Travel and photography go hand in hand. You cannot travel without a camera. Many travelers love to capture the timelessness of the moment. Places we go can be shared with the world. The single click will be cherished by us. The travel photographers need to visit the places if they want iconic shots in their gallery.
The city of lost luxury is a must visit for photographers. In the Victorian age, it was compulsory to visit Venice. A person who hasn’t been to Venice hasn’t lived his life. The Beauty of Venice is thought to be cliché. But you should know that no matter how cliché it is always magnificent. The incredible architecture will give you amazing shots.
You can go to Palazzo Ducale. Capture the gothic columns and courtyard. How can you be in Venice and forget about Gondolas? Take a walk along Riva Degli Schiavone. You can shoot the gondolas over moving water in the sunset. For photographers, this shot is a must.
Our geography books can never do justice to the pristine beauty of Antarctica. Photographers will kill for a shot of the snow- capped mountains piercing the clear skies. There is nothing as ancient and untouched as Antarctica.
The cute penguins are ignorant of the scanty visitors here. You can sneak near them to have a close shot. Turquoise icebergs and clear blue waters shine in the sun. That can also be added to your list of photographs. Nature is in its magnificence. Make sure you capture it.
The fact that it has stood on the surface of the earth for five thousand years is amazing. Our ancestors who created Stonehenge were geniuses. They are lost to us, but the Stonehenge still stands. Salisbury Plain holds these stones up. The sun rays dance through the stones.
An iconic shot for a photographer. The Neolithic huts surrounding the Stonehenge can also add up to your historical gallery. The ancient landscape around here is a token of past. Don’t forget to snap a picture of it too.
It is one of the top natural wonders to travel to in the world. All wildlife photographers need to buckle up. Diverse natural plains will meet you. There are around two million animals in the vast area. You need to plan your trip ahead of time, so you don’t miss anything. The lion population here is highest in the world.
You can see the big cats camouflaging behind the grass. They might see you as intruders. But the risk is worth the click. You are not a digital nomad till you have a shot of nomadic people in your collection. Visit a Maasai village near Serengeti and capture their culture in your lenses. You can even have aerial views of the national park on a hot air balloon.
TAJ MAHAL, INDIA
Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. An everlasting symbol of love. Emperor Shah Jahan built it in the remembrance of his wife. A shot of Taj Mahal might be a bit traditional. But it is where beautiful photography starts.
The intricate architecture of Mughal period is fantastic. The image of Taj Mahal reflecting in the pool ahead is a shot every photographer must have. You can think out of the box and click something unique. The minarets will also be gorgeous subjects to capture.
It is an age-old volcanic island. It has tales of centuries to be told. You can land here and see it is the loneliest airport in the world. The place is underrated. Rapa Nui(Easter Island) is a land of a tribe who follow birdman religion. You can capture the huge Moai(stone structures of humans).
At night you can find the shadows looming over you from the sky. It will make a spectacular shot. The ancient carvings can add on and on to your gallery. There is Anakena, which is a beach. You can compose a few pictures here also. The petroglyphs might scare you at first, but you can capture them as mementos. A sunset on the beach photograph at the end of the day will be a cherry on top.
PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
You cannot take pictures inside the pyramids. Recently photographers got crazy and climbed atop the pyramid. Don’t do anything illegal. Just the view of the structures aligned together is enough. The sun shining on the golden sands is breath-taking. You cannot take pictures inside the pyramids. Recently photographers got crazy and climbed atop the pyramid. Don’t do anything illegal.
Just the view of the structures aligned together is enough. The sun shining on the golden sands is breath-taking. You cannot take pictures inside the pyramids. Recently photographers got crazy and climbed atop the pyramid. Don’t do anything illegal. Just the view of the structures aligned together is enough. The sun shining on the golden sands is breath-taking.
Your lenses will snap the ancient dunes. The Triangular shape from far seems to be prominent. The sphinx was buried under the sands. But now when it is standing in all its mysterious glory. Pyramids are a paragon of design. The view from the air is stunning. If your camera tells your story to make sure to visit these places. And add some iconic shots to your gallery.
It is the only “living thing” on earth visible from space. Yes, corals are a living organism. And, snorkeling and scuba diving cannot get any better than at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 types of hard coral, one-third of the world’s soft corals, 134 species of sharks and rays, 6 of the world’s seven species of threatened marine turtles, and more than 30 species of marine mammals.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Earth’s most important marine environmental system. Due to ecological and environmental changes, the Great Barrier Reef is in high threat of coral bleaching and loss of biodiversity.
Scuba diving in Cairns, Queensland was my first ever underwater water experience. I was very nervous but the first breath underwater is just so amazing.
There are many companies that have great day package for scuba and snorkeling at great barrier reef. I also got my first certificate from PADI.
The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s as well as world’s most remarkable natural gifts with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef and abundance of marine life. An experience of a lifetime and definitely a must add bucket list.
