Well before I started in photography I already had a passion for exploring lesser-known parts of the planet and remote landscapes. When I picked up the camera, it was only natural that I use photography to document some of my experiences in these kinds of destinations. As much as I believe that good photos can happen anywhere, even in the backyard, I feel fortunate to have spent time photographing those locations that have so much photo potential, yet generally fall off the radar. The world is full of these gems – the underdocumented, rarely visited or overlooked. While some places will remain that way for some time due to difficulty or costs of access, for others it may be only a matter of time before they become as popular as the current photo hot spots. There is much, much more to explore, but here are eleven locations that hold a special place for me and that remain largely obscure.
Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Greenland has off-the-charts natural beauty, remoteness and variety. Between the dramatic seascapes, icebergs, volcanic landscape, incredible night skies and biggest glaciers outside of Antarctica, you’ve got more than enough material to fill your memory card.
Matavai Blue Hole,Vanuatu. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Vanuatu is another destination that offers a ton of variety: cultural opportunities, volcanoes, lush forests banyan trees, caves and incredible underwater photography.
Saba. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Saba is a place like no other. If you think all Caribbean Islands are the same, think again. Here a rugged landscape combines with a unique ‘urban’ culture, where the exterior paint on homes is standardized island-wide, creating a surreal feeling. Throw in thick forest and lava floes and you’ll have a lot of fun exploring.
Talava Arches, Niue. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Like Saba, Niue has a surreal feeling, mostly due to its isolation in the South Pacific and unique geology. Here you’ll find caves, arches, incredible coral formations, and some of the clearest water on the planet. Being a raised atoll, much of the geology of the island is exposed instead of under water.
Emerald Pool, Dominica. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Here’s a Caribbean Island with a truly Jurassic feel. It is incredibly rugged compared to neighbours Guadalupe, Martinique and St. Martin/Maarten. Dominica is waterfall central with a lush rainforest and the only remaining Carib culture in the Caribbean.
6. Baffin Island, Nunavut
St. George Society Cliffs near Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Nunavut. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Baffin Island hosts some of the most rugged terrain on Planet Earth. Incredible fjords and towering peaks gather here to create a sense of vastness that is difficult to grasp. If you ever want to feel insignificant in a landscape, go to Baffin Island.
Ethiopia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Beyond the caves and ancient churches, many people don’t know about the natural beuaty of Ethiopia. It has got one of the most varied landscapes on Earth, between desert, canyons, big lakes, volcanoes and mountains.
8. Maupiti, French Polynesia
Maupiti, French Polynesia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Maupiti has an edge-of-the-world feel, with more shades of blue and green than I have ever seen. Here a rugged peak of the central island contrasts strikingly with sandbars and lagoons. If you don’t want the crowds and development of Bora Bora, make the trip to Maupiti.
9. New Caledonia
Baie du Santal, Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
New Caledonia has some of the most mesmerizing waters I have ever seen. It is a colourful nation to explore between the vibrant blue bays, red earth, and green vegetation. Here it’s easy to find your own little bay to photograph knowing that no one will show up for weeks.
10. Faroe Islands
Hiking on Vágar Faroe Islands. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Ruggedness, wild weather and various shades of green define these teeth jutting out of the middle of the North Atlantic – the Faroe Islands. With some of the largest sea cliffs on earth, this place is all about drama. When the weather breaks and you get the clear skies at night, you can also get the aurora borealis.
11. Anegada, British Virgin Islands
Anegada, British Virgin Islands. Photo: Paul Zizka Photography.
Like no other island I’ve ever seen, Anegada rests only 28 feet above sea level and is encircled by a perfect (and I mean perfect) white-sand beach. In the interior you’ll find salt lakes full of birds and flamingos. When you’re on Anegada it’s easy to forget that the rest of theworld exist. A great spot for minimalist beach shots and night skies (and if you’re a diver, some of the best shipwreck dives on the planet).
→ CreativeLive offers fantastic online photography courses, including The Fundamentals of Digital Photography with award-winning outdoor and travel photographer, John Greengo. Check out all of their photography courses, as well as photography for beginners.