There’s something so peaceful about a lake. The smooth surface going out for miles, sparkling a different color depending on the lake’s origin and contents, reflecting the horizon sometimes so clearly you could invert the shot and barely notice.

Running water has its own appeal—and can be incredibly beautiful in its own right—but today my mind is on the stillness and serenity that only a vast lake can offer.

This is my lake photography wish list: a travel bucket list of 15 lakes I intend to visit and photograph before I die. Check them out (along with a short description) below, click on each name to see more photos, and then let us know what lakes are on YOUR photography wish list. What did we miss? What other lakes should I visit?

Maligne Lake, Canada

Spirit Island by Mike Reyfman on

As a Canadian company, it’s only right to start right here in Canada. Maligne lake should be on every lake lover’s list. Found in Jasper National Park, Alberta, this spectacular bit of water reflects some of the most pristine natural wilderness you could wish to see.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California, USA

Emerald Bay by Shumon Saito on

No bucket list of lakes to photograph would be complete without the massive Lake Tahoe. The largest alpine lake in North America, its crystal clear waters and iconic views (think Emerald Bay, photographed above) will seduce even the most outdoor-averse.

Pehoe Lake, Patagonia, Chile

Perfect Patagonia by Hougaard Malan on

As views go, it’s hard to beat Pehoe Lake and its incredible view of the jagged Torres del Paine National Park. More often than not this lake is photographed from the ground, reflecting the peaks in the distance, but this elevated view seemed to do the lake itself better justice.

Crater Lake, Oregon, USA

Cratering by Chris Muir on

Formerly Mount Mazama (about 7,700 years ago…) the impossibly blue, impossibly clear, impossibly deep Crater Lake is a caldera lake: meaning it was created after a volcanic explosion left a massive crater which, over many years, filled with water. The result is as amazing as you think it is… probably more so.

Lake Kawaguchi, Japan

Mount fuji at Lake kawaguchiko,Sunrise by Pongnathee Kluaythong on

If you’ve ever seen a photograph of Japan’s famous Mount Fuji, it’s likely you’ve also seen this stunning lake. The mammoth mountain is perfectly relfected in the lake’s pristine waters. And if you can get a boat in your frame when you photograph it… well… no need to get greedy.

Laguna Verde, Bolivia

LagunaVerde and Blanca. by Anna Gibiskys on

Named for the vibrant green of its water—a result of chemical composition—Laguna Verde is surrounded by volcanoes and hot springs. No question about it, this one is best photographed from the air…

Moraine Lake, Canada

Moraine Moonlight by Dan Evans on

The second Canadian lake on the list, this beautifully blue glacier fed lake in Banff National Park owes its signature color to “the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis” … at least according to Wikipedia.

It is almost always photographed from the same angle, which would be annoying if it wasn’t such an amazing composition.

Lake Baikal, Siberia

Thin strings  by Daniel Kordan on

A rift lake, Bikal hold the title of largest freshwater lake in the world (by volume). Combine that with the fact that it’s also the world’s deepest lake and you’ve got yourself roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water in one, single, place.

And if that doesn’t wow you sufficiently, the view looking across the frozen surface of this mammoth lake certainly should.

Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

Thaw by Dylan Toh  & Marianne Lim on

You can’t have a list of amazing lakes without New Zealand making an appearance. So on my way to Mount Doom and Hobbiton, you can bet I’ll stop by Lake Wakatipu and take in “The Remarkables”—that’s what they call the mountain range reflected in this glacial lake’s crystal clear waters.

Jellyfish Lake, Palau

Selfie with style in Jellyfish lake by Parnupong Norasethkamol on

Not known for the views it provides above, but rather below the water, Jellyfish Lake in Palau gets its name for the golden jellyfish the live there in incredible numbers. This also happens to be the source of one of my all-time favorite photos on 500px.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Never get tired... by Luka Esenko on

If you’ve spent any time on 500px, you’ve seen pictures of Lake Bled, but I have a feeling actually standing at its edge will still blow my friggin’ mind. Nothing more to say here… just click the name and feast your eyes. I never get sick of looking at this one.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Sunrise Over Atitlan by Michael Libis on

Surrounded by three volcanoes, this caldera lake isn’t “famous” the way Lake Tahoe or Crater Lake in Oregon is… but it should be. When I go, I’ll follow the advice in this article and hike the 5-hour round-trip trail to the top of San Pedro Volcano to look out across the lake.

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

~Twilight~ by Rob Dickinson on

The second New Zealand lake on the list, Wanaka was a must-add for me personally. This one isn’t know for any particular statistic: it’s not the biggest, deepest, or any other “-est” lake in New Zealand. I just think it’s exceptionally beautiful and I want to see it. Sue me…

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

...plitvicka jezera I... by roblfc1892 roberto pavic  on

16 lakes connected by over 90 waterfalls… this is as close to paradise as you’re ever likely to experience on Earth. ‘Nuff said.

Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

From night to day by Freilichtbilder  on

The final stop on my lake tour, if I have it my way, will be Lucerne Lake in Switzerland. I’ll sit on one of the steamboats that make their way slowly across the water and take in the surrounding village and mountains, reflecting (appropriately enough) on the whole trip. A perfect ending to a perfect list of lakes every photographer should visit.