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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.

Kevin McNeal left Wonder Lake two hours before sunrise and hiked to this view of Mt. McKinley. He timed his trip for bearberry season; it’s only this shade of red for a few weeks in late August. “I positioned the camera close to the ground to exaggerate perspective and really get the vibrancy of the foliage to come out at the viewer,” McNeal says. The sky? That’s luck. “For this particular situation, I needed to bracket the images to expose one for the sky and mountain and the other for the foreground.” At home, he used photo software to merge the two exposures into one image.

Hike it: Go to "Denali: Proving Ground" for an epic Denali route.
>> Canon 5D; f/16, 1/100; ISO 100

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