At night-time, many cities and natural landscapes transform themselves, flourishing into mysterious and thrilling places, showing breathtaking features which would have been absent if visited during the day. These incredible photographs, from scary thunders to stunning cities, capture the world’s beauty at night with full precision. Don’t miss #12 and #3 for stunning fireworks!
#26. Ketchikan, Alaska
You might already be familiar with the Northern Light’s epic emerald splendor. Also called Aurora Borealis, these striking bands of green light are one of the coolest natural phenomena to contemplate. Though a picture of this event always looks as if it were taken from a movie, the view that this photographer caught is actually pretty uncommon.
Photo: Courtesy of Felix Wong, National Geographic Your Shot.
The clear night sky, the harbor, the nearby mountain, everything here seems to casually highlight the light’s majesticness.
“Ketchikan, also called Rain City, is usually raining or overcast, especially during aurora events. However, a combination of clear skies, geomagnetic storm, and a touch of early summer twilight resulted in this uncommonly special event.” Felix Wong, photographer, told NatGeo.
#25. New York
The city that never sleeps has been the nest of numerous remarkable artists. From Lou Reed to Jay Z and Jean-Michel Basquiat… New York has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation and breaking new ground in many areas. But the city is also famous for its renowned buildings.
Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Markisz, National Geographic Your Shot.
A panorama with its elegant, tall buildings and their sparkling lights can be truly breathtaking. Well, add a full moon and a roaring bolt of thunder splitting the sky in two to the equation, and you’ll get a fantastic picture like this one. Don’t miss #18 for another awesome photograph of New York!
#24. Hong Kong
Picture yourself driving to work, listening to your favorite playlist on Spotify, mentally going through your upcoming tasks… when you realize that a massive cloud of fog surrounds your car! Don’t know about you, but I’d be scared as hell. I’d probably turn the other way round and head back to my bed if you ask me!
Photo: Courtesy of Edward Tin, National Geographic Your Shot
This curious phenomenon actually occurs in Hong Kong when the approaching spring’s hot winds from the southern ocean start to mix with the winter’s last remains. As a result, an eerily dense curtain of sea fog can appear around the harbors. This one was specifically spotted at the Kwai Chung Container Terminal.
#23. Bangkok, Thailand
I bet that you haven’t seen a market as vibrant and as active as this one from Bangkok! The colorful and lightened stalls, with their busy, hard-working owners doing their thing result in a spectacular view from above. If you were to visit Bangkok, be sure to visit these types of markets for food that’s equally cheap and tasty.
Photo: Courtesy of Kajan Madrasmail, National Geographic Your Shot.
Besides, if you’re like me and you love spicy dishes, your taste buds will be thankful, believe me when I say this! But spice food isn’t the only culinary high point of Bangkok, because many exotic options are also found there. However, beware, these are only for the brave visitors. The range of options varies from fried cockroaches to caterpillars.
#22. London, United Kingdom
In my opinion, nothing can compete with these types of pictures when it comes to photographing vehicles. Just look at the magnificent effect for a second, it seems as if the classic double-decker bus and the frenzied cars are coming straight at you! Probably that same bus was already a block away a second after this photo was taken.
Photo: Courtesy of Julia Wimmerlin, National Geographic Your Shot.
The iconic Tower Bridge can be seen at the back, too. This is one of London’s most recognizable icons, with the Big Ben and London Bridge —which is sometimes confused with this one, actually—. The Tower Bridge crosses the River Thames, and it’s definitely a must see if a trip to the U.K is on your agenda. Slide on to enjoy a fantastic picture taken in Japan!
#21. Kyoto, Japan
What a sight, huh? Despite the freezing cold temperature, I’d do anything to take a peaceful walk over this street. As we can observe, a firm sheet of snow covers everything, the sidewalks, the roofs, and the trees. This is what makes this landscape so unique, really, since the palpable tranquility is magnified by the omnipresent snow.
Photo: Courtesy of Takuya Higuchi, National Geographic Your Shot.
This picture was taken in the midst of record snowfall in Tokyo. Slightly veiled in the haze, the Toji Temple can be discerned. Want to know some facts about the temple? Well, not only is it a World Heritage Site, but it’s also the tallest wooden building in Japan! This temple dates back to 796 AD, and the current structure was built in 1644. Pretty amazing, right?
#20. Hong Kong
Deemed as Asia’s world city, Hong Kong is densely populated, thriving with wild night-life every day. Considering this, and taking the enormous amount of skyscrapers that the city possesses into account, this mind-blowing panorama isn’t much of a surprise, really. Actually, when asked about the city with the greatest amount of skyscrapers, most people think New York is the correct answer.
