National Geographic is known for featuring some of the most epic shots from beautiful locations around the world. But, since it’s not always possible to hop on a flight to see these places for yourself, we’ve managed to compile a few of the best photographs for your viewing pleasure.
1. A Grand Flyover
Jassen T.’s breathtaking photograph documents sunrise at Yellowstone National Park from 11,000 feet in the air. The Grand Prismatic Spring, pictured in this shot, is the park’s largest hot spring, which produces nuances of color you rarely get to see in nature (minus the occasional rainbow).
Photograph by Jassen T.
2. Island in the Sky
Shane Kalyn somehow captures an “ethereal, otherworldly” atmosphere in this actual real world shot. The little green island, pictured above, is located in the middle of Tumuch Lake, British Columbia. It magically appears to be floating in midair; the only thing that serves to remind us that it actually isn’t is a small ripple on the left side, where a fish interrupts the expanse of water.
3. Jal Mahal, India
The Jal Mahal in the early morning is quiet and serene. Isolated, floating structures are reflected in the lake – an effect only possible when the surrounding waters are perfectly still. Mahesh Balasubramanian, however, has perfected his timing, capturing the movement and dynamic power of flight as a flock of pigeons break through the tranquility of scene.
Photograph by Mahesh Balasubramanian
4. City Hall, Chicago
Diane Cook and Len Jenshel somehow capture an urban landscape and perfectly contrast it with a burst of green. The clean-cut lines and angles of Chicago’s City Hall is typical of an industrialize society; yet the oasis in the center of the photograph brings us back to our natural roots.
5. River House, Serbia
The house in the middle of the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia, seems to be teetering on the point of a rock. Irene Becker, in the process of capturing this shot, has also captured our curiosities. We cannot help but wonder who lives in the little red house.
Photograph by Irene Becker
6. Rialto Bridge, Venice
Venice is another city of contrasts, balancing on both water and land. Peter Geller’s photograph only serves to emphasize this point by showing a delicate array of blues interspersed with shades of it’s completing color, orange.
7. Hot Air Balloons, Cappadocia
Kani Polat’s shot of hot air balloons over rock formations in Turkey almost appears to be taken out of a children’s fantasy book. The ancient structures, with all their varying shapes and points, are Mother Nature’s organic compositions. They spark an imaginative and daydream inducing state in the viewer, especially when looking at the cave like structure at the far left.
Photograph by Kani Polat
8. Terraced Rice Field, China
This aerial photograph taken by Thierry Bornier, depicts Yunnan, China’s various rice field terraces. Other than the obviously beautiful colors of these fields, the lines are the next striking quality of this image. Although not organically produced, the fluidity of the contours remind the viewer of the ocean or water.
Photograph by Thierry Bornier
9. Farmers, Nebraska
Sometimes, nature is eerily beautiful, as depicted in this photo by Jim Richardson. A thunderstorm looming in the sky approaches with an ominous threat. Farmers stop dead in their tracks to watch it unfold.
10. Under Thin Ice
Located on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, the Mutnovsky volcano’s underground caverns bring together volcanic hot springs with ice to form the image you see above. Hot steam arises that produces the thinning glacial indents that sunlight filters through.
Photograph by Sergey Krasnoshchokov