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  • 16 HQ Photos From The Early Days Of Mountain Biking

    Retro bikes? Quirky facial hair? Vintage clothing? Overly warm photos with vignetting? Sounds like all the makings of a hipster Instagram account. But these photos are the real deal. They were taken by Wende Cragg, who would get together with her other adventurous cyclists in the 70s and ride down California’s mountain trails during the early days of what would become the sport of mountain biking. At the time, bike manufacturers didn’t build specialized bikes for downhill, mountainous terrain. It was common for ones hub brake to burn up all the grease on these downhill voyages and seize up, requiring one to repack the bearings. Because of this, these races became known as “Repacks” and their popularity led to modern mountain biking as we know it today. More of these great photos can be found at Biking History and for a more in-depth look at Wende Cragg and her fellow California repackers, check out Collectors Weekly.

  • Shocking Before & After Photos Of The California Drought

    Until recently, drought conditions had been worsening steadily for California since 2011. The past couple weeks have seen conditions remain the same rather than getting worse, but it doesn’t look like conditions will improve anytime soon, either. A wet El Niño fall had been predicted this year, but as we get closer the chances of such weather actually occurring have dropped to just 65%. And even if it does arrive, it won’t be anywhere near as wet as originally anticipated. With almost 99.8% of the state experiencing “severe” drought and more than half at “exceptional,” the driest on the five-level scale, the situation is looking dire for California residents.

  • This Is America: 32 Powerful Insider Photos From The Streets Ferguson, MO

    Early Tuesday Capt. Ron Johnson spoke after a chaotic night in which 31 people were arrested and two people were hit by gunfire. People are asking how did this local town get so militarized, celebrities like Nelly are flocking to the town to get involved and, in general, the town of Ferguson is looking more like Fallujah than an American suburb. As night falls in Ferguson peaceful protests have turned into battle grounds. To show a perspective that you may not have seen yet we’ve pulled together the following powerful photos that give an insiders look at what is going on from ground zero of the on-going event.

  • Get up Close And Personal With Celestial Hardbody Comet 67P [5 HQ Photos]

    Over 10 years ago, in March of 2004, the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta spacecraft. The robotic space probe was built with the intent of studying comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. On August 6, Rosetta entered into orbit around the comet, the first spacecraft ever to do so. For the next 17 months, Rosetta will orbit 67P while conducting the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted. In November, the Philae robotic lander will land on the surface of 67P for further studies. Below are the first of the comet close-ups received from this incredible mission. Keep up with ESA Mission Rosetta on Twitter.

  • Russians Go To Hong Kong; Climb All The Things [35 HQ Photos]

    Fun Fact*: Russians have 38 words for “vodka” but no word for “nope.” But what is it with Russians and their complete lack of fear? Is it the vodka coursing through their veins? Or maybe their ushankas are too tight, cutting off circulation to their brains. Whatever the reason, the lack of a fear gene in Russian DNA has enabled them to be a country of daredevils, especially when it comes to climbing tall buildings without any sort of safety precautions. Vitaliy Raskalov and Vadim Makhorov are two such brave (or insane) individuals who recently traveled to Hong Kong and climbed pretty much everything. Some of their most dizzying photos are below, but you can view the rest and other crazy adventures at their site, On The Roofs.  *Not a fact.

  • 25 HQ Photos Of Hollywood Streets In The 80s

    In 1979, 17-year-old Matt Sweeney left home for Hollywood in hopes of making it big as a filmmaker. For 4 years he worked towards his dream while also photographing other inhabitants of the city on brilliant Kodachrome 64 film. Nothing ever came of Sweeney’s film career, but from 1979-1983 he captured around 80 rolls of film. Now he is working on digitizing the photos and sharing them all on his website mudstonephoto. Some of our favorites from the collection thus far are below, but there are many more at his site.

