10 Places to Photograph Before I Die

I was making my usual blog run today when I saw an interesting post over at the Photoprenuer. The article was entitled 12 Things to Photograph Before You Die. While I didn’t necessarily agree with all of their shot selections, it did make me think of a before I die list that I will share with you.

I have this list of places that I would love to shoot before I cash it in. I started knocking them off my list in 2006 and am slowly making progress. Sure, I have more than 10 places where I wouldn’t mind shooting, but I thought these are my 10 must shoot spots, and being 10 instead of 1000 means I might actually achieve this goal.

So in 2006, with my backpack and camera bag, I headed off to #1 on my top 10, The Angkor ruins of Cambodia.


#2 – There are so many spectacular location in the United States but the upper regions of Arizona with the likes of Monument Valley, Antelope Slots, the Grand Canyon, and the Wave just had to be in my top 10. In the summer of 2007 I got to happily check this one off my list.

The Wave

#3 This one is already planned for April. The week after Photoshop World, I will be heading out with some buddies to Dubai. I didn’t necessarily have Dubai on the list specifically but some of the locations aren’t specific to a location but more to a region. This one will definitely take care of my Middle East requirement. I have been to Israel but it was for work and I never really got to do much shooting while I was there. That won’t be the case in Dubai. This is strictly a shooting affair.

Photo By : Lars Plougmann

Photo By : Lars Plougmann

#4 was actually supposed to be my #2 but I just couldn’t get the planets to line up for me so it has dropped to a future destination. With 7 of the World’s highest mountain peaks in the country, Nepal is still very high on my list. I am hopeful that the political situation will improve in the near future so that I will be able to enjy the entire country.


photo taken by Kogo

#5 is also in the Far East. This almost qualifies as a region because it would take a thousand lifetimes to cover this country although there are a couple of spots I would visit first, mainly any portion of the Great Wall. But I think anywhere in China would be amazing!

Great Wall of China

#6 With such majestic sites as Half Dome, El Capitan, and Cathedral Lake, Yosemite National Park has to be one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the World. Is there any wonder why it was a favorite of Ansel Adams? If it’s good enough for Ansel, it’s good enough for me.

Yosemite National Park


#7 With its lofty heights, lush surroundings, and mysterious Incan history, Machu Picchu is one of those places that could keep me shooting from sun up to sundown. It’s also one of those places that makes it easy to take great pictures. There are just some locations that are set up that way and this is one of them. DONE – Sept. 2011

Machu Picchu, Peru

#8 Although I already have some tall mountains covered by Nepal, it wouldn’t be right to leave off the highest mountain in the US, besides, there’s more to Alaska than just Mt. McKinley. Alaska is probably one of the last great frontiers left in the World and is another one of those places that could qualify as a region because of its size and variety of landscape possibilities.

Mt. McKinley, Ak

Image by Nic McPhee

#9 This is my wife’s favorite place in the World and yet I have not managed to get there. I am hopeful that I will be able to knock this one off soon. With its beautiful colonial Spanish architecture and lush scenery, Antigua, Guatemala is one of the most beautiful Central American cities there is. Not to mention that it has three volcanoes. Now how cool is that? DONE – July 2010


#10 I have always been fascinated by the countryside of my last location, ever since I saw John Wayne saunter across it in The Quiet Man. Ireland is just one of those places that has always captivated me with its rolling green hills and stone fences, not to mention a few castles and remnants from its stone age inhabitants.

Lough Leane, Ireland

Image by Christophe Meneboeuf

There is actually a theme that runs through almost all of my locations.They either are, or contain UNESCO World Heritage sites. These sites have been identified by the UNESCO governing body for World heritage sites as having cultural or natural significance and need to be preserved for future generations. One of the reasons I began my World trek was an article in Men’s Journal called Places to see before they are gone. On that list was the Angkor Temples. I had first dreamed of going to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat after reading an article in the Smithsonian magazine a year earlier. It was that Men’s Journal magazine that really lit my fire and after traveling the Cambodian countryside, I knew that I needed to see and shoot some of the other places in this World that have always fascinated me, especially those that may not be around forever.

So that’s my list.

Do you have one?

