Photo by Scott Bourne

Photo by Scott Bourne

#1 Bosque del Apache, New Mexico is my number one wildlife hotspot. 18 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico. More than 300 species of birds migrate to the Bosque each year.

#2 Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, WY is home to bears, buffalo, pronghorn sheep, moose, birds and more. Watch out for overbearing park rangers though.

#3 Northwest Trek Eatonville, Washington is a great place to photograph deer, elk, moose, bear and a number of other birds and animals native to the northwest.

#4 The Alligator Farm St Augustine, FL is an amazing place that offers bird photographers a chance to photograph birds in breeding plumage from as close as four feet.

#5 Arizona Sonora Dessert Museum.

#6 Yellowstone National Park: Avoid in the summer – too crowded.

#7 Baxter State Park Maine

#8 Denali National Park – autumn. caribou, moose, bears.

#9 Piedras Blancas Beach – Near San Simeon, CA best place for elephant seals in the USA – January is the best time to go.

#10 San Diego Wild Animal Park/Zoo.

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Join the conversation! 28 Comments

  1. Scott, thanks for making a list that mentions locations across the entire United States. Everyone should get to their local zoo to practice their wildlife photography skills.

    Reply
  2. Scott, thanks for making a list that mentions locations across the entire United States. Everyone should get to their local zoo to practice their wildlife photography skills.

    Reply
  3. Any chance of a “Top Ten Locations” list to photograph in the whole world from you guys? I’m curious to see if Africa comes out on top now as opposed to Europe or far east or the US for that matter.

    James
    Freiburg, Germany

    Reply
  4. Any chance of a “Top Ten Locations” list to photograph in the whole world from you guys? I’m curious to see if Africa comes out on top now as opposed to Europe or far east or the US for that matter.

    James
    Freiburg, Germany

    Reply
  5. Aloha Scott!

    Thank you for the list. Bear Country USA in Rapid City, South Dakota is an amazing place. I would recommend it. I was just there in September and it was such a wonderful experience. Thanks again for the show!

    Mahalo,
    Isaiah

    Reply
  6. Aloha Scott!

    Thank you for the list. Bear Country USA in Rapid City, South Dakota is an amazing place. I would recommend it. I was just there in September and it was such a wonderful experience. Thanks again for the show!

    Mahalo,
    Isaiah

    Reply
  7. For any western Canadians out there…. Kananaskis in the rockies (near Calgary) is my favourite place to photograph – tons of wildlife, mountains, and less touristy than Banff.

    Reply
  8. For any western Canadians out there…. Kananaskis in the rockies (near Calgary) is my favourite place to photograph – tons of wildlife, mountains, and less touristy than Banff.

    Reply
  9. That Alligator Farm in Saint Augustine looks amazing. Looks like it may well be worth the 14 hour drive down there to shoot a few days. Does anybody know if there is a better/best part of the year for that place in terms of the best variety of wading birds ?

    Reply
  10. That Alligator Farm in Saint Augustine looks amazing. Looks like it may well be worth the 14 hour drive down there to shoot a few days. Does anybody know if there is a better/best part of the year for that place in terms of the best variety of wading birds ?

    Reply
  11. @Gregg – Feb through April

    Reply
  12. @Gregg – Feb through April

    Reply
  13. As a relatively frequent visitor to the Bosque Del Apache I’ll contribute one helpful hint to the potential visitors. Place is perfectly sized for bicycle (too large for just walking and too disturbed by cars). If possible come by day in advance and do an overview with the car. Than come for sunset or sunrise with the bike and do not be scared to get on unmarked trails (middle of the area is crisscrossed by the service paths formally “not for visitors”), it is next to impossible to get lost and you won’t be doing any damage on the bike or walking… but you’ll get some wildlife. And yes, beware of the dominant wildlife form during the best photography times: Mosquitoes …

    Reply
  14. As a relatively frequent visitor to the Bosque Del Apache I’ll contribute one helpful hint to the potential visitors. Place is perfectly sized for bicycle (too large for just walking and too disturbed by cars). If possible come by day in advance and do an overview with the car. Than come for sunset or sunrise with the bike and do not be scared to get on unmarked trails (middle of the area is crisscrossed by the service paths formally “not for visitors”), it is next to impossible to get lost and you won’t be doing any damage on the bike or walking… but you’ll get some wildlife. And yes, beware of the dominant wildlife form during the best photography times: Mosquitoes …

    Reply
  15. A bike is a great idea if you can manage to carry your gear and peddle at the same time.

