All of the photos on this list are mind-bending marvels of nature that will make you think twice about this world. It’s going to be hard to believe that there’s no photoshop going on in any of these images, but you’re just going to have to take our word for it. Our planet is an incredible place, and it doesn’t need photoshop to look good.
Keep reading to see some stunning skies, crazy waterscapes, and a pole that looks like it’s floating. Things are not always as they appear!
This Is A Real Iceberg
The photographer who took this shot was minding his own business, kayaking around Newfoundland, Canada, when he came across this iceberg that looks like it’s splitting in half. How is that gash down the side of it so perfectly straight?
Part of the iceberg appears to be transparent. This occurs when snow freezes at different points in time, which results in the folds, layers, as well as the density of the ice causing this unusual formation. Admit it, you kind of want to use it as a waterslide.
This Is One Photo
This image looks like two images laid on top of each other. It almost looks like two photos were taken in two different seasons and then spliced together. believe it or not, this is all one photo.
The cause of this unbelievable scene is a toxic sludge spill that happened in Hungary in 2010. A dam that held back a reservoir of the caustic red mud, a byproduct of aluminum extraction, broke early one morning. The nearby town of Devecser was flooded within minutes. Sadly, 10 people lost their lives to the toxic mud and 150 others were seriously injured.
A Gigantic Beached Whale
Very few people ever get to see a blue whale up close. These animals live in deep, secluded ocean waters. They need a lot of space because they’re only the largest animals to have ever lived on our planet (yes, that includes dinosaurs). These beachgoers were in for the surprise of their lives when a dead blue whale washed up on the shores of Agate Beach in Bolina, Calfornia on May 26th, 2017.
This whale was 79 feet long. Unfortunately, it had been hit by a boat a few days prior.
This Frozen Pond Looks Like Glass
Believe it or not, this is a pond that has frozen over in Switzerland. The frozen water looks like something from another planet, and it’s hard to believe that nature is capable of making such geometric shapes naturally. We’re sure that anyone who came across this pond ended up staring at the shapes for too long, trying to identify a pattern. Considering most water freezes flat, we wonder what happened to give this pond the texture and patterns that it has? This is just another example of how unpredictable and magical nature can be.
This Atlantic Road
Does this look like a road you’d like to drive on? It looks kind of questionable to me. Believe it or not, this road actually exists. It is located along the Norwegian Coastline and it’s called the Atlantic Road. It’s 5.1 miles long and is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in Norway. It’s a popular attraction with eight bridges.
Builders started paving this road back in 1983 and construction was finally finished six years later in 1989. Motorcyclists and cyclists love the scenic route, although we wouldn’t recommend taking this trip during a rainstorm. Things can get very slippery.
A Perfect Cut
This is Schönbrunn Park, one of Vienna’s biggest tourist attractions. Although the size and location of this park are what mainly draws people in, these trees are hard to ignore. It has been said that there are no straight lines in nature, which means these trees were trimmed into the uniform fashion you see above. This is an impressive feat, considering how many trees are in the park, as well as how perfect the lines are. It must take a lot of time and work to keep these constantly growing trees kept to these standards. However, it appears to be worth it and certainly makes for a mind-blowing picture.
A City In The Clouds
The city in this picture almost looks like it’s floating. This whole image looks like a scene right out of a sci-fi film. The buildings in this picture aren’t actually floating, but they are in the clouds. This is the view from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Clouds don’t often settle this low, so the view only looks like this. a few times per year.
This weather event tends to happen when it changes from cold to hot and vice versa. The fog usually clears up by 9 a.m., so people wake up early to see it.
An Underground Cave
Hold on, are we in Pandora because this looks like a scene straight out of Avatar. This is actually a photo that was taken on planet earth of a water-filled underground cave. The glowing orbs you see reflecting in the water are actually glow worms, and this photo was taken in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand.
If you ever visit New Zealand, you can take a guided boat tour through the caves. We all just added New Zealand to our must-visit travel list.
The Mothership Has Arrived
Taken by Marko Korosec in eastern Colorado in May 2013, these storms are technically known as low precipitation supercells, but by storm chasers, they have earned the nickname “motherships.” Such storms have a persistent, rotating updraft and can lead to tornadoes and are known to also drop large amounts of hail and rain. This particular image won first place in the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Magazine Photo Contest, due to this mothership’s otherworldly appearance. If we saw this in real life, we wouldn’t know what to make of it. Could be a storm, could be a magical phenomenon. Ever seen a city floating above the clouds? Keep reading to see it!
