China

Some of the most dreamlike, fog-filled mountain landscapes in the world are located in central China. These natural scenes are so stunning and unique that they have provided inspiration for painters, poets, and writers for almost two millennia and now serve as a major source of China’s natural landscape identity.

Of particular beauty are three distinct areas: the towering granite spires of Huangshan, the sandstone pillars of Zhangjiajie/Wulingyuan, and the verdant karst peaks of Guilin. Year-round humidity and dense vegetation at these locations frequently produce dramatic fog, adding to the profound mystery and beauty of these scenic places.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Huangshan (Yellow Mountains): Dramatic granite peaks often surrounded by low-laying fog and know for its pine trees, hot springs, and winter snow.

  2. Guilin/Yangshuo: Forested kart mountains numbering in the thousands that envelop towns and villages, dense bamboo forests, and rice fields.

  3. Zhangjiajie/Wulingyuan: Sandstone pillars hundreds of meters high and thick evergreen forests of particular beauty during the winter as a wonderland of white.

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American Southwest/Colorado Plateau

The Colorado Plateau is a huge desert region comprised of sections from four different American states: Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. This area makes up the heart of the American Southwest and is largely made up of high desert, with scattered areas of forests. It contains the the greatest concentration of U.S. National Park units and the most unique landscapes in the entire U.S., including eroded cliffs, badlands, hoodoos, sand dunes, domes, reefs, river narrows, natural bridges, slot canyons, fins, petrified wood, and ancient Native American sites.

This guide is comprised of three separate reports with clickable links below!

  1. Arizona & Nevada - The Grand Canyon, Arizona’s high desert, giant saguaro cacti, and Nevada’s multicolored desert rock landscapes

  2. New Mexico - Surreal badlands, White Sands National Monument, ancient Anasazi dwellings, and the massive caves of Carlsbad Caverns

  3. Utah - Under construction - coming soon!

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Iceland

This guide documents the three types of landscapes that are only found in Iceland, if not very few other places on Earth: mossy lava fields, colorful geothermal mountains, and iceberg beaches. The scenes captured here are unmistakably “Icelandic” and are located outside of areas typically accessed by the majority of tourists.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Landmannalaugar - Multicolored rhyolite mountains in the interior Highlands

  2. Eldhraun - A vast lava field covered in moss

  3. Jökulsárlón and Svínafellsjökull - An iceberg-filled lagoon/beach and accompanying glaciers

  4. Kerlingarfjöll - A mountain range in the interior Highlands surrounded by geothermal activity

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Namibia

The Namib Desert is a land of superlatives. It is the most ancient desert in the world, boasts the tallest sand dunes on our planet, regularly hosts the darkest night skies that radiate the Milky Way, and contains trees found nowhere else on Earth. During my two weeks there, I attempted to capture the rich colors and serene isolation of this incredible desert.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Deadvlei (and Sossusvlei) - A white clay pan filled with hundreds year-old dead trees

  2. Quiver Tree Forest - A forest of Namib-native odd-looking “quiver” trees

  3. Kolmanskop - A ghost town in the Namib with sand-covered houses and facilities

  4. Erindi - A private game reserve with plenty of wild animals in a natural settings

  5. Spitzkoppe - A series of granite peaks in the Namib desert

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Greenland

Greenland, one of the planet's last great wilderness areas. Most of the country is covered by an inhospitable icesheet but the very south, just below the Arctic Circle, is ice-free and home to the most dramatic mountains and fjords anywhere on Earth. This region of the country is hard to get to and took two planes, a helicopter, and two small boats to access.

The following pictures are from a nearly two-week expedition that myself and five other photographers spent undertook exploring incredibly remote and unspoiled fjords, glaciers, icebergs, and granite peaks that rise thousands of feet - areas with no trails or established tourism.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Tasermiut Fjord - A jaw-dropping fjord flanked by enorumous granite mountains

  2. Qooroq Ice Fjord - A fjord of giant icebergs near Narsarsuaq

  3. Itillersuaq Valley & Torssukatak Fjord - An epic two-day hike with views of dozens of peaks

  4. Kangerdluk Fjord - A fjord and valley of granite peaks and icebergs

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Alaska

Like many Americans, I have special respect for our country’s largest and wildest state. It’s a place of superlatives with the enormous mountains and vast tracts of uninhabited wilderness. It’s also a wonderland for landscape photography, particularity those like me who love to capture mountains, glaciers, valleys, icebergs, and rugged coastline. I have traveled to the 49th state on three separate occasions and have only begun to scratch the surface of this huge place.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Mendenhall Glacier & Ice Caves - A large glacier with incredible surface hiking and ice cave exploration

