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A green tree frog in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas
A green tree frog in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas
Craig McIntyre

11 Phenomenal Images From the National Park Foundation’s Annual Photo Contest

A green tree frog in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas
A green tree frog in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas
Craig McIntyre

Each year, the National Park Foundation’s Share the Experience photo contest recognizes some of the best photography taken inside U.S. National Parks and federal lands, awarding up to $10,000 to amateur photographers and wilderness aficionados. Between late April and December 2016, photographers submitted more than 16,500 images to the contest.

The grand prize-winning image, taken by Craig McIntyre of Rockport, Texas, captures a green tree frog in its marsh habitat in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The photo will appear on the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass for the year.

Below are 10 more prize-winning images from the Share the Experience contest, including general contest winners and honorable mentions in six subcategories (Adventure and Outdoor Recreation; Historical and Cultural; Scenic, Seasons, and Landscapes; Family, Friends, and Fun; Wildlife; and Night Skies).

SECOND PLACE

two men canoe across a steaming lake surrounded by evergreen trees
Superior National Forest, Minnesota. Image Credit: Gary Hamer

THIRD PLACE

young boy in a floppy blue hat and a yellow t-shirt fords a stream between tall canyon walls
Zion National Park, Utah. Image Credit: Christopher Regala

WINNER, SCENIC CATEGORY

towers of rocks on a jagged hill against a clear blue sky
Fantasy Canyon, Utah. Image Credit: John Donofrio

WINNER, WILDLIFE CATEGORY

gray and brown owl sits in a pine tree staring at the camera
Yellowstone National Park. Image Credit: Matthew Sorum

WINNER, NIGHT SKIES CATEGORY

a beach with tall rock formations against a blue-black starry sky
Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Image Credit: Matthew Hanna

WINNER, HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CATEGORY

dam illuminated at night with an arched bridge behind it and a pink sky
Hoover Dam, Nevada. Image Credit: Michael McCook

WINNER, ADVENTURE CATEGORY

three dirt bikers ride across desert rock formations with trees in the background
White Ridge Trail System, New Mexico. Image Credit: Raymond Lee

WINNER, EVERY KID IN THE PARK CATEGORY

a young boy in camouflage and rubber boots sits at the end of a lake at sunset with his fishing pole sticking into the water
Oologah Lake, Oklahoma. Image Credit: Joshua Slezak

FAN FAVORITE

a continuous stream of water flows down a forest waterfall surrounded by trees with yellow and orange leaves
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio. Image Credit: Rob Blair

FAN FAVORITE

dark tree branches set against the illumination of the Washington monument at night
National Mall and Memorial, Washington, D.C. Image Credit: Jack Hanton

All images courtesy the National Park Foundation’s 2016 Share the Experience Photo Contest.

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A green tree frog in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas
François Prost
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photography
Photo Series Shows Paris, France Alongside Its Chinese Replica
François Prost
François Prost

If tourists want to see the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa, and Versailles on their next vacation, they have options. The most obvious choice is Paris, France. Then, if they’re looking for something a bit different, they can visit Tianducheng on the edge of Hangzhou in China, which includes replicas of these attractions in its scaled-down model of the French capital. The resemblance is so convincing that it inspired photographer François Prost to capture both cities and showcase the pictures side by side.

There are Eiffel Tower replicas around the world, but Prost was intrigued by the level of detail invested in Tianducheng. “It seemed more extreme and obsessive,” he tells Mental Floss. “It was planned as a real neighborhood with people living there as they would live anywhere else in China.” So last year the Paris resident booked a flight to the city to document its people and its architecture. The Paris facsimile was built just over a decade ago, but as you can see from the photos below, the aesthetic is lifted straight from classic Europe.

After a week of taking pictures there, Prost returned to Paris where he tracked down the original inspirations of the subjects in his photos. The resulting series, titled Paris Syndrome, pairs each scene with its counterpart across the globe.

If you’re not from Paris or Tianducheng, it may be hard to match the photo to its country of origin. There are a few images that give themselves away, like the Parisian storefronts branded with Chinese lettering. According to Prost, the project “blurs our perceptions of reality. You can no longer tell what is real from the replica.”

After sharing the photos on his website and Instagram page, Prost plans to do a similar project comparing Venice in Italy to its Chinese doppelgänger. Check out the highlights from Paris Syndrome below.

Eiffel tower and replica at night.

Parisian building and replica.

Eiffel tower and replica.

Parisian storefront and replica.

Mona Lisa and replica.

Parisian fountain and replica.

Portraits of city workers.

Eiffel tower and replica.

Paris and Chinese replica.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of François Prost.

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A green tree frog in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas
Tzvika Stein
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Drone Photographer Captures Stunning Aerial Shots of a Shrinking Dead Sea
Tzvika Stein
Tzvika Stein

The Dead Sea is stunning from above, even if it is shrinking. As Lonely Planet reported, Tel Aviv-based landscape photographer Tzvika Stein uses drones to capture aerial views of the threatened body of water. “It’s beautiful and fascinating and very unique,” Stein tells Mental Floss of capturing the natural wonder that way. Yet it’s often too dangerous for him to shoot his photos from ground level.

The Dead Sea is famous for its salty, mineral-rich water and mud. Tourists visit the famous lake bordering Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank to slather their bodies with sludge—but those who can’t make the trip can purchase beauty products packed with the same natural ingredients. Due in part to this demand, the Dead Sea is rapidly shrinking, as mineral extraction companies cause water levels to dip at rates of up to 3 feet per year, according to CNN Travel.

In addition to salt and minerals, the Dead Sea is filled with sinkholes, many of which are now visible as the lake dries up. It’s dangerous to explore these craters because the surrounding ground might collapse, according to Bored Panda—which is why Stein uses his drone to safely record them from the sky.

Initially attracted to both the lake’s salt textures and its reflective water, Stein says he finds its sinkholes equally riveting, even if they are evidence of the lake’s growing plight. You can check out some of the photographer's abstract landscape shots below, or visit his Instagram or Flickr to view more works.

 Aerial drone photos of the Dead Sea in Israel, shot by Israeli photographer Tzvika Stein.
Tzvika Stein

Aerial drone photos of the Dead Sea in Israel, shot by Israeli photographer Tzvika Stein.
Tzvika Stein

 Aerial drone photos of the Dead Sea in Israel, shot by Israeli photographer Tzvika Stein.
Tzvika Stein

Aerial drone photos of the Dead Sea in Israel, shot by Israeli photographer Tzvika Stein.
Tzvika Stein

Aerial drone photos of the Dead Sea in Israel, shot by Israeli photographer Tzvika Stein.
Tzvika Stein


Tzvika Stein

Aerial drone photos of the Dead Sea in Israel, shot by Israeli photographer Tzvika Stein.
Tzvika Stein

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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