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Beautiful Destinations

This assignment ran from Jul 18 to Aug 8, 2016.

You may have heard the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Well for this assignment we are flipping that sentiment around and having it be all about the destination.

For some, the summer season is when we spend time with our friends in familiar places that we come back to year after year. For others, it’s a time for new locations and faces—the undiscovered places. Whichever it may be, we want you to share your beautiful destinations with us.

When you’ve finally arrived, unpacked your bags, and kicked off your shoes—what do you see? Where are you? Don’t send us a photo that looks like a postcard. We want to see your unique vision of that destination. Why is it that you spent the time, money, and effort to get there? What is it that draws you to this place? Is it everything you dreamed of and more? Look for the little details that give a sense of place and make us want to pack our bags and join you.

Speaking of joining you, with support from our friends at Airstream, the Your Shot team will be heading to a beautiful destination in North Carolina. We will be camping in several locations at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. What better destination than our protected and pristine national seashore to run this assignment from? Stay tuned for notes from the road that we’ll post here and follow us on Instagram @natgeoyourshot for some destination photos of our own.

Now let’s get out and explore that destination!

In return for the Sponsor's support of this Assignment, National Geographic may provide images from the Assignment to the Sponsor, Airstream, for use on it's website, social media platforms, and other outlets to promote and publicize the Assignment.

Curated by:

Monica C. Corcoran
Former Director, Your Shot

Matt Adams
Senior Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Aug 18, 2016.
Thank you for your contributions!

Facebook Live

Posted aug 10, 2016

While the Your Shot team led multiple photowalks on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, we also found some time to talk with a local about this beautiful destination. Your Shot Director Monica Corcoran speaks with former head of the National Park Service Kenny Ballance—14 generations of his family have lived on this barrier island. Watch the video below to gain some insights about Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.

Live Update

Posted aug 4, 2016

Hello, Your Shot! We’ve decided to try something new for our last editors’ update—we are going live. The assignment editors will be offering feedback and answering questions on Friday, August 5, between 1:30 and 2 p.m. ET.

Post your questions and replies on the discussion board during that time and join the conversation. We’ll share some of our favorite photos thus far and let you know why we liked them.

We’ll also be adding one more submission to this assignment, so anything you learn tomorrow can be put to good use over the weekend. Now get outside and explore your beautiful destination!

What Makes a Great Destination Photo?

Posted jul 29, 2016

As the Your Shot team finds themselves traveling the roads of the U.S. to new destinations, I’ve been thinking about what makes a great travel photograph.

I always considered myself a people photographer, so capturing the essence of a location is an idea I’m new to and I’m starting to practice on every new trip my team takes. At first I underestimated how difficult it can be to capture a great image of a landscape or location. Sometimes you might think, just point the camera at those cool mountains; press the shutter and voilà, a beautiful destination shot. There’s a lot more to it and to think about.

How are you composing this image, what will make it different from those images on postcards they sell in gift shops? How can I make this an image that will say something about the experience I am having? These are all the questions that run through my head every time I find myself back on the road.

As you continue to submit images for this assignment I’d like to see work that can answer some of those questions I brought up about capturing the essence of a beautiful destination. Sometimes when I’m out in the field I take a few notes down in my phone or small notepad detailing a few thoughts or ideas that I’d like to express in an image I’m taking. Maybe doing this can help you with your next submissions. Of course seeing an amazing landscape is incredible, but try and show Monica and me why this place is really something special. For those like me with a background in people photography, you can show off a beautiful destination by showcasing the people who call that place home.

I’d like to reference this image captured by Vineet Singh. We see a motorcyclist making his way across a highway in India, passing from the sunlight and moving in the shadows off in the distance. The composition and light is really incredible, but I love the story that is being told here. Use those captions to give us some interesting info about the place and don’t be afraid to try and use some new angle or composition to show us the beauty of your next destination.

- Matt Adams


Posted jul 22, 2016

One of the benefits of having an Airstream trailer to call home for a week is that your basecamp is mobile and never far away. You have all the comforts of home, but you are on the road or already at your final destination.

This is especially helpful for photographers who might have multiple lenses, camera bodies, and any other special gear they need to get that elusive, perfect shot. It also means that waking up to take photos at sunrise is made a little bit easier because you are already there. Just open your door, step outside and start shooting. This holds true whether you are camping or simply staying put in one spot. There’s something to be said for getting to your destination and not leaving!

These photos were taken by editors Matt Adams and Monica C. Corcoran while camping on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in an Airstream Sport trailer.

Monica C. Corcoran

Monica C. Corcoran

Former Director, Your Shot
Monica C. Corcoran is an award-winning photography producer with 20 years experience in visual storytelling. She is a former director at National Geographic for the Your Shot photo community.

Matt Adams

Matt Adams

Senior Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Matt is a Senior Producer on the Your Shot team. He curates and produces the Daily Dozen gallery as well as monthly assignments. Before Nat Geo, Matt was a photography instructor and freelance photographer working for publications such as Wired, Spin, and Pittsburgh Magazine.