Incredible wildlife shots and curiously textured mushrooms certainly make for amazing images, but sometimes great nature photography is as simple as capturing an interesting bend of the light.
This week, we are featuring photographs from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest that highlight the beauty of “crepuscular rays”, commonly known as sunbeams. This optical phenomenon occurs when sunlight shines through openings in the clouds or forest canopy, creating columns of brightly lit air molecules or particulates. Interestingly, these rays are actually parallel to one another but can appear to radiate outward from the sun’s location in the sky because of linear perspective—the same visual illusion that makes railroad tracks appear to converge in the distance.
Enjoy these five beautiful images and be sure to submit your own gorgeous landscape photography to the photo contest!