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When you first hear the word landscape, what comes to mind? Do you think of mountains, hills or the general countryside? In fact, landscape is more broadly defined as "all the visible features of an area of land" which include bodies of water like rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea. In the field of photography, taking shots of these areas is referred to as waterscape photography, with subjects ranging from the ocean and rivers to waterfalls and lakes. These natural and man-made areas are simply some of the most beautiful and breathtaking places in the world. Today, we take a look at eight of them. They're places that inspire us by not only making us want to travel, which taps into our adventurous spirit, they're places that make us want to live a better, more meaningful and fulfilling life.
One of Croatia's most popular tourist destinations, Plitvice Lakes is a series of 16 lakes that are interconnected by gorgeous waterfalls which cascade down rock formations. Set deep within a UNESCO World Heritage designated national park, the lakes stunningly change colors from azure and green to gray and blue. The water is crystal-clear due to the deposits of travertine, or powdery white limestone rock, that sit underneath the water. Amazingly, the lakes are a natural phenomenon, created as shallow basins gradually filled with water. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a must-visit for the photo or nature enthusiast. Nowhere else in the world can you see such a perfect convergence of lakes, waterfalls, rivers and forest.
Photo credit: Jack Brauer
Visit Abraham Lake in the wintertime and you'll experience an incredible natural phenomenon where bubbles get frozen right underneath its surface. Often referred to as ice bubbles or frozen bubbles, it's methane gas that freezes as it gets released from the lake's plant-eating bacteria. Trapped in frozen waters, these bubbles make a stunning sight in the man-made lake during the months of November to March. The surface of the lake is very slippery and ice thickness can vary from two to 10-inches. There's also cracks and fissures, making it quite an adventure to photograph.
Photo credit: Emmanuel Coupe Kalomiris
You almost have to see this for yourself to really believe it's true. A pink lake in Australia? Lake Hillier, located on Middle Island in Western Australia, is a shocking sight because of its color - bubblegum pink! Scientists have been baffled as they cannot figure out why this particular lake is pink though many have speculated that it's caused by a reaction of sea salt and sodium bicarbonate or by the red halophilic bacteria in the salt crusts. Interestingly, the color is permanent or stained that way. When water from the salt lake is collected in a container, it remains that unmistakable color.
Photo credit: Vusan Alekeberov
Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay (or "Bay of Descending Dragons") is a must-visit travel destination in the Quang Ninh province in northeastern Vietnam. The breathtaking bay is filled with a dense cluster of over 1,600 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which gently rise out of the ocean. Among these islands you can find hidden lagoons, beautiful beaches, countless caves and unique grottoes of all shapes and sizes, places just waiting to be explored. It's easy to see why this seascape sculpted by nature is often included on lists of natural wonders of the world.
Photo credit: Air Pano
Visit Lake Baikal, the oldest freshwater lake on Earth, in the winter and you'll be one of the lucky ones to witness an otherworldly sight. During the cold months, the Siberian lake freezes over and a combination of wind, temperature differences, frost and sun cause the ice crust to crack and ice hummocks to form. These masses of broken ice are a gorgeous turquoise color and look like shards of glass breaking free of the lake and rising high into the sky. The icy blue blocks can reach as high as 50 feet, shimmering like giant stones on the frozen lake's surface. Lake Baikal is a natural wonder, and at over 25 million years old, it is one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world. Incredibly, it's here that you'll find one-fifth of the world's fresh water.
Photo credit: Alexey Trofimov
Wuhua Hai or the Five-Flower Lake in Jiuzhaigou Valley of China is a shallow lake that is filled with ancient fallen trees which you can see through the crystal clear waters. The multi-colored lake is a spectacular sight due to the criss-crossed nature of the fallen tree trunks and that certain minerals in the lake make it appear spectacular colors. The name, Five-Flower Lake, comes from the fact that at any given time, the water is at least five distinct colors. This jewel of Jiuzhaigou is also referred to as Peacock Lake.
Photo via: All That is Interesting
Come to Caño Cristales at just the right time and you'll find out why it's been called the most beautiful river in the world. For most of the year, this river is like any other, green moss covers the bottom of the floor. It's only during a brief time each year, between the wet and dry seasons or September and November, that the river explodes with colors. A unique species of plants that line the river floor, called Macarenia clavigera, turn bright red and, combined with the yellow and green sand and the blue waters, the river transforms into a living rainbow. Located off the beaten path, this river is in a remote, isolated area that's not easily accessible by road.
Photo via: Twisted Sifter
Straddling the border of Brazil and Argentina lies a roaring waterfall like no other. Iguaza Falls is an astounding sight, at 1.7 miles wide, consisting of more than 270 waterfalls with some as high as 269 feet. Best viewed from the Brazilian side at the U-shaped area called The Devil's Throat (or Garganta del Diablo in Spanish), it's where multiple falls drop with such immense force that it lets out a huge roar and a large cloud of spray overhead. Set in a lush, jungle environment with tropical plants, flowers and animals, Iguazu is an awe-inspiring destination and easily one of the more beautiful natural landmarks, not just in South America, but in the whole world.
Photo credit: Andrew Murray