CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Photographs from U.S. Department of the Interior's Instagram account reveal the stunningly diverse landscapes

 

Photographs from U.S. Department of the Interior's Instagram account reveal the stunningly diverse landscapes

The U.S. Department of the Interior has amassed a breathtaking collection of photography documenting the diverse landscapes of the United States and shared it in an Instagram account.

The images come from photographers around the country who have captured moments in time in public lands, such as national parks, to dramatic effect. The account has also captured 30,000 followers with its depictions of U.S. natural beauty.

The Department of the Interior is charged with managing America's vast natural and cultural resources, and employs about 70,000 people around the country to do just that. Under the umbrella of the Department are the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Below are 21 of the most beautiful shots to grace the Department's Instagram page since it was begun about a year ago. Follow the Department of the Interior for more amazing pictures from around the country.

Nevada: The Red Rock National Conservation Area

Nevada: The Red Rock National Conservation Area

Alaska: The line between smoke and clouds blurs above the Toklat River East Fire

Alaska: The line between smoke and clouds blurs above the Toklat River East Fire

Utah: The desert of eastern Utah in all its stark beauty seen from Skyline Rim near Factory Butte with the Henry Mountains in the distance

Utah: The desert of eastern Utah in all its stark beauty seen from Skyline Rim near Factory Butte with the Henry Mountains in the distance

Maine: The rugged coast of Maine is home to the Acadia National Park

Maine: The rugged coast of Maine is home to the Acadia National Park

Michigan: A moose grazes at Daisy Farm Campground in Isle National Park in the early morning

Michigan: A moose grazes at Daisy Farm Campground in Isle National Park in the early morning

Utah: A hiker explores the Buckskin Gulch in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area

California: A climber scales the Shark's Fin in the Alabama Hills National Recreation Area

Exploring: A hiker (right) explores Buckskin Gulch in Utah, while (right) a climber scales the Shark's Fin in the Alabama Hills Recreating Area in California

Arizona: A storm lights up Grand Canyon National Park in this photo taken from Lipan Point on the South Rim

Arizona: A storm lights up Grand Canyon National Park in this photo taken from Lipan Point on the South Rim

Utah: A tree's roots spread out over the Bryce Canyon National Park

Utah: A tree's roots spread out over the Bryce Canyon National Park

Michigan: Young bulls face off in the early morning at Isle Royale National Park

Michigan: Young bulls face off in the early morning at Isle Royale National Park

Montana: Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park

Utah: The June 2013 'supermoon' as seen from Arches National Park

Wonder: Avalanche Lake (left) in Glacier National Park, Montana, and (right) the June 2013 'supermoon' as seen from Arches National Park, Utah

New Mexico: Birds take flight in the wetlands of the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge

New Mexico: Birds take flight in the steamy wetlands of the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge

Montana: Inside a snow cave high on the Swiftcurrent Pass at Glacier National Park

Montana: Inside a snow cave high on the Swiftcurrent Pass at Glacier National Park

Colorado: It's rare to see the Northern Lights so far south, seen here from Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado: It's rare to see the Northern Lights so far south, seen here from Great Sand Dunes National Park

North Carolina: A fisherman on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore at sunset

Colorado: Early morning fog at the Colorado National Monument

Dusk til dawn: A fisherman (left) on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina at sunset and (right) the early morning fog at the Colorado National Monument

 

This is a new airport runway set to open in China next month.

Chinese architects levelled several mountain tops to build the spectacular £80m development in Hechi, a city in China's southern Guangxi province.

Engineers managed to slice off the mountain tops to create a 1.4-mile runway that will provide a spectacular if nail-biting panorama for arriving passengers.

Let's hope the brakes work! The mountaintop 1.4-mile runway in Hechi in southern Guangxi, is set to open next month

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Let's hope the brakes work! The mountaintop 1.4-mile runway in Hechi in southern Guangxi, is set to open next month

It sits amid several mountain ranges, including Jiuwangda to the north, the Phoenix Mountains in the north-west, Fengling to the east, and Duyang to the west. The Green Dragon Mountains sit to the south-west. The airport, which is 2,200ft above sea level and has only one terminal and one runway, is so narrow that it can only accommodate three flights an hour - compared to the number that the mainland's busiest airports handle on an hourly basis which is 20 times that.