    I think your comment about the place being disturbed by cars isn’t borne out by any facts whatsoever. Since the refuge opened to cars it’s GROWN in popularity with birds. . . not the other way around. I’ve been shooting there yearly for 17 years.

    Reply
  16. A bike is a great idea if you can manage to carry your gear and peddle at the same time.

    I think your comment about the place being disturbed by cars isn’t borne out by any facts whatsoever. Since the refuge opened to cars it’s GROWN in popularity with birds. . . not the other way around. I’ve been shooting there yearly for 17 years.

    Reply
  17. Yes, Baxter State Park is a great place to photograph Moose

    Reply
  18. Yes, Baxter State Park is a great place to photograph Moose

    Reply
  19. @Scott, Here in Florida I personally like the Venice Rookery. Bring your 400mm+ lens. I actually met Art wolf there 13 years ago. Next I like Ding Darling.

    Reply
  20. @Scott, Here in Florida I personally like the Venice Rookery. Bring your 400mm+ lens. I actually met Art wolf there 13 years ago. Next I like Ding Darling.

    Reply
  21. Nice list, and this is probably beyond the scope of a blog and could be a book.

    But i think it’d be more interesting in there were a few (or many) different categories of top ten places. Wildlife, scenery, people, birds, etc and if there were a book it could even do World, country, state / area (or assuming there’s 50 * 4 lists skip the country list.

    I’d certainly give something like that a good look through.

    Oh and 11 should be your backyard. It’s not special-so make it special.

    Reply
  22. Nice list, and this is probably beyond the scope of a blog and could be a book.

    But i think it’d be more interesting in there were a few (or many) different categories of top ten places. Wildlife, scenery, people, birds, etc and if there were a book it could even do World, country, state / area (or assuming there’s 50 * 4 lists skip the country list.

    I’d certainly give something like that a good look through.

    Oh and 11 should be your backyard. It’s not special-so make it special.

    Reply
  23. When I move back to the U.S. I will try to hit as many places on that list as I can.

    For international spots, Malaysian Borneo (Sapa and Sarawak) would be my suggestion for great wildlife. I was able to get shots of wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys, hornbills of several variety, plus huge water monitor lizards and a blue tarantula. There are elephants too, but not where I was, and I hear rhinos as well. I didn’t have a DSLR at the time, just a slow bridge Olympus, so most of my shots were blurry or small.

    But other serious photographers I met there said it was the greatest place outside of Africa they had been for animals, at least for apes and monkeys.

    Reply
  24. When I move back to the U.S. I will try to hit as many places on that list as I can.

    For international spots, Malaysian Borneo (Sapa and Sarawak) would be my suggestion for great wildlife. I was able to get shots of wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys, hornbills of several variety, plus huge water monitor lizards and a blue tarantula. There are elephants too, but not where I was, and I hear rhinos as well. I didn’t have a DSLR at the time, just a slow bridge Olympus, so most of my shots were blurry or small.

    But other serious photographers I met there said it was the greatest place outside of Africa they had been for animals, at least for apes and monkeys.

    Reply
  25. Thanks for the listing! Since we specialize in North American species, it’s easy for them to look natural in our park. I’d also like to let the photographers know that we do offer photo tours in the free roaming area (where the large herd animals are). You can find a schedule on http://www.nwtrek.org/page.php?id=135 After the tour you can spend the rest of your day in the core area “stalking” predators and small forest animals.

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the listing! Since we specialize in North American species, it’s easy for them to look natural in our park. I’d also like to let the photographers know that we do offer photo tours in the free roaming area (where the large herd animals are). You can find a schedule on http://www.nwtrek.org/page.php?id=135 After the tour you can spend the rest of your day in the core area “stalking” predators and small forest animals.

    Reply
  27. Shhhhh, don’t give away Piedras Blancas! ;-)

    Reply
  28. Shhhhh, don’t give away Piedras Blancas! ;-)

    Reply

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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Technique & Tutorials

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