With so much to capture in the great outdoors, it’s helpful to know what parts of nature call to you the most as you begin (or continue) your journey as a nature photographer. We’re here to inspire your wildlife photography goals with a list of bucket-list worthy animals and wildlife phenomena.
Ready to grow your wildlife bucket list?
If you love bold goals when it comes to your photography bucket lists, make room for the march of the penguins. It’s far from easy – and far from safe – to reach a location where this migration can be photographed, but if photography is your life calling, an expedition to Antarctica is more than worthwhile.
If you do go see the Emperor Penguin migration, you have to promise us one thing: print these beauties on acrylic! Acrylic prints will have you reliving the trip of a lifetime every time you pass them in your home.
Location: Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and Canada
When you’re equal parts majestic and adorable, it’s not hard to secure a spot on our wildlife bucket list. These gorgeous animals find home in the arctic tundra, which guarantees you a stunning, winter-wonderland backdrop to all of your reindeer photographs.
Location: Along coastlines in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
These jellyfish are tiny but mighty, with their bioluminescence making them captivating photography subjects. They’re a great addition to the wildlife bucket list of underwater photographers, pros and beginners alike.
Printed on panels of metal, these little jellys will make a big statement on your walls – especially in a gaming room, screening room, or neon-themed bedroom regularly flooded in LED lights.
Location: The Southern Peruvian Amazon
The beauty of these birds speaks for itself, and where one would make a great photograph a flock of them becomes a must-see. The birds gather in the hundreds to nibble on a clay lick along the Amazon river basin.
Sound confusing? Scientists are stumped too. Read more about the flocking here. The good news is, whether we understand the flocking of the macaws or not, they are a stunning sight to see and make for awe-inspiring photographs.
Location: Alaska. See specific locations here.
If you didn’t already have a zoom lens in mind from the first four features of this list, we sure hope it’s on your mind now. You’ll want to keep a considerable distance from this fishing party of 1,000 pound Grizzly Bears.
Not only is this get-together fascinating to see, but you’ll have the opportunity to freeze power in a frame as you snap solo shots of these beautiful beasts.
Location: The Galapagos Islands
These revered residents of the Galapagos Islands spend most of their days resting, but that doesn’t make them any less fascinating of a subject to photograph. They can reach up to six feet in length and weigh up to 573 pounds.
They’re an absolute must-see when visiting the islands, and would make for stunning prints sure to provoke the envy of all your house guests when you explain you get to explain how you took them yourself.
Location: The West Coast of Australia
Whale sharks have long been the object of photographers’ affection, thanks to their wonderfully patterned skin and their gentle demeanor. During Australia’s winter months – the summer months of the Western Hemisphere – these marvelous giants head north along Australia’s Western coast to breed in warmer waters. Put yourself in the right place at the right time, and you may just be the first person to witness a whale shark giving birth. How’s that for a bucket list item?
We would love to see these gentle giants and the blue water surrounding them displayed as a centerpiece on a large metal print.
Trekking to Machu Picchu is bucket list worthy on its own, but sprinkle the breathtaking views with adorable and inquisitive llamas and you’ve got yourself a wildlife bucket list item! Your llama shots will make wonderful additions to the travel photo book you dedicate to your Peru expeditions.
With nearly all species of sea turtle classified as endangered, it’s no surprise that witnessing thousands of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way intrepidly toward the sea is such a moving experience. For marine life activists, sea turtles are one of many endangered species critical to photograph in the campaign against ocean pollution and ecosystem destruction.
You can get detailed information on the migration of the Serengeti here, but the basics to understand are that the wildebeests (as well as some zebra, gazelle, and impala) of the Serengeti migrate north in April and May, cross the Mara River in September, and begin heading south in October and November.
To see such a conglomeration is spectacular, and certainly worthy of a spot on your wildlife bucket list.
Location: Lake Kerkini, Central Macedonia, Greece
Lake Kerkini descends into a magical dreamscape as the sun goes down, and the pelicans of Lake Kerkini are part of this magic. Not only are they beautiful animals on their own, but their bright red-orange gullets contrast brilliantly with the lake’s surrounding cool pastels. Their eccentric appearance make them the perfect subject for photographs you’re sure to be proud of.
Location: The Pacific Coast
In addition to being among the most brilliant creatures in the sea, octopi are also some of the most aesthetically stunning. Turn your octopus photography into awe-inspiring acrylic wall galleries showcasing what lies in the depth and darkness of the ocean.
Location: The Maldives
These little flying creatures are a critical part of the ecosystem in the Maldives, as one of the few flying animals large enough to spread plant seeds throughout the terrain. We love the way these other-worldly critters look from directly below, with the sun highlighting their translucent wings and back-splashed by bright blue skies.
Location: Klamath Basin, Oregon and California
If you live in the United States, the country’s national bird is a worthwhile bucket list item. Whether you aspire to photograph it for its symbolic significance or for its pure magnificence as a notorious predator of the sky, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment when you snap the perfect shot of a bald eagle with its wings spread wide.