Rockport on Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Stay where you find the best photography and the best sunrises and sunsets. Avoid driving back to Boston every night. All the coastal communities around Cape Ann have a generous supply of lodgings and restaurants. You can find a motel in Rockport that is a very short walk from the Motif #1 Lobster Shack. Several motels on Rockport’s Front Beach have rooms with views over the sandy beach.
From Fort Point, drive east along Marine Drive and Long Avenue. Turn left onto Lincoln Blvd. Follow the map to continue along Lincoln Blvd. winding along and paralleling Doyle Drive. Just beyond Funston Avenue on the right, turn left onto Girard Road which merges into Marina Blvd. As soon as Lincoln straightens out, turn right onto Baker Street. Park anywhere along Baker Street to photograph the restored ruins of the Palace of Fine Arts, part of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition.
Just west of the town of Kaunakakai is the Royal Kapuaiwa Coconut Plantation. Signs warn of falling coconuts. They drop from the tops of the tall trees, well over fifty feet overhead. Heed the warnings. Drive west, just past the grove, and turn onto the short street heading down to the beach. Park at the end and walk the safer route along the water’s edge to find your sunrise or sunset locations on the beach, framed in palms.
Lake Crescent, Washington
About a half-hour west of Washington’s Port Angeles on Highway 101 is eight-mile-long Lake Crescent, every bit as beautiful as Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne or northern England’s Lake Windermere. Lake Crescent is 640 feet deep and the bottom is actually below sea level. Steep, thickly-forested mountains rise straight up from the edge of this glacier-carved lake and very little development has spoiled the shoreline.
Klamath Eagles, California
There is a large population of golden eagles in the Klamath Basin year round. The largest concentration of bald eagles in the lower 48 states is found here from December through February. Migrant bald eagles start arriving here in November, mainly from Canada. Some come from as far away as the Northwest Territories by way of Glacier National Park in Montana. Over 500 bald eagles have been counted here in recent winters. Eaglets are born in April and require constant care and feeding. The young eagles begin to fly by mid summer and leave the nest for good by early autumn. The majority of the eagles born here remain in or near the basin year round.
Kitwancool Totem Poles, British Columbia
The British Columbian village of Kitwancool has one of the finest collections of totem poles in the Pacific Northwest. Looking at a map of the area, you’ll see that the town of Prince Rupert sits on the British Columbia Coast at the western end of the Yellowhead Highway also called Highway 16. A hundred miles east of Prince Rupert, a side road crosses the Skeena River and heads north. This is the Cassiar Highway or Highway 37. This road heads north through British Columbia to the Yukon. Ten miles north of the intersection of Highways 16 and 37 lies the village called Kitwancool.This small village has one of the largest collections of ancient and recently-carved totem poles in this area. Kitwancool has about twenty totem poles in a large park on the eastern edge of the village.
The Big Island, Hawaii
Some of the most spectacular cloud formations I have ever seen were photographed from the Volcano Observatory on the west side of the caldera. To find this quality of light, arrive on the crater rim overlooks before sunrise. To do this, spend the night in the Park. It’s a 28-mile-drive up from the town of Hilo. Make hotel reservations well in advance to stay several nights at the Volcano House, located right on the rim of Kilauea Crater. The location is convenient, across the road from the Visitor Center.
Hug Point, Oregon
Five miles south of Cannon Beach is Hug Point State Park where you will find a seasonal waterfall and several sea caves. At the end of a large parking area is a trailhead and a short walk to the beach. At the edge of the sand, look to the right and you’ll see this cave, a hundred yards to the north. Arrive late in the afternoon to catch the best light. To get this effect, my back was against the back wall of the cave and I used a 10 mm wide-angle lens with no filter. I made five raw exposures bracketed in one-stop increments to capture the lighting range, from the dark walls to the highlights in the rain clouds. The tide was coming in and the walk around the point to the waterfall was not possible. You do not want to get stranded by an incoming tide here.The 15-foot cascade dries up in the summer. Hug Point is a good reason to make this trip in mid-winter.
Great Basin, Nevada
One of the best displays of aspen color in Nevada can be found in Great Basin National Park, Nevada’s only National Park is located very close to the Utah Border in the Snake Range. In the center of this park is Wheeler Peak, I try to arrive during the last week of September when all the aspens that grow above 7,000 feet are at the peak of their autumn color. The best aspen groves are near the end of the road. In the woods I found many very tall groves needing a vertical format. Along the park road are long rows of aspen that fill a horizontal frame. Aspens have relatively short lives of about 100 years. Fires and diseases can damage the trunks. Carving your initials into an aspen opens it to future problems.
Grazing at Cody, Wyoming
At the west end of Cody, Wyoming, Highway 291 leaves the North Fork Highway and heads southwest. For a few miles, the road skirts the suburbs of Cody as it climbs up from the river valley. The South Fork Road climbs slowly to a point fifteen miles south of Cody where horses graze meadows rolling down to the river. On the cold winter day I arrived, a small herd of horses was grazing below a backdrop of snowdrifts and a dramatic sky.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.