One Giant Mirror
Sala de Uyuni is the worlds largest salt flat at 4,086 square miles. Located in the Daniel Campos Province in Potosi in southwest Bolivia near the crest of the Andes, the Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which is completely flat with the average elevation being within one meter over the entire area of the flat.
The salt crust covers a pool of brine, which is rich in lithium. The large area, clear skies, and flatness of the surface makes the Salar an ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of Earth’s observation satellites.
Floating In Mid Air
Well, this isn’t something that you see every day. Supported only by the tightness of the wires, this electric pole remains floating in mid-air after the bottom was scorced by fire. How do you even go about fixing a problem like this? We’re not sure where this phenomenon occurred, but we’re glad that someone was able to snap a picture before the wires gave out. We wonder if everything is still working just fine? Don’t fix what isn’t broken, we guess! It’s also curious that only one of these poles seems to have been affected by the fire.
A Guatemalan Sinkhole
After the downpours of the Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, a giant sinkhole opened up in the northern part of the capital city swallowing an area larger than an entire street intersection. Along with all of the street, a three-story building and a house also fell into the abyss, leaving 120 dead and at least 53 missing. This certainly would be a sight to see although something that you would want to stay far away from. Although it is magnificent, it’s even uncomfortable looking at it from behind a computer screen.
Don’t Look Down
This is the Hardanger Bridge in Norway. For scale, you can see the construction workers working on the top cables bridge, making it seems as though it is the actual bridge. The entire Hardanger Bridge is 4,297.9 feet, which is 20 meters longer than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, making it the 9th longest bridge in the entire world. That’s something to brag about! Hopefully, those construction workers aren’t getting vertigo while they are working on top of the bridge’s cables! You can’t be scared of heights on this job.
Is That A Hovercraft?
This is just a normal boat, not a hovercraft, although it does look like one at first glance. The water in this photo is just so clear that the boat’s shadow makes it look like it’s floating. This photo was taken just off of the coast of Greece, which makes perfect sense considering the Mediterranean country is full of jaw-dropping scenery.
How much do you want to go for a swim in that water right now?
At City Hall In Paris
The city government of Paris, France, commissioned this incredible optical illusion as a way to honor its “Season under the trees.” The aim was to raise residents’ awareness of nature and its role in the city. Created by artist François Abélanet, the piece looks like a 3D globe rising straight from the pavement. This type of art is known as an anamorphosis, defined as “a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point” to properly view the distortion. This one measured 120 meters by 25 meters and remained on display for 15 days.
This Isn’t A Painting
Although this image may seem far from reality, that’s what makes it so amazing. This is a photograph taken in the Namibian desert at twilight. This picture was taken by a National Geographic photographer in a location known as Dead Vlei. There is an intense amount of light on the sand dunes in the distance, while the foreground is still in early morning shadow.
With the trees like silhouettes, the picture looks like a painting. The orange background is a sand dune known as Big Daddy, which is almost 1,200 feet tall, and the white dots are patches of white grass. Keep reading to see an unbelievable supercell storm in Colorado.
Check Out These Clouds
If you’ve ever looked up at the sky, you know that clouds can come in all shapes and sizes, and if you took science in high school, you probably learned about stratus, cumulus, and cirrus clouds. These are actually mammatus clouds (so named because they look like breasts or udders).
These clouds are formed when cold air sinks down and creates the pockets you see here. They’re closely associated with severe thunderstorms so if you ever see them, keep an eye on the weather!
Gorgeous Water Colors
This image looks like a painting, but it’s actually a photograph. This aerial shot was taken in Western Australia. These blue salt fields cover areas of the region and show that parts of the outback are just as colorful as other parts of the world.
This image was captured by Simon Butterworth while he was flying at an altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. He said that “The tracks where the salt harvesting machines have worked across the salt pans look for all the world like watercolor painting brush strokes.”
A Technicolor Landscape
In Gansu, China there lies one of the most colorful and vibrant mountain ranges on Earth. It covers an area of 124 square miles and became a quasi-national geopark in 2012. Known for its colorful rock formations, it has been voted by Chinese media outlets as one of the most beautiful locations in China. The colors and formations are the results of deposits of sandstone and other minerals over the course of 24 million years. The wind, rain, and time have sculpted the shapes with the varying colors and designs. Although it’s hard to believe something this beautiful exists, believe it! We’re booking our tickets to China now.
