Tag Archives: pictures

Why Were These Cars Abandoned In the Forests of Belgium for 70 Years? (Photo Gallery)

In the forests near Chatillon, a small village in southern Belgium, lie between 100-150 dilapidated and decaying cars.

During World War II, a number of American troops were stationed in Chatillon. Urban legends claim that when the war ended, the troops being sent home didn’t have the money to ship their vehicles back with them, so they hid them in the Belgian forest.

This story is likely just a myth, though. Locals claim that the car graveyard was simply an old car dump from after the war. Whatever the real story is, the vehicles have been slowly reclaimed by nature over the past 70 years. Check out some images of the car cemetery below:

There were once four car graveyards in the Chatillon area, with as many as 500 vehicles. Unfortunately, many of the vehicles were stolen or stripped by locals, and environmental issues eventually led to the closing of the other three car cemeteries in 2010.

(h/t Amusing Planet and Bored Panda)

This Is What An Erupting Volcano Looks Like from the Space Station (GIF)

On June 12, 2009, the International Space Station’s orbit happened to take it over the Kuril Islands (northeast Japan).

The Kuril Islands were built by volcanic activity and still have active volcanoes. The most active is Sarychev Peak, located on the northwestern end of Matua Island.

Although Sarychev Peak hadn’t erupted since 1989, it was somewhat overdue for one, considering it had previously erupted in 1986, 1976, 1954, and 1946.

By a stroke of luck, the ISS was flying overhead when Sarychev Peak was in the early stages of its eruption on that June day in 2009, and captured a series of amazing images which were converted into the incredible GIF below:

The images (which you can view frame by frame courtesy of NASA here) are remarkable for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there was little to no shearing wind to spread and disperse the ash plume, so the ISS was able to capture crucial features of the eruption, like the pyroclastic flow at the base.

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The small white cloud at the top of the ash plume is known as a pileus cloud. It was formed as the eruption rapidly pushed the moist air above the island upwards with the plume. As this moist air is pushed upwards, it cools and condenses, forming a cloud. When a pileus cloud in above an eruption or explosion, it’s called an “ice cap”.

One of the coolest features of these images has actually caused a bit of controversy in the science world. If you look around the edges of the images, you will see that the ash plume is emerging from a large circular opening in the clouds.

When the photo was originally published, NASA postulated that the hole was “punched” through the clouds by the upward shockwave of the eruption. But this explanation sparked a debate between meteorologists, geoscientists, and volcanologists who viewed the images. SInce then, two other possible theories have been proposed.

One is that the hole has nothing to do with the eruption at all. In areas where islands are surrounded by oceans with cool surface temperature, it is very common for sheets of clouds to form and drift along with the low-level winds.

When these clouds drift over an island, the moist air closer to the surface is pushed up by the island. Since the air above the marine layer (where the clouds form) is dryer and warmer than the air over the water, the portion of the cloud over the island evaporates, leaving a hole.

Though it looks similar, this type of hole-punch cloud is created when supercooled water droplets (water that is below the freezing point but still in liquid form) in the cloud suddenly separate out into ice crystals and vapor, which quickly evaporates leaving behind a hole. Click to enlarge

The final theory is that as the ash plume rises, the air above it flows down its sides, like water flowing off the back of a surfacing whale. As this air falls, it tends to warm, which could also cause an evaporation of the clouds around the volcano plume.

Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree that watching a volcano erupt from space is a truly mesmerizing site.

Check out the original post from NASA’s Earth Observatory here.

This Guy’s Art Looks Like A Bunch of Trash… Until You See It From the Right Angle (GIFs and Gallery)

Bernard Pras is a French painter, photographer and sculptor with an amazing eye for perspective.

His art style in called anamorposis. It involves creating a distorted projection that can only be correctly viewed from one specific angle. Pras is a master, using all kinds of random odds and ends to create images with stunning detail.

Pras built the piece below as a memorial to Malian actor Sotigui Kouyaté (who played a major role in building a bridge between African and western culture) after he passed away in 2005.

He used clothes, paint, wood, rubber, and a number of other random objects that he scavenged from the installation site.

