Northern lights in Iceland

Northern lights in Iceland – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This photo was taken on a trip to Iceland in March, the season of the Northern Lights (Sept to Apr). I learned many things while practicing my night photography on this spectacular display.

Firstly, the lights themselves look brighter in a photo than in real life. This is because to take a night photo you will use a long exposure, so the photo is a collective of multiple seconds of light put together.

Due to the long exposure of a night photo there is plenty of time to accumulate blurry movement into your photo. Essentially a tripod is your best friend so that your camera is as still as can be. Not wanting to travel with a tripod, I found a table to rest my camera on.

The lights are in the North. This may seem obvious enough to most people, but the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. So when you see stunning photos of Northern Lights over a mountain or lake, that landscape must also be to the North of you.

They aren’t around every night or all night and to see them best, the sky needs to be mostly clear of clouds. This mysterious light display comes and goes at will, popping up and disappearing whenever it chooses. They are higher than the clouds, so clouds will obstruct your view of them. This means that to take the ultimate Northern Lights pic you needs a bunch of patience to sit up all night and watch the sky in a freezing cold environment.

Conveniently we stayed in a hotel which gives you a wake-up call when the night security person sees the lights appear. Great for us to get some sleep, but this means that the landscape you are photographing the lights in wont be as impressive as camping on the south aspect of a gorgeous mountain or lake.

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The colorful landscape of Zion

The colorful landscape of Zion – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Another epic landscape photo showing the colorful landscape of Zion National Park in Utah. Down below you can see the road that travels in the valley between these giant rocky mountains, which are perfect for hikers to get a scenic view of the area. It was very strange to me to be seeing a landscape that looks like a dessert, but at the same time, also a place where snow was falling. The wonders of mother nature at their best.

Horseshoe Bend – An iconic scene from Arizona

Horseshoe Bend in Arizona – Photograph by Laura Lecce

A sharp U-turn of the Colorado River has created this famous rock formation named Horseshoe Bend. So famous, that even I woke up BEFORE sunrise to get there (I almost never do that!) so that I could watch the colors of the landscape change as the morning sun washes over it. As amazing as it was, I would love to go at sunset so that the setting sun could appear in my photograph. It is true what they say – that sunrise and sunset are a photographers dream. It helps to have incredible scenery to capture, with all of its own rich colors, and the landscapes of Arizona are as rich with color as they come.

Tetons with a touch of pink

Tetons in pink – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I always find it amazing how much the sky can transform a photograph. Although there is no guesses as to why sunrise and sunset are a photographers dream. It is at these times that the sky paints with the richest of colors. The ocean, lakes and ponds will also mirror the artwork in the sky to transform the landscape before your eyes. Depending on the cloud pattern in the sky, no day and no artwork will ever be the same, and just like this world they are truly one of kind.

For other images of the Teton Range and Grand Teton Nation Park click here.

Beauty in death

Beauty in Death – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Yellowstone National Park is full of breathtaking scenery. You can drive from wildflower covered hills and grass covered valleys, to snow-scattered mountains such as the ones in this photo. I had to be prepared for significant changes in temperature along this trip, ready for just about anything. I often find myself pointing my camera at a dead tree as the focal point of my photo. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a naked tree, the branches reaching out and forming interesting shapes. No longer a living part of this world but a significant aspect of the current landscape in which it once lived.

Acadia in color

Acadia in color – Photograph by Laura Lecce 

I certainly didn’t grow up with Autumn colors like this in Sydney, which is why I am in such awe when I get the chance to see them now. Acadia National Park was the perfect destination for a weekend getaway to see peak foliage colors painted across the most stunning scenery. This glorious day was the ideal combination of warm golden sun and chilly air – the best hiking weather. Climbing the steep Beehive Trail to the top of this small mountain provided an incredible vantage point with which to admire Mother Nature’s artwork. As a person who lives for color, even I could not have imagined that this many brilliant and intense colors could exist in a single landscape. Just incredible!

Friday Flower – Balsamroot with a backdrop of Tetons

Wildflowers with the Tetons – Photograph By Laura Lecce

These beautiful, bright and sunny wildflowers are known commonly as balsamroot, or scientifically called Balsamorhiza. They are a member of the sunflower family and make a stunning foreground for a photo of the Teton mountain range. They are a golden flag for the Spring season and provide food for many grass and plant eating animals such as deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. There were many grassy valleys and hillsides inundated with large tufts of golden flowers, and they appear in so many of my wildlife photos. They wildflowers really brightened up my trip and I hope they brighten up your weekend, have a great one everyone!