In what is probably one of the scariest trends we have ever heard of, skywalking is sweeping the country with groups of young people illegally scaling large buildings and structures to one-up each other in terms of risk and height. As impressive as some of these pictures are, it makes you wonder how many people aren’t so lucky to make it to the top. Although this is certainly a risky past-time, we can live vicariously through these people that are either really confident in their climbing skills or have a death wish.
So Many Flowers!
Hitachi Seaside Park is located in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The park is well-known for its sea of blue flowers called baby blue eyes. Although these are the most prominent and popular, there are other flowers spread out throughout the park too including millions of daffodils and over 170 varieties of tulips. We don’t know about you, but we feel that this picture doesn’t do this park justice, and it also seems like a good place to take someone on a first date. All you have to do is buy tickets to Japan first!
Hello There Mr. Owl
This photographer was drinking his coffee when he accidentally dropped two little potato ring snacks into his mug. The rings separated and bubbles started to form around them and then this little own appeared.
It’s crazy that this photographer managed to get a picture of his drink before the owl disappeared. We know what you’re thinking. No this isn’t photoshop. It sure looks like it though. This is a pure coincidence. We’re definitely not mad about it though. This owl is pretty cute.
The Whole World In His Horn
Many of us remember singing the song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” when we were children. The man in this photograph appears to have the whole world in his horn, thanks to the illusion created by a cool-looking reflection. An entire cathedral, along with another building, and street lights, and a huge expanse of sky, are perfectly reflected in the polished brass of this man’s instrument. We wonder if he was aware of the unique image in his horn before the photo was taken.
Piles And Piles Of Wood
What on earth do you think is going on here? It appears to be layers of wood piles hovering above the ground. But we have a simple reflection to thank for this incredible illusion. There aren’t two piles of wood at all, just one, but there’s a puddle in the road that perfectly reflects the stack above. This gives the appearance that there are multiple wood piles and two strips of road. It’s amazing what changes a small puddle can make to a scene!
A Tricky Room
We might have trouble bringing ourselves to walk into this room, which appears to have no floor at all. The people occupying this space seem to be floating in mid-air, above several stories of cartoon buildings. But this is not a Photoshop trick. The floor that the people are standing on is simply painted to give a 3-D appearance. People with a fear of heights would likely have some issues with this room, at least until they were assured that the floor is, in fact, real and level.
Painting With Light
This wooded scene is absolutely breathtaking. It’s so beautiful that it’s almost difficult to accept that the photo hasn’t been retouched in any way. From the vivid colors — bright red and intense green — to the thick white bands pouring down through the tree canopy, this looks like a scene that’s been painted by someone with a great imagination. But it’s all real, even the beams of light that look so solid that it seems you could reach out and touch them. This is simply nature at her finest, and we’re lucky to have such a beautiful photograph of it.
A Curtain Of Water
Here, we see a man and a woman who appear to be sitting in a bunk, like the ones commonly seen in trains and large recreational vehicles. But the bunk’s curtain is made of water, and it’s somehow not spilling out onto the ground. What is going on here? This picture is a great example of “forced perspective” photography. The man and woman are reclined into a pool of water but are posed as if they’re sitting on the edge with their legs dangling down, the way they’d be if they were actually sitting. Very clever.
Wow, this must be the world’s largest dog. He simply towers over the women he’s pictured with. And they don’t even look scared! No, not really… you know by now that this type of illusion is the result of a photographer’s use of forced perspective. The dog was just a lot closer to the camera than the people, who were standing in just the right place to appear that they were all together. This pup is named Chicago, and his owner loves to post humorous pictures of him online.
Coming In For A Landing
On the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, the white sand beaches and blue waters aren’t the only things that draw in tourists. One major reason that people visit the island is to have an up-close and personal experience with an airplane. At the nearby Princess Juliana International Airport, due to the short runway, approaching aircraft have to touch down as close as possible, flying over the beach at minimal altitude. It is a popular beach activity with nearby bars and restaurants displaying airline departure and arrival times and even broadcasts the radio transmissions between pilots.
What’s Up With This Bird’s Legs?