  2. North and South Sawyer Glaciers - Two tidewater glaciers in the Tracy Arm near Juneau

  3. Kenai Fjords National Park - A wild park of glaciers, icefields, and, of course, deep fjords

  4. Prince William Sound & Columbia Glacier - A huge body of water surrounded by mountains and covered in icebergs.

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Vietnam

Spelunking through central Vietnam is one of the world’s great adventures. The country is home to two enormous caves, Hang En and Son Doong - the latter being the largest cave in the world. Fewer people have been in these caves than on top of Mount Everest. The sheer vastness of these spaces are undoubtedly one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders.

The Son Doong Trek is a week-long, 50 kilometers hike through 30 river crossings into the darkness. Descending into the main space, cavers can expect to cross chambers large enough for airplanes to fly through; lush, underground jungles; and rooms with gigantic stalagmites hundreds of feet tall. Many of the following pictures have porters standing in as tiny models in the distance because the sheer size and scale of some of these huge spaces would be incomprehensible otherwise.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Hang En Cave - The third largest cave in the world

  2. Son Doong Cave - The largest cave in the world taking three days to trek though

  3. Paradise Cave - A beautiful show cave and UNESCO's World Heritage Site

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California

Between its deserts, mountains, coast, and ancient forests, California is without question the most scenically-diverse state in the United States and all of North America for that matter.

The Sierra Nevada mountains and Yosemite/Kings Canyon dominate the east, rising above the surreal playas and salt flats of Death Valley. Giant Sequoia trees, the world’s largest, grow at the foothill of these peaks. Further south, the badlands and Joshua trees of the Mojave Desert stretch for miles across the arid land and surround the eerie Salton Sea.

The beautiful jagged coast of Big Sur stretches along the Pacific Ocean overlooking towering seaside cliffs. Traveling north, the ancient Redwood forests grow, which are the tallest, and among the largest and oldest living organisms on Earth. In the far north, the Cascade range’s southern end begins with the beauty of Mount Shasta and the geothermal wonderland that is Lassen Volcanic National Park.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Death Valley and the Mojave Desert - The hottest and lowest place in North America and the distinct beauty of the Joshua tree desert

  2. Redwood National and State Parks - The tallest trees in the world, and among the largest and oldest living organisms on Earth

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Cascadia

The Cascadia Bioregion is also referred to as the Pacific Northwest Bioregion is the land of old-growth forest superlatives. The enormous, ancient trees that live here are among the tallest, widest, oldest, and most massive in the world with individual lifespans reaching 500 to 2,000 years. Cascadia’s forests have more than twice the volume of biomass per unit of area as the world’s tropical rainforests and support huge varieties of mosses, lichens, ferns, and shrubs in addition to countless mammals, birds, and insects. Generally, the following reports highlights the five giant tree species of the region: coastal redwood, western red cedar, Douglas fir, Sikta spruce, and western hemlock trees.

This guide focuses on six specific forested regions within Cascadia with the largest and oldest trees, each with their own report (clickable links below)!

  1. The Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park

  2. Vancouver Island

  3. Southwest British Columbia and Lower Mainland

  4. Washington State’s Cascade Range forests

  5. California’s Redwood National and State Parks

  6. Western Oregon and Oregon’s Cascade Range forests

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Norway

Norway’s epic landscapes can be divided into two main areas: the western fjords and the northern Lofoten Islands. Few places on Earth feature fjords as diverse and coastline as dramatic and mountainous as those in Norway.

Norway is both cursed and blessed with constant rain, storm clouds, and unpredictable weather, which one must trek through to photograph the country in its rawest beauty. Like the rest of greater Scandinavia, some of the best light is found in mid-summer during the 20-hour daylight of the midnight sun. The combination of tumultuous weather and neverending light only enhances the sheer beauty of the absolutely enormous landscapes found in this country - landscapes that, in my opinion, rival those of Alaska and Patagonia.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Geirangerfjord - Perhaps Norway’s most scenic fjord and surrounding peaks

  2. Lofoten Islands - An archipelago of peaks and pristine beaches north of the Arctic Circle

  3. Trollveggen & Romsdalen Valley - An area of immense vertical peaks and beautiful hikes

  4. Central Norway Fjords - The heart of fjord Norway, including lakes and waterfalls

  5. Lysefjord and the south - An awesome series of fjords with some of Norway’s best hikes

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Yukon

Like Alaska, Yukon is a northern wilderness of endless mountain ranges, forests, and icefields. Because of its sparse population, the Territory very much defines the words “wild,” “remote,” and “unspoiled.” Around the Whitehorse southern Yukon area, evergreen trees grow abundantly but as you travel north, the shorter and colder growing season only allows treeless tundra to thrive.

