When Chris and I first started dating we did a lot of traveling together. In the first year of even knowing each other we traveled to California, Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, and drove across the country to live in Seattle for six months. While all those trips together gave us the opportunity to make amazing memories, we also learned a lot about each other and grew closer as a couple.
Back then I didn’t own a DSLR, but I did have a small point and shoot that I carried everywhere. I’m sure Chris got tired of me constantly snapping photos (kind of like he does now) but he put up with it and I came away with loads of proof of our time at all those amazing places. I will forever stand behind the fact that you don’t need the fanciest camera to take a great photo. You just need a good eye, a bit of creativity, and a wanderlusting heart.
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It’s hard to narrow down my favorites from all the places Chris and I have been, because each of them were truly unique and a wonderful experience in their own right. But there are a few that stick out in my mind due to their photography potential and the memories made while visiting. There is nothing Chris and I love more than being
trapped in a car for hours on end with each other because it gives us a chance to connect and just be with one another. Below are my five favorite photography locations in the US!
Yellowstone National Park
A goal we have is to visit all the National Parks in the U.S. in our lifetime, and so far we’re on the right track. If the only reason you’re going to Yellowstone is to see Old Faithful, you won’t be disappointed. But I will encourage you to also drive around to see all the hot springs in the area. When the sun is just right in the sky and the steam is rising off the water, you can get the most beautiful pictures. The above picture is probably one of my favorites that I’ve ever taken, and it was with my point and shoot!
Chris and I have said that Sedona would be one of the places we’d consider moving to when he retires. Not only is it gorgeous there but there is just so much to do! On our visit we went off-roading, visited a few amazing rock formations, and pigged out on some pretty delicious food. I fell in love with the scenery and honestly didn’t want to leave.
My favorite part of our very short stay there was being able to visit the different parks to see all the rock formations. We’d go hiking for a few hours, take pictures, and then head back to the truck. I’m not an outdoor person at all but even my breath was taken away by all the natural beauty that Arizona had to offer.
Chris and I have been here twice, both times because friends were getting married in the area! I love Monterey and wish we had more time to explore while there. The 17 mile drive is a must-do and if you can stop in at the Monterey Aquarium you should! On my first (and only time there) I tried clam chowder while overlooking the water, and it was amazing. The Baltimore Aquarium has nothing on Monterey.
The 17 Mile Drive is just that, a 17 mile drive around the ocean. The views are gorgeous and Chris and I usually take three or four hours to do the whole thing. We love to stop and walk on the beaches for a bit, take pictures, and listen to the waves crash against the rocks. It really is a gorgeous place to be!
Volcano National Park, Hawaii
While Hawaii is one place I am dying to go back to, I have to say that a visit to the Volcano National Park again is a must. I was sick as a dog the day we went (stupid flu) so I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I would have if I wasn’t suffering from a hacking cough and fever. But it was beautiful there! I loved being able to walk on lava and go inside a lava tunnel. The icing on the cake though was a helicopter ride over said volcano, and we got to watch the lava run into the water. Even with my head pounding it was the most amazing experience!
Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial
Chris likes to call me morbid but I find memorials fascinating. I had requested that we stop off at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial on our way back to Virginia from Seattle, and I was not disappointed. If you like history then this is a place you should definitely visit. It’s beautiful and serene there and if we had the time I would’ve spent all day looking around and soaking in everything. Yea, like I said…Chris thinks I’m a bit morbid.
So I guess my point is, you don’t need a fancy camera to capture lasting memories of vacations taken with your loved ones. While just one or two of the photos in this post were taken with a DSLR, the rest were taken with my old point and shoot. While it means that some of those photos are a little blown out or a bit imperfect, it doesn’t mean that I can’t proudly display them in my home. And I do! It’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come from my point and shoot days!
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t afford a starter DSLR right off the bat. Grab a nice little point and shoot and snap away. Use this opportunity to practice and get creative with your photography! It’s never to late to fall in love with the camera you have.
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What is your favorite place you’ve ever traveled within the United States?