Hechi is located in north-western Guangxi on the southern end of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, which is home to about four million people.

Runway with a view: The £80m landing strip is one of the narrowest in the world, only accommodating three flights an hour

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Runway with a view: The £80m landing strip is one of the narrowest in the world, only accommodating three flights an hour

In the past, getting to Hechi required flying to the Liangjiang International Airport in Guilin and then travelling by road for more than 200km.

Work on the airport began at the end of 2008 and was completed at the end of last year.

When it goes into operation next month it will be a transit stop on the sole air route between the cities Chongqing and Haikou in Hainan province. If plans for extending the operation business work out, it might also add a flight from Guangzhou in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

American Samoa: The white sand and tropical waters of the National Park of American Samoa

American Samoa: The white sand and tropical waters of the National Park of American Samoa

Alaska: Aurora Borealis as seen over the Nowitna River in the Nowitna National Refuge

Alaska: Aurora Borealis as seen over the Nowitna River in the Nowitna National Refuge

Hawaii: Layson Albatross mate for life

Love birds: Layson Albatross in Hawaii mate for life

Colorado: The Milky Way as seen over the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado: The Milky Way as seen over the Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

 

 

It is one of America’s greatest natural wonders – a spectacular scar in the dusky soil of Arizona that ranks as one of the best-known landmarks on the planet.

Indeed, show most people a photograph of the Grand Canyon, and they should recognise it instantly – those steep cliffs falling away to the silver ribbon of the River Colorado far below; the Canyon walls dancing through a rainbow of pinks, reds, oranges and browns.

So it is rare to see photographs that capture this geographical glory in a less-seen light. But the images here manage that. The pictures show the less-visited Havasu Canyon, which flows north into the Colorado immediately to the west of the portion of the national park which plays host to the majority of tourists.

Havasu Canyon is part of the adjacent Havasupai Indian Reservation. And while it is also accessible to the public, it does not receive the footfall of the main national-park space.

The photos show a snapshot of waterfalls within this smaller canyon; the large, double-chuted Havasu Falls and the smaller Mooney Falls – as well as the almost hidden Royal Arch Creek Falls, which is part of Grand Canyon National Park.

All can be visited, although plenty of leg-work and hard hiking is required to reach the more off-path spots.

Scroll down for video

Water at its most wonderful: This breathtaking image captures Havasu Falls - the main cascade on Havasu Creek in Arizona

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Water at its most wonderful: This breathtaking image captures Havasu Falls - the main cascade on Havasu Creek in Arizona

A different take on the theme: Depending on the volume of water, Havasu Falls splits into two distinct torrents

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A different take on the theme: Depending on the volume of water, Havasu Falls splits into two distinct torrents

Come take a look at all this beauty: Havasu Falls sits on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, but is accessible to the public

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Come take a look at all this beauty: Havasu Falls sits on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, but is accessible to the public

One for the intrepid: Mooney Falls also lies within the Havasupai Indian Reservation - and offers a subtler form of beauty to the main Havasu Falls

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One for the intrepid: Mooney Falls also lies within the Havasupai Indian Reservation - and offers a subtler form of beauty to the main Havasu Falls

Beyond the obvious: Although the Grand Canyon is one of the most recognisable landmarks on the planet, it still offers corners and areas that can surprise

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Beyond the obvious: Although the Grand Canyon is one of the most recognisable landmarks on the planet, it still offers corners and areas that can surprise

Tucked away: The National Park Service describes Royal Arch Creek Falls as a 'top-drawer canyon adventure, replete with more natural beauty than humans can absorb'

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Tucked away: The National Park Service describes Royal Arch Creek Falls as a 'top-drawer canyon adventure, replete with more natural beauty than humans can absorb'

As it looks on a normal day: A more usual shot of the Grand Canyon, as seen by thousands of people every year

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As it looks on a normal day: A more usual shot of the Grand Canyon, as seen by thousands of people every year

Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon is always a breath-taking experience but a new photo taken from the International Space Station shows that it is just as awe-inspiring from space.

