30 Nature Photos That Will Leave You Awestruck
Nature is beautiful and bizarre. Those who manage to capture incredible phenomena, scenes, and creatures through the lens of a camera are truly talented, or perhaps were just there at the right time. We’ve scoured the internet to find you the most interesting and jarring nature photos that have ever been taken, and they are truly awe-inspiring. From wildlife photos, all the way to landscape photos, we have it all right here. So read on for images so astounding that you wouldn’t be able to picture them in your wildest imagination, or even find in the best nature books ever compiled.
1. Photo Op
The last thing you would probably think about during a tornado is taking a picture, but one young woman did just that. Perhaps it was the photographer’s idea to take this risky shot, but still makes us wonder just who was really behind the camera here. Let’s hope they both ran away real fast after this was taken.
It was actually this girl’s mother! This is a picture of Audra Thomas and behind the camera is her mother Marrilee. The photo was taken in 1989 near Beaver City, Nebraska. The twister reportedly destroyed a barn on the Thomas’s property, but thankfully no one was hurt.
2. The Spotted Black Jaguar
The spotted black jaguar is one of the rarest animals on the planet and can only be produced by two similarly black spotted jaguars. This majestic creature has golden colored fur with dark black spots. They were once even considered a different species.
The black jaguar was once considered a species of its own, separate from the normal spotted jaguars. But biologists now consider them different colorings of the same species. The spotted black jaguar is a fearsome hunter and part of the feline family of big cats.
3. Raccoon Attack
Imagine waking up during the night to strange noises and then seeing this sight. That’s just what happened to one woman who was out camping. She heard strange noises during the night and decided to snap a picture to see what was going on.
These raccoons look almost zombie-like the way some of them are standing with outstretched arms and glowing eyes. Generally, raccoons are solitary animals, but when there is an easy target for food, they gather. This poor camper most likely didn’t safely store her food, which attracted the raccoons.
4. Playful Polar Bears
Generally, there is nothing more dangerous than a mother polar bear surrounded by her cubs. But not these polar bears. During an expedition, this Soviet soldier can across some hungry polar bears and he offered them some condensed milk, which they gladly accepted.
It is very unusual for polar bears to act like this, but perhaps they were so hungry that they were on the brink of starvation. We’re not sure if the cuddly-look cub is trying to nibble the explorer’s leg out of hunger or playfulness. This photograph was taken in the Chukchi Peninsula in the former Soviet Union.
5. Milky Way Over Ancient Pyramids
This breathtaking image portrays the Milky Way galaxy over the equally as captivating ancient pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The galaxy is in fact a spiral-barred shape tunnel which creates the illusions of a pathway illuminated across the clear night sky.
The ancient Egyptians associated the Milky Way with a stream of cow’s milk flowing from the cow goddess called Bat, who ruled over fertility. The Milky Way actually gets its beautiful appearance from the lights of all the stars combined. There are so many stars that they become indistinguishable from each other and look rather like a lightly dusted ray of light.
6. One Cunning Cat
This cat knows better than to try and cross two Doberman pinschers without some backup. Like a ninja cat, he is standing like a human just around the corner out of the dogs’ sight. Or maybe he’s waiting to surprise attack them.
Dobermans were developed back in 1890 by Karl Dobermann, a German tax collector. They were initially used as guard dogs due to their muscular and intimidating appearance. Dobermans are known to be highly intelligent dogs and loyal companions to humans.
7. Tree Goats
A tree is probably the last place you would expect to find a goat, but you would be wrong. The goats don’t just climb any tree though; they climb the rare Argania tree which is mostly found in certain parts of Morocco.
The Argania tree produces a certain type of nut that the goats just can’t resist. Goats are naturally skilled climbers and have the ability to balance on even the thinnest of branches. After the seeds pass through the goats digestive system, it produces the sought after Argan oil, which humans know and love.
8. Twin Tornadoes
On May 4, 1922 two twin tornadoes ripped through downtown Austin, Texas. This photo shows one of the tornados forming over the Texas state capitol building. The event went down in history as being the worst tornado disaster in the city of Austin.
The storm started out with only one funnel cloud, but quickly split into two separate tornadoes. Combined, the two tornadoes killed thirteen people and injured at least fifty others, as well as causing massive damage to the city. It is estimated that the property damage was around $400,000.
This amazing photo is from the 1981 film Roar, which is largely known as the most dangerous film ever made due to the number of predatory animals used during filming. At least 70 members of the cast and crew were injured during the film’s 11-year production.
