Shooting night sky photography is like a religious experience. As the long summer days drift into twilight and imperceptibly shift to night, your eyes feel like they’re watching something that never changes– something that’s eternal. But there is change, whether or not you see it: the colors of day are being bled out and the stars are coming out.
We decided to compile a list of some of our favorite places for night photography around the world to help inspire your wanderlust. These are the places that give us a sense of awe and wonder when we hit the shutter, so it’s not surprising that many of these are on some of our personal bucket lists.
Iceland is a most amazing place to be for night photography. The stars are bright and the Milky Way is a constant presence.
There are many places to photograph in Iceland, but none are better than at Þingvellir National Park. It is close to Reykjavík and easy to get to. It has a rich history (the national park was originally established as a meeting place for political leaders), but for centuries it was also used by farmers as an open field for grazing sheep after sunset.
Or catch the Northern Lights at Jökulsárlón Lake. The colors of the aurora are amazing, and it is easy to get a picture of the northern lights without too much competition from others.
There are many places in Chile to photograph night photography. Patagonia is a land that can do no wrong for night photography. From the eastern edge of Argentina to the west coast. Take your time and soak up the scenery on side trips into Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru as well.
The island country of New Zealand is filled with amazing places to photograph night photography. The southern end of the South Island is a photographer’s playground, especially around the Fiordland National Park area.
Not too far from Fiordland National Park is Lake Te Anau, also in the South Island, and one of our favorite spots in New Zealand for night photography. It’s a place where you can go during the day and hike, but then come back again at night to photograph the stars reflected in the lake.
Alaska is one of the places in the world for night photography as well, but be sure to pack a heavy coat. Winter lasts much longer here, after all. In summer, you can expect hours of light well after sunset and there will be nights that the aurora borealis shows spectacular colors.
We recommend Denali National Park as one place to overnight photograph during the summer. The closest town is small but has everything you need and is worth a visit even if you don’t stay overnight.
Montana is known for many things, including its amazing night photography. It’s also known for its wide-open spaces, so less populated areas are a plus when you’re night photographing in Montana.
One of our favorite places to photograph in the northern part of the state is Glacier National Park. This is not a small park—in fact it’s huge! Some of the most iconic scenery in the United States is right here; all you have to do is choose where you want to set up your tripod.
Utah is home to five National Parks, all of which are great for night photography. Arches and Canyonlands are near the Moab area, but the best place is the far south of Utah in the Paria Canyon area.
The Colors are spectacular, and there are some great opportunities for long exposure astrophotography here if you’re so inclined.
Night photography is a challenge not for the faint of heart. Night photography takes a great deal of planning and discipline to pull off, but the results are well worth it. To capture that perfect moment in time, you have to get it right before your eyes ever see it in the camera viewfinder.