The latest image, which show the full expanse of the Grand Canyon as it cuts through the Kaibab Plateau, was taken by the Expedition 39 crew on March 25, as they orbited Earth.

The photo shows the Colorado river, marked as a dark line snaking its way through the canyon's floor, as well as the forested areas along the north and south sides, which make up one of several vital eco-systems in the park.

Awe-inspiring: The jagged path of the Grand Canyon can be seen in this image taken by a crew on board the International Space Station

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Awe-inspiring: The jagged path of the Grand Canyon can be seen in this image taken by a crew on board the International Space Station

Jagged ridges rising above the surrounding arid landscapes also clearly mark out the 277-mile canyon, which was formed about 6 million years ago due to a combination of tectonic uplift and the Colorado river changing its course.

Just as the Grand Canyon, with its 1.6km drop through sandstone and limestone, is a popular tourist attraction, bringing in up to 5 million visitors a year, it is also a popular landmark with Nasa's astronauts, who enjoying photographing it from the space station. The six-man Expedition 39 crew are part of a mission that provides photos of Earth to help scientists and geologists with their research, as well as amazing the general public.

Their photos, which show rock formations, wild storms and erupting volcanoes, can be viewed on the Earth Observatory website.

Revealing: Astronauts regularly take pictures of the Grand Canyon to help scientists and geologists with their research

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Revealing: Astronauts regularly take pictures of the Grand Canyon to help scientists and geologists with their research

Artistic: In some of Nasa's images, such as this one, the ridges of the canyon look like the arteries of a heart

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Artistic: In some of Nasa's images, such as this one, the ridges of the canyon look like the arteries of a heart

Out of this world: The Earth's atmosphere can be seen alongside the canyon in this image of the natural wonder

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Out of this world: The Earth's atmosphere can be seen alongside the canyon in this image of the natural wonder

Grounded: Even when viewed from Earth, the colors and shapes of the Grand Canyon are amazing to look at

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Grounded: Even when viewed from Earth, the colors and shapes of the Grand Canyon are amazing to look at

Sightseeing: The Colorado river can clearly be seen in this image taken by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli in 2010

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Sightseeing: The Colorado river can clearly be seen in this image taken by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli in 2010

'It's a lot easier than taking pictures from a car!' Stunning images taken by intrepid explorer from his tiny plane... by sticking his camera out the cockpit window.

These are the stunning images of everyday life taken by photographer Alex MacLean from his small Cessna plane hundreds of feet in the air.

The incredible aerial photography includes everything from sun-drenched bathers on an Italian beach, to technicolor fields of flowers in California and housing blocks in the arid Las Vegas desert.

Maclean, 66, takes the photographs from hundreds of feet in the air by sticking his camera out the cockpit window of his tiny Cessna 182 whenever he comes across a scene worth documenting.

Surreal: This photograph by Alex MacLean shows a large housing estate in the middle of the desert outside Las Vegas. The 66-year-old takes the photographs from hundreds of feet in the air by sticking his camera out the cockpit window of his tiny Cessna 182 plane

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Surreal: This photograph by Alex MacLean shows a large housing estate in the middle of the desert outside Las Vegas. The 66-year-old takes the photographs from hundreds of feet in the air by sticking his camera out the cockpit window of his tiny Cessna 182 plane

Stunning: This 1989 shot shows colorful flower fields near Carlsbad in California. Aerial photography is 'a lot easier than taking pictures from a car' according to MacLean

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Stunning: This 1989 shot shows colorful flower fields near Carlsbad in California. Aerial photography is 'a lot easier than taking pictures from a car' according to MacLean

