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National Parks: View Finder

Go ahead, look again. And again. These images are worth a third, fourth, and then a tenth gaze.
We pored over submissions from the best photographers on the trail—shooters who hike for miles with heavy gear to nab unexpected shots—to choose these grab-your-pack-now national park pictures. Here’s how to learn from their techniques, trek to their favorite spots, and bring home your own wall-worthy memories.

An alpine start for the summit of 1,528-foot Cadillac Mountain yields a stunning gift: the first glimpse in the United States of the day’s sunrise. Paul Rezendes captured this scene at dawn, but he had to do more than get up early. He had spotted the patterned granite the previous day and knew he needed to shoot from above to nail the texture in the rock. So he hauled up a wooden step ladder in the predawn darkness and lashed a tripod on top with bungee cords. “I knew the sky was going to be much brighter than the granite and treeline, so I used a neutral-density graduated filter to keep the sky from overexposing the film,” he says.

Hike it: Download step-by-step directions for a 4.4-mile Cadillac loop at
>>Toyo 4×5; f/22, 6 seconds; ISO 50

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