Top 100 Iconic Locations: Asia & Oceania

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Staff Pick

Sydney Harbor and Opera House  
Sydney, Austrailia
GPS Coordinates:
33° 51′ 25.05″ S, 151° 12′ 53.08″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT -33.856958333333300
LON 151.214744444444000
The Sydney Opera House is one of those architectural masterpieces that’s so unique, it’s likely to be the first image that comes to mind when talking about Australia. Perched on Bennelong Point in the Sydney Harbor, the Opera House roof shells jut skyward like massive ship sails in the wind. It’s home to world-class theater and other performances, and was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. There are many excellent vantage points from which to shoot the opera house. From Bennelong Point, there are many walkways providing places to shoot up close. Or, if you’re looking for a more expansive view of the entire Opera House, try shooting from the Sydney Harbor Bridge or take a ferry to catch some photos from the harbor.

Forbidden City 
Beijing, China
GPS Coordinates:
39° 55′ 01.18″ N, 116° 23′ 26.81″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 39.916994444444400
LON 116.390780555555000
Beijing’s Forbidden City is the largest palace in the world; it spans 720,000 square meters and is smack dab in the middle of this major metropolis. It’s the ancient center of Beijing and is surrounded by the Imperial City, a fortress of solitude for the Ming and Qing dynasties, with large walls that line the palace to keep out would-be conquerors. This palace complex is full of photographic opportunities, and one of the most attractive is the Meridian Gate, which is the largest and one of the most ornate openings in the world, consisting of three arches and buildings on top with multiple pavilions. The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest hall in the complex, is built with marble, bronze and gold and lined with unique dragon statues. The complex is quite large, and walking among the different buildings offers portrait opportunities, great wide-angles and amazing palace shots from many perspectives.

Virtual Earth™ Tip

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Harbin Ice Festival 
GPS Coordinates:
45° 47′ 21.72″ N, 126° 35′ 22.78″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 45.789366666666600
LON 126.589661111111000

Nanjing Road
(Shanghai’s shopping district)
Shanghai, China
GPS Coordinates:
31°14′ 22.65″ S, 121°28′ 47.43″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 31.239625000000000
LON 121.479841666666000

The Great Wall  
Badaling area near Beijing, China
GPS Coordinates:
40° 21′ 13.33″ N, 116° 00′ 19.71″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 40.353702777777700
LON 116.005475000000000

Leh, Ladakh
GPS Coordinates:
34° 09′ 36.17″ N, 77° 35′ 31.36″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 34.160047222222200
LON 77.592044444444400


Do your research
Find out as much as possible about your destination before you start traveling. Studying a place and planning a shooting itinerary will enhance the number and quality of photo opportunities you encounter. Use every resource you can to find out details of potential shooting locations and weather including travel magazines, the local newspaper’s travel section, guidebooks, atlases, maps and websites. If you have the time, scout a location to determine the best camera position for the next day.


Lingaraja Temple 
Bhubaneshwar, India
GPS Coordinates:
20° 14′ 18.39″ N, 85° 50′ 00.75″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 20.238441666666600
LON 85.833541666666600

Virtual Earth™ Tip

Double-clicking on a region will make the map zoom in to the location.



Meter your needs
The Canon EOS 5D’s default evaluative metering system breaks the scene down into 35 zones, and works well for a great variety of situations. But the EOS 5D also includes partial, spot and center-weighted average metering. Partial reads the central 8% of the image area, spot the central 3.5% and center-weighted reads the entire area but places most of its emphasis on the central portion. Spot metering lets you read a specific portion of a scene or subject, handy for Zone System fans. For more on the EOS 5D, click here.


Pushkar Camel Fair
GPS Coordinates:
26° 29′ 23.95″ N, 74° 32′ 41.86″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 26.489986111111100
LON 74.544961111111100
The Pushkar Fair is the world’s largest camel fair, as well as a spiritual pilgrimage for the Hindu religion. Legend has it that the god Brahma defeated a demon here with a lotus flower, and when the petals fell from the flower, three sacred lakes appeared. Tens of thousands descend upon this area each year to pay homage to Brahma on Kartik Purnima (Night of the Full Moon) or to soak up the action and events of the fair. Most of the festivities are held at Pushkar Lake, surrounded by desert dunes, where camel races, selling of livestock and cultural competitions take place. Shooting the camel races, the colorful clothing of the fair-goers, and the sights and sounds of the fair is a spiritual experience for photographers, as well as a chance to see India during one of its most visited festivals. This year’s Pushkar Camel Fair takes place November 7-13.

Taj Mahal  
Agra, India
GPS Coordinates:
27° 10′ 29.79″ N, 78° 02′ 31.52″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 27.174941666666600
LON 78.042088888888800

GPS Coordinates:
24° 34′ 31.57″ N, 73° 40′ 48.61″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 24.575436111111100
LON 73.680169444444400

Genghis Khan Revival  
Near Ulan Bator, Mongolia
GPS Coordinates:
47° 54′ 54.55″ N, 106° 54′ 53.50″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 38.743527800000000
LON -109.498805600000000

The Temples of Bagan
GPS Coordinates:
21° 22′ 00.76″ N, 95° 28′ 00.64″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 21.366877777777700
LON 95.466844444444400

Teochew Chinese Opera 
GPS Coordinates:
1° 16′ 56.12″ N, 103° 50′ 38.35″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 1.282255555555550
LON 103.843986111111000

Klong Toey 
Bangkok, Thailand
GPS Coordinates:
13° 43′ 23.37″ N, 200° 33′ 15.91″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 13.716944444444400
LON 100.566944444444000

Temple Angkor Wat  
GPS Coordinates:
13° 25′ 38.08″ N, 103° 51′ 33.45″ E
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 13.412330000000000
LON 103.866720000000000
One of the most photographed places in Southeast Asia is the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. The primary structure of Angkor Wat is a huge pyramid four miles long that stretches to other smaller temples. The main temple here was built in the 12th century CE, and features “temple mountains” or towers that represent Mount Meru, home to the Hindu gods. Angkor Wat is surrounded by a moat that’s more than two miles long, and has many different spots to shoot, from the inside and out, including galleries and courtyards, and carvings and sculptures along the ancient temple walls.


White balancing act
One big advantage of shooting digital images is that you can adjust the white balance for each shot when you encounter tricky lighting situations, and check the results on the LCD monitor right after shooting. Auto white balance works very well in many situations, but don’t hesitate to adjust white balance manually when AWB doesn’t give you the desired results. You can also use white balance creatively—try shooting in “cloudy” mode to add warmth to sunsets.