Transport yourself across the globe to one of our stunning postcard destinations. Soak in the view. Imagine you are there.
Photo: Shot from a balcony overlooking Palm Beach, north of Oranjestad, in the late afternoon by René Timmermans
It's the water. The water. The water. You can't stop ogling it. It's like you've never seen the ocean before. Something so attractive and enticing that you don't want to tear your eyes away. This must be how addiction starts. You look at the incredible turquoise blues with sunglasses off. You look at them again with your sunglasses on. You pass your polarized Maui Jims to someone else. "Are you seeing what I am seeing?" Yes, he is. It's just ARUBA. It has that thing, the way some really beautiful models and actors do. They can't help it. It's nature's lottery. Well, Aruba, you won big time. And I'm in. Way in.
Photo: Shot with a Canon 5D Mark III a few miles from the photographer, Jerry Monkman's, home at the mouth of the Piscataqua River—his go-to spot for early morning coastal sunrise photos. A 15-second exposure created the blurred effect in the waves.
It's 6:30 a.m. Moments before dawn. In the distance, the stout figure of Whaleback Light begins to take shape. A few minutes from now, this stretch of shore—Great Island Common—will flood with golden sunlight. Sailboat captains, both novice and pro, will cut through the cobalt waves that form the border between Maine and New Hampshire. Deep-sea fishing vessels and isle-hopping cruise ships will make their way to open water, and there will be an excited hum of travelers on the dock here in the smallest town in New Hampshire. But for now, all is quiet. Another day on the water is about to begin.
Photo: Shot with a hand-held Nikon D800 and Nikkor wide-angle f/2.8 lens on a summer afternoon—an impromptu stop on the Pacific Coast Highway in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. By Brian S. Miner
On a winding roadway known for incredible views, perhaps the most dramatic vistas of California's Highway 1 appear along the narrow, two-lane region of Big Sur, about two hours south of San Francisco. Here, the panoramas are immense, with rocky mountains plunging way down to crashing seas. There are plentiful pull-offs: Obviously no one can resist driving for long without stopping for a lingering look. Some people perch at cliff's edge, leaning out for a better photo; others stand many cautious steps back. Either way, it's front and center—wind, ocean's roar, and all that blue.
Photo: Shot on a tripod in late December with a Canon 5D Mark II to emphasize the long, low light. By Susan Cole Kelly
Sunset casts a rosy glow over Cape Neddick's Nubble Light, perched on a small, rocky island a few hundred feet from the shore of York, Maine, a town beloved by locals and tourists alike for its wide, sandy beaches and historic architecture. Since 1879, this beacon has guided sailors to safe harbor with its flashing red light and mournful foghorn. Fully automated in 1987, the lighthouse and keeper's cottage are off-limits to visitors, but the best views are from York's Sohier Park, just across the narrow channel. A quintessential symbol of the New England shore, Nubble remains one of the most photographed lighthouses in the nation and a festive vision during the holidays, when the keeper's cottage and red shed are dressed in evergreen wreaths.
Shot with a Nikon 35mm camera from a small boat at midday. Direct sunlight maximized the water's luminosity; a polarizer reduced glare to highlight the turquoise hue. By Frans Lanting
The 45-minute flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora is like a modern-day Noah's ark; on the approach, excited couples peer out from the seaplane windows for a glimpse of the turquoise Pacific lagoon—the bright, neon hues seemingly plucked from a Pixar film. This French Polynesian paradise has perfected the art of romance as the birthplace of the over-water bungalow. And on any typical sunny day, the island is your oyster—dive for the black-lipped bivalves with pearls, or just embrace island time while taking naps on the shore shaded by coconut palm trees. With no agenda, it's still easy to fall into a routine: Swim in the lagoon. Lay out on the beach. Repeat.
Shot on a dive near Viti Levu, Fiji, in late morning using a Canon EOS 5D Mk I camera body with a zoom lens at 17mm setting and two underwater strobe lights. By Stuart Westmorland
Divers—from beginners to the know-no-fear variety—say Fiji is the spot to don a wetsuit. This stretch of crystal-clear South Pacific sea, called Bligh Water, is known for its vibrant coral reefs in hues of magenta, emerald, and gold. The reefs are home to tiny, darting fish such as purple fairy basslets and bright orange anthias. And where there are small fish, larger ones follow: Graceful eagle rays, white-tip reef sharks, and flashy parrotfish call this wonderland home. Gliding through the deep blue, some 40 feet beneath the surface, the colors are so bright it's like basking in the sunlight of the sea.
Shot with a Pentax 6×7 camera with a 90mm f2.8m lens at Moshup Beach by Julien Capmeil. The photographer created the temporary sculptures after seeing similar stone towers and other nature art around the island.
Martha's Vineyard has a forever quality about it. There is an old-fashioned earnestness about the utilitarian stone walls that run down lanes and along property lines, behind which sit beautiful summer homes and quaint inns. While the larger rocks become fences, smaller stones huddle on the beaches against the wind and tides. Along the shoreline of Aquinnah on the island's western end, beachcombers search for timeworn stones perfect for stacking. Weighing them in their hands and in their imaginations, visitors build tall stacks like pancakes or snowman-style figures, cantilevered against the wind. Permanence is the name of the game: Surely a rock snowman can never melt. But then comes a wave or a gust of wind, and in no time the stones are displaced, kicked back among the many, waiting to be plucked from obscurity again.
Shot with a Nikon D90 camera in a waterproof underwater case during a scuba diving trip by Julian Tempelsman. It took about 15 minutes to follow this particular turtle toward the surface for the perfect amount of sunlight.
One of the reasons the Great Barrier Reef deserves its moniker: The emerald, gold, and violet coral islands are home to the world's most unique marine creatures, including the almighty green sea turtle. The second largest of the tortoise-shell species, these ancient beauties nest and warm themselves on the sandy shore and lounge in shallow swells, nibbling on sea grasses and algae. Even with their herbivore diet, adult green sea turtles can weigh as much as 350 pounds, but in the water, their paddle-like flippers give them Michael Phelps power to propel through the cobalt waves past blue-ringed octopi, giant clams, humpback whales, and rare snubfin dolphins. Great, indeed.