  • 45 Years Ago The United States Landed On The Moon [45 Rare and Iconic Photos]

    On July 16, 1969 Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin left the Earth loaded into Apollo 11 and took off for the Moon. The launch was on a Wednesday, they became the first human beings to step foot on the Moon on Sunday, then splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean the following Thursday. Possibly the most productive 8 day trip in human history. From the launch to walking on its surface to the splash down and the whirlwind press tour that followed here is an insiders look at the Moon landing that took place 45 years ago this week.

  • 9 Mind Blowing Photos Of Typhoon Neoguri From Space

    Typhoon Neoguri is currently battering Okinawa as it moves torwards Japan’s main island of Honshu. The storm, expecting to reach Tokyo on Thursday, is the equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds of 123 mph and gusts up to 168 mph. Early this morning, Alexander Gerst, an astronaut from the European Space Agency currently aboard the International Space Station, captured these incredible photos as the ISS traveled over the Pacific. The size of the storm has been compared to Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the US east coast in 2012. Keep up with Gerst’s photos from ISS at Flickr.

  • Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Finalists Announced [8 HQ Photos]

    The Royal Observatory Greenwich has announced the finalists for its sixth annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year Award. The competition ends September 17 and on the following day, an exhibition of the winning images opens at the Royal Observatory. The overall winner will be awarded £1500 ($2500), while winners of each of the different categories will receive £500 ($850). For more info on the contest and exhibition, visit Royal Museums Greenwich. More of the submitted photos can be viewed at the contest’s official Flickr album.

  • 12 HQ Photos That Show How Man Has Changed The American Landscape

    New York City-based photographer Victoria Sambunaris has spent the last 12 years traveling the United States and cataloging landscapes changed by man and nature. Every year she finds herself driving through almost every state, planning shots she captures with her large-format camera. Sambunaris can spend days in one spot waiting for the perfect conditions for a shot. After a month or two, she will have about 50 shots sent off to her developer. After returning home, she edits down her photos, where she’s happy if she’s left with 5 after 3 months of work. Sambunaris also doesn’t use any digital tools in her work, meaning there are no post-production fixes for her photos. She must get it right the first time or the photo won’t make the cut. Check out these and more photos in Victoria Sambunaris’ book Taxonomy of a Landscape, available now from Amazon for $43.

  • 25 HQ Aerial Photos That Give You A New Perspective Of The World

    In 1987, author Frank White first described the Overview Effect as an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of Earth and mankind’s place upon it. When viewing the planet from above, some astronauts have described a feeling of awe and understanding of the interconnectedness between all species. Obviously, it’s not possible for all of us to travel to space and experience the Overview Effect, but a website aims to do the next best thing by offering daily high quality satellite images of locations all over the planet. Farms, parking lots, cemeteries, cities—all are on display at the site. Some of our favorites are below, but plenty more can be found at Daily Overview.

  • 25 Amazing HQ Photos Of London Subways In the 1980s

    While working as a projectionist at a porn theater in London in the 1980s, Bob Mazzer would take a camera with him and capture his fellow passengers on the Tube every day. Mazzer captured all the great emotions, love, hate, happiness, and drunkenness, in his photos. Seriously, there’s a couple of ladies drinking whiskey and beer on their ride in one of the pictures. All of the subcultures of the era are also on display with skins, punks, soulboys, teds, and whatever the hell else they had over there at the time (but nary a chav in sight!). For the next month, you can see the photos in person for the first time at London’s Howard Griffin Gallery. You can also purchase a limited edition book of Mazzer’s work titled Bob Mazzer Underground for £20.00, which is about a million dollars (or maybe $35).

  • The Future Of Travel At Spaceport America [10 HQ Photos]

    With the American people electing more and more Luddites who refuse scientific evidence and are unable to understand any sort of technology, NASA’s future isn’t looking so bright. In fact, during the government shut-down last year, 97 percent of NASA employees were deemed “unessential” and sent home. It’s up to the private sector to explore space now and in New Mexico they’ve built the perfect headquarters. Spaceport America has been described as “the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport,” with tenants including Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, UP Aerospace, and Armadillo Aerospace. A visitor center in downtown Truth Or Consequences, the closest town to the Spaceport, is in the works and will offer shuttle bus services. With Virgin Galactic aiming to begin commercial space flights later this year, Spaceport America is the start of a new chapter in travel. For more info and photos, visit Spaceport America.

