#1: Lake Baikal, Russia: The world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake
Russia is known for its untamed, expansive landscapes. Among its many attractions is Lake Baikal (or Baygal Nuur), lauded as one of the most beautiful lakes on earth. Situated in south-east Siberia, “The Pearl of Siberia” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the oldest (25 million years) as well as deepest (1,700m) lake in the world and freezes over for about four months every year, making it a spectacular sight to behold. Even the most amateur of photographers will be able to take impressive landscape pictures here, while in winter, the brave can walk out onto the frozen lake (at your own risk!) for a selfie quite unlike any other.
#2: Gion, Japan: Kyoto’s most famous Geisha district
Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, is situated around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. Its high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses makes it the perfect place to capture ancient streetscapes. Instagram shots of Gion are best taken in the early evening, when the place takes on an old-world atmosphere, with glowing traditional lanterns and perfectly preened apprentice geisha moving from one engagement to another.
#3: Niagara Falls, Canada: The fastest-flowing waterfall in the world
Eighteen thousand years ago, thick ice sheets covered large parts of southern Ontario. Today’s Niagara River is a legacy of the last Ice Age. The largest vertical drop of Niagara Falls is over 50m, and about 28 million litres of water travel down the falls every second. Instagram tip: those who stay on the Canadian side of the falls between noon and sunset are pretty much guaranteed to see a rainbow. Because the falls are wider than they are tall, it’s best to take landscape shots instead of portrait, and to use a slow shutter speed to give the water a silky appearance.
#4: Mount Emei, China: One of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China
Mount Emei, traditionally regarded as the place of enlightenment of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra, is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. The trees are verdant almost all year round, and the mountain’s landscape varies according to the season, elevation, and climate. Travellers can snap photos of the surrounding greenery as they ascend the mountain. At the Golden Summit, they are rewarded with the sight of the imposing four-sided and ten-headed golden statue of Puxian against the backdrop of a clear sky. It’s a view for keeps.
#5: Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates: The world’s tallest skyscraper
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, stands at a whopping 828m, making it the world’s tallest skyscraper, and roughly about three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower. The tower is designed to resemble the desert flower, Hymenocallis. A snapshot from afar will capture Burj Khalifa in its magnificent entirety, and from the observation deck of the tower itself, visitors can capture breathtaking views of Dubai and its surrounds. The views are great in clear weather, and also between November and March when the city is swathed in fog for unique texture and mood shots. Tip: Leave the tripod at home to avoid run-ins with security.
An adapted version first appeared in Silverkris.