The Canadian territory is a photographic paradise of vast uninhabited expanses, huge towering mountains, colorful foliage, and unrelenting weather. Rain is often likely but the weather regularly produces some of the most incredibly dramatic and menacing clouds - especially during the golden hours.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Fish Lake/Southern Yukon Highway - Endless boreal forests punctuated by tall, distant peaks

  2. Dawson and Western Yukon - Bordering Alaska, an area of unspoiled beauty and expansive views

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Peru

Southern Peru is undoubtedly one of the most scenically diverse regions in the world and boasts some jaw-dropping natural scenery. In order to tour it properly, one most spend more than a couple weeks exploring the country and avoid simply focusing on the (admittedly beautiful) allure of Machu Picchu. The following trip report focuses on the four distinct landscapes found in Peru: mountains, alpine regions, rainforests, and desert.

From the Cusco area, our group: trekked the beginning of the beautiful Salkantay Trek and witnessed the day’s wispy clouds light up Salkantay during sunset, explored the ruins of Machu Picchu after a brief clearing storm, climbed 17,000 feet to the shores of Laguna Sibinacocha deep in the Andes, and rode a rustic boat down the Amazon River through protected areas with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Around Nazca and the arid Peruvian coast, our group hiked and camped on Cerro Blano, the most elevated sand dune in the world, and explored Huacachina, the “desert oasis” of Ica and its bright red dunes.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Salkantay Trek & Machu Picchu - An epic mountain hike passing through one of southern Peru’s largest mountains and ending at Machu Picchu

  2. Cerro Blanco & Huacachina - the tallest sand dune in the world and Ica’s “desert oasis”

  3. Laguna Sibinacocha & the Quelccaya Ice Cap - A huge alpine lake and glaciated region located at 17,000 feet above sea level

  4. Manu National Park - Recognized as one of the world's most bio-diverse jungles

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Atacama Desert & Altiplano (Chile/Bolivia)

The Atacama is the driest desert in the world, as well as the only true desert to receive less precipitation than the polar deserts. In fact, some areas have not have received rain in recorded history. The volcanoes, rocks, and plants found in the desert are shaped by these extreme conditions.

The Altiplano, mainly located in Bolivia, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet. However, unlike Tibet, the Altiplano is dominated by massive active volcanoes. Both regions are extremely colorful and photogenic. In fact, besides the Colorado Plateau in the U.S., I have never seen a land so rich in color and contrasts.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Los Flamencos National Reserve - The Atacama’s centerpiece park with surreal rock formations, desert plants, and multicolored lakes

  2. Salar de Atacama - Chile’s largest salt flat, surrounded by mountains

  3. Atacama-Altiplano Border - Where giant volcanoes meet geothermal hot springs

  4. Bolivian Altiplano - A dreamlike place of rolling mountains, colorful lakes, bizarre flora, and serene isolation

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Patagonia (Argentina/Chile)

Patagonia - no other place in Latin America is more infamous for ruggedness, vast landscapes, and untamed beauty.

Argentinian Patagonia is for the most part a region of steppe-like plains, rising in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces about 100 meters (330 feet) at a time, and covered with an enormous bed of shingle almost bare of vegetation. In the hollows of the plains are ponds or lakes of fresh and brackish water. This is the land of South America’s cowboy - the gaucho.

In Chilean Patagonia, animal life becomes more abundant and vegetation more luxuriant, consisting principally of southern beech and conifers. The high rainfall against the western Andes and the low sea surface temperatures offshore give rise to cold and humid air masses, contributing to the icefields and glaciers, the largest icefields in the Southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. Where the two “Patagonias” meet at the international border, is where the parks featured here are located.

The regions highlighted include:

  1. Los Glaciares National Park - Best know for its many glaciers and the mighty Monte Fitz Roy

  2. Torres del Paine National Park - Soaring mountains, glaciers, and golden pampas (grasslands)

  3. Lake District, Chile - The land of huge volcanoes and ancient trees

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