  • Dracula’s Transylvania Bachelor Pad For Sale [25 HQ Photos]

    You’d have to be batty to pass this up: Transylvania’s Bran Castle, also known as “Dracula’s Castle,” is up for sale. Although the castle was never the residence of Vlad the Impaler, the basis for Bram Stoker’s Dracula character, it is believed to be the influence for the setting of the gothic novel. The 57-room, 22-acre castle features a dungeon, music room, lavish dining areas, tall towers…and no bathrooms or plumbing. But don’t let the state of this fixer-upper scare you: With half a million visitors per year paying about $7 admission, the castle basically pays for itself. The price isn’t listed, but it’s believed to sell for over $135 million. Remember that scene in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” where Keanu Reeves is seduced by the three brides (including Monica Bellucci!)? A chance at that is totally worth $135 mil.

  • 12 Free HQ Photos From Public Domain Archive

    Web designer, photographer, and graphic designer Matt Hobbs was always searching for public domain images to include in his projects. Unfortunately, there was not a single resource that collected all the great, high quality photos available for free use. So Hobbs put his skills to use and created Public Domain Archive. Obviously this site will never compete with the incredible libraries of sites such as Shutterstock. Instead it’s meant to be more like Pinterest, offering inspiration and images you can use without worrying about copyright. Check out more great public domain images, including many from Matt Hobbs himself, at the Public Domain Archive.

  • The Magnificent Art Of Concept Cars [17 HQ Photos]

    Beginning May 21, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art will display a collection of concept cars in an exhibition titled “Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas.” The concept cars, produced between 1932 and the present day, were never meant for sale to the public, but instead served as tests for design innovations that would take years to find their way into mass production, if they made it past the conceptual stage at all. The point of the exhibit is to showcase the limitless imaginations of the mechanical engineers behind these marvels, who dared to produce such radical designs. The exhibit runs from May 21-September 7. For more information, visit High Museum of Art.

  • Incredible Costa Rican Hotel Inside A Boeing 727 [11 HQ Photos]

    The most exclusive suite in all of Costa Rica can be found at the Hotel Costa Verde. A 1967 Boeing 727 has been refurbished and transformed into a two bedroom suite atop a 50-foot pedestal in the rainforest. One bedroom features one queen sized bed while the other features two queen sized beds and both have a private bath and air conditioning. There is also a flat screen TV, kitchenette, dining area, and ocean view terrace. Rates start at just $250 per night. For more info and photos documenting the construction of the hotel, visit Hotel Costa Verde.

  • Vivian Maier Was The Queen Of Selfies [18 HQ Photos]

    A couple months ago, we told you all about Vivian Maier, the nanny who was a secret photographer. Her body of work, uncovered just a few years ago, is an incredible collection of the people and places of 1950-1970 Chicago and New York. Despite her secretive life leading one to believe she was a bit shy, Maier also took incredible self-portraits that would make even the greatest of Instagrammers totes jelly. These artistic selfies are better than anything you’ll find on social media and they don’t even need bad filters! Check out more great photos at the Vivian Maier Collection.

  • Grab A Martini And Check Out These “Mad Men” Sets [17 HQ Photos]

    There was a time when our generation thought of the 60s as a time when stuffy old men fought communism and orchestrated presidential assassinations while promiscuous hippie girls seduced slow-witted boys from their childhood. Then “Mad Men” came along and showed us the sharp suits and ample-bosomed redheads of the era. It also taught us that our grandparents’ houses were really cool looking once you remove the bowls of Werther’s Originals and tar stains brought on by 50 years of smoking Chesterfields. Interior Design recently interviewed series creator Matthew Weiner about the sets and the time period. Take a look at these photos, then read the interview at Interior Design. 

