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]

Intense Staring Contest Between a Squirrel and a Bald Eagle Caught on Camera

iStock.com/StefanoVenturi
iStock.com/StefanoVenturi

Wildlife photographers have an eye for the majestic beauty of life on planet Earth, but they also know that nature has a silly side. This picture, captured by Maine photographer Roger Stevens Jr., shows a bald eagle and a gray squirrel locked in an epic staring match.

As WMTW Portland reports, the image has been shared more than 8000 times since Stevens posted it on his Facebook page. According to the post, the photo was taken behind a Rite Aid store in Lincoln, Maine. "I couldn't have made this up!!" Stevens wrote.

Bald eagles eat small rodents like squirrels, which is likely why the creatures were so interested in one another. But the staring contest didn't end with the bird getting his meal; after the photo was snapped, the squirrel escaped down a hole in the tree to safety.

What was a life-or-death moment for the animals made for an entertaining picture. The photograph has over 400 comments, with Facebook users praising the photographer's timing and the squirrel's apparent bravery.

Funny nature photos are common enough that there's an entire contest devoted to them. Here are some of past winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

[h/t WMTW]

What the World’s Oldest Metro Lines Look Like From Above

QuickQuid
QuickQuid

Those who take the subway to work would probably agree that it is neither an especially enjoyable experience nor very pleasant to look at. Things can seem a lot grittier and grimier underground, even when you happen to be in a perfectly charming city with reliable and speedy metro lines.

To give us a different perspective, a creative team commissioned by QuickQuid and an expert in urban planning and design joined up to create aerial images of some of the world’s oldest metro transit systems. The team traced metro lines onto aerial photos of six different cities, and the result is surprisingly beautiful and informative.

For the directionally challenged, it’s also a practical way of visualizing where exactly you are when you breeze through subway stops on your usual route home. “Part of the mystery of traveling underground is that most of us don’t really know where we are in relation to the surface when using the metro,” the team wrote on QuickQuid's website.

Six cities, in six countries total, are featured: Boston, Glasgow, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, and Mexico City. One of the more surprising aspects is just how much ground is covered. Moscow’s metro lines, for instance, cover 238 miles, making it one of the world's longest systems. Glasgow’s “Shoogly Train,” by contrast, has just 15 stations spanning 6.5 miles.

QuickQuid’s website has some interesting (and bizarre) information about the history of each metro transit system as well. “Before the underground opened in 1935, the first passenger train driver spent days practicing driving around the city with a Stalin-shaped dummy on board ahead of welcoming the Soviet leader ... as the metro’s first official passenger,” QuickQuid writes.

Scroll down to see all six aerial images, and check out QuickQuid’s website for more details.

Tokyo's metro map
QuickQuid

Berlin's subway map
QuickQuid

Glasgow's metro lines
QuickQuid

Mexico City's metro map
QuickQuid

Moscow's metro
QuickQuid

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