Using Instagram to scout your trip #IGTravelThursday

5388688410_2bc7a69444_bSunset over Sprague Lake / Photo by Official Information Office Rocky Mountain National Park

Before I take a trip to somewhere new, I always check out flickr to get some ideas on what to shoot and where the best spots are for sunrise and sunset photos. For my trip next week to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Canyonlands National Park in Utah, I decided to consult Instagram.

The big advantage you have with flickr over Instagram is that on flickr, users tend to leave a lot more information on the location and how they got the shot. Not so much on Instagram. Luckily, davros681 tagged his shot #dreamlake, which will be within the general area of where I’ll be camping. (For a great primer on searching Instagram, check out this post on Skimbaco.)

I would absolutely love to come across some big horn sheep. The elk will be rutting about this time of the year but it might be too early for the rams. My dream shot, of course, would be to capture two big rams butting heads with a mountain looming in the background — at sunset!

And the one thing I can guarantee you I won’t do is get close enough to a mother bear and her cub to shoot a video with my iPhone.

I’ll be in Rocky Mountain National Park until Thursday. That’s when I’ll pick up my wife in Denver and head to Canyonlands National Park for the second part of the trip.

There were a couple folks who had this vantage point of the Green River, which leads me to believe there’s a trail that leads to this overlook. I’ll have to research that before I fly out.

And finally, a good Instagram tip for trips to scenic locations is not to forget about the detail shots. Sometimes you can get lost in the grand vistas and forget about all the wonderful things right under your feet.


This post is part of Instagram Travel Thursday, a blog collective that promotes the great travel experts on Instagram and uses Instagram as a source for travel inspiration. 


Official Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosts:

Skimbaco Lifestyle
Destination Unknown
Child Mode
Hines Sight Blog
House of Anaïs
Luxury Travel Mom


Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

  • Reeta @houseofanais

    August 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Looking forward to seeing your Rocky Mountain pics, it looks very inspiring,a bit like Yosemite. I am still a novice but scouting right now travel tips for our next adventure from Instagram..

    • Joe Newman

      August 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Yes, I agree about Yosemite. Lots of similar terrain. I’m counting down the hours now until I leave ….can’t wait!

  • Satu VW

    August 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I have to admit, I never thought of using Flickr as an inspiration for travel destinations & photo opportunities, I should check it out. I just somehow never really got around using Flickr much. Instagram for me comes much more naturally for some reason! Enjoy your trip to the Park, I look forward to seeing your images when you get back!

    • Joe Newman

      August 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks, Satu! Flickr has had its ups and downs over the years but they’ve recently made some great improvements. I think you’ll find that it’s imminently easier to search than Instagram.

  • Hatton

    August 23, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Great travel photography tips!! Hope you have a fun trip and can’t wait to see the photos.

  • Katja of Skimbaco

    August 23, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Can’t wait to see your travel pictures! And yes… I truly believe Instagram is the only travel guide you will need, that’s why I wrote my book about the topic. I love connecting with real travelers who can tell so much more about the destinations than guide books ever can.

  • Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog

    August 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    This is a great post, Joe. Excellent shots, and a great reminder about the things under your feet. Have a fabulous trip.

  • Joe Newman

    August 25, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks everyone for the comments. I’m in Fort Collins today and will be headed up into the mountains tomorrow morning. Really looking forward to shooting a lot of pictures.