Jason HatfieldExplorer

No longer off-the-radar

This is an incredibly beautiful place to camp and if you hit it on a weekday outside of peak season you might have it to yourself! That being said, it's pretty well known and visited now due to its popularity on Instagram. The rough road still keeps enough people away that I've only seen it crowded on a weekend, but that might change with improvements to Hole-in-the-rock Road.

Endless Views

This was a fun diversion during our time in Ubud. We were there near New Years so the trail was extremely crowded but we left our guide behind to go faster and just found a spot at the top to ourselves. The sunrise was beautiful with views to the ocean and the rest of the island.

Dark sky views

I did this a night hike and it was great way to avoid the crowds and enjoy the stars.

Stunning fall falls

This is one of my favorite remotish falls near the Columbia River Gorge. I've only been in Spring and Fall so I'm not sure how busy it is in summer but I've always had it to myself.

Winter Wildlife Galore

In the winter the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City is wildlife central for Yellowstone. During my 5 day visit Bison were constantly on, along, or near the road. Coyote and fox made regular appearances too as well as elk, eagles, and bighorn sheep. It was most -20˚F or colder during my visit so there wasn't enough open water to find otters. I saw wolfs everyday, 3 packs on my first day, but they required binoculars or spotting scopes to see close. I camped part of the time at Mammoth Hot Springs but they only had a few spots plowed. Overall an incredible experience if you enjoy winter and nature.

Don't Solo This

I did this early season a couple years ago in my stock 2004 4runner. I really recommend doing this with at least one other vehicle, unlike me, in case you get stuck. I made it through the muddy snow walls at top but got stuck at one point when I slid partway off a gravel section. Thankfully a little digging and timed rocking got me back on the road. It was a beautiful drive but I definitely won't do it again unless I'm in a more lifted and outfitted vehicle.

Easy winter hike

From a hiking standpoint it has nice views but unfortunately, I've never had great photography luck there. There's not really a clean composition and the trees are distracting unless covered in sticky snow (which doesn't happen often).

Stay Safe

Amazing access to an enormous glacier, but stay safe by hiring a guide or having the right gear and experience. Crevasses abound the instant you're on the glacier so traversing takes time. The current fee is $30pp.

Winter Aurora

This is stellar spot close to Anchorage to photograph the northern lights in the winter. You'll want snowshoes or xc-skis to get there and tons of warm clothing, it was -20˚F on my visit and I was the only one there.

Anchorage Views

A great hike close to Anchorage for views of the city and Cook Inlet. Hikeable in the winter with snowshoes or skis.

Unique experience in the U.S.

This is a perfect foul weather activity if you're in the area. The hand tram was amazing and not something I'm used to encountering in the U.S., I felt like I was in B.C. It does take some work to pull yourself across if you're by yourself with a lot of camera gear.

Stunning in summer or winter.

I visited in the winter first when avalanche danger is higher but the ice is more stable. In the summer the glacier is more stunning against the mountains and green vegetation but it's too risky to go inside any caves.

Go in a storm for smaller crowds

A beautiful place and unique experience. The train ride was slow but it's a steam engine going through the mountains, so you can't exactly complain. The basin was stunning if not that remote feeling, but I went during a couple weeks of big storms so it wasn't too busy. The mountains all have different challenging aspects but doable during breaks in the weather.

Night Views 👌

A beautiful place to enjoy a soak and look at the Milky Way. Price is very reasonable and the facilities are clean.

Serene Lake

This is the perfect spot to pitch your tent on the way back from Titcomb Basin. We found stunning spots high above the lake looking over Fremont Peak and a pair of osprey fishing.

Panoramic View

This spot has a stunning panoramic view of the Wind River Range. There's not much for photographic composition in the foreground to offset the massive peaks but using your tent or hiking partner works pretty well.

Incredible Eclipse Adventure

This mountain is an incredible adventure to conquer, especially if it's your first true mountaineering summit. I always love backpacking in the Wind River Range and just getting to base camp for this peak takes you to one of my favorite places. I was concerned about the snow bridge at this point in the season but a big snow year meant it was huge and not a problem. My group decided to summit during the 2017 total eclipse and it was by far the best eclipse experience I've had.

Stunning view of the Uintas

The views from the ridge above Blue Lake are incredible and if you go on a weekday you might have a whole lake to yourself for the night.

Easy access

In the winter it's one of the few spots open near Abraham Lake. If you're camping in temps below 0˚F you'll likely be the only one.

Just a little windy

If the lake isn't frozen, or it's completely snow covered, this is a great alternative for shooting from. Be careful here, though, as the winds can be strong enough to knock over your camera or worse. If you're taking long exposures when it's really windy make sure your camera is wind-blocked or braced to prevent image shake. One of the nights I stopped here in the winter the winds were blowing too hard on the point to even stand.

Winter Thunder!

I made a sunset visit here in late winter and had the whole place to myself. The falls were simply stunning with ice hanging everywhere and blue water rushing through the gaps. Make sure you have traction to get the whole way down in the winter, the last drop to the falls can get really icy.

Tranquil location

I visited this falls in August 2012 so I can't speak to how busy it might be now. That being said, we were the only 2 there and I really enjoyed the location; nothing epic but a very serene and photogenic spot.

Quiet Morning Spot

The hot springs were a perfect temp (both pools) on a recent winter visit. Make sure you have micro-spikes or traction for the walk down. There was a lot of trash around the pools that I cleaned up, please do the same if you visit.

Do it for the Instagram ;p

This is a beautiful spot for sunrise and I had it to myself in the winter. The rocks can get pretty slick with ice, so if you'll be photographing sunrise here in on a freezing morning I recommend some traction and extra care. Update: I went back this winter season with a lot more snow. Most of the rocks were underwater so comps were a little less interesting but the mist and snow covered trees more than made up for it. There were about 15 other photographers on a Thursday evening so it's definitely gotten a lot more popular since my visit in 2012.