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Some close ups:

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Here’s another example of one of his pieces photographed from two different angles (it’s a portrait of famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali):

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And another…

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Check out more of Pras’s work below. Click an image to enlarge.

You can view all of Pras’s gallery on his website here.

(h/t ThisIsCollosal and Inspiration Green)

This Guy Risks His Life to Take Epic Pictures Inside Crashing Waves (Video and Pictures)

What would you put on the line in the pursuit of your passions?

Clark Little regularly puts his life on the line to capture images of breaking waves. Rather than shooting images inside perfect wave tubes in deep water, Little chooses to shoot at the shorebreak, where the waves hit the sand.

Because of where he positions himself, the waves hit him full force, sometimes forcing him underwater for minutes at a time. Check out the video below to learn more about him and see some of the live footage from his photo shoots:

You can check out more of Little’s photos below. Click an image to enlarge.

If you’d like to get to know Clark Little a little better (pun intended), you can watch this in depth profile that Vice did on him lat year.

This Inventive Artist Uses Flower Pedals To Create Breathtaking Gown Designs (Pictures)

Grace Ciao is a 22-year old business student and artist from Singapore. Rather than paints, pencils or ink, however, Grace uses flower pedals as her medium. She claims that she stumbled upon the idea on accident, after trying to preserve a flower given to her by a boy.

“They help me create prints which I otherwise couldn’t have thought of… I think petals work really well for illustration also because their delicacy and exquisiteness mimic those of a soft fabric,”

she told Buzzfeed in a recent interview. Check out some of her awesome designs below. Click an image to enlarge:

Grace also does watercolor illustrations. You can see more of her artwork on her website, www.graceciao.com.

(h/t Bored Panda)

The Coolest Places On Earth: The Marieta Islands, Mexico (Pictures)

Off the western coast of Mexico, about 150 miles west of Guadalajara, lies a pair of uninhabited islands with a very peculiar history.

Formed by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, the islands have never been settled upon by anybody. In the early 1900s, the Mexican government decided to use the islands for military explosives testing, creating a number of extraordinary caves and rock formations on the islands.

Check out some pictures of the islands below:

In the late 1960s, world-famous scientist and environmental activist Jacques Cousteau led an international outcry about the testing, prompting the Mexican government to turn the islands into a national park.

Hunting, fishing and human activity are prohibited on the island, though visitors are allowed to check out the hidden beaches and caves created by the explosions.

The biodiversity of the islands is legendary. Visitors regularly report seeing sea turtles, manta rays, octopus, dolphins, and humpback whales, as well as thousands of species of tropical fish.

The islands are also home to a number of bird species, including the famous Blue-footed Booby, who has quite the scandalous sex life.

Pteropoda - Clione limacina

This Biologist Is Capturing the Mysterious Creatures of the Deep Like Never Before (Pictures/Video)

Alexander Semenov is a renowned marine biologist as well as an exceptional photographer. Semenov has gained notoriety over the years for his epic photos of deep-sea life, but now he wants to take it to the next level.

Semenov is leading a team of divers, scientists, sailors, photographers, and videographers on a 3-year, 30,000-nautical mile journey to capture the lives of deep-sea creatures  while simultaneously capturing the public imagination with the expedition’s photos and videos. Here’s Semenov describing the goals of the mission:

“We want to show how interesting and unique the life can be, if you chase your dreams… We’re going to explore the whole new area of science mixed with art and stories. We’re going to discover the source of knowledge and inspiration for the next generations. And tons of new species as well.”

Aquatilis Expedition, as its known, will cost a total of $4 million, and Semenov is still raising funds through an Indiegogo page. However, he has promised that the expedition will set sail regardless as to whether or not they reach their funding goal. He hopes that the expedition will inspire more donations as images and videos from the journey are released.

Semenov and his team will use highly specialized low-light photography that allows them to capture the amazing bioluminescence exhibited by many creatures living in the depths of the oceans.

Check out a few of the breathtaking photos Semenov has already captured in past dives. Click an image to enlarge.

