Best of 2017: Travel

If you haven’t seen part 1 of my Best of 2017 posts, go check out my favorite portraits from this year here.

Ah, travel. Like a lot of other college students, I don’t often get the chance to travel. Most of my summers are spent taking classes or working, and my student-sized budget limits my travel options. However, I took a few weeks off from all things academic this past summer to travel in the western U.S. I visited a handful of national parks, spent some time eating myself to death in Vegas (I wasn’t 21 yet so my options were limited) and took a few (okay, a lot) of photos.


I feel the need to preface this section by saying that I am absolutely not a travel or landscape photographer, but I did my best! This past summer was actually the first time that I carried my DSLR with me throughout an entire trip, most of which was hiking in various national parks in the U.S. I ended up loving some of these photos so much that I printed a selection of them to hang in my apartment, so enjoy!

The first photos in this set are from my visit to Zion National Park in southwest Utah. I was only there for a few short days, but Zion quickly became one of my favorite parks ever for its mixture of towering rock cliffs, beautiful rivers, and lively wildlife. I hope to go back soon!

Summer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-20.jpgAdobe Spark (7).jpgSummer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-30.jpgAdobe Spark (9).jpgSummer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-48Summer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-34.jpg

This last image above from Zion is weirdly one of my favorite shots ever, even though four out of five of the people in the photo are complete strangers. (My father is the one with the backpack and the tan cap on the right.) Something about the winding path along the steep cliff face combined with the centered hiker in the wide-brimmed hat, I guess.

Bryce Canyon, captured in the images of below, creates some really striking images with its vibrant red-orange rocks and towering spires. I spent most of my time hiking around the upper rim, where I could photograph the sprawl of the canyon from up high. The hoodoos (the rock towers) are actually massive, towering pillars, but I liked that they looked almost like little soldiers in formation from a distance. I spent a few hours navigating the steep switchbacks that lead into the canyon, pictured in the last photo.

Summer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-69.jpgAdobe Spark (10).jpgSummer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-89.jpgSummer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-95.jpg

Arches National Park and Monument Valley were two really fun places to photograph, though the rock formations are much more impressive in person. While they don’t look that intimidating in the photos, I challenge you to look for people, roads, and cars in the images that will give you an idea of the scale of these monuments. Arizona’s Monument Valley at sunset, in particular, was a joy to shoot. The blaze of the sun lent so much rich color and drama to the images, making them some of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken.

Summer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-120.jpgAdobe Spark (11).jpg

I’ll admit to being kind of obsessed with the the West and East Mitten Buttes, both for their unique shape and adorable name. The above photograph was taken on foot from one of the trails, while the ones below were taken from a higher vantage point near sunset. Look at the difference that the light makes!


The last set of travel images I wanted to share is from Antelope Canyon in Arizona. I was absolutely thrilled to get to take my camera with me as we descended into the lower part of the canyon and wove our way through. Most of the passages are very narrow, making it so that I had to turn sideways to squeeze through some areas. The walls also block out a great deal of sunlight, making it somewhat dark (but blessedly much cooler than the desert outside). Before visiting, I was skeptical of the photos I’d seen, with their vibrant reds and purples. I thought the photographers had just pumped up the vibrance and saturation during editing, but as you can see below, the colors in the canyon are absolutely real. The guide told us that they shift throughout the day based on the angle of the light filtering down through the canyon, so that no two photos of the canyon are ever identical.

Summer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-156.jpgAdobe Spark (12).jpgSummer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-165.jpgSummer2017_JoyceTongPhotography-160.jpg

That’s a wrap on 2017 travel photos, thanks for sticking around! I’m looking to take another trip this summer, so please send me your suggestions! I have never traveled to Europe or the majority of Asia, and would especially love to shoot in both places. And don’t forget to check out part 1 of this post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s