Top Ten Places to Take Great Outdoor Photos!

The National Park Foundation and CASIO encourage amateur photographers to capture the Fall beauty of America’s National Parks and Recreation Lands

WASHINGTON (September 6, 2006) – As the summer travel season winds down, outdoors experts remind people that the Fall is also a great time to visit America’s public lands. The crowds are fewer, the weather is pleasant and the parks are just as lovely!

With Americans beginning to plan their Fall trips, the National Park Foundation (NPF) today released its 2006 “Top Ten Public Lands Photo Tips” – a list of 10 unique Fall photography experiences that you can only find in America’s parks and public recreation lands. This list was developed by experts from NPF and CASIO to serve as a travel and how-to guide for shutterbugs to share the experience of visiting national public lands.

“More than 100 years ago, private citizens were so moved by the natural gifts of our continent that they urged Congress to set aside the first National Park land for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations,” said Jessica Murphey, Vice President Development for the National Park Foundation. “Today we witness the same thing–millions of Americans visiting the Parks with camera in hand hoping to personally capture the vibrant wildlife, historic monuments and magnificent scenery to share with future generations of friends and family.”

The “Top Ten Public Lands Photo Tips” range from capturing the historical magic of Boston’s Freedom Trail to watching whales migrate down the shore in Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. These tips invite amateur photographers to examine some of the hidden gems that get overlooked within the nation’s diverse public lands system.

This year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation teamed with CASIO for the official “Share the Experience” photo contest. Amateur photographers are encouraged to enter their favorite photos taken in America’s national parks and public lands. Winners are eligible for a variety of prizes, including CASIO Exilim Zoom Cameras, a Ford Escape Hybrid and vacations to federal recreation areas. The “Share the Experience” photo contest benefits America’s Federal Recreational Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

”CASIO is proud to be part of this contest and encourages everyone to head out to National Lands this fall to take pictures,” said Bill Heuer, Senior Vice President of CASIO’s Digital Imaging Division. “Using our best shot modes and helpful tips will make the pictures come out as if they were taken by the most skilled photographer. This will make your visit even better and the experience and memories that much more enjoyable.”


1. Unique Shot of the Nation’s Capital

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

From 1877 to 1895, this was the home of Frederick Douglass, the Nation’s leading 19th-century African American spokesman. Visitors to the site will learn about Douglass’ efforts to abolish slavery and his struggle for Human Rights, Equal Rights and Civil Rights for all oppressed people.

Park rangers lead daily tours of the Douglass home grounds, relaying stories about the last 18 years of Mr. Douglass’ life when he lived there. However, a visit to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site is as scenic as it is a historic. Overlooking the U.S. Capitol building with panoramic views of the city, The Frederick Douglass House is an ideal setting for photo enthusiasts.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: The Frederick Douglass House is to the East of the Capitol building and National Mall, meaning the most illustrative lighting is in the morning; the most dramatic at sunset.

2. Inspiring Waterfall

Beaver Chief Falls, Glacier National Park

To the Native peoples the area around Beaver Chief was known as the ‘Shining Mountains’ or ‘Backbone of the World.’ Today, these falls are part of Glacier National Park, one of the crown jewels in America’s National public lands.

Beaver Chief Falls is a 1,291 foot tiered waterfall made up of three smaller waterfalls. The longest single drop falls an impressive 517 feet. Beaver Chief flows year round.

From a photographer’s eye, the lighting of Beaver Chief Falls is a dream come true. The sun sparkles off the cascading water, as if someone were emptying a handful of diamonds into the lake below.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: Shooting waterfalls is tricky. Fast shutter speeds capture the water, but lose depth of field. Compensate by adjusting the aperture.

3. Great Fall Foliage

George Washington & Jefferson National Forest

The Eastern U.S. has always been famous for its autumn foliage and George Washington & Jefferson National Forest does not disappoint.

Comprised of nearly 1.8 million acres of land in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, George Washington & Jefferson National Forest represents one of the largest blocks of public land in the eastern United States.

George Washington & Jefferson National Forest is made up of has approximately 2,000 miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore its woodlands, mountains, rock formations, and streams. The most famous of these trails is the world-renown Appalachian National Scenic Trail which extends over 330 miles of the winding forest.

Each autumn, as the seasons change, the forest transforms into a bold tapestry of color that only a poet could describe. It is no surprise that these picturesque settings are ones that park visitors want to capture on film – or disk – and take home.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: Fall colors pop best in evening light. Try shooting on a cloudy day for contrast.

4. Awe-Inspiring Rock Formation

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s vast and austere landscape is one of the world’s most scenic backdrops. Its awe-inspiring canyons, cliffs, and natural bridges embrace a spectacular array of geological wonders. This high, rugged, and remote region, where bold plateaus and multi-hued cliffs run for distances that defy human perspective, was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped. Even today, this unspoiled natural area remains a frontier for scientific discovery.

The monument’s unusual geography and feeling of seclusion makes Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument an ideal site for photographers to explore the rich color and texture of rock formations.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: Search for details. It is easy to use a wide angle lens and ‘get everything in.’ Unfortunately, these kinds of photos often end up looking staged. Instead of shooting an entire rock formation, try zooming in on one small part of it. Oftentimes a shot of the base, indentation, or curve of a rock is a more powerful image.

5. Picturesque Sunset

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Can there be a more perfect display of natural wonder than watching the sun slide behind the horizon and dip slowly into the endless desert sands? At Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area that breathtaking phenomenon takes place every night.

