Top 10 places to take photos
Confession time: I use the automatic setting. I've got a fancy Canon DSLR camera and I take about a million photos, but I'm no expert.
I haven't mastered the shutter speed priority or the ideal aperture setting, and I'm not entirely sure how to utilise my ISO. I'm usually of the belief that the whirring gadgets inside my camera know more about that sort of stuff than I do.
But that doesn't mean I'm not enthusiastic – and anyway, there are some places in the world where it's almost impossible to take a bad photo. Places that are so stunningly beautiful, or colourful, or interesting, that automatic mode and a willingness to press the button are all you need.
These are 10 of those places.
Salar de Uyuni , Bolivia
On their own these salt flats are spectacular, a huge stretch of solid white that never seems to end. But it's when you add people that the fun starts – with a blank white canvas it's easy to play tricks with depth of field, fitting a group of friends in the palm of your hand, or in a shoe, or... It's up to you, really.
In the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert lies a clearing full of perfect contrasts: the cracked white clay of the desert floor, the rich red of the surrounding dunes, the brilliant blue of the cloudless sky, and all around the twisted black fingers of dead trees that reach out of the ground. You can't mess that up.
Queenstown, New Zealand
You forget, sometimes, just how beautiful New Zealand is. And then you fly into Queenstown, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, with Lake Wakatipu shimmering below, and it all comes flooding back. Tip for great photos: wait for sunset, when the dying light turns the Remarkables range all sorts of crazy colours.
You know that famous scene in one of the Mission Impossible films when Tom Cruise is rock-climbing on what looks like Mars? You would have thought, "Wow, where's that?" That's just near Moab, in Utah. The rocky, almost lunar terrain is a haven for climbers and mountain-bikers – and photographers have a pretty good time of it too.
Oaxaca City, Mexico
Oaxaca is great any time of the year, but for the truly photo mad you need to get there in November for the Day of the Dead festival. This is when the whole town is decorated with the colourful and the macabre, from skeletons sitting at café tables to the huge painted skulls that line the streets.
There should be a city on this list, and what better than Paris, full as it is with recognisable monuments, public artworks, beautiful buildings, parks, cafes filled with smart Parisian folk, and the Seine running through it all. For something a little different, keep an eye out for the world-class street art that adorns some of the city's walls.
Penguins, penguins, penguins. They quickly become an obsession: getting the perfect close-up, the perfect group shot, the perfect penguins-and-spectacular-scenery shot. Even without the wildlife Antarctica would be a photographer's dream, with soft light playing on icebergs, crystal-clear water and snowy peaks.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
You want quaint and classical? Cesky Krumlov has it. This little Czech town is a popular tourist stop thanks to its olde world charm, with a narrow river encasing colourful old Bohemian buildings and narrow, winding alleys.
There's not a try-hard photographer alive that doesn't fancy having one of those clichéd animal shots on their wall, maybe of a lion or a cheetah or an elephant, maybe with the silhouette of a flat-topped acacia tree in the background, maybe around sunset, with the light turning golden on the grassy plains. Or maybe that's just me. But the Serengeti is your place.
Johnston Canyon, Canada
Here's the trick: go in winter. I'm sure the canyon is spectacular in summer as well, but in winter something special happens, when the waterfalls and trickling streams that cascade over the narrow gorge walls freeze, turning the place into a wonderland of icicles and frozen cliff faces. The solid river means you can walk through the bottom of it and click away at the sights above.
Photo gallery: check out some great shots from the destinations above here.
Where is your favourite spot in the world for photography? Post a comment below.
Sydney Morning Herald