Search Help

With search, you can view images with the following criteria:

Please note that search criteria, with one exception described later in Keywords uses a logical 'and'. In other words, the more criteria you select, the more restrictive the search.


If you would like to narrow the selection to one of us, make your choice here.

Location Type

The Location Type is the type of place from which the photograph was taken. It can be one of:

National Lands include any national park, monument, forest, wilderness area, wildlife management area, or BLM land. State Park is any state managed land. Other means the location does not fit into any of the above categories. For example, the photograph was taken in a city park or along the road in the middle of nowhere.

You can search on Location Type without narrowing your search to a Location Name.

Location Name

Location Name is the specific place where the photograph was taken. The list presented will depend on your choice of Location Type. You cannot make a Location Name choice until you have made a Location Type choice.


You may select the state where the photograph was taken. Only states that have associated photographs on the website are listed.


Style can be one of:

A vista is also known as a landscape. Typically you would see a number of elements in the photograph, including some sky. A subject style would be a tighter framing with a smaller number of elements. For example, shooting a group of trees, where there are no mountains, sky, or other major elements in the photograph would be a subject. An abstract would be a close-up of a subject where it may not be obvious what the subject is. For example, a photograph of tree bark is most likely an abstract, unless it is obvious that the subject is a tree.


You may also use keyword searches to find photographs that interest you. Selecting on a keyword or keywords will narrow the search further.

Keywords are broken down into two types, category keywords and specific keywords. An example of a category keyword is: Sky. An example of a specific keyword is cloud. When you choose a single keyword, only photographs that contain that element will be returned. When you choose multiple single keywords, the search becomes more restrictive, and selects only photographs that contain all of the keywords selected.

When you choose a category keyword, all of the specific keywords for that category keyword are also selected. Photographs are then selected if they contain any of the specific keywords for that category keyword. If you choose two category keywords, or a category keyword and other specific keywords from another category, then the images have to contain any of the category keywords AND the specific keywords.

To clarify with some examples, lets say you choose snow and mountain specific keywords. Then all photography with snow and mountains as major elements would be returned in the search. Now if you select the category Snow and Ice and the specific keyword mountain, you have broadened your search to include images which contain: mountain and frost, mountain and glacier, mountain and ice, or mountain and snow.

The descriptions here are much more complicated than the mechanism is in actual use. Just click on the major elements you are interested in and click on Search, and the images you are interested in will be returned.

Keywords and Major Image Elements

The Planetography keyword search was implemented to return images that contain the major elements corresponding to the keyword. When we put an image on the Planetography website, we identify what we think are the major elements of the image and associate the appropriate keywords. The key here is how we define major elements. This can get rather complicated to evaluate, especially for vista (landscape) photographs, which may contain multiple major elements. For example, there may be a photograph that has mountains, a river, trees, sky, clouds, snow, leaves, fall color, etc. The question is whether all of these things are major elements or not. Just because there are trees in a photography does not mean that they are a major element that significantly contributes to the form of the image. We make every effort to make our determination of major elements as consistent as possible.

There is currently no way to exclude images with certain keywords. For example, if an image has as major elements mountains, a river, and trees, but you are interested only in trees with water, you cannot exclude the images with mountains. You may be able to set the Style to Subject to eliminate vista images. The number of images returned for a particular set of search criteria is typically not great enough for this to present a problem in finding the image you are interested in.

Search by Image Number

If you know a Planetography image number, you may also search by the number. At the bottom of the Search page, you can find the Search By Image Number section. Type in the number and click on Find Image. Note that there are two Find Image buttons. Use the correct one depending on whether you are searching by criteria or image number.