Winter is one of the most underrated times of the year for photography. Locations that have been photographed a million times are completely transformed when blanketed with a fresh layer of snow.
As an added bonus, you’ll likely deal with fewer crowds during the winter months (score!) because of the cold, which can make it much easier to get amazing shots in popular places.
Just remember don't be a fool when you're photographing wildlife, be smart, use common sense, RESPECT the animals to get amazing winter photography. We know they are cute and it's hard not to want to cuddle baby bears and pet fuzzy bison... But just DON'T!
1. Yellowstone National Park (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming)
If you’re looking for incredible wildlife shots, winter is the perfect time to visit Yellowstone National Park. There are views all over this massive park that will have you droolin' buckets. The North entrance can be a great place to start. Follow any Jeeps driving by with a long, wire antenna. Those antennae are used by biologists to track wolves’ radio collars. You might get a great shot of Yellowstone’s wolves (if you do.... You must pinky promise to share it with us, we LOVE wolves.) If you don't get to see any wolves, keep your eyes peeled for bison and bears--two groups of popular wildlife in the park.
Photo by Adam Willoughby-Knox
Guided wildlife tours are also available during the winter.
2. Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
Wildlife photographers will enjoy a trip to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho during the bald eagle migration. While not all bald eagles migrate, the open water filled with sockeye salmon near the area attracts the eagles, so there should be enough for you to get several amazing winter photographs.
Photo by Robert Zurfluh
Photographers should plan a trip during late fall or early winter to capture the majestic birds.
3. Denali National Park (Alaska)If you’re brave enough to face the bone-chilling cold of an Alaska winter, you will have the opportunity to take unbelievable photographs of tranquil landscapes. You may even be lucky enough to capture the aurora borealis.
Photo by Vincent Guth
If you visit in February, you can photograph and enjoy the week-long Winterfest which features ice carvings and snow sculptures. Dope!
4. Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Bryce Canyon offers beautiful views year freakin' round, but in the winter it is transformed into an epic example of a desert winter. If you can time your visit right, you can enjoy the beautiful contrast of white snow against the stark red natural landscape.
Photo by Andy Wang
The park also provides exceptional views of the night sky. You can take advantage of park programs such as full moon snowshoeing and astronomy programs, or you can explore on your own to get the perfect shot.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)
While the park may be known for its beautiful foliage, the landscape is just as breathtaking during the colder months. The trees, wildlife, and mountain views make it ideal for winter scene photos.
Photo source: skitterphoto.com
Cade’s Cove is a popular destination with amazing views year round. While you can capture beautiful winter pictures nearby, you can also explore the many hiking trails that are still open to get more varied photographs. You can also hop in your car and drive through the Cades Cove Scenic Loop to explore other photo opportunities.
The park features a frosted landscape, frozen waterfalls, and varied wildlife.
6. Oregon Coast
During the winter months, the sky is filled with clouds and differing weather patterns which leads to more colorful, unique sunrises and sunsets along the coasts. Rain might first seem like an added challenge, but the rainfall creates tide pools and reflections that add another dimension to landscape photography.
Photo by KaLisa Veer
As a bonus, the Oregon coast often hosts gigantic waves during the winter months, which can add a dynamic edge to your winter landscape photographs.
7. Yosemite National Park (California)
You had to have known this one was going to be on here! Yosemite offers breathtaking landscapes throughout the park. You can capture beautiful shots of snow-capped mountains, frozen streams, foggy slopes, and icy waterfalls. You may want to visit after the area has received some snow or rain to ensure Yosemite Falls will be flowing when you visit.
Photo by James Donovan
As you take off on your winter photography adventures, you’ll need a quality camera backpack built to carry and protect your camera and equipment. WANDRD's PRVKE series offers the protection your equipment needs to face snow, moisture, hiking, and other outdoor risks. Buy a WANDRD backpack to take advantage of fashion and function all built into one, high-quality photography backpack.