Sunday, September 27, 2015

Drone Footage Captures Breathtaking Aerial Tour of Iceland's Dramatic Landscape

Countless photos have shown us the incredible beauty of Iceland, but this amazing video (below) by Blue Racer Productions is just another reminder of the Nordic country's allure. Shot during a recent 8-day trip to the island nation, using a DJI Phantom 3 drone, this aerial footage takes viewers on a breathtaking journey across the dramatic landscape of geysers, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and beaches. The locations featured include Sk√≥gafoss, Reynisfjara Beach, Skaftafell National Park, Askja, Skaftafellsj√∂kull, Dettifoss, Gulfoss, and Eskifjordur.

Strangers around the World Unite to Give a Syrian Refugee and His Children a New Life

After a heartbreaking photo of a Syrian refugee selling pens in the streets of Beirut while holding his sleeping daughter went viral last week, strangers all over the world banded together to help the man and his family start a new life.
Abdul Haleem al-Kader, the man identified in the photo, is a Palestinian-Syrian refugee who is struggling to make a living in Lebanon after fleeing violence in Syria with his two children. He used to work in a chocolate factory in Syria, but was unable to find a similar job in Beirut. Left with no other options, he's been selling pens on the street in order to support his daughter Reem, 9, and son Abdelillah, 4.
Photos of the desperate father were originally shared on Twitter by Icelandic activist Gissur Simonarson, who founded the website Conflict News to shed light on conflict zones across the globe. With the help of fellow activists, journalists, and Lebanese residents, Simonarson was able to locate al-Kader and offer him aid. Simonarson set up a Twitter account (@Buy_Pens) and an Indiegogo campaign to spread al-Kader's story while raising funds for the family. So far, over 6,000 people have donated more than $160,000, exceeding the original $5,000 goal by over 3,200 percent. Simonarson is currently working with UNICEF to figure out the best way to get the money to al-Kader once the campