If you are looking for centuries-old architecture, beautiful white beaches, or exquisite wildlife but are displeased with the touristy destinations like South Africa or Bali, then you will love Sri Lanka. A small island off the coast of India, Sri Lanka is filled with ancient Buddhist temples, ample amounts of wildlife, and exciting architecture that will make for the best photographs you can possibly capture.
Suffice to say, nature can present some miraculous creations and if you have a passion for capturing the beauty of the land, Sri Lanka serves these opportunities on a silver platter.
Offering up magical views of the island, Adam’s Peak will allow for beautiful photographs looking down or even beautiful photographs of the soaring mountain itself. Expect this destination to be a bit more overwhelmed with people than others. Adam’s Peak is a pilgrimage site for Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. At the peak lies a boulder with an indentation resembling a footprint that is said to be that of a holy figure. Depending on religious traditions, the footprint may represent Buddha, Adam, St. Thomas, or Shiva.
Best known for its variety of wildlife, Yala National Park is the most visited park in all of Sri Lanka. Those looking to capture the natural habitats of the magnificent animals calling Sri Lanka home can expect to be pleased with the level of focus on conservation at Yala. You can photograph Sri Lankan elephants, leopards (Yala has the highest concentration in the world), crocodiles, among others. Many of the species found here are endemic species of Sri Lanka.
Nothing quite compares to the photographs of a pink and orange flaming sun setting along the horizon of a gorgeous beach surrounded by swaying palms. Sri Lanka, being an island, beholds some of the best remote beaches you can find.
With so many beaches to choose from in Sri Lanka, it can be difficult to decide which holds the superior title. Tangalla is balanced with picture perfect coves to explore and long, wave-lashed beaches. You can capture the picturesque scenes typical for a beach or go exploring for a more rugged, remote shot.
Hang up a hammock and click away. Mirissa is a more remote area that appeals more to the “sit-back-and-relaxers” than the “go-go-goers.” Mirissa will offer some of the best photography for marine wildlife, specifically the blue whale—the largest creature in the world. Grab that long-zoom lens and get ready for envy-inducing pictures!
One of the greatest benefits of travelling is that you get to experience the history of the world for yourself. You get to step outside of your ordinary routine to experience the variety of the world and see the proof of times long passed. The joy of photography is that you can capture these experiences to re-live them again or to share with those that are unable to experience for themselves. Sri Lanka has a rich and long history that has remained, mostly, intact.
Few places in the world have remained truly authentic to their initial era. Most have been doomed by war, modernisation, or simply the brutal beatings of time giving forth decay or despair. Galle seems to have been ultimately protected for the marvel of generations succeeding its origins. Built by the Dutch in 1663, the Fort dominates most of old Galle and contains an incredible collection of structures and culture. You will have the chance to capture the cultural history or excellent views of the city and ocean from the Fort.
Much like Adam’s Peak, Kataragama is also a pilgrimage town, held sacred by Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Vedda people. In the temple complex, you can snap photos of each of the worship dwellings for those who come to worship in the city. If your timing is right and you come during the annual festival honouring the sacred deity, you will have a unique opportunity to photograph those who come to celebrate and the traditions they honour.
Though Sri Lanka does not hold the land mass equal to its neighbour India, there are still a few bustling cities that are quickly developing and buzzing with culture and movement.
The largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo has an urban vibe with upscale shopping and fine dining. You’ll love capturing the architecture of the packed city or the pulsing streets with cars and people. If you fancy night photography, then take in the nightlife and the club-goers that litter the area. The Pettah Market will make for beautiful photos with all of the colours and livelihood. You may even find a few favourite spices or foods to pick up.
For a more laid-back city adventure, head over to Kandy, the only other real “city” in Sri Lanka. You will love capturing the architecture and art scattered along the surrounding areas. The city centre will be perfect for capturing the people of the area and for snapping a memory of the offerings among many small shops.
With all of these fascinating locations and stunning scenery make sure you have enough space on your memory card or plan to carry a few. Also, back-up batteries are always important, the lack of which can put a serious damper on your experience if you haven’t planned. Another key accessory may be a tri-pod, especially for night shots or gloomy weather. Perhaps the most important accessory though is travel insurance that you can tailor specifically to cover for your technology.
Image courtesy of Flickr user NH53, Dave Lonsdale, Анастасия Ольховская, Ronald Tagra.