"On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it." - Jules Renard
No-one could have said it better than French writer, Renard. His words are certainly evident in the photos you are about to see. The following photographs, originally posted by National Geographic, are undoubtedly stunning. Each shot captures an event and gives us a glimpse into a story that is yet to unfold. They enable us to appreciate the beauty in mother nature and all that she has to offer.
1. This image was taken very early in the morning atop Yellow Mountain in Anhui, China. To capture this shot, the photographer, Thierry Bornier, ascended at 3am and waited for a couple of hours in the cold at -4°.
2. A stunning shot of a polar bear, captured by Missy Mandel.
3. A perfectly-timed shot taken during an eruption at Mount Bromo, Indonesia. The horse appears to be a little agitated due to the sound of the eruption.
4. This photo depicts a young Kazakh boy with his eagle, which he showcased at the Eagle Festival held in Bayan Olgi, Mongolia. Eagle hunting is a tradition passed from one generation to another by the Kazakh people of the Altai mountains.
5. An incredible shot of a supercell over the town of Blackhawk, South Dakota. This photo was taken on June 1st, 2015.
6. Love is in the air. This beautiful shot of two foxes was taken immediately after sunset. The photo was captured in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan.
7. A kookaburra sits on a tree branch. It has the perfect view of Sydney Harbor and the bridge in the background.
8. Two grizzly bears battle over a single salmon. This photo was taken at the beginning of the salmon run, when the fish were scarce. Whenever a bear caught a fish, others would try to steal his catch and big battles would erupt at the Katmai National Park in Alaska.
9. Volcanic eruption taken at La Fournaise Volcano, Reunion Island.
10. Captured here is an echidna on Kangaroo Island, south Australia. Unfortunately, extensive historic clearing of its habitat has significantly reduced its population size. In addition, another of its main threats comes from feral cat predation. There are thought to be less than 5,000 adults in the wild. Consequently, the species has been listed as endangered by the Australian Federal Government.
11. This photo was captured by Dylan Shaw while on a road trip through Iceland. They stumbled across a sea of old lava that, throughout the centuries, was blanketed in thick, green layers of moss.
12. An alligator laid out in the middle of the waterway seeking the little sunshine that it could on this cloudy December day. It is beautifully captured in symmetry with the water.
13. A beautiful shot of the Canadian Rockies on a winter's day. Photographer Victor Liu recalls a big gust of wind that blew his teammates some 100 meters away. The snow flew high up to the sky as it traveled across the lake. Liu managed to hold his tripod tightly and capture the scene.
14. A tranquil shot taken in the Linyanti area Botswana during an early morning drive.
15. The beauty of fall at its peak is captured in the Adirondack Mountains.
16. Trekking with yaks. This photo captures the final approach into the Everest Base Camp. Throughout the trek, Sharna Ward recalls their guides' warning: 'our side safe side, their side, suicide', whenever they heard the yak bells chiming in the distance. It served as a reminder to stay on the safe side of the mountain so that they wouldn't find themselves in the path of an oncoming herd. But there were times (such as that captured in this shot) when it was hard to determine the safe side, particularly when the single track dropped off steeply on both sides.
17. This photo was captured on the tallest dunes in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado just before a thunderstorm. According to the photographer, Viral Padiya, a storm was meant to hit the area that afternoon.
18. The Faroe Islands is a special place, as depicted in this imposing photograph. Photographer Alessio Mesiano comes here in the winter - an incredibly dangerous time of year due to the combination of snow and very steep cliffs.