Technique: Hundreds of coal train cars are seen on the tracks in Norfolk, Virginia. MacLean says his plane normally flies itself level, even without the autopilot on, allowing him to focus on leaning out the cockpit window and taking the shot he wants

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Technique: Hundreds of coal train cars are seen on the tracks in Norfolk, Virginia. MacLean says his plane normally flies itself level, even without the autopilot on, allowing him to focus on leaning out the cockpit window and taking the shot he wants

Sky high: This aerial view by Alex MacLean shows people swimming in a pool in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The photograph itself was taken in 2012

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Sky high: This aerial view by Alex MacLean shows people swimming in a pool in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The photograph itself was taken in 2012

Repetition: This photograph shows dozens of homes set in neat lines on the Adobe Housing Development site in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Repetition: This photograph shows dozens of homes set in neat lines on the Adobe Housing Development site in Las Vegas, Nevada

Bare: This snow-covered orchard was photographed last winter in Bolton, Massachusetts. The stark trees give the snow a peculiar looking texture from the air, almost like the image has been painted

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Bare: This snow-covered orchard was photographed last winter in Bolton, Massachusetts. The stark trees give the snow a peculiar looking texture from the air, almost like the image has been painted

Ripples: Alex MacLean was able to capture very artistic lines in this photograph of a beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The deep green of the sea perfectly contrasts with the various shades of beige on the beach

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Ripples: Alex MacLean was able to capture very artistic lines in this photograph of a beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The deep green of the sea perfectly contrasts with the various shades of beige on the beach

In perspective: This aerial view shows ploughed strips in a field near the town of Gooyear in Arizona. Alex MacLean spends around 250 hours every year taking pictures

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In perspective: This aerial view shows ploughed strips in a field near the town of Gooyear in Arizona. Alex MacLean spends around 250 hours every year taking pictures

Maclean's stunning portfolio includes everyday human activities - seen from the clouds - like logging on rivers in Washington state, or shipyards in Maine.

Not even wildlife can escape his eye for a photograph, with one spectacular shot taken in Rosolina, Italy, showing a flock of pink flamingos mid-flight.  'It's a lot easier than taking pictures from a car,' said MacLean, who spends around 250 hours every year taking pictures from his small aircraft.

'My plane normally flies itself level, even without the autopilot on, so I can focus on leaning out and taking the shot I want.'

Feat: Photographer Alex MacLean (pictured) takes the stunning images from his tiny Cessna 182 (right) while travelling hundreds of feet in the air

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Feat: Photographer Alex MacLean (pictured) takes the stunning images from his tiny Cessna 182 (right) while travelling hundreds of feet in the air

Lines: Hundreds of spectators' cars are seen parked at a Nascar event in Richmond, Virginia. Thanks to the angle from which MacLean takes his shots, even the must mundane objects appear abstract and surreal

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Lines: Hundreds of spectators' cars are seen parked at a Nascar event in Richmond, Virginia. Thanks to the angle from which MacLean takes his shots, even the must mundane objects appear abstract and surreal

Spectacular: Not even wildlife can escape MacLean's eye for a photograph, with this shot taken in Rosolina, Italy, showing a flock of pink flamingos mid-flight

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Spectacular: Not even wildlife can escape MacLean's eye for a photograph, with this shot taken in Rosolina, Italy, showing a flock of pink flamingos mid-flight

Bright: Colorful shipping containers are seen in Portsmouth, Virginia. MacLean's photography career began with selling functional architectural and landscape images to universities, before deciding to focus on more aesthetically pleasing, artistic images

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Bright: Colorful shipping containers are seen in Portsmouth, Virginia. MacLean's photography career began with selling functional architectural and landscape images to universities, before deciding to focus on more aesthetically pleasing, artistic images

Patriotic: This photograph taken in Stow, Massachusetts shows a children's playground with a floor painted in the colours of an American flag next to a basketball court

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Patriotic: This photograph taken in Stow, Massachusetts shows a children's playground with a floor painted in the colours of an American flag next to a basketball court

