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20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless

20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless

Maybe you have seen dramatic photos of natural phenomena that leave you breathless, amazed or even frightened. They can be anything from freak weather to astronomical mysteries or weird rock formations and landscapes.

Here are my top 20 favorite stunning nature photos of all time.

1. Danxia, China

Danxia

    Colorful sandstone and minerals deposited over millions of years give us the incredibly varied landscape in this stunning nature photo. Wind and rain have sculpted the rocks into valleys, gulleys, and rolling hillsides.

    2. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

    Bondi icebergs NSW

      Stormy weather meant that there were not many swimmers around at the famous Bondi Icebergs swimming club at Bondi Beach when this photo was taken.

      3. Mammatus clouds

      Mammaryclouds

        These clouds are known as mammary clouds, due to their resemblance to cows’ udders. They are rare because they form in sinking air. Most clouds are made in rising air.

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        4. Bioluminescent waves

        bioluminiscentwaves

          These waves glow at night because the water is full of phytoplankton, which is luminous and gives off a weird blue light.

          5. Light pillars over Ruka ski slopes, Finland

          lightpillars

            These pillars are formed by the reflection of ice crystals in the moonlight.

            6. Volcanic lightning, Iceland

            volcanic lightning

              A spectacular show is caused by the volcanic eruption which tosses positively charged debris into the air, which is full of negative charges. The result is lightning. It is rare to see these two phenomena present together.

              7. Fire rainbows over Albuquerque, New Mexico

              firerainbows

                This is a fairly rare phenomenon. The sun must be 58 degrees above the horizon when there are some cirrus clouds which contain ice crystals.

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                8. Aurora, Lapland

                auroras

                  These strange colorful effects occur when particles from a solar flare are released. They then penetrate the earth’s magnetic field, colliding with atoms in the atmosphere. These bursts of light and color are the result of the collisions.

                  9. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

                  Giant'scauseway

                    About 65 million years ago, there was intense volcanic activity in this area. In the cooling process, perpendicular basalt blocks and a pavement-like structure were created.

                    10. Waterspouts

                    waterspouts

                      These are tornados that form over the water’s surface.

                      11. Hessdalen lights, Norway

                      Hessdalen lights

                        An unexplained phenomenon and loved by UFO enthusiasts! The most likely explanation is that air turns to plasma and produces these effects. There are copper-rich rocks on one side of the valley and iron-rich strata on the other side.

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                        12. Storms at Catatumbo, Venezuela

                        Catatumbo

                          It’s no surprise to learn that the storms here are so frequent that they are known as the everlasting storm. They happen on average once every two days and can last as long as 10 hours each. The lightning displays are unbelievable.

                          13. The Gateway to Hell, Darvaze, Turkmenistan

                          Gatewaytohell

                            This all happened by chance. Gas drillers had an accident in 1971 which caused a crater to open up. It then caught fire because of the released gas and it has been burning ever since. But that’s nothing compared to a similar flame which has been burning in Iraq for 4,000 years and is even mentioned in the Old Testament!

                            14. Steam vents in Hevrir, Iceland

                            steamtowers

                              The Hevrir area in Iceland is geothermally active and releases vast quantities of steam and gas, often forming towers.

                              15. Pororoca tidal wave, River Amazon

                              Pororoca

                                The longest tidal wave in the world! Fancy a bit of surfing on this tidal wave which can travel up to 500 miles along the Amazon? One Brazilian surfer actually managed to surf it for about 8 miles. It took him 37 minutes. This wave only happens every six months when the Atlantic tides reach as far as the mouth of the River Amazon.

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                                16. Starling murmurations over Gretna, Scotland

                                murmurations

                                  These huge flocks of starlings fly in beautiful and fascinating formations, usually at twilight in winter. A superb example of teamwork and co-ordination, without any GPS devices!

                                  17. Flowering desert, Atacama, Chile

                                  Floweringdesert

                                    A barren landscape regenerated by infrequent heavy rains which have transformed long dormant seeds and bulbs into a beautiful garden.

                                    18. Dragon blood trees, Socotra, Yemen

                                    Socotra

                                      These rare, umbrella-shaped dragon blood trees get their name from their dark red resin. Socotra has unique flora and fauna, a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet!

                                      19. Frozen methane bubbles, Alberta, Canada

                                      methanebubbles

                                        These methane bubbles are found in Abraham Lake. If they melt, just don’t light a match nearby.

                                        20. Asperatus clouds, Lofoten Islands, Norway

                                        Asperatus
                                          ©Ragnhild M Hansen http://www.viewbug.com/photo/11072531

                                          You might be forgiven for thinking this is a Van Gogh painting, but it is not—it’s the last of our stunning nature photos! These asperatus clouds are new guys on the block. They are so mysterious that they were only classified for the first time in 2009.

                                          Featured photo credit: Jiroj Amaralikit via ink361.com

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                                          Robert Locke

                                          Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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                                          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                          Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

                                          Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

                                          In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

                                          And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

                                          Why is goal setting important?

                                          1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

                                          Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

                                          For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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                                          Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

                                          After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

                                          So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

                                          2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

                                          The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

                                          The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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                                          We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

                                          What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

                                          3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

                                          We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

                                          Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

                                          But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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                                          What you truly want and need

                                          Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

                                          Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

                                          Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

                                          When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

                                          Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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                                          Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

                                          Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

                                          Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

                                          The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

                                          It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

                                          Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

                                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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