Hop in the car and ride along with Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake as they embark on an adventure-filled road trip through Idaho. From the border with Canada down to Twin Falls, the duo soak up the visual splendor of the region, capture some epic photos, enjoy its incredible food, and meet the wonderful people that call the state home.
After crossing the border from Canada into Northern Idaho, the pair arrived on the beautiful shores of Sandpoint, where they searched for fall colors and waterfalls in Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.
After the hiking and kayaking had taken their toll, the famished duo arrived at Candle in the Woods: a five-Star dining experience led by Chef David Adlard that can only be described as unique and unforgettable.
The next morning, the team traversed to the town of McCall on the shores of Payette Lake. The lake, however, is not what they came for. No, they instead hopped into an all-terrain Polaris RZR and into the mountains, slowed only by a giant sheep traffic jam.
They also explored historic White Bird to learn the history of the Nez Perce Tribe and finished as they attend the famous Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Ketchum.
What an Adventure
The video, shot in Fall 2023, was the result of a whirlwind trip that doubled the size of PetaPixel‘s typical video production team. Joined by Travel Editor Michael Bonocore and me, Chris and Jordan were whisked from the border of Canada down through the entire state over the course of a week so they could see, photograph, and enjoy the scenery of Idaho along with everything it had to offer.
There was a lot to see and while a week might sound like a lot of time, we very easily could have spent twice as long there and still left so much undiscovered.
Some of my most vivid memories of the trip involve the insane beauty of the landscape. Idaho, at least the regions we drove through, is incredibly mountainous and while the roads tended to sweep in and around them, we were almost always surrounded by staggeringly beautiful cliffs, rugged hillsides, and expansive forests.
And the aforementioned ATV ride into the mountains made for some amazing photos — both of the region and of ourselves.
Photography publications typically focus on gear and technical information, but PetaPixel has historically mixed this perspective with art, adventure, and culture. It’s ingrained in our philosophy, and this project stands as a prime example of the importance of remembering why we as photographers pick up a camera.
While we could detail what cameras Chris captured his photos with and what Jordan and I used to make the video, we felt like that took away from the point of the project. It’s not about what we used, but what we captured.
Freed from test charts and sample galleries, we were allowed to just photograph the region, its beauty, its food, and — most importantly — its people.
I don’t think that I’ve ever taken part in a project that had this diverse of subject matter. Chris photographed landscapes, portraits, food, and wildlife. He experienced events both indoors and out, and some of the most beautiful natural light I’ve ever seen.
I’ll leave you with Chris’s thoughts as he reflected on his time in Idaho and I hope it inspires you to visit new places, meet new people, and, of course, photograph it all.
Jordan and I had a great trip. Idaho turned out to be an amazing place to visit and I was just struck by how beautiful the state is and how many different things there are to photograph.
I was really looking to rekindle my love for photography and Idaho did not disappoint. The gorgeous landscapes I expected but we also got to meet such interesting people and I love the portraits that I got of them. I’ll miss all the people who welcomed us in and shared what Idaho means to them.
There was also food photography and astrophotography and I even got to document a sheep festival and the people that it all brings together.
I even got to fish a little bit though not as much as I would have liked! All the more reason to return and explore what else the state of Idaho has to offer. There are so many more photographs waiting to be captured, so many more places I want to visit, and I can’t think of a better or more beautiful place to bring a camera, go for a drive, and just let yourself wander and lose yourself in the beauty around you.
This project was created in partnership with Visit Idaho. No matter the time of year, Idaho is easily one of the most beautiful and exciting places to visit, especially for photographers. Go to Visit Idaho and plan your own epic Idaho road trip today.
Photos by Chris Niccolls unless otherwise noted.