposure 1/230 sec; f16; ISO 200.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I’ve been traveling with my old Volkswagen van for the last six years. This journey has given me the chance to spend many days and nights at solitary, wild campsites. I get to enjoy the atmosphere of quiet late nights and early mornings in places that would otherwise be hard to reach.

When I arrived at Laguna Brava in the Andean highlands of Argentina, this Andean fox asked me for food and a portrait. Such encounters in vast and empty landscapes are my inspiration and my motivation.

Pro Tip

When I travel and take pictures, I let myself drift from one place to the next, without a fixed route. I’m looking for lonely areas and extraordinary landscapes that touch my soul. Let your mind wander, and give yourself the freedom to explore. I live by the motto, “It’s not what you see, but how you see it.” Find new perspectives and different compositions.

Website| Instagram

Gorongosa National Park, Mozambiquea

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Gorongosa National Park, Mozambiquea

Image by Nicolas De Corte . Gear: Canon 450D camera, Canon 18 -135 lens. Settings: Unknown.

What’s the story behind this photo?

Mozambique suffered a long civil war, and for years, the landscape of Gorongosa National Park was a battlefield. The park is currently reintroducing animals back into their habitats and making headlines for their conservation efforts, but the war decimated wildlife populations.

When I was at the park, there were few other tourists, mostly because there are fewer animals than there are in neighboring South Africa. At sunset, we discovered this amazing view, and we could enjoy it without the presence of too many others. Even though we didn’t encounter any of the “Big Five” animals on that trip, it’s still one of the most beautiful national parks I’ve ever visited.

Pro Tip

Taking great photos takes time. I don’t like to use the word “planning” because some of the best photos happen when you’re at the right place at the right time. But it takes time to get to know a place before you’re ready to get the right moment.

Website

Khasab, Oman

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Khasab, Oman

Image by Arnaud Fasnacht . Gear: Canon 70D camera, Tokina AT-X 11-16 lens. Settings: Focal length 11mm; exposure 1/500 sec; ISO 100.

What’s the story behind this photo?

This was my first day in Oman. After spending a couple of days in Dubai, I was happy to have left that city environment and discover the amazing nature this country had to offer.

I dropped my luggage at the hotel right away, and I found a driver who was willing to show me around the region of Khasab. I told him I wanted to visit a place where I could photograph the mountains and the ocean. This is where he took me. When we arrived, I was awed by the landscape and the silence. The light was perfect, so I took this shot.

Pro Tip

I spend a lot of time in tourist destinations, where it seems everybody else has already taken photos. In those places, I usually try to escape the crowd and go in a direction that’s different from the other tourists. Often, an unexpected result is worth the small detour.

Instagram | Website

The Callanish Stones, the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — The Callanish Stones, the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Image by Helen Hotson . Gear: Nikon D800 camera, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens. Settings: Focal length 18mm; exposure 1/4 sec; f11; ISO 100.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I took this photo at the Callanish Stones, a 5,000-year-old stone circle on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I had seen pictures of the stones when I was younger and had always wanted to travel there, but it was too far away and remote.

I finally hatched a plan to travel there in a campervan and ended up spending three months touring the islands in the winter. I spent a lot of time camping out in adverse weather, as high winds buffeted and rocked the van. In fact, I was often convinced it would topple over.

I spent days waiting for the right light and calm weather, hoping to get a decent shot. Eventually, my patience paid off, but there was only a window of a few minutes in between heavy rain showers.

Pro Tip

Travel light and only take what you need. I’d rather travel with one good lens than lug several heavy ones around with me. That said, extra batteries and lens cloths are a must.

Website | Facebook

Mù Cang Chải, Vietnam

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Mù Cang Chải, Vietnam

Image by Saravut Whanset . Gear: Nikon D610 camera, Nikon 24-70F2.8 lens. Settings: Focal length 29mm; exposure 1/125 sec; f8; ISO 250.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I’m part of a small group of photographers in and around Thailand, and we go on regular trips to different regions. In September of every year, a harvest takes place in the rice terraces of northern Vietnam, and we try to make the trip. The landscape is beautiful, as is the way of life there.

Pro Tip

Being in the right place isn’t just a matter of luck. It’s also the result of being respectful and getting to know the community you’re photographing. If you establish a friendship with the local people first, you’re more likely to get that perfect picture.

Instagram

Sao Miguel Island, Portugal

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Sao Miguel Island, Portugal

Image by Dov Fuchs . Gear: Nikon D7000 camera, Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens. Settings: Focal length 10mm; exposure 1/125 sec; f9.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I took this photo in October of 2016, during my visit to the island of Sao Miguel, Azores Islands, Portugal. Our guide took us to this unique location. We traveled there by bus, then walked on foot through a muddy trail. Finally, I stood at this vista overlooking two volcanic crater lakes: Laguna Azul and Laguna Verde, Blue Lake and Green Lake.

The view was nothing short of breathtaking and jaw-dropping. I took the picture just shortly after the rain, so the sky was partially cloudy. The air was clear and chilly, and the light was excellent. This final photo is a panorama shot, consisting of eight overlapping images.

Pro Tip

Get help from the local community. They will help you hone in on the best locations.

Website|Portfolio

Moorea, French Polynesia

8 Photo Destinations You Should Add to Your Travel Bucketlist for 2020 — Moorea, French Polynesia

Image by Marco Rubino . Gear: Nikon D5100 camera, Nikkor 18-55mm lens. Settings: Focal length 22mm; exposure 30 sec; f8; ISO 100.

What’s the story behind this photo?

I took this picture during my honeymoon in Moorea, French Polynesia, in 2012. I was simply stunned by the beautiful blue hour over the lagoon andthe reflections over the water. I used only a tripod, a polarizing filter, and a long exposure. It didn’t take much preparation, but this picture is still one of my best-performing images of all time.

Pro Tip

The most important rule I follow during a trip is to never, ever go anywhere without my camera and my tripod. It doesn’t matter if you are just going out for dinner or your back aches after a long day on the streets. You never know when a perfect, unpredictable moment will unfold before your eyes. You don’t want to miss the chance to take that perfect shot.

Website | Instagram

Top image by Helen Hotson.

Want more pro insight on shooting in remote locations? Check these out.

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