Photo: Courtesy of Ho Lam Cheng, National Geographic Your Shot.
But little do they know that Hong Kong has four times as much! In case you were already wondering about the exact number: about 1200 of these massive buildings can be found. What’s more, Hong Kong is also surrounded by mountains, so if you climb one of these, a spectacular view of the skyscrapers will be found, with the main roads connecting them as cables of different servers.
#19. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Staring at these type of pictures always frightens me a little. I mean, how did these cars manage to avoid colliding into each other? Kuala Lumpur’s chaotic traffic can intimidate new-comers (or people without a drivers license, like me) but locals are obviously used to these situations, managing them with ease.
Photo: Courtesy of Firdaus Latif, National Geographic Your Shot.
Kuala Lumpur is a really old city. It dates back to 1857 when it was founded by the Chinese. Now the capital and largest city of Malaysia, it has an approximate population of 1.76 million. Kuala Lumpur means “muddy confluence”. Wondering the reason for this term’s choice? It was actually named this way because it’s located at the confluence of two rivers. Hence, it’s very prone to flooding.
#18. New York
Is it an unstoppable rain? Hard-hitting, painful hail? A sign of a nearby blizzard? Well, this picture was taken during the first snow of the year. This courageous woman appears to be waiting for a ride in the middle of a lonely parking lot. I can’t help but think about what could be going on in her head at that moment.
Photo: Courtesy of Michele Palazzo, National Geographic Your Shot.
Perhaps she’s enjoying the situation. The scenario definitely looks as if it were taken from a movie, there’s an intriguing charm to it. However, though the setting may seem poetic to the spectator, she’s just probably wishing for the Uber to arrive, anxious for a warm, revitalizing shower and a cup of hot chocolate, let’s be frank!
#17. Krakow, Poland
Here, a mesmerizing sunset embellishes the sight of the St. Mary church tower, adding a touch of beautiful drama to the setting. It’s one of those moments where everyone takes out their cameras, chasing the perfect picture or the most popular Instagram story. But I bet none of them can compete with this one, which captures the sky’s full array of vibrant colors.
Photo: Courtesy of Grzegorz Ziemański, National Geographic Your Shot.
I can already imagine a curious tourist visiting Poland for the first time, taking a pleasant walk when suddenly, boom! Magic happens in the sky.
“I needed to find out what was happening in the sky. After fifteen minutes of begging, I was granted some seconds inside a building to take this photograph. It was worth the trouble.” Photographer Grzegorz Ziemański told to NatGeo.
#16. Hong Kong
An unreal, impenetrable cloud of fog covers almost every building of Hong Kong. This picture was taken in Spring, the perfect season for skilled photographers who want to immortalize the stunning view of the Victoria Harbor with its stunning sea of fog. The colored lights from below dye the clouds with a touch of pink, making them look as if they were taken straight from a fairy tale!
Photo: Courtesy of Zachary Law, National Geographic Your Shot.
The Peak of Hong Kong is a highly recommended spot to enjoy views like this one. However, though majestic, it is also a pretty rare sight. Generally, the thicker fog covers every building of the city, and the exceptions during a whole year can be counted on the fingers of one hand. If you’re lucky enough, the ICC mall, famous for being the tallest building of Hong Kong, will appear cutting through the spooky clouds.
#15. Tokyo, Japan
As you can probably notice, this picture is very striking for its precise depiction of some of Japan’s everyday life aspects. Most of the passengers are busy with their cellphones, waiting for someone’s response, checking Twitter, or maybe playing an online game. This makes them seem a bit unresponsive to their surroundings, but that’s not even the main feature of this image.
Photo: Courtesy of Mitja Kobal, National Geographic Your Shot.
What’s even more noticeable is the woman wearing a mask, while maintaining direct eye contact with the photographer. Indeed, pollution masks are more and more common in Japan as each day passes. These are usually used to protect oneself from catching a cold or a mere fever, but another indirect reason may be that the mask is also a way of diving into anonymity, or feeling more comfortable in a public, crowded area.
#14. Hong Kong
This awesome picture was taken in Hong Kong’s Garden Street, an extremely popular destination both for locals and tourists. A young woman holding a pink umbrella calmly strolls through the buzzing stands, which offer an eclectic array of food and clothes at reasonable prices.
Photo: Courtesy of Zachary Law, National Geographic Your Shot.