The beautiful corals and biodiversity put me in awe. Some fishes came near and said “hello”. The corals were breathtakingly beautiful. In that moment I could connect so much with the sea, and the underwater life and habitat.
A living clam, corals, colorful fishes and turtles — all nearby, everywhere! I am glad that I did this!
As of 2017, there were less than 300 recorded completers of all 50 state highpoints. There are 10 or so couples who have done it together. If we successfully complete it, we’ll be the first international couple to successfully climb and summit to all 50 state highpoints.
Moreover, Neha, my wife will be the first Nepali-American to do so and I’ll be the first Indian-American to achieve this feat. So, that’s our goal.
This post is part 1 of the overview and the list of highpoints to conquer.
We are dividing the 50 state highpoints based on the geographical regions. This way, we will be able to plan our road trips better (with, little to no flying during most of our trips). We have also covered whether a highpoint is a hike or a climb and it’s difficulty level.
MOUNT DENALI, ALASKA
Mount Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) in Alaska is the highest summit of the United States and North American Continent.
This Alaskan peak, one of the seven summits, is considered one of the steepest and an extremely challenging climb for anyone. Severe weather conditions make this mountain dangerous for all climbers.
Mount Denali is 20,320 feet tall. You start the ascent around 7,500 ft. Most climbers fly in from Talkeetna, a small town almost completely centered around the climbing of Denali. The standard route up the mountain is the West Buttress, and from May until July the route is a crowded series of camps from 7,800 feet until the high camp at just over 17,000 feet.The 14,000 foot camp on Denali is the largest on the mountain. Over 100 tents are typically set up here including the National Park Service.
CLIMBING MOUNT DENALI
Denali involves a high level of preparation: carrying 3 weeks of food, equipment, clothing, and shelter. These sleds can easily weigh in between 40-80 lbs plus the backpack.
We are going to keep our backpack and sleds as light as possible. We believe in“light is right”. To achieve this, we will be packing completely dried food, lightweight tents, sleep with our clothes inside the tent, and high-quality lightweight hardware.
Well, this will cost money but we have to pay the price for the safety and increasing our chances to reach the summit and return safely and successfully.For up to 14,000 feet, Mount Denali requires nothing more than glacier travel.
The real test of our strength would be climbing to 17,000 ft from 14,000 camp and climbing to the summit from the 17,000 ft high camp. High winds and extreme cold can pin down parties between 17,000 ft and the summit for days on end.
The challenges on Mount Denali are numerous, for example, rigging of sleds, the use of crampons and ice ax, the proficiency in a rope rescue system, the use of a mechanical ascender, the unexpected weather conditions, the effects of altitude on the body and brain, and cooperation among the teammates and between the guides and the team.
MT. WHITNEY, CALIFORNIA
Mount Whitney in California is the highest summit of the Sierra Nevada and the contiguous United States. It is 14,505 ft. The most popular route up the high point of California is the 22-mile round trip Whitney Trail. We’ll be doing the hike within a day during the summer month.
MT. ELBERT, COLORADO
The 2nd highest peak in the lower 48 states, Mount Elbert in Colorado is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains.
Its 9.2-mile round trip hike to the summit is an attainable goal for a single day hike. We’ll be hiking Mt. Elbert during the summer months.
MT. RAINIER, WASHINGTON
Mount Rainier in Washington is the highest summit of the Cascade Range and the most prominent summit of the contiguous United States. With collapsing snow bridges, avalanches, route finding problem, and sudden severe weather during peak climbing season, Mt. Rainier is a serious mountain that has deaths, injuries, and rescues each year.
Rainier is a huge mountain with 20 plus routes and sees a large number of climbers each year. It is considered by many to be the best training ground in the lower 48 for Mt. Denali and other larger mountains with glacier travel and steep snow. We’ll be taking the Disappointment Clever Route, a common route.
Winter time conditions (snowy storms and sub-freezing weather) is expected year round. For perspective, In 2010, 10,643 people attempted to climb Mount Rainier and only 4,920 of them actually reached the summit. This is the second hardest climb in the 50 state highpoints.
GANNETT PEAK, WYOMING
Mount Gannett in Wyoming is the highest summit of the Central Rocky Mountains and the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains outside of Colorado. The most remote state high point requires a long (40-50 miles) round-trip hike and climb to reach its summit. The entire trip is beautiful, if not more so than the summit.
The standard route from the Pole Creek Trailhead involves a potential camp at the north end of the glacially carved Titcomb Basin and a snow climb up and over Dinwoody Pass (Bonney Pass) at 13,000 feet before the true summit is climbed up via the Gooseneck Ridge. On the descent, a 1,200-foot climb back up and over Bonney Pass is required.
Along with good conditioning, Gannett typically requires proficient usage of ice-axe, crampons, and a rope. It’s the hardest state high point, probably No. #3 after Denali and Rainier.
MAUNA KEA, HAWAII
Mauna Kea means “white mountain” in Hawaiian. The name white mountain is due to the fact that snow falls on the top of this 33,000 ft giant volcano. From the depths of the ocean floor to the summit, Mt. Kea is 33,000 feet, making Mt. Kea the highest summit in the Pacific Ocean and the tallest mountain on Earth as measured from base to summit.
