VSC Carolyn Allen Article Header 2013

Sometimes a beautiful photograph can give us a glimpse of a fantastic place we’ve never seen before. Other times it merely gives us a new perspective on a sight we thought was familiar. Here are 41 of stunning photos that fall into both categories and promise to add a sense of wonder to your day. (They’ve already filled the days of thousands of people across cyberspace).

1. A Face on an Iceberg

1 iceberg

Pareidolia is the phenomenon where vague or random stimulus appears to have significance such as the very dignified man’s face that appears on what is otherwise just the side of an iceberg. This photograph was taken in Collins Bay, Antarctica.

2. Japan in Portland

2 PortlandThis photograph (taken by Scott McCracken) is the famous Japanese maple that grows in the Portland Japanese Garden; said to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan.

3. Dissembly Line; VW Golf

3 Golf

In the photograph from Hans Hansen, we can see all the hundreds of parts that make up a Volkswagen Golf Mk2 (a car most population around 1983 and in production until 1992).

4. A Santorini Sunset

4 Sunset

The Greek isle of Santorini as the sun goes down.

5. Far-off Storm as seen from an Airplane.

5 Air

For those times when it feels like you’re the only one getting rained on.

6. Baby Musk Ox

6 MuskOx

These animals grow up to be so strange and intimidating, but they start out just adorable. The fur looks so soft, you just want to cuddle with it.

7. Also Fuzzy, Do Not Cuddle.

7 Bigcat

This lion looks so plush and it seems like he’s totally offering his paw to be cuddled. Don’t be fooled, he could totally take you down.

8. Lightning in the Grand Canyon

8 GrandCanyon

9. Brussels Flower Carpet

9 Bruxelles

Every 2 years since 1971, the Grand Palace in Brussels, Belgium has been covered with a carpet of begonias. The area that is covered is approximately 253 feet by 79 feet.

10. Nature is my Hairstylist

10 ArtNature

This street art mural was photographed in Fort-de-France, Martinique; one of the major cities of the Caribbean. The artist, Nuxuno Xn incorporated the tree growing directly behind this wall into his work.

11. A Shipwreck with Unusual Passengers

11 Forest

The British-built steamship, the SS Ayrfield, was used to by the Australian government to transport food and supplies during World War II and later used to transport coal. Since it was wrecked in decommissioned in the 1970s, it has been overtaken by a new kind of cargo. It has become a floating mangrove forest situated in Sydney’s Homebush Bay.

12. New Meaning to an Old Adage

12 Moment

And you thought lighting a fire under someone was just a figure of speech. Photographer Kawika Singson took this photograph in Hawaii and said he could only stand the heat for a few seconds.

13. Abandoned Railway in Paris

13 France

Long before the Metro system, there were steam trains that carried people around Paris along the ancient walls. The line went into gradual decline and with the introduction of the metro, was abandoned altogether. These tracks run straight through the bustling city and are largely unseen from street level.

14. Understanding Iridescence

14 Anarctica

Beautiful and rare nacreous clouds billowing over the NASA Radome on Ross Island, Antarctica. Photograph by Deven Stross.

15. Albino Humpback Whale

15 albino

This is the only known albino humpback whale. He is known to travel the coastline of Queensland, Australia and has been named Migaloo, which some say means ghost or spirit and others argue refers to a “white guy.”

16. City of Clouds

16 dubai

 Dubai is home to the 2,700 ft-high Burj Khalifa; the tallest building in the world. It is a city of steel giants and much of the city’s skyline rests well above the clouds.

17. Aurora Australis from Space

17 AuroraSpace Auroras are ever-shifting displays of color and light brought on by charged particles from the sun interacting with the earth’s magnetic fields. We thought the poles were the best place to view this phenomenon (Aurora Borealis in the North and Aurora Australis in the South), but apparently it’s best to skip the middleman and view it directly from space.

18. Cave of the Crystals in Mexico

18 Mexico

 980 ft below the surface in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico lie some of the largest natural crystals ever found. The cave’s largest crystal is 39 feet long and 13 feet wide.

19. Roman Pool, Hearst Castle

19 Roman

The indoor, tiled Roman Pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.

20. Partial Eclipse of the Heart

20 Eclipse

 Aptly timed capture as photographer Phillip Calais managed to catch an airplane flying by during a partial solar eclipse.

21. This Duck is Fly

21 Duck

 This duck has more swag and more balance than the rest of us can ever hope to have.

22. Corporeal Transparency

22 Reflection This is a self-portrait of photographer Laura Williams, an artist from Cambridge, U.K.

23. Forces of Nature

23 Nature

 With our powers combined….

24. Kamchatka Ice Tunnel

24 RussiaCave

 This tunnel in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia was formed by a hot water spring flowing beneath the glacial ice fields of nearby Mutnovsky Volcano.

25. Earth from the Dark Side of Saturn


 A view of what the Earth looks like as viewed from the dark side of Saturn, 900 million miles away.

26. Hong Kong Nights

26 HongKong27. Intricate Citytape

27 Tape

 Japanese artist, Takahiro Iwasaki created this cityscape using only a roll of electrical tape and a precision knife.

28. Candy-Striped Iceberg

28 Iceberg2

29. Rainbow Coming Full Circle

29 arcoiris

30. View From the Center of the Earth

30 Mapparium

This three-story, stained-glass globe in the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, MA gives visitors the opportunity to view the globe from a unique vantage-point; the inside of it.

31. Studley Tool Chest

31 ToolChest

Studley is actually the name of the man who created this tool chest, not just a term to make it seem more masculine and appealing.

32. Waitomo Glowworm Caves


One of New Zealand’s many natural wonders, visitors can take a boat ride under the thousands of glowing cave dwellers.

33. Beautiful Faceplant

33 face

34. This City is Steep

34 SanFranSteep

This photograph was taken on Russian Hill in San Francisco, California. Photographer Hkan Dahlstrm rotated his camera so that the street would look flat to illustrate how steep this city really is.

35. Orville and Wilbur, First Flight

35 firstflight

If trying new and terrifying things made me look this cute, I’d probably live a bolder life.

36. Post-Flood Ice Effect

36 Ice

The after effects of a flood that passed through this forested area in Quebec, Canada.

37. Contrast in Krakow

37 Krakow

38. Moon Jelly

38 Moon

39. Moonrise in the City of Angels

39 Moonrise

A time lapse of the moon rising over Los Angeles.

40. Living on the Ledge

40 vertigo

Internationally acclaimed photographer Joe McNally snapped this photo of his old battered shoes from the top of the world’s tallest building.

41. An Out of this World Selfie

41 spaceS

Somehow taking a selfie seems justified in this setting.