The world is full of so much natural phenomena, it sometimes gets hard to decide where to go next. If you are planning your next landscape photography trip, don’t overlook these surreal locations.
Originally called Kliluk by the First Nations of the Okanagan Valley in present day British Columbia, Spotted Lake has been a sacred site for millennia thanks to its odd appearance and therapeutic waters. The lake is highly salty as well as high in mineral content, which explain the strange colorful pools. The pools are made of combinations of magnesium sulphate, calcium, silver, titanium and at least eight other minerals.
Everything about Son Doong Cave in central Vietnam is big. The stalagmites are the tallest known in the world, topping 80 meters (262 feet). The main cave passage is the largest known in the world. At nearly twice as big as its nearest competitor, the cave passage is large enough to fit an entire New York City block inside, including 40 story skyscrapers. You could fly a 747 through it.
Fewer people have seen the inside of Son Doong Cave than have climbed Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. That’s probably because it was only discovered in 2009. Perhaps the most beautiful locations are the two dolines — areas where the cave’s ceiling have collapsed. The dolines are so large, and enough sunlight reaches the cave floor that they sustain rainforests with vibrant ecosystems.
Plans have been presented to build a cable car through the cave, though there has been significant opposition to such a move. If you are planning on visiting, don’t visit after August. The large, fast-flowing subterranean river that runs through the cave makes visiting impossible during the monsoon season.
They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but where the Catatumbo River flows into Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, it strikes 1.2 million times a year! The “eternal storm of Catatumbo” or Relámpago del Catatumbo in Spanish is an atmospheric phenomena that results in powerful storms developing consistently over an incredibly small area 10 hours a day for around 260 nights a year. Frequently there are over 280 lightning strikes an hour.
The storms are caused by the huge air masses that blow across Lake Maracaibo into the high mountain ridges of the Andes and two smaller mountain ranges. Blocked on three sides, the heat and moisture are rapidly forced upward by the mountains, creating electrical charges, storms and near continuous lightning. Although the myth is that the lightning is created without thunder, this is incorrect. Most people watch the lightning show from around 30 miles away, and thunder is audible only over a range of 15 miles.
Twice in history the flashes have alerted the city’s defenders to would-be invaders: in 1595 when English explorer Sir Francis Drake tried to take the city from the Spanish, and in 1823 when Spanish fleets were exposed and destroyed during the Venezuelan War of Independence. Do be aware of traveling to Venezuela right now because of the instability and as always be sure to check the State Department’s current STEP warnings before committing to any travel.
The only place on earth where surfers can consistently catch 100 foot waves, Nazare, Portugal lies on the Atlantic coast of southwest Europe — not exactly the kind of place you would picture as a surfer’s paradise. What makes it such a unique place is the 16,000 foot submarine canyon that lies just of Nazare’s coast. It acts as a funnel that allows huge ocean swells to approach the shore in a narrow channel and then suddenly rise to astonishing heights in short time, seemingly out of nowhere.
Luckily, you don’t have to travel far to take in natural phenomena. It’s September and a phenomenon could be happening right now in your very backyard! Check out our blog on the amazing routes of animal migration: A Month of Animal Migration – Is Your Camera Ready?