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12 of America’s most photogenic places

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(CNN) — Photography-wise, you really can’t go wrong in a national park or a big city.

They “tend to be the best places to photograph,” says Gary Arndt, a blogger and photographer who sold his house in 2007 and has been roaming the globe ever since. The Society of American Travel Writers named him 2014 Photographer of the Year, and he has already visited 25 countries this year.

This week, Arndt will surpass mile 11,000 of this summer’s North American odyssey.

Arndt has picked more than 20 of the most photogenic spots he’s visited to highlight on Pinterest. A selection is featured in the gallery above. Visually rich and undeniably gorgeous, these American destinations are ripe for photographers of all skill levels.

“If you go to the Grand Canyon, it’s pretty hard to screw up,” Arndt said.

Here are three tips from Arndt to get you started:

  • You don’t have to be in the photo. “Everybody wants to have a picture of themself in front of something, no matter what that something is.” The majority of the most interesting travel shots are not the proof-of-visit variety.
  • Avoid shooting in the middle of the day. “You want to try to take your photos within say, two hours of sunrise or sunset,” Arndt said. There are exceptions to every rule, but these hours tend to yield the best shots in most situations.
  • A little familiarity with your camera goes a long way. You don’t need to master every setting and the science behind it, but definitely “experiment a little bit before you go somewhere.” Don’t let technical difficulties get in the way of your chance to capture something truly spectacular.