From sea surface level to the summit, Mt Kea is 13,796 ft tall, making it the 6th tallest peak in the USA. A road leads to the top, and the summit is filled with large, white domed observatories: the largest collection of astronomical telescopes on the planet.
Sunset over four telescopes of the Mauna Kea Observatories. From left to right: the Subaru Telescope, the twin Keck I and II telescopes, and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility.
The Mauna Kea trail starts at the visitor center, climbs 4,576 feet in 6 miles, and provides a good way to the summit. We’ll be using a mountain bike for a portion of the hike to make our time more fun.
KINGS PEAK, UTAH
The 7th highest State High Point is situated in the High Uinta Wilderness Area of north-central Utah. Moose are often seen along the approach and altitude sickness is a common complaint.
The Henry’s Fork approach is the standard route. We’ll be doing this in two days.
WHEELER PEAK, NEW MEXICO
The highest peak in New Mexico lies in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range of New Mexico and Colorado. The most common hiking options include the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail which goes 16 miles round trip and is quite scenic or the Williams Lake Trail which is just 6 miles round trip but less scenic.
Wheeler Peak is a good candidate for a Fall ascent, as the days are often warm and clear with the nights cold.
BOUNDARY PEAK, NEVADA
At the northern end of the White Mountains, lies Boundary Peak, the highest point in Nevada at 13,140 feet. Within this range, which spans Nevada and California, are some higher peaks.
White Mountain is the highest in this range and the third highest in California. Nearby Montgomery Peak (13,441 ft) is taller and craggier than Boundary peak. We plan to do Boundary peak and some of these other peaks in one outing.
The nature of the climb up the Trail Canyon Route is scree with some minor scrambling near the top. Solitude can be easily found here as the general climbing season is long with year-round climbing being possible. Like most other taller peaks, Boundary peak receives snow and frequent high winds.
GRANITE PEAK, MONTANA
Granite peak has the distinction of being the only U.S. State Highpoint that requires climbing the vertical rock to reach the summit.
Granite is known for a little of everything: rock climbing, long hiking, scrambling, snow climbing, route finding, exposed camping, sudden severe thunderstorms, deep August snow, and most often a truly rewarding summit.
Granite is typically done in two days. It involves hiking on a rolling, very rocky plateau, with no defined trail. The best navigational method involves following large, easily sighted cairns, across the terrain. Camp spots are typically in rock built shelters and water sources could be hit and miss. Summit day involves mostly class 2-3 scrambling, crossing a snow bridge and 4th class to easy 5th Class climbing.
BORAH PEAK, IDAHO
Idaho’s tallest peak at 12,662 feet is situated at the northern part of the Lost River Range. The range is host to 7 of the 9 tallest peaks in the state of Idaho. The Lost River Range is known for its large, hulking, non-technical summits. This sparsely populated valley is a paradise for those seeking solitude.
Borah’s Chicken-Out-Ridge Route gains 5,260 feet of elevation in just 3.6 miles. At about 7,200 feet, the route starts out as an old Jeep road, then becomes a faint climber’s trail, then crosses an exposed ridge of rock, followed by a seasonal snow bridge crossing, until the summit is finally reached.
The route is typically done in 6-10 hours, round trip.
HUMPHREYS PEAK, ARIZONA
At 12,633 feet, Humphreys Peak defies the typical Arizona stereotype that the state is mostly a warm desert region.
From the depths of the nearby Grand Canyon to the often snowy and windy summit ridge, this region is one of the most diverse in the nation. The lower west slopes of Humphreys contain some beautiful Aspen groves, while the east side of the peak is in a rain shadow and contains Sunset Crater.
The standard route heads up the Humphreys Peak Trail from the Snow Bowl ski area. Nearby Agassiz Peak appears as the tallest peak from the Flagstaff area.
MOUNT HOOD, OREGON
The sulphuric and steamy vents near the Devils Kitchen is a reminder that Mount Hood is a dormant volcano. Like most of the Cascade Volcanoes, this peak strikes up and away from its surrounding terrain with much prominence.
The mountain is well used, given its proximity to the Willamette Valley, the ski area, and the resort lodge.The popular south side approach starts at Timberline Lodge and climbs Class 2 terrain to the summit. Conditions may vary and crampons, ice ax, and helmet are often times required.
At just 8 miles round-trip and 5,300 feet of vertical gain, this approach provides a straightforward route to the summit. It is best climbed early morning, given the chance of collapsing snow bridges on the glacier and the hazard of rockfall.
Of the 50 high points, probably only 32 of them could be considered actual mountains. Nine of these highpoints are actually hills and another 9 of them are essential flat plateaus with a noticeable gradual slope or no rise at all.
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If you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you have already climbed some of these mountains, please share about your experiences. If you want to climb some of these peaks with us, shoot me a message. We are game.