Experience Diablo Lake and Learn How to Take Hiking Photos

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Travel Photography

Diablo Lake – How to Take Hiking Photos

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Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park is a beautiful location. Beyond the beauty, it’s a great location to practice your hiking and travel photos skills. I hope my tips help you. There is nothing like a beautiful hike and hiking photos that capture the day. Here is a great Diablo Lake Guide to prepare for your trip and to learn about the area.

How to Take Hiking Photos

Composition, in my opinion, is the most important aspect to consider when taking photos, especially out in nature. Think of every image divided into three horizontally and vertically. Your focal point is very important. If you are putting a focal point in the center square, make sure there is a reason to center the picture as most of the best photos are above or below the center of the photograph.

Diablo Lake

All the photos here are from a day hike to Diablo Lake. The trail I chose is a 3.5 mile each direction 0r 7 miles round trip. You can take a short ferry ride back on a cute little ferry for $10.00 cash on Diablo Lake run by the National Parks Department to make it half as long. Additionally, Skagit Tour teams offer a boat tour on the lake if you don’t want to hike. It costs around $40.00-$45.00. for the day, lunch included.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

Diablo Lake Focus

The photo above shows the foreground in focus, while the middle ground of the ripples on the water reveals the breeze. The foreground is bright and light, while the background is dark. This shows the lake in deep turquoise. By doing this, the photo shows the size and enormous scale of the area.

Steps for Taking Travel Photos

The second most important point to consider is making sure your photo is square or straight. No one wants to look at an image where it isn’t straight on the horizon line. There are reasons to make a picture not centered, but, most amateur photographers can’t pull it off. Better to be safe than sorry. Therefore practice makes perfect, so practice taking photos that look straight.

Images and horizon lines must be centered and straight. Here is a photo that is not straight and therefore this beautiful photo isn’t a great photo because it’s not straight on the horizon line. The picture can be edited to fix this. But, from my point of view, the photographer should be able to get this right without an editor. ‘My bad’ this photo that I took isn’t the best I can do but, makes my point.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

Line, Design, and Form

Sometimes the woods are beautiful and almost overwhelming. I look for the light and darks, contrasts of color and composition. Sometimes I see black and white in the middle of all the color. In the case, of this photo. I tried to shoot black and white while the bright green, color highlights, the highlights and low lights of the photo. The photo shows how thick the forest is and the deep growth continues along the trail.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos


Sometimes while traveling, your travel photos capture the moment. In this photo, there are shadows, lights and darks, and textures. The sun seems to make high contrast areas that reveal new forms and the shadow makes a design, within the image.

Point of View

The other point that makes this photo interesting is I squatted to take the picture not a big deep squat, but enough to make the perspective unique. Shooting up, from under, or between two points makes the composition look interesting and unique.How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

Look For Shadows

If you search for shadows, you will see many interesting designs with unique lighting. This adds an element of mystery and excitement in the photo. The contrast makes the photo capture the beauty of the location. The time of day, morning light or evening light also adds an element of design to a photo.

Lighting also captures the weather and conditions of the trail. Hiking photos can capture the color of the subject, in this case, the movement of the water forms a pattern of color and design – the subject is the water.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos


Travel and hiking photos are great when they include a person that is not staged and somewhat candid. This gives the viewer the sense of being at the location with the photographer. Try to show the location, the difficulty of the trail, the enjoyment of the experience, and the person’s personality.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

Perspective and Point of View

Make sure you take photos of the full view. Capture the overall beauty of the spectacular location. The background of the image captures the North Cascade mountain range, the middle ground (the dam) demonstrates the scale, and the foreground shows the concrete material and contrasts the natural beauty of the mountains.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

Look Up

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

Look Down

Change your point of view. squat, bend over, lay on your back and shoot up and shoot down. Find the things you like the best. find your favorite subject and shoot it over and over in any location. In my case, my toes in the water wherever I go.

How to Take Hiking Travel Photos

My Passion

My passion is taking travel photos with my toes in the waters of the world. It’s fun to reminisce about all the places I have dipped my toes, such as the Canadain waters where Polar Bears live, or the Nile, Amazon, and Mississippi rivers. Pick something you want to remember, document your moments with travel photos.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, and from City University, Seattle, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour foods.