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13 of America's most photogenic places

By Marnie Hunter, CNN
updated 4:28 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Get to Arizona's Antelope Canyon when the sun is at its highest, travel photographer Gary Arndt says, to see this light streaming through the slot canyon. Get to Arizona's Antelope Canyon when the sun is at its highest, travel photographer Gary Arndt says, to see this light streaming through the slot canyon.
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Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Monument Valley, Utah
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Millennium Park, Chicago
Skagway, Alaska
Everglades National Park, Florida
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Yosemite National Park, California
Golden Gate Bridge, California
New York City
Glacier National Park, Montana
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Travel photographer shares his picks for the most photogenic spots in America
  • "If you go to the Grand Canyon, it's pretty hard to screw up," he says
  • Avoid shooting in the middle of the day for the best light, he suggests

(CNN) -- Photography-wise, you really can't go wrong in a national park or a big city.

They "tend to be the best places to photograph," says Gary Arndt, a blogger and photographer who sold his house in 2007 and has been roaming the globe ever since. The Society of American Travel Writers named him 2014 Photographer of the Year, and he has already visited 25 countries this year.

This week, Arndt will surpass mile 11,000 of this summer's North American odyssey.

Arndt has picked more than 20 of the most photogenic spots he's visited to highlight on Pinterest. A selection is featured in the gallery above. Visually rich and undeniably gorgeous, these American destinations are ripe for photographers of all skill levels.

"If you go to the Grand Canyon, it's pretty hard to screw up," Arndt said.

Here are three tips from Arndt to get you started:

-- You don't have to be in the photo. "Everybody wants to have a picture of themself in front of something, no matter what that something is." The majority of the most interesting travel shots are not the proof-of-visit variety.

-- Avoid shooting in the middle of the day. "You want to try to take your photos within say, two hours of sunrise or sunset," Arndt said. There are exceptions to every rule, but these hours tend to yield the best shots in most situations.

-- A little familiarity with your camera goes a long way. You don't need to master every setting and the science behind it, but definitely "experiment a little bit before you go somewhere." Don't let technical difficulties get in the way of your chance to capture something truly spectacular.

50 states, 50 spots: Natural wonders

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