Overlapping: This stunning aerial photograph shows interchanging flyovers near Albuquerque in the state of New Mexico

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Overlapping: This stunning aerial photograph shows interchanging flyovers near Albuquerque in the state of New Mexico

Scale: Thousands of logs look almost like matchsticks in this photograph taken above a commerical logging site in Olympia, Washington in 2005

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Scale: Thousands of logs look almost like matchsticks in this photograph taken above a commerical logging site in Olympia, Washington in 2005

Incoming: This well-lit photograph shows a wave pool on Orlando, Florida. The image was taken by MacLean in 1999

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Incoming: This well-lit photograph shows a wave pool on Orlando, Florida. The image was taken by MacLean in 1999

Incredible: This colourful image shows brightly decorated homes alongside medieval buildings on the island of Burano in northern Italy's Venetian Lagoon

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Incredible: This colourful image shows brightly decorated homes alongside medieval buildings on the island of Burano in northern Italy's Venetian Lagoon

Contrast: The wide expanse and freedom of the sea in Cape Cod, Massachusetts is in stark contract to the oyster cages in the centre of this photograph. Alex MacLean spends around 250 hours every year taking pictures from his small aircraft

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Contrast: The wide expanse and freedom of the sea in Cape Cod, Massachusetts is in stark contract to the oyster cages in the centre of this photograph. Alex MacLean spends around 250 hours every year taking pictures from his small aircraft

Massachusetts-based MacLean has been taking photographs from planes since graduating from Harvard and gaining a pilot's license in 1975.

His photography career began with selling functional architectural and landscape images to universities, before deciding to focus on more aesthetically pleasing, artistic images.

Thanks to the angle from which MacLean takes his shots, even the must mundane objects appear abstract and surreal.

Simple boats tethered in a Chicago dock, or spectators' cars parked at a Nascar event in Virginia, look almost as if they have been deliberately placed, such is the clarity and colour MacLean manages to capture.

This photograph of a boat yard in Newport, Virginia was taken in 2011.  Alex MacLean's aerial shots can make everyday images appear surreal and abstract

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This photograph of a boat yard in Newport, Virginia was taken in 2011. Alex MacLean's aerial shots can make everyday images appear surreal and abstract

Spots: This image of boats in Tremont, Maine almost looks like a painting thanks to the solid background and the bright decoration and fairly even spacing of the boats

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Spots: This image of boats in Tremont, Maine almost looks like a painting thanks to the solid background and the bright decoration and fairly even spacing of the boats

View: Alex MacLean's incredible aerial photography includes this shot of sun-drenched bathers on Spiagge Beach in Rosignano Marittimo, Italy

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View: Alex MacLean's incredible aerial photography includes this shot of sun-drenched bathers on Spiagge Beach in Rosignano Marittimo, Italy

Abstract: Simple boats tethered in a Chicago 'daisy dock' (pictured) look almost as if they have been deliberately placed, such is the clarity and colour MacLean manages to capture

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Abstract: Simple boats tethered in a Chicago 'daisy dock' (pictured) look almost as if they have been deliberately placed, such is the clarity and colour MacLean manages to capture

Complex: The bright and busy image is in fact an aerial view of the Ocean City Amusement Park in Ocean City, Maryland

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Complex: The bright and busy image is in fact an aerial view of the Ocean City Amusement Park in Ocean City, Maryland

Catching a wave: This perfectly-timed photograph by Alex MacLean shows seven surfers enjoying the water off Sunset Beach in Oahu, Hawaii

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Catching a wave: This perfectly-timed photograph by Alex MacLean shows seven surfers enjoying the water off Sunset Beach in Oahu, Hawaii

In his work, MacLean battles unpredictable weather and fights to take steady pictures over the vibration of the plane.

But he believes advances in technology during his 30-year career have definitely made some aspects easier.

'When I started out, there wasn't even auto focus,' he said.

'When you think of auto exposure, that's a big thing. Of course, the biggest change was transitioning to digital photography, which had lots of advantages,' MacLean added.

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