Actress Tippi Hedren disputes that number. Saying that at least 100 people were injured, with some people sustaining life-threatening injuries. “If we wanna make a movie with lions, people are gonna get bitten. We just hope that nobody dies and we’ll do everything we can to makes sure that doesn’t happen,” Hedren added.
10. The Megalodon
If you’re afraid of sharks, then the megalodon is sure to terrify you. The megalodon is about four times the size of a great white shark. Measuring at a maximum of 60 feet, they were about the size of a school bus.
This photo shows a reconstruction of the giant shark’s jaw, juxtaposed against a great white shark. The megalodon could have swallowed a great white whole! This creature is considered one of the largest and most powerful predators to ever have existed. Thankfully this monster of a shark is extinct.
11. A Salty Business
This intriguing photograph captures how different types water don’t always mix. The makeup of ocean water is entirely different from that of other types of fresh water, and therefore they don’t mix well. This in the case in this image of the off shore waters of the Gulf of Alaska and a glacial melt.
The density and salinity (saltiness) of the fresh water running off a glacier melt was vastly different from that of the sea water in the Gulf of Alaska, which resulted in a distinct line where the waters met without being able to mix.
12. The Uninvited Guest
This dog has no problem sharing his food with the neighborhood skunk, or rather he has no choice in the matter. Sometimes it’s best to just know when to back off and when to stand up for yourself. Getting sprayed with putrid-smelling liquid is just not a good idea.
Maybe the dog just doesn’t care and is happy to share his food with whoever comes along. Dogs are friendly creatures, but his face says it all. It looks like he’s saying, “why is this smelly cat eating my food?”
Nope those are marshmallows or cotton balls. In fact, they’re an unusual-looking type of clouds called mammatus clouds, or mammary clouds due to their unique udder-like shape. The clouds are commonly associated with severe thunderstorms and tornado activity. Pilots steer clear of these clouds due to turbulence.
Mammatus clouds are formed when cool air sinks down, forming pockets, which forms puffs of clouds due to the convection of the warm air rising. The first description of such clouds dates back to 1894. If you see these clouds, you can be sure that you are in for some bad weather.
14. Brown Panda
This unusual panda is the only known brown panda in the world. His name is Qizai and he lives in the Foping Panda Valley in China. It is believed that a genetic mutation gave him brown fur instead of the regular black and white fur that pandas generally have.
Qizai was bullied by other pandas growing up and was even tragically abandoned by his mother at a very young age. Thankfully, he was found and rescued before he starved to death. He was only a few months old when his mother left him. Read on for more incredible and jarring nature photos.
15. Manta Ray
This is a photo of the largest manta stingray ever caught. It was caught in 1933 and measured 19 feet, 9 inches wing-tip to wing-tip. The monster stingray weighed over 5,000 pounds and was caught by accident after it became tangled in the boat’s anchor line.
Manta rays are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and their biggest threats include pollution, getting caught in fishing nets, and being hunted by humans. Their gill rakers are used in Chinese medicine.
16. Hard Rime
This man must have one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. He is seen here scaling a cellular tower after a horrific winter storm. We expect that he was sent up there to attempt to remove some of the ice from the tower. Good luck!
The ice that has formed on the tower is known as hard rime. It can frequently be found on trees, mountains and ridges during the winter months in certain areas. Hard rime is especially dangerous for airborne aircraft and can cause planes to crash.
17. Blue Ice Monolith
This amazing picture might look like a large tsunami frozen in place or something out of a reality-bending movie like Inception, but it’s actually a phenomenon known as blue ice. Blue ice occurs when snowfall is compressed onto a glacier and eventually becomes part of the glacier itself.
The ice’s blue color is due to the same reason that the ocean is blue. The ice absorbs red, orange, yellow and green wavelengths, so the remaining visible wavelengths are blue and violet. The blue ice becomes exposed when there is no addition or subtraction of snow from the glacier.
18. Massive Waves
This is a famous photo taken by Jean Guichard in 1989. The picture shows a man standing on a lighthouse while a massive wave crashes into the structure. The lighthouse, named Phares dans la Tempete, la Jument, is located near Brittany, France.
Amazingly, the lighthouse survived the storm and is still standing to this day. It might seem like the man in the photo is just casually standing by the lighthouse door, but he is actually waiting to be rescued from the storm. Let’s hope he got out of there soon!
19. Rocky Turtles
You might think a picture of Sylvester Stallone posing with two turtles isn’t very impressive, but what if we told you that those turtles are more than 40-years-old and are the same ones that appeared in Stallone’s iconic 1976 movie Rocky.
