Top 100 Iconic Locations: Southwest Quadrant

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Staff Pick

Mt Whitney
California, USA
GPS Coordinates:
36° 34′ 48.85″ N, 118° 17′ 32.40″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 36.580236111111100
LON -118.292333333333000
The highest point in the Lower 48 states is Mount Whitney, rising 14,505 feet above the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It’s a favorite of hikers and climbers alike, as well as photographers eager to catch a glimpse of these jagged granite peaks. The best scenic overview of the mountain lies at 8,360 feet, at the Whitney Portal, the trailhead of the Mount Whitney Trail and the starting point for those who climb its rough terrain. Another good perspective from which to capture this magnificent location is from the surrounding Alabama Hills, also part of the Sierra Nevada range.

Grand Canyon,
South Rim
Arizona, USA
GPS Coordinates:
36° 06′ 00.76″ N, 113° 14′ 37.52″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 36.10021111
LON -113.2437556

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California, USA
GPS Coordinates:
37° 49′ 11″ N, 122° 28′ 43″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 37.819722222222225
LON -122.4786111111111
The Golden Gate Bridge represents more than just an astounding feat of engineering—it’s an icon of American ingenuity and the pioneering spirit that brought settlers to California’s golden shores. The red suspension bridge, which connects San Francisco to Marin County over the San Francisco Bay, is one of the most photographed bridges and landmarks in the world. It can easily be photographed from the banks of both the San Francisco and Marin County sides of the bay, and offers other vantage points like Fort Point under the bridge. The bridge also has walkways on both sides, offering you a variety of perspectives of the bridge itself, as well as the surrounding city and landscapes.

Big Sur  
California, USA
GPS Coordinates:
36° 16′ 12.08″ N, 121° 48′ 27.84″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 36.270022222222200
LON -121.807733333333000

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California Poppy Reserve
Near Lancaster, California, USA
GPS Coordinates:
34° 43′ 58.18″ N, 118° 22′ 34.70″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 34.732827777777700
LON -118.376305555555000

Griffith Observatory
Los Angeles, California, USA
GPS Coordinates:
34° 07′ 09.40″ N, 118° 18′ 02.53″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 34.119277777777700
LON -118.300702777777000

Garden of the Gods
City Park 
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
GPS Coordinates:
38° 52′ 38.30″ N, 104° 52′ 48.57″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 38.877305555555500
LON -104.880158333333000

Yankee Boy Basin
San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA
GPS Coordinates:
37° 58′ 50.50″ N, 107° 42′ 47.94″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 37.980694444444400
LON -107.713316666666000

International Balloon
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA GPS Coordinates:
35° 11′ 45″ N
106° 35′ 49″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 35.19583333333333
LON -106.59694444444445
In early October, you’ll find hundreds of hot-air balloons filling the skies around Albuquerque, N.M. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a nine-day event, and the largest of its kind in the world. The colors, shapes and variety of balloons have attracted photographers and spectators by the tens of thousands each day of the festival for more than three decades. During what’s called the Mass Ascension, all participating balloons in the festival launch in two waves—an exciting part of the event. For unique photo opportunities, go beyond the obvious shots of balloons in flight, and explore the scene on the ground with the balloons as a backdrop.


You may not be back here again, so be sure your camera system is ready for whatever your location has to offer. As part of the Canon EOS D-SLR system, the EOS 5D, paired with Canon EF lenses, and advanced Speedlite flash and accessories, gives you the flexibility to come prepared for everything from wide-angle scenics and telephoto details to fast action and environmental portraits. Canon’s lightest and most compact D-SLR with a full-frame image sensor, the EOS 5D offers 12.8-megapixel resolution, a nine-point AF system, advanced metering modes and a bright, crisp 2.5-inch LCD. Built for the turbulence of travel, the EOS 5D is housed in a robust magnesium-alloy body. It also features a 3 fps burst rate for up to 60 consecutive JPEGs or 17 RAW files, so you’ll catch more of the action. For more on the EOS 5D, click here.


Coconut Grove 
Molokai, Hawaii, USA
GPS Coordinates:
21° 07′ 52.27″ N, 157° 02′ 2464″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 21.131186111111100
LON -157.040177777777000

Na Pali Coast
Kauai, Hawaii, USA
GPS Coordinates:
22° 13′ 13.32″ N, 159° 35′ 04.31″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 22.220366666666600
LON -159.584530555555000
The Na Pali Coast State Park is a 15-mile stretch of cliffs on the northwestern shore of Kauai that’s as rugged as it is beautiful. Na Pali literally translates to “the cliffs,” an apt characterization as the jagged hills rise up to 4,000 feet above sea level. The cliffs aren’t accessible via car, but the 11-mile Kalalau Trail traverses the area and leads to picturesque Kalalau Beach, where you can camp and take pictures of the cliffs surrounding this spot. The dramatic coastline makes for a spectacular panoramic shot from a boat or an aerial shot from a helicopter or plane.

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Highland District of Nob Hill, Route 66,
Neon Route 
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
GPS Coordinates:
35° 4′ 49.26”N, 106° 36′ 32.76″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 35.080350000000000
LON -106.609100000000000

Delicate Arch
Arches National Park, Utah, USA
GPS Coordinates:
38*44′ 37.57″ N, 109*29′ 57.83″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 38.743527800000000
LON -109.498805600000000 Delicate Arch is one of the most recognizable and photographed natural wonders of the world. Located in Arches National Park in Utah, this iconic formation has been featured in postage stamps, and its image even is used on the Utah state license plate. Formed from Entrada sandstone, the arch is said to resemble cowboy chaps. Reach the arch by parking at the Wolfe Ranch parking area and hike a mile and a half in. Photo opportunities span the seasons, but the best light in which to capture the arch is at or near sunset and sunrise.

Gateway Arch 
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
GPS Coordinates:
38° 37′ 29″ N, 90° 11′ 6″ W
Microsoft® Virtual Earth™:
LAT 38.624722222222225
LON -90.18500000000000
Known as the “Gateway to the West,” the Gateway Arch in St. Louis marks American expansion into the west under President Thomas Jefferson. The arch is a 630-foot-tall and 630-foot-wide stainless-steel structure, with public access to the top of the arch via a tram. Once you get to the top, there’s an observation area that overlooks the Mississippi River, the St. Louis skyline and southern Illinois, offering a terrific portal for photography. For unique perspectives on the arch itself, try shooting from the river or its eastern banks. Another favorite view puts the Old Courthouse on 4th Street in the foreground, with the Gateway Arch behind it.


Perfect for exploring unknown territory, Canon’s EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L IS USM, when used with the full-frame EOS 5D, provides an exceptionally versatile zoom range. Use the wide end of the range for landscapes and architecture, or zoom in for detail shots and portraits. With Canon Image Stabilizer technology built in, you’re free to shoot handheld—no tripod to slow you down. It’s also an L-series lens, with Canon’s top-tier optics and construction, for unparalleled sharpness and travel-ready durability. For more on the EF 24-105mm, click here.