  • Incredible Entries From National Geographic’s Traveler Photo Contest [30 HQ Photos]

    The 26th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest has been announced and entries are being accepted until June 30, 2014. Think you have what it takes to win? Here’s a look at some of the competition. An 8-day Alaskan expedition for two will be given to the first prize winner, a 5-day photo workshop for second prize, and a 6-day cruise for two for third place. Personally, the third place prize sounds better than second. For more info and to enter you’re picture that probably won’t win, head over to Traveler Photo Contest 2014.

  • RSVLTS Visit The New York World’s Fair 50 Years Later [37 HQ Photos]

    50 years ago today, the New York World’s Fair opened, running for two six-month seasons from 1964-65. Anyone who’s been to a Mets game knows that you can still find reminders of the exposition around Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, such as the iconic Unisphere. But the highlight of the fair, the New York State Pavilion, has sat unused and off limits to park visitors. Designed by architect Philip Johnson, the New York State Pavilion consists of three sections: the observation towers, the Theaterama, and the “Tent of Tomorrow.” To celebrate the 50 year anniversary, the “Tent of Tomorrow” was opened to visitors just for the day for the first time in years. Thousands showed up, including the RSVLTS, and waited in line for over 4 hours for the chance to see inside. Over the past few years the New York State Pavilion Paint Project has taken over the site and has been working hard at repainting and restoring the Tent of Tomorrow to its former glory. For more info on the project and future plans for the site, visit New York State Pavilion Paint Project.

  • 32 HQ Photos Of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

    The Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest coastal driving route, stretches over 1500 miles of Ireland’s west coast. There’s plenty to do along the way, with 159 “Discovery Points” marked along the route. Western Ireland is also home to some of the best whale watching in the world. But more than anything, the best part of the drive is the endless awe-inspiring vistas the country has to offer. For more info and other great photos, check out the Wild Atlantic Way on Facebook.

  • Photographing Life From High Up In The Air [15 HQ Photos]

    Pilot and aerial photographer Alex MacLean travels the world, capturing photos from high up in his Flight Design CT two-seater. Trained as an architect, MacLean has a knack for recognizing patterns that are all but invisible to those of us stuck on terra firma. His work has been exhibited all over North America, Europe, and Asia and appears in countless private, public, and university collections. For more of incredible photographs, visit Alex MacLean Aerial Photographer.

  • Smithsonian Photo Contest Finalists Announced [25 HQ Photos]

    The photo editors at Smithsonian have announced the finalists for their 11th Annual Photo Contest. Over 50,000 submissions were whittled down to just 60 finalists. 10 photos were chosen for the following categories: Natural, Travel, People, Americana, Altered, and Mobile. We chose 25 of our favorites to showcase below, but you can view the other finalists and vote for your favorites at Smithsonian.

  • The Mercury 7: America’s First Astronauts [22 HQ Photos]

    On April 9, 1959, NASA announced the original seven men chosen to be astronauts for the manned spaceflights of the Mercury program. Dubbed the Mercury 7, the group was made up of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton. NASA originally planned for an open competition to find its first astronauts, but President Eisenhower, ever a stick in the mud, insisted that they all be test pilots. Due to the size of the Mercury capsule, candidates could be no taller than 5’11″ and weigh less than 180 pounds. Other requirements were age under 40, a bachelor’s degree, and at least 1500 hours of flying time. More than 500 initially applied, and after rounds of testing, both physical and mental, the group was whittled down to 18. The final 7 were chosen because of their genius-level IQs and their ability to function both as a team and solo. Between them, the 7 flew on all classes of manned NASA spacecraft from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs. With the exception, of Gus Grissom, who was tragically killed in the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, they all lived long lives well into retirement more »

  • Incredible Macro Photography Of Coral [20 HQ Photos]

    Not only is Daniel Stoupin a PhD student at the University of Queensland reseaerching marine biology, he also happens to be a avid nature photographer and videographer. His science background led to and interest in macro photography and the revelation of the diverse and complex life we miss out on with the naked eye. For this collection, corals were illuminated with a full-spectrum lamp to bring out fluorescent colors not visible under white light. For more photos form this series and other amazing collections, check out Daniel Stoupin’s Microworlds Photography.