The two turtles are named Cuff and Link (cufflink… get it?) and were given to Adrian, Stallone’s on-screen girlfriend, as a gift in the movie. It’s also rumored that the pair will have a cameo appearance in the movie Creed 2.
20. The Arachno-pocalypse
No, it’s not snowing, it’s spidering. All this white webbing is actually from spiders. Large floods in Australia caused spiders to move to higher ground. And how do they move quickly? They use their webs like a hot air balloon.
That’s pretty ingenious when you think about it, but terrifying for anyone caught in their sticky path, especially if you’re afraid of spiders. The mesmerizing expanse of webbing in the nature photograph above covered around half a mile of land.
21. Ball Lightning
This amazingly timed photo is of a ball of lightning. Ball lightning reportedly lasts longer than the average lightning strike, which occurs in a split second. The phenomenon is so rare that only 5% of the Earth’s population has ever witnessed the occurrence.
Scientists have been debating just how ball lightning works since it was first brought up for debate in 1843 by English physician and electrical researcher William Snow Harris. To date, there is still no agreed-upon scientific explanation for how ball lightning occurs.
22. Tasmanian Tigers
You might not recognize this unusual looking animal and that’s because it is a photo of the now-extinct thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger or the Tasmanian wolf. The thylacine is neither a tiger nor a wolf, it was actually the largest known carnivorous marsupial in existence.
The thylacine was declared extinct by the International Union for Conversation of Nature in 1982, then by the Tasmanian government in 1986. Although many believe that there are still wild thylacine in existence today. Many people claim to have seen the animal in the wild.
23. The Endurance
This is an incredible photo taken of the vessel Endurance which got trapped in an ice floe, rendering the ship trapped. The captain and crew decided to wait until the ice melted in the spring, but they weren’t so lucky.
When the ice began to crack and melt, it put so much pressure on the vessel that the ship’s hull ruptured and started taking on water. The captain and crew eventually made it back to an inhabited island after almost 500 days since the ship took off.
24. The Arctic Hare
These fluffy nuggets may resemble real-life, white Pickachus, but they’re actually rabbits known as Arctic hare and they have succeeded in adapting to the Arctic’s harsh climate. They can even change the color of their fur depending on the season. During the winter months, their coats are snow white.
In the summer their puffy white fur molts and grows back brown or grey. The Arctic hare can be found in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. The Arctic hare is also quite fast, being able to travel at 40 mph.
25. A Natural Illusion
At first glance, this picture looks like it could consist of multiple pictures all photo-shopped togehter. But it’s actually just one! The shoreline of the lake makes a perfect line straight across the picture making it look like two different photos.
This picture was taken in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Banff National Park is actually Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885 and is located in the Rocky Mountains. With its sweeping views and dramatic landscapes, the park draws in over three million visitors annually.
26. The Honduran White Bat
These adorable balls of white fluff are known as the Honduran white bat, or the Caribbean white tent-making bat. They almost exclusively eat one species of fig and build their “tents” out of large leaves that they cut with their teeth to fold downwards.
As it’s name indicates, the Honduran white bat can be found in Honduras, along with other tropical regions like Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama. A female Honduran white bat can give birth multiple times a year and produces only one offspring at a time.
27. Lightning Water
Everyone knows that water and electricity don’t mix well together. In the ocean (or any body of water for that matter), lighting is far more dangerous. A bolt of lightning can contain around 300 million volts, far more than enough to kill a human.
Fish near the surface can be killed by the electrical charge, but fish swimming two or three meters deep in the water wont feel a thing. Swimming during a thunderstorm is incredibly dangerous. If you hear thunder or see lightning it’s recommended to get out of the water immediately.
28. Lightning Tree
While it looks like a piece of Bible imagery, this picture shows what appears to be a tree being struck by lightning. It was reportedly taken using long exposure to show exactly what occurs at the moment lightning hits. However, some claim that the picture is photo-shopped.
Real or not, it is a very impressive picture showing the exact moment that lightning strikes and the roots of the tree lighting up. Lightning generally occurs during thunderstorms and is a sudden electrostatic discharge. Certain areas, such as Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, is a lightning hot spot and has lightning activity 297 days of the year on average.
29. A Monster
This 28-foot monster-sized crocodile was shot and killed by a Polish woman in Australia named Krystina Pawlowski back in 1957. Still to date, it is the largest known crocodile to have been found in Australia. The kill earned Pawlowski the nickname “One Shot.”
But Pawlowski, later on, regretted killing the crocodile. “He never woke up, and he never knew we were there. He was the most beautiful animal. If someone offered me a million dollars to shoot a crocodile now, I wouldn’t,” she said.
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