The picture’s curious effect adds a fundamental touch. Here, the blurry figures of the other customers depict a noisy, almost vertiginous scene. However, the woman with the pink umbrella is clearly intelligible, producing an interesting contrast between her serene pace and the crazy surroundings. Slide on to #4 for another crazy photo of Hong Kong!
#13. Shinjuku, Japan
I know what was your first thought while glancing at this picture: what a chaotic street! Well, if this was your assumption, then you’re correct. Shinjuku is one of the 23 special municipalities which make up the core of Tokyo. Not only does Shinjuku have a population density of 18,517 people per square km, but it’s also a massive commercial and administrative center.
Photo: Courtesy of Richard Vandegriend, National Geographic Your Shot.
This picture seems to capture the neighborhood’s organized and constant chaos with perfection, but how did the photographer do it?
“The light from the buildings was so bright I had to slower my shutter with neutral density filters. This created a sense of movement among the citizens which was ideal in order to let the viewer experience Tokyo’s bustle.” Photographer Richard Vandegriend told NatGeo.
#12. Yokohama-Shi, Japan
Well, talking about mesmerizing panoramas, this picture is really one of a kind. As the nightlife of Tokyo can be seen at a long distance, a festival called the “Port Opening Festival” is captured at its joyous climax by this photographer. I wish I could get as lucky as him, I mean, just look at those breathtaking fireworks!
Photo: Courtesy of Makoto Igari, National Geographic Your Shot.
The blissfully colorful explosion of fireworks do steal the show, but the blue Ferris wheel at the right-bottom corner and the colossal skyscrapers are pretty impressive too. This photo was taken in Yokohama’s Landmark Tower. Yokohama is, in fact, Japan’s largest city, and the second most populated. If you love fireworks don’t miss slide #3!
#11. Tokyo, Japan
Powerful lights and busy people seem to be in every great picture taken in Japan, but these stores appear to be closing already. Though they’re all close to each other and a part of the KITTE commercial facility, I can’t help but wonder if the owners talk to each other, if they’re interested in the colleagues with which they share most of the week’s days, or if they’re mere strangers.
Photo: Courtesy of Teruo Araya, National Geographic Your Shot.
On the other hand, who knows! Maybe tons of future couples fall in love in this building. The KITTE commercial building boasts seven floors with food retailers and shops. The restaurants offer some of the best traditional Japanese dishes found in Tokyo. So, if you want to give your taste-buds a treat, be sure to enjoy an incredible dinner here!
You can’t deny that there’s something special about this picture, right? It has a special charm to it, the modest apartments, the wet clothes hanging… the setting emanates a certain coziness. Well, this isn’t any building in Singapore, in fact. It’s one of the country’s oldest housing estates, dating back to 1965.
Photo: Courtesy of Teo Han Yang Effendi Jeremy, National Geographic Your Shot.
There are many reasons why it’s very significant to the local people, and if you’re asking yourself why, then a little bit of context is crucial. The main reason is that it was actually built during independence from Malaysia. Hence, the building’s strong symbolic relevance isn’t much of a surprise!
#9. Chichibu, Japan
Can you figure out what the city of Chichibu is famous for, by only looking at this fantastic picture? You got it right, my friend, Chichibu is renowned for its eerily omnipresent clouds! A massive sea of clouds is a rather common event here, providing an ideal location for mysterious photographs.
Photo: Courtesy of Teruo Araya, National Geographic Your Shot.
Yes, I wouldn’t imagine myself living over there without feeling nostalgic about having a nice picnic with my friends at a large park, with birds chirping and the sun glowing. Nevertheless, the city’s crazy fog which mostly appears from midnight to morning does offer a stunning contrast with the artificial lights.
#8. Busan, South Korea
Rumor has it that it’s impossible to look through a window of this gigantic building without feeling vertigo. Don’t know about you, but I’m already a bit scared by imagining myself over there with this view! The incredible height, together with the other buildings’ multi-colored lights makes this photo look as if it were taken from a video-game.
Photo: Courtesy of Albert Dros, National Geographic Your Shot.
What we’re observing here is The Zenith in Busan, the highest residential building in Asia. Congratulation to the brave photographer!
“This was taken with official permission which was very difficult to get, and numerous safety measures. When you’re at a height as extreme as this, the world below seems different, and the fear disappears, leaving the way for a sense of peace to emerge”. Photographer Albert Dros told NatGeo.
