Two Photographers and Eleven Outdoor/Travel Writers Pick the Best National Parks for Fall

Long’s Peak and Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Fall is a fabulous time of year to visit the national parks. Crowds are usually smaller than in the summer, temperatures are cooler, and some of our national parks have glorious fall colors. With so many to choose from, where should you go? Which national parks will provide the best photographic opportunities in the fall?

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The Best National Parks for Fall Photography

Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

What are the best national parks to photograph in the fall? Here are my choices, grouped by state and province from west to east. This list includes the favorites I have been to, plus the ones I most want to see based on the recommendations of the photographers I trust, like Tim Fitzharris and QT Luong. More about them later.

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22 Years Ago

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was working in my office. The family/TV room was right around the corner. The phone rang and I picked it up.

“Stop whatever you are doing and turn on the TV.” I walked around the corner and turned it on.

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Chip East Reflects on the Last Photos of His Friend, Bill Biggart, Taken on 9/11

Photographer Chip East was staring intensely at his laptop screen.

It was two weeks after two jetliners had plowed into the towers of the World Trade Center. His good friend, photojournalist Bill Biggart’s body had been recovered from the rubble. His personal effects, including his cameras had been released by authorities to his widow, Wendy.

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9/11 – Let Us Pray

“Towers of Light”


On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked and ultimately crashed.  Two crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and one crashed into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania.


Dozens of people in each of four airplanes living in terror as their hijacked planes are flown to destinations unknown to them. Each ends in a terrible fiery crash.

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Remembering 9/11

Photo by James Nachtwey for TIME magazine.

I will never forget staring at the screen. I was stunned. It was just a few moments after I got the phone call to turn on the TV. Then the second plane hit.

On this date, twenty-one years ago, we experienced a great national tragedy in the United States. 2,977 lives that were lost in the terrorist attacks. So many  families were torn asunder. The way we view ourselves and our world changed. Emergency responders continue to suffer terrible health problems as a result of working at the scene. The way we view ourselves and our world changed too. Over 2,000 first responders have died of health issues related to 9/11.

In remembrance of that day, and to honor the lives that were lost, I am posting some tributes.

Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography Workshop

Are you ready to take your nature and wildlife photography to the next level? Are you ready to learn the professional secrets that make the difference between good images and great images? Are you ready for a high intensity, action packed, total immersion photography weekend? Come to Park of the Pines on beautiful Lake Charlevoix October 13-15, 2023.

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Colorado Fall Color Photography and Travel Guide – 2023

Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.
Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake. Mid-morning. September 24, 2015.

Headed for Colorado this fall? Welcome to my complete Colorado fall color photography and travel guide with 131 photos, 18 maps, and over 100 pages of information (if you print it all out). I cover some of the best known fall color locations in Colorado, and one real gem of a road that is not widely known to photographers and leaf peepers. Spend anywhere from two days to two weeks exploring the beautiful Colorado Rockies at a gorgeous time of year.

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Fixing a Photo for Publication with Topaz Sharpen AI

“After the parade.” The final version of this image.

I was going through parade images yesterday to send to the local newspaper. The parade was over when I spotted this person on a skateboard with an American flag. I took 8 images of him with varying backgrounds, him with different body postures, and the flag at different angles. My least favorite had his head looking straight down as he checked his phone. This is my most favorite. I processed this image with Adobe Camera Raw and Topaz software before sending it off to the newspaper.

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A Quality Camera and Two Lenses for $300 – $500

A camera body and lens for $200.

The ideas for this article started with a question about camera gear (see my Mama Killdeer article). A friend of mine was surprised to learn I used a lens that cost less than $200 to capture an image of a killdeer. So I went to the refurbished gear section of Canon’s web site to check some of their current prices. The camera and lens combination above is $200. The lens is a good, general purpose, semi-wide angle to short telephoto lens. (To keep things simple I am rounding everything up to the next dollar.)

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The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From the Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776. Written by Thomas Jefferson (1762-1826). 3rd US President (1801-09).

More images (including Thomas Jefferson’s original draft) and the complete text of the declaration are after the break.

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How To Photograph Fireworks

The Strip, Las Vegas with fireworks

The Strip, Las Vegas with Fireworks

You can point your camera at the sky in auto exposure and autofocus modes and fire away whenever you see a burst of fireworks, but for the best quality photos, it helps to know a few tricks of the trade. It’s easy when you know what to do.

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Testing Topaz Gigapixel AI on a 1960s Family Photo

Family photo from the late 1960s.

At a family reunion several years ago I decided to make digital copies of some old family photo albums. I did one digital picture of each page (there were several photos on each page). When I got back home I digitally separated the individual photos that were on each page. This particular image is a family favorite. I decided this image would be a good test of Topaz Gigapixel AI which enlarges, and hopefully improves small photos. The original photographic print also has a lot of damage which created some additional problems.

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How to Shoot With and Protect Your Camera Gear in Hot Weather

Covered camera during a shooting break.

Summer is here and that means hot weather. So it is time for a “save your camera gear” reminder. Camera gear has a temperature and humidity rating. A top of the line Canon camera body has a limit of 115°F and 85% or less humidity. A black camera on a hot day can easily exceed that limit. Less expensive cameras of any brand have lower limits so it is important to protect your gear.

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Sora at Lake LaShane

Sora, Lake LaShane

I was leaving Lake LaShane when a white flicker caught my eye. I stopped the car for a better look. Not far from a cluster of reeds, a small bird was wading in a shallow part of the lake. Its tail feathers were flicking up and down. It was the white underside that caught my eye.

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