There are a couple of interesting illusions created by the water in this photograph. First, it appears that this small little bird is standing on some of the longest, most crooked legs in the world! It’s pretty humorous to imagine such a little creature having incredibly long legs. Second, the stick that the bird is perched atop looks like it’s shaped into a perfect heart in the reflection — if you turn your head to the right to view it. This entire illusion is pretty sweet.
The Highlands Of Scotland
Is this colorful image the result of Photoshop? Paint? Nope, neither of those. This gorgeous scene was created by none other than Mother Nature and captured by someone with a good camera. We are looking at Glen Coe, located in the Highlands of Scotland. The colorful rock is an ancient supervolcano that was later shaped by glacial activity. The U-shaped Glen Coe is almost eight miles long and about half a mile wide. Whether you’ve been to Scotland or not, you’ll probably want to add this scenic and rugged place to your travel wish-list.
A Split Dress
At the Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer fashion show in 2010, model Anja Rubik turned heads as she walked in a dress that appeared to be cut in half, with the bottom portion hovering in midair. The illusion is particularly striking when the dress is seen in front of a black background. But as we see in the photo on the left, it’s nothing more than a clever design, accomplished by adding a black band in between the tulle dress parts. Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have been called “masters of illusion” and this dress certainly proves that they’ve earned the title!
Have A Cuppa Tea
Wow, what on earth is the liquid in this teacup? It’s certainly not ordinary tea, is it? Well, it actually is just a regular cup of joe. It just has one difference: an amazing reflection. Reddit user deathbypolkadots shared the photo on the site and captioned it, “the tapestry above my bed made a pretty sweet reflection in my coffee this morning.” We have to agree – that is a pretty sweet reflection. And we’re more than a little jealous of that magical tapestry. All we have to look up at here are plain white ceilings that don’t make our coffee look pretty.
The Hausmannian Building In Paris
Upon first glance, viewers might think they’re viewing a building through a warped or distorted reflection. Not so! The trees and other images in the photo are the giveaways that the scene is real. This is the Hausmannian Building, located on Georges V Avenue in Paris, France. It’s actually a mural, printed onto canvas, in the “trompe l’oeil” style. Trompe l’oeil art is paint or photography that creates the illusion that items are actually in three dimensions. This facade was created as the building behind it was being reconstructed. What an imaginative way to disguise the mess of a building under construction.
The World’s Largest SUV
This is another excellent example of forced perspective photography. The Pinterest user who shared the picture, Erik van Veen, wrote, “Who needs Photoshop when you have 10 billion tons and 10,582 km of salt! Me messing about on the Salar De Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world.” He also wrote that this particular salt flat (in the Andes in southwest Bolivia) formed about 40,000 years ago when a salt lake dried up. We love all these examples of humans interacting with nature to create seemingly impossible images.
An Upside Down Scene
Fans of the television series Stranger Things are familiar with the concept of the “upside down,” a dimension that parallels ours. This photo, with a perfect and symmetrical reflection, almost makes it appear that an upside-down world is possible. The brilliant colors in the trees, clouds, and water only add to the otherworldly quality of this photo, which was taken in London, England. At its best, reflective photography results in some of the most surreal and beautiful images of nature. Up next: another stunning reflective picture with a more urban subject.
Chicago From Above
This is another amazing example of what a reflection can do to a photo. You might be wondering how a genuine, untouched photo like this even exists. There’s an important twist here: the picture was snapped from an airplane. The photographer took the photo as he flew over Lake Michigan. The result is amazing, with a view of the clouds and, underneath them, the entire skyline of Chicago reflected upside down in the lake’s waters as the sun sets. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime shot of The Windy City.
A Real-Life Snow Globe
You might be tempted to assume that this is a Photoshopped image, or a store-bought snow globe that someone snapped a gorgeous photo of. But it’s yet another example of a reflection that was caught at just the right angle. This one is a snowy winter scene that is reflected into a glass. It gives the appearance that the entire snowy forest is housed within the small globe. We hope that the photographer used this shot on their holiday cards or even framed copies of it to give as gifts.
The Shattered Face
Here is an example of an image that would be incredibly easy to create using Photoshop or other editing program. But it’s completely untouched. It’s a self-portrait of the woman whose eyes you see reflected in the shard of mirror. The other woman is posed at just the perfect angle to make the photo look surreal or even fake. She raises one hand to help hold the broken piece of mirror up, and a third person holds the other side of the shard. So it was truly a group effort to create this stunning photograph.