This list has been created for our followers to share what we use or what has worked for us. We do not receive any benefit or kickback from these recommendations.
There is a series of books on photographing different areas of the United States. These books offer helpful hints for each location such as best time of day, best lens, gear that may be needed and angles to consider. These books also rate each location in terms of its beauty, photographical potential and ease of access (road and trail ratings). These have been our “go to” books for planning our West and Southwest Photography Journeys. They are available at Amazon.
- Photographing the Southwest: Vol. 1 – Southern Utah (Laurent Matres)
- Photographing the Southwest: Vol. 2 – Arizona (Philippe Schuler)
- Photographing the Southwest: Vol. 3: Colorado / New Mexico (Laurent Matres)
- Photographing California: Vol. 1 – North: A Guide to the Natural Landmarks of the Golden State (Gary Crabbe & Laurent Matres)
- Photographing California: Vol. 2 – South (Jeffrey Sullivan)
- Photographing Oregon (Greg Vaughn & Laurent Matres)
- Photographing Washington (Greg Vaughn and Laurent Matres)
Jay Maisel – “It’s not about the f-stop”
Jay Maisel – “Light, Gesture, Color”
B&H Photo and Video – Our “go to” place for photography gear.
Amazon – Our second “go to” place for gear, but mostly for accessories.
Think Tank Photo – great for all types of high quality camera bags and accessories.
Really Right Stuff – We use RRS carbon fiber tripods, monopods and ballheads. These are the top of the line in quality and durability.
Photography Shoot Location Planning Tool
PhotoPills – A software application for use in planning photo shoots. It helps one understand the angle of the sun, moon and Milky Way at any location and any time of year.
Weather Related Planning Tools
Maps.darksky.net – Provides current and predicted cloud cover, winds and temperature for an area.
Windy.com – Winds and cloud cover – current and future.
wxmaps.org – Weather and climate data. What is helpful is the ability to look at the cloud cover at various levels.
SunsetWx – A cool tool that interprets various weather conditions and predicts the amount of color expected for sunrise and sunset. It provides a visual map using color gradients to indicate the level of color expected in the sunrise/sunset. The drawback to this tool is it only provides guidance a few hours before the event.
Weather and Climate Data – Offered by Center for Ocean -Land-Atmosphere (COLA) Studies and George Mason University. In particular, their forecast maps showing clouds levels for the current day and next 6 days. These are helpful in interpreting the various cloud layers and putting together your own sunset and sunrise cloud predictions.
My Aurora – My Aurora Forecast is an app for the phone or tablet that synthesis various sources of information to provide an Aurora prediction for a particular location (e.g., Fairbanks, Alaska). It has a simple to use interface that allows you to visualize the current aurora, the current level of activity and the predicted levels for the next few hours as well as the next couple of weeks. Free push notifications when auroral activity is expected to be high. – Forecasts for the next hour, several hours and several weeks so you can plan your Northern Lights viewing long in advance (subject to weather conditions).
Photo Editing Tools
Adobe Lightroom – Our “go to” tool for importing, cataloging, editing and managing our photos.
Adobe Photoshop – Our tool for more advanced photo editing.
Adobe offers both of these through a subscription plan for photographers: Adobe Creative Cloud for Photographers.
KelbyOne – Scott Kelby, an excellent teacher and speaker, has created KelbyOne that offers online training and resources for all levels and all types of photographers. KelbyOne also publishes Photoshop User & Lightroom Magazine and hosts the annual Photoshop World conference. Affiliated with KelbyOne are several photographers who we follow and/or have taken classes with. Noted next to their names are their talents in the areas we have enjoyed learning:
- Moose Peterson (wildlife, landscape, airplanes)
- Dave Black – (photography, landscape and light painting)
- Matt Kloskowski – teacher and trainer
- Joe McNally – photography & lighting
- Peter Hurly (portrait / headshots)
- Lindsay Adler (portrait, fashion)
- Rick Sammon (landscape, environment portraiture, travel) – Rick is known for his slogan, “Make the shot, don’t take the shot”.
- Larry Becker
- Tom Bol
- Bill Fortney
Matt Kloskowski – Training Materials (Lightroom, Photoshop) and landscape photography. Matt is one of the best online photography trainers and teachers. He worked previously with KelbyOne (and is still affiliated with them), but has developed his own materials which are excellent.
Online YouTube Training
Thomas Heaton – Thomas is a UK based landscape photographer. His YouTube channel is mostly about landscape photography. Follow him as he ventures into the outdoors to photograph some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.
Mads Peter Iverson (Primarily Landscape in Northern Europe.) We have found his YouTube series on Iceland to be helpful on understanding locations, angles and creative techniques. He has put together dozens of short videos, usually one per location and then also a map of Iceland. His videos include impressive drone photography to help one understand the location and the terrain. He also has a couple of impressive E-books on Photography and Composition, and he also leads workshops.
Questions about our travels? Contact us!
We are building out notes from our various trips. They will be located under the Resource Menu > Travel Tips.
- Firefall Photography – Jeff Stamer is fun to follow as he travels the world. It’s always enjoyable to see his photos and his perspective. In addition, he often includes helpful information for each shoot location.
- The Wandering Lens – Founded by Australian photojournalist Lisa Michele Burns, The Wandering Lens is a publisher of travel photography guides with readers from the US, UK and Australia.
Website – Camera & Gear:
Ken Rockwell – Provides expert advice and helpful user information on basically every type of camera and every type of lens.