The expedition is set to begin in 2015. The crew will begin start out in the Mediterranean to test diving and photography equipment before setting out across the Atlantic, through the Azores to the Caribbean. After that, they will head south to Argentina, and Brazil, then round Cape Horn and journey back up the coast of Chile.

From there, they will continue heading north, with the San Francisco Bay area being their last stop in the Americas before they head out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where they will study how pollution is affecting marine life and see if any of the creatures have developed adaptations to cope with it.

When asked if he thought the ambitious goals of the Aquatilis Expedition were a bit too out-there, Semenov replied with this:

“Being crazy isn’t enough. I’m a professional dreamer, driven by passion and love. The whole team has the same disorder!”

Learn more about the expedition from Wired here.

All images courtesy of Alexander Semenov and Aquatilis.

Count Dracula’s Castle Just Went Up For Sale. Take A Tour and Learn About Its Dark History

Bran Castle, a 12th century Romanian fortress, is most famous for being the home of the fictional character Count Dracula. Its current owners, now in their 70s, have put the castle on the market for a reported $80 million.

Check out some pictures below (click an image to enlarge).

Over the years, the castle has housed Saxons, Hungarians, Teutonic Knights and possibly even Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula), who is thought to have been imprisoned there sometime during the 15th century.

The castle eventually ended up back in the hands of its royal heirs, but it was seized by the oppressive Ceausescu regime when they took power in 1948 and gave the royal family 24 hours to leave the country. After the regime fell in 2006, the castle was returned to its remaining heirs.

The current owners are looking for a buyer who will continue their mission of maintaining and growing, “the largest and most significant attraction in Romania.” The castle attracts around 560,000 visitors per year.

Read more from The Telegraph here.


Meet The Man Whose Best Friend Is A Crocodile (Video)

Gilberto “Chito” Shedden is from the small fishing town of Siquirres in Costa Rica. Ever since he was a child, Chito was fascinated with the animals that everyone else avoided- namely crocs. Chito, a fisherman and tour guide, always took every opportunity to interact with the beasts.

“We’d be out there sometimes in a boat, so I’d get close to them, perhaps give them a piece of chicken so I could get close and touch them. I was always very careful with them. I respect animals and always maintained some order to not have problems. If a croc was upset, I couldn’t get close. I tried to show them that we are friends and not bother them so they never try to bite me.”

Chito and Pocho

One day, Chito discovered a croc who had been shot in the eye by one of the local farmers and decided it was his duty to save it. Despite the misgivings of friends and family, Chito took the three meter long reptile back to his home.

Chito would let the croc, who he named Pocho, hang out on the banks of a nearby lake during the day, and would visit to feed and comfort him during the evenings.

“At first he wouldn’t eat it, but then he began to eat. I kept feeding him chicken until he started looking good. I would try to pet him so he would feel that I cared about him. When I would touch him, he would sometimes get a little irritated, so I kept on caressing and caressing him. And I would say, relax, relax. I want to be your friend. Behave nicely ’cause you won’t be bothered anymore…I would touch, at first, his tail, then the belly, till finally I touched his head. When I touched the head, that’s when we had finally become friends.”

Learn more about the story from an interview Chito did with NPR here.

Take A Journey to This Abandoned Island Buried in the Heart of New York City (Pictures)

North Brother Island is 20 acre-patch of land in the middle of the East River in New York City. It’s located next to New York’s Riker’s Island Prison, putting it just east of Harlem.

Since the last inhabitants left in 1963, nature has been slowly reclaiming the island. Check out some recent pictures of North Brother Island (taken by photographer Christopher Payne) below. Click an image to enlarge.

The island has an interesting history. It was uninhabited until 1885, when Riverside Hospital was constructed on the island as a quarantine facility for smallpox and other contagious diseases.

In the 1940s, the facility was converted into a housing center for war veterans and their families, but by 1951 most of the families had moved elsewhere because of the inconveniences of having to ferry back and forth between the island.

So for it’s last 10 years of operation, the building was converted into a drug rehabilitation center. It has been uninhabited since 1963.

Read more about the history of the island from The Smithsonian here.