Blog

How to have National Parks to Yourself

How to have National Parks to Yourself

It’s summer and all across America, people are heading to our National Parks. Marketing efforts to get people out to the parks, an increase in demand for experiences over things, and perhaps a desire for picturesque Instagram photos, among other factors, has driven record crowds at Parks across the country.

In fact, the past three years (2016-18) have been the busiest three on record, though 2018 was back down a little. My “home” park, Rocky Mountain National Park, is the third busiest in the system with visitation approaching 5 million.

(As a quick aside, I’m not complaining about the crowds. I’m glad people are out visiting our parks, because if people are having great experiences in our parks, then hopefully they’ll be supporters/defenders/stewards of them in the future.)

With so many people, how do you work around them, either for photography or just your own solitude?

Here are the top ways I commonly navigate (away from) the crowds:

1. Go early. While each park can be different, most visitors typically aren’t out at sunrise. During the peak season, I will still see some people, but seeing or passing a handful of visitors is a lot better than the dozens or more just a few hours later.

Sprague Lake at sunrise, nearly to myself
A long weekend in Havana, Cuba

A long weekend in Havana, Cuba

A couple of years ago it was “go before it changes too much” and now it’s “go before you cannot (easily) go” given the recent political developments. Still, neither was a greatly motivating factor for us to go. Instead, a couple of friends and myself were interested in a weekend trip together, Cuba was on all of our radars, and it worked well for all of us to get there from different cities. Check, check, and check.

Photos at Hunter Bay Coffee – Arvada through March

Photos at Hunter Bay Coffee – Arvada through March

Now through the end of the month (March), my photos are on display at Hunter Bay Coffee in Arvada (conveniently for me since it is also my local coffee hangout).

No Tripod? No Problem

No Tripod? No Problem

If you’re a landscape photographer, a tripod is probably one of the pieces of equipment you most consistently carry into the field. When a new landscape photographer is looking to expand their toolkit, a tripod, even an entry level model, is always at or near the top of the list. Effectively using a tripod can allow you to:

Thanksgiving in Panama

Thanksgiving in Panama

Years ago while in the southern part of Costa Rica, I could peer into Panama. Well, at least the tops of some distant hills, but it was enough to get me thinking about a trip there. Fast forward to a year ago, a friend and I were sitting in my living room on New Years Day and I was looking around online at various trip ideas using airline miles and I stumbled upon not one but two discount business class tickets using points, direct from Denver to Panama City. Without a whole lot of additional thought, I bought both and we set out to plan a week there.