#7. Bangalore, India
The large, lively signs announce multiple shops and brands. A swarm of pedestrians mingles through the traffic jam. Yes, this scene of India’s energetic city of Bangalore can be dizzying, but the vibrant rhythm of the Commercial Street during Ramadan can also be described as awe-inspiring.
Photo: Courtesy of Nikhil Rasiwasia, National Geographic Your Shot.
In case you’re familiarized with Ramadan, don’t worry, we got you’re back because here’s some useful information. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims over the world fast during it, commemorating the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad.
#6. Alberta, Canada
This dazzling picture was taken at Abraham Lake, in Alberta, Canada.
“I was walking on the frozen lake when I suddenly found this gorgeous piece of ice. What surprised me the most, though, was that it looked like an explosion had occurred on it, with hundreds of frozen air bubbles beneath it”. Photographer Yifan Bal told NatGeo.
Photo: Courtesy of Yifan Bal, National Geographic Your Shot.
Can you picture yourself taking a walk, enjoying a peaceful, chilly night, and coming across this? Pretty amazing if you ask me! Moreover, the photographer’s headlamp causes an extraordinary effect. However, don’t concentrate on those details only, because if you look closely you might spot the falling star making its way through the purplish sky.
#5. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Most people think that the tallest skyscrapers are in New York or Hong Kong, but little do they know that the tallest building in the world is actually in Dubai. Indeed, this striking picture was taken from the Burj Khalifa, which boasts an impressive 2,717 ft height. Isn’t that impressive? I think so!
Photo: Courtesy of Arkadiusz F., National Geographic Your Shot.
One might ask the following question: why is such a tall building needed, anyway? I mean, it probably took years and years to finish such a gargantuan structure, and don’t get me started on the economic costs! Well, in fact, the government’s aim with the Burj Khalifa was to diversify from an oil-based economy and to attract global attention to the city. Continue to the next slide to see another great picture!
#4. Hong Kong
A breathtaking, pink moon hovers over the city’s imposing buildings. The moon appears to be hiding behind those grey clouds, adding a touch of mystery to its aspect. This incredible picture was taken in Hong Kong’s Disneyland. Yes, Orlando and Paris aren’t the only cities with a legendary theme park of this type!
Photo: Courtesy of Alfred Lee. National Geographic Your Shot.
This is the largest theme park in Hong Kong, and the towering building from the picture is the tallest in the country.
Such far distance from the International Commercial Center, the tallest building in Hong Kong, creates a powerful illusion effect. Additionally, the moon was only 365 thousand km away from Earth, which is close to a super-moon.” Photographer Alfred Lee told NatGeo.
#3. Jujing, China
Without the dazzling green and red fireworks, many people would think that this the project of an architecture student. But they’d be completely wrong, this particular place is Jujing, famous for being the roundest village in China. Pretty cool, huh? This ancient village has a pretty unique structure, making it an ideal target for talented photographers.
Photo: Courtesy of Hua Zhu, National Geographic Your Shot.
The spectacular fireworks are due to the celebration of the Chinese New Year. This festivity is extremely important for locals since they honor deities as well as ancestors. On the last day of the celebrations, a traditional dragon dancing ritual takes place in the village of Jujing, resulting in an astonishing view for tourists. Check slide #2 for another photograph of China!
#2. Shenzhen, China
I dare you to find a picture with such a top-notch timing! I’m already imagining myself the photographer’s euphoria after contemplating his shot. Not only is the sea beautifully reflecting the buildings’ lights, transforming them into more vibrant colors, but an intimidating thunder can also be seen, attempting to tear the sky in two.
Photo: Courtesy of Weiwei Shao, National Geographic Your Shot.
The thunder and the cloud’s color is pretty epic too when you stop to think about it. They have a faint lilac tone, which creates a magical effect, undoubtedly. This awesome landscape was seen in Shenzhen, China. In case you knowledge on Shenzhen is scarce, here’s an interesting fact: Specialists dub it as the next Silicon Valley, due to its constant technological innovations and development.
#1. Aksum, Ethiopia
In this stirring photograph, we can see a large group of women in Ethiopia patiently waiting for the parade of the replica of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is regarded as a sacred object, and Coptic Christians in Ethiopia believe that it was brought from Jerusalem by King Menelik I, about three millennia ago.
Photo: Courtesy of Asier Alkorta, National Geographic Your Shot.
The burning candles, together with the women’s intense concentration constitute a powerful image. If you’re wondering about their clothes, they’re wearing a Netela, which is an item of traditional religious clothing in this country. I can’t help but wonder about what the photographer felt while observing this rite, it must have been an unforgettable experience, that’s for sure!