The clock is ticking, what are you waiting for?

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  • mike meyer

    So you know me, I don\’t want to travel outside the good ole USA. But mostly because there are so many beautiful places here that I want to see before I go anywhere else. We are trully blessed to live in a country that has such a great diversity of climate and geography. Did you know that there are more tornados in the US than anywhere else. Now there\’s an adventure that I really want to do. Take two weeks in springtime and chase those badboys around the mid-west. You know you really don\’t even have to go to Alaska or Hawaii to get all the other beautiful things. I think Ben Willmore has the right idea. Check out whereisben.com. Take care everybody and see ya at the photowalk in the good ole USA.

    mike meyer

  • Doug

    Another World Heritage Site I can’t recommend highly enough is the Galapagos. I was fortunate enough to be able to go there last year, and it is a spectacular place, whether or not you are a photographer.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/alstonfamily AlaskaTeacher

    Yeah for #8!!!! Alaska is a fantastic place to shoot photos! Most of my photos center around rural village life because that’s where I live, but there’s a wonderland of glaciers, mountains, wildlife, cultural activities, and everything else across the state! I hope you make it up here!

  • Rob

    What about Varanasi, India

  • http://www.revellphotography.com jeff

    I’m sure if you are asking then it is probably great too. Making a list like this is pretty hard to do and always full of regrets but then again, once I knock this one out, maybe I can start a new one. Who knows, Varanasi may be on the top of that list.


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  • Travis

    So I’ve got to 6 of those places so far, do I get a prize?

    Surprised there is not Australia in there? Sydney Opera House?

    Or India my pic would be the Taj Mahal? Shot in B&W it looks amazing.

  • http://www.revellphotography.com jeff

    Getting there is one thing Travis, photographing them is another :-) The problem with having such a short list is that I have to leave out some fantastic destinations. That is why I will probably start over again once I have crossed off all 10. Maybe I’ll just keep replacing sites I have photographed with ones that I haven’t been to yet. So many choices, so few lifetimes.

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  • http://www.amrit.com.np Ninja

    Hi there,
    Well prettily listed, but the there are many magnificent pictures of Nepal. Why did you put the deserted village.

  • http://www.patricklovephotography.com patrick love

    Turkey is my favorite place to photograph. Amazing country and equally amazing people. You won’t be disappointed. http://www.patricklovephotography.com

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  • http://cinemarv.com/ Mike

    So much places to go, so little time. Another 5 years of hard working for me before I can enjoy such an adventure.

  • http://mannedspace.my-expressions.com/index.html mannedspace

    Southern German. Incredible area, atmosphere, people, food, and of course BEER!

  • http://sangesh.com.np/blog sangesh

    Wow, Nepal my country is one of your TOP list. Now the political situation is undercontrol. there was never a threat for tourist during maoist insurgency too, it is just you need to walk little more while there is strike.
    You are welcome to nepal. I think it is the cheapest tourist destination in the world.Just not the great himalayas and world top 7 peaks, there is lot more. it’s a country of many diversity. from sea level lands to high mountains.

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  • http://kravos.com Todd

    Iceland should CERTAINLY be on this list

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  • http://www.photostudio-koepenick.de/ Der Fotograf

    Hey, habe deine Seite gerade bei Yahoo entdeckt. Hast echt ein spitze Blog, werde sicherlich noch das ein oder andere mal hier vorbeischauen! Deine Artikel sind auch echt super! Lieben Gruss

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  • vivi

    Love it all!! I went to Guatemala last year, of course I visited Antigua and your wife is right… I can assure you that it is the paradise for photographer!!! Just AMAZING!!! It has to be the first one on your list!!! Good luck!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/frankiejfantastic Frank McKenna

    i went to school in Antigua for a few months and it was gorgeous. What you will notice is the vibrance in the sky, the blueness and the clouds. You will love it there.

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  • https://twitter.com/cheapflightstri cheap flights Trip

    Amazing photography.

  • Jose Alejandro

    I love that people know about beautiful places, Guatemala is such a beautiful place and people don’t know about that. But not just in Antigua, I suggest you to go to Peten, it is awesome and I think that you will be speechless if you go.

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