This column originally appeared in Lonely Planet Magazine India whose chief consultant photographer Dhaval Dhairyawan reveals his top five photogenic destinations.
Here are five destinations that should keep anyone travelling specifically for photography happy:
1. Rajasthan, India
An undeniable photography haven, steeped in royal history, Rajasthan showcases colourful locals rivalled only by their attire, grand palaces, havelis, festivals and a landscape as barren and harsh as it is beautiful. Jaisalmer’s canvas of sand is dotted with camels, the floating Lake Palace of Udaipur, forts in Jodhpur and Jaipur with sentries standing guard in traditional attire and the Pushkar fair all offer rich pickings for your camera. The hazy morning and twilight light lends itself to surreal images, but then this holds true for most of Rajasthan.
Good time to visit: Late October - February
2. Yellowstone National Park, USA
Yellowstone is a mix of geological wonders like geysers, steam vents, hot springs, rivers, waterfalls, high elevation passes, sweeping vistas as well as wildlife (including elk and grizzly bear). The Midway Geyser is a must-visit location. Spread over two million acres, nature photographers can spend weeks here and still return for more. Avoid it during summer, as the place is swarming with tourists.
Good time to visit: May and late September - October
3. Venice, Italy
This 'Floating City', arguably the most beautiful one built by man, is a city of canals, bridges, masks. On a gondola ride or motorboat, a low-noise high ISO camera is your best ally. Venice forces you to explore slowly on foot, translating into thought-out pictures. The Carnival of Venice is a photographer’s must with fancy dress and mysterious Venetian masks.
Good time to visit: Late October – February
4. Hong Kong, China
This city offers a modern skyline worth envying. The Symphony of Lights features buildings on both sides of the Victoria Harbour. Get stunning views from a path along Victoria Peak (shoot at twilight when the lights are switched on). Most exposures will run into seconds so carry a tripod. A hallucinogenic mix of colour and lights makes for great street photography.
Good time to visit: October – March
5. Ladakh, India
'Otherworldly' is probably the most appropriate term to define the highest inhabited region of India. The scale of the multi-hued mountains is only really experienced when you whip out your regular wide-angle lens, only to find that what stands before you cannot be captured in its giddy entirety in one frame. The landscape changes from steep lunar rock faces to white sands in the Nubra Valley and to placid blue water in the Pangong Lake. Tibetan Buddhist monasteries hang on steep rock-faces. Carry a sturdy tripod.
Good time to visit: End of July – September