I just spent a week in Hawaii, so that got me thinking...
What are some fantastic locations around the world where photographers can go and enjoy gorgeous locations, wonderful people, and experience the vibrancy of different cultures?
Of course, the answer to that question is extremely, extremely long as the best places for photography number in the thousands.
So, I've narrowed things down into this short-list of awesome getaway locations for photographers.
Grand Teton National Park
Ansel Adams [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When you think of the rugged beauty of the American West, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming has to be at the top of the list.
The jagged peaks of the Tetons rise sharply out of Jackson Hole, stretching toward the sky that lights on fire as the sun falls behind the mountains every night.
It's a place made famous by the likes of Ansel Adams, whose Tetons and Snake River (shown above) is one of the most iconic landscape photos of the 20th Century.
And while the Tetons are the star of the show in the park, they certainly aren't the only subject worth photographing.
Wildlife - including grizzly bear, black bear, moose, elk, and bison - is abundant in the park. The history here is deep and rich as well.
You can photograph the remains of ranches and farms, long since abandoned by the settlers that built them.
That includes the famous Mormon Row Historic District, where the most photographed barns in the world stand in front of the backdrop of the Tetons.
You get all this beauty in a place that's wildly accessible (many of the Park's best attractions are right off the road) and a place that's the epitome of Western hospitality.
It might not be as famous as its northern neighbor, Yellowstone, but Grand Teton National Park is certainly one of the best places for photography in the US.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
Hands-down, the Lofoten Islands in Norway is one of the best places for photography in the world.
The combination of the soaring mountains, icy blue ocean, beautiful (and colorful) fishing villages, and incredible light make it a dream location for photographers.
And if you time your visit right, you can catch the incredible combination of the snow-covered peaks and the Northern Lights dancing above them.
Lofoten isn't just a beautiful place, though.
Instead, it's a location that will challenge you as a photographer and presents many opportunities to break out of your shell and try new things.
The snow-covered landscape requires that you master metering and exposure. Photographing the Northern Lights will test your mettle in getting the camera settings just right.
Of course, if you visit in the winter, you'll need to learn how to handle the cold temperatures and lack of light due to the short days.
I love a good challenge - and if you ask me, Lofoten is an ideal challenge for anyone that loves landscapes!
Clearly, no list of getaway locations for photographers would be complete without Iceland...
As far as wild, untamed, and mystical landscapes are concerned, Iceland is ground zero.
Whether you fancy photographing stunning waterfalls, black sand beaches, geysers, glaciers, or something in between, Iceland will be your playground.
In that regard, it's an area that's not only breathtakingly beautiful, but it's also rife with opportunities to highlight various contrasts.
You can head to the Blue Lagoon, where hot springs are found amongst the barren, snow-covered landscape.
You can venture to Diamond Beach to photograph chunks of ice washed ashore on the black volcanic sand that's so abundant in Iceland.
There are opportunities to highlight humankind's impact on the environment as well, from the breathtaking beauty of Reykjavik to the U.S. Navy plane crash site that's the subject of so many photos like the one above.
Throw in wonderfully inviting people, the Northern Lights, and easily accessible locations, and you have the makings of a must-see photography destination.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Perhaps the location on this list that's least known is San Miguel de Allende.
That's a shame, too, because it's certainly one of the most impressive locations for photographers in the world.
Not only is this quaint and historic city vibrant and welcoming with people that are warm, friendly, and accommodating, but it's also rich with history that features influences from American Indians, Creole, and Spanish cultures.
In fact, the entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site because of it's incredible significance as a melting pot of cultures.
This area also presents photographers with a multitude of opportunities to work on different types of photography.
Explore the city and photograph architecture and people on the street.
Head to the outskirts of town and tackle landscape photography.
You can even work on your photojournalistic skills as you photograph one of the many festivals and celebrations held in the city throughout the year.
In other words, if you want to have a varied photography experience, this place is it!
Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff is home to some of the most incredible landscapes on earth, from soaring mountains to glass-like lakes to valleys that explode with color in the fall.
There are abundant opportunities to photograph wildlife as well.
But perhaps the best thing about Banff is that there are simply so many gorgeous locations to photograph within a relatively small area.
Banff, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Yoho are just a few of the top locations in this area that make it one of the best places for photography in the world.
And like other locations on this list, there are opportunities for you to challenge yourself with the subject matter.
Work on long exposure photography by blurring the motion of clouds as they pass above the massive mountain peaks or use a slow shutter to blur the movement of water as it cascades down a waterfall.
Head out at night to hone your astrophotography skills under a blanket of stars in a location that offers perhaps some of the darkest skies in the world.
And with the aforementioned wildlife in Banff, you can explore the possibilities of working with a long lens to capture bear, elk, moose, and other large game as they wander through the landscape.
Bonus Destinaton: Cuba
Photo by Steve Anchell. Used with permission.
I've been itching to go to Cuba for a long time now, as are many other photographers that want to document one of the most colorful and vibrant places on earth.
While there's beautiful scenery to capture with your camera, Cuba is on this list of getaway locations for photographers because of the seemingly endless opportunities to photograph architecture, street scenes, and people.
Everything in Cuba is teeming with life and vitality. You see it in the vibrant colors of people's homes and in the classic American cars on the streets.
Photo by Steve Anchell. Used with permission.
What's more, there are activities all year long that give you the chance to photograph some of the cultural attractions on this tiny island nation.
From street dancers to festivals to rodeos, you'll have opportunity after opportunity to immerse yourself in the celebrations of the Cuban people.
Cuba certainly won't disappoint if you're looking for beautiful photography locations. Of course, neither will any of the other spots on this list!