  • These Soviet Bus Stops Almost Make You Wish You Took The Bus. Almost. [25 HQ Photos]

    New York-based photographer Chris Herwig first took notice of these Soviet-era bus stops on a cycling trip in 2002. He challenged himself to take one good photo every hour and the bus stops were often the only break in monotony for long stretches in countries like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia. Over the next 12 years, Herwig found himself traveling amongst the former Soviet Republics in order to capture as many bus stops as he could find. He often found himself being questioned and accused of being a spy in many of the nations where freedom of expression is still a foreign notion. With his travels complete, Herwig compiled his photos into a 128-page book that he started a Kickstarter campaign for to cover print costs. The campaign isn’t even over yet and he has already sold all of the pre-orders. Maybe it’s time we catch up to the Soviets and make some awesome bus stops in America. In New York all you get is a bench with a half-eaten gyro leaking tzatziki sauce all over the place and a questionable puddle emitting stink from below. 

  • Abandoned Salt Mine Becomes An Amusement Park [16 HQ Photos]

    An abandoned salt mine from 1932 has been transformed into a historical site and amusement park in Romania. Salina Turda in Turda, Transylvania, Romania was used as a salt mine beginning in 1075 until it was abandoned in 1932. After 60 years, the site reopened as a historical venue, with much of the old equipment intact, along with an amusement park. Now visitors can learn about salt mines and also go for a ride on a ferris wheel, play some mini golf, basketball, or football, or visit an underground lake. Salina Turda is also well known as a halotherapy spot, with its salt air believed to offer health benefits. It sort of looks like a Mars mine from the original Total Recall. Get your ass to Romania.

  • Holi: The Festival Of Colors [24 HQ Photos]

    Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, is celebrated all over the world this week. Holi is an annual springtime celebration observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Bright-colored powders are thrown by participants at friends and strangers alike to celebrate Krishna’s pranks and the arrival of spring and the vibrant colors associated with the season. The following photos are from Holi festivities all across India. If you come across Holi festivities in your neck of the woods, don’t get mad if you get hit with powder. Instead celebrate the moment and enjoy yourself, knowing that spring is here. After this winter, we all deserve a little break.

  • The Sleaze Of Old Times Square [30 HQ Photos]

    When artist Mitch O’Connell was trying to make it big in his late teens, he would travel to New York City with his illustrations and wander the city, taking photographs. In those days, the most exciting place was 42nd Street, home to peep shows, porno theaters, and adult book stores. And a Howard Johnson’s! Apparently, in the days of wine and roses that were late 80s/early 90s Times Square, you could get a peep show for just a quarter! You’re lucky if you can get a gumball for a quarter these days. Sure, Times Square is a lot safer now, but at what cost? This is just a small sample of Mitch’s photos. Check out the rest and his great illustrations at the Mitch O’Connell Blog.  

  • The 1950s Nanny Who Was A Secret Street Photographer [32 HQ Photos]

    In 2009, John Maloof purchased a collection of negatives at a furniture and antiques auction in Chicago for $380. He soon found that he had purchased thousands of photographs taken in cities all over the world. He was amazed at the talent and set out to learn about the photographer. He found her name, Vivian Maier, written on a photo-lab envelope. A search of the name came up with a recent obituary where he learned she had lived in Chicago and worked as a nanny. Maloof came to learn that Vivian Maier’s photography was a secret she kept from everyone who knew her, including her employers and even close friends. In the years since the initial discovery, Maloof has turned Vivian Maier into a celebrated photographer, with gallery shows, an online portfolio, and a documentary to be released this month. The photos below are all of New York in the 1950s and 60s, but photos from Chicago, Canada, Florida, India, and Europe can be found at Vivian Maier. Find out when the documentary, “Finding Vivian Meier,” is coming to your city here.