HDR Guide

5 Best Destinations for HDR Photography

bangkok-hdr-travel

If you’re thinking of taking an exotic HDR photography vacation soon, deciding where to go can be more than a little bit difficult.  With hundreds of potential destinations, how can you figure out which ones are going to give you those shots that will really stand out?

Lucky for you, we’ve been traveling all over the world figuring out what locations are the most conducive to HDR photography, and which ones give you the best chance at capturing the photos you’ve been looking for.

Bali, Indonesia

For years Bali has been the epitome of a mystical and exotic vacation spot. So much so, that many assume only caters to the rich and famous.  With more $1,000/night hotel rooms than any other place on Earth, how could you not think that?  The reality is that Bali can be one of the most affordable exotic destinations in the world.  Once you get there, it’s many times less expensive than places like Hawaii or Tahiti, making it the perfect photography destination.  Between the jungles and rice terraces of Ubud, and the breathtaking sunset and cliff shots of Uluwatu, there is something for every photographer here.

HDR Photo of Uluwatu Temple at Sunset

Photo by Sean Ogle

HDR photograph of Ubud, Bali

Photo by Sean Ogle

New York City, USA

They call New York “the city that never sleeps” for a reason. There’s always something going on – always.  It’s a photographer’s dream, because you can visit the same place at a different time of day, week or year and get a dramatically different setting.  Whether you’re in mid town, Central Park, or out in Brooklyn, New York rewards you with some of the most varied and diverse locales for shooting.  There is a reason that so many photographers call this city home – the possibilities are endless.

NYC HDR Photograph

Photo by Markus Urban

New York City Sunset HDR Photo

Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Bangkok, Thailand

If New York is the city that never sleeps, then Bangkok must be it’s evil twin sister.  Bangkok is one of those places where you can do pretty much anything you want, whenever you want, and that diversity translates really well to photography and HDR as well.  It’s culture is second to none with fantastic shooting locales like the Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Victory Monument.  Not only can you find tremendous diversity in the city itself, but a mere 12 hour train ride can land you in lush jungles, or tropical beaches.  Oh, and prices for just about everything are dirt cheap.

HDR Photo of Bangkok Skyline from Lebua Hotel

Photo by Markus Urban

HDR Photo of Lightning in Bangkok, Thailand

Photo by Sean Ogle

Hawaii, USA

For many travelers based in America, Hawaii can be the first truly “exotic” destination that they ever travel to.  Due to the fact you don’t need a passport to travel there, and relatively inexpensive flights, it serves as a great warm up to places like Bali, Tahiti, and Bora Bora.  That said, Hawaii is no slouch when it comes to offering fantastic vistas and culture for your HDR photography pleasure.  Each island offers unique features, such as the exploding volcanoes on the big island, lush jungles on Kauai, or the stunning views Diamond Head on Oahu. Regardless of your favorite types of shot, Hawaii will offer it up in spades.

HDR Photo of Hawaii Beach

Photo by Markus Urban

Hawaii HDR Photo

Photo by Markus Urban

Tokyo, Japan

For obvious reasons Japan probably isn’t on your list of places to travel right this very moment.  But as the country works to rebuild itself after the tragedy of last week, millions of visitors will still travel there annually.  Tokyo is unlike any city in the world.  It’s fast paced, extremely advanced, and very beautiful in a futuristic kind of way.  Yet for all the flash and technology, it also balances itself out with a rich history full of Japanese tradition.  No HDR photography destination list would be complete with out including Tokyo.  While it certainly isn’t the cheapest of places to travel to, your stunning photographs will more than make up for it.

Tokyo HDR Photo

Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Tokyo HDR Photo

Photo by Trey Ratcliff


So those are our 5 favorite destinations for HDR shots across the globe.  Where are yours?

Posted 6 years ago on 21 March 2011


About Max

+Max Spiker has been playing with Photoshop since 2000 and HDR photography since 2005 when he discovered it on Digg. He's been a fan of the technique ever since.


7 thoughts on “5 Best Destinations for HDR Photography

  1. Benny Hsu says:

    I love HDR photos but haven’t learned fully how to do it yet.

    I am a photo and travel fan so these pictures are amazing.I love the colors in the Japan photo. Man they’re all great.

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  3. Darlene says:

    I agree with your assessment and would like to add a couple of my own. I haven’t been to Bali – YET – but it’s on my list to get to soon. The whole Eat, Pray, Love tour thing. NYC and Bangkok for sure – we went to Koh Samui, a small island a short train ride or flight away and it was fabulous. Stay off the touristy beach and you can get a bungalow ON the beach for $50 a night like we did! Rent a scooter for $8 a day to get around if you are so inclined.

    I’d like to add New Orleans and anything along Route 66. We did a 6 month trip in an RV and touched on Route 66 a couple times and the stuff you find along there is way cool! Old gas stations, begging to be done in HDR! Diners in rail cars, you name it. Character with a capital C! Wanna go back and do the whole thing from Chicago to LA in a Corvette!

    Oh, and New Zealand! The place is just stunning anywhere you go from volcanoes, rolling hills, caves, black sand beaches, and more. And the people, beyond friendly.

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  5. Lauren says:

    I aspire to become a Digital Photographer, and I personally think the Florida keys are a great place to take pictures. I also took great photos on this remote island in Belize, and the island of Grand Cayman is also another amazing place to take photographs in the Caribbean.

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