The 13-mile scenic drive around Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is completely paved and offers opportunities to see desert wildlife, red and cream sandstone formations, waterfalls and petroglyphs.

But one of Red Rock Canyon’s most sought after attractions is its world famous sunsets. Captured with a photographer’s lens, the magic and romance of a Red Rock Canyon sunset is an image that visitors will no doubt want to take home.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: Sunset photos can be a bit challenging. The most important factor to consider is the placement of the horizon. Where you place the horizon in your picture dictates what aspect of the sunset will be emphasized. Is it the sky that you want to focus on or the sun’s reflection across the rocks? This is a key consideration.

6. Historic Covered Bridge

Everett Road Covered Bridge, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Perhaps it was Robert James Walker who best paid tribute to these historic gems. In his book, “The Bridges of Madison County,” Walker paints a literary masterpiece describing the unique artistry of covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa.

If you can’t make it to Iowa, The Everett Road Bridge in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio is just as lovely. The bridge, which connects the two sides of historic Everett Road, stretches lazily across Ohio’s Cuyahoga River. Although the covered bridge has been part of the Cuyahoga Valley scene for over 100 years, it was badly damaged twice before its total destruction in 1975, once in the great 1913 flood and again in 1970 when an overloaded truck partially collapsed it. In each instance determined local citizens and their governments rescued it.

A photographic image of the Everett Road Covered Bridge illustrates history and natural beauty coming together in one great landmark.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: Depth is an important aspect of any good photograph. This is especially true for shooting bridges, buildings, and man-made structures. If your subject is a covered bridge, add a tree or person in the foreground to enhance the visual perspective.

7. Natural Wildlife Shots

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge boasts one of the most diverse wildlife sanctuaries in the world for migratory birds and endangered species. Spend a day in the Refuge and you might see one of almost any kind of wetland species ranging from pelicans, butterflies, and burrowing owls, to harbor seals, leopard sharks, and gray whales. The park offers visitors the unique experience of observing the animals in their undisturbed natural habitats. From a safe distance, you will see western sandpipers flock around the shoreline and harbor seals shimmy across the rocks.

This makes Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge a world class setting for photography enthusiasts to capture the beauty and immensity of wildlife within the park.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: The best way to take a great wildlife photograph is to be as patient as possible with your subjects. Animals move at their own pace so take the time to really examine your subject in its natural habitat before you click.

8. Historic Streetscape

Freedom Trail, Boston National Historic Park

Most of the Boston National Historical Park sites are connected by the Freedom Trail. Recognized as a National Recreation Trail, the 3-mile trail is a walking tour of 16 sites and structures of historic importance in downtown Boston and Charlestown. Among the highlights are The Old South Meeting House, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House and Old North Church.

In Charlestown, visitors will find the Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution, the Charlestown Navy Yard, one of the nation’s first naval shipyards and the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

With so much to see and do, a trip to Boston National Historic Park provides endless opportunities for picture-taking. The site yields to the imagination, taking photographers back in time to a revolutionary generation of Bostonians who blazed a trail from colonialism to independence.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: Boston’s Freedom Trail is located in one of the more easily accessible National Parks. As a result, the park is photographed frequently, making it more difficult to capture a truly original picture. The best advice for photographing the Freedom Trail and other attractions is to consider variety. Include people shots, close ups, and wide angles. Try taking photographs in good weather as well as bad. An interesting photograph of a signpost could have greater impact than a picture of Faneuil Hall.

9. Preserved Battle Fortifications

Governors Island

Located a few hundred yards off the southernmost tip of Manhattan, Governors Island’s two battle fortifications are among the world’s finest examples of defensive structures in use from the Renaissance to the American Civil War.

Having stood proudly for over two centuries, Fort Jay and Castle Williams were first constructed to serve as an outpost to protect New York City from enemy naval attack. >From 1794 – 1966, the island was the command headquarters and military post for the U.S. Army, and for the following 30 years, it was the Coast Guard’s largest and most complex installation. In 2003, the island was sold to two parties; 22 acres designated as the Governors Island National Monument, to the Secretary of the Interior, and managed by the National Park Service; and 150 acres to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, operated jointly by the State and City of New York.

With its rich history and spectacular views of the New York Harbor, it is no wonder that the park is a haven for photographers. A visit to Governors Island allows photo enthusiasts to capture a rare image of the past still present in New York.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: One of the best ways to capture the vibrancy of a historical landmark is to include people in the photographs. An image of your friends and family standing in the same place that their ancestors did more than two hundred years ago, will give the photo greater impact.

10. Family Photo with a Twist

El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon National Park

It is no surprise that The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most visited attractions. One of the Seven Wonders of the natural world, this great chasm offers a seemingly infinite number of awe-inspiring views. One of the most spectacular is the view from the El Tovar hotel.

Built with native boulders and pine logs, The El Tovar historic hotel, is located right on the rim in the historic section of Grand Canyon Village in Arizona. Built in 1905, El Tovar was named after the Spanish explorer Don Pedro de Tovar, who had heard of the canyon from the Hopis and had passed the information on to Coronado.

Aside from the fascinating history of El Tovar, its view of the canyon is incomparable, and the perfect photo to end any family vacation.

CASIO PHOTO TIP: During your lifetime, you will probably take more photographs of family and friends than any other subjects. It is for this reason that original family photos are so difficult to capture. The best way to take a great family photo is to be original. From the way that your family is posed in the picture to the angle that you point your camera, an atypical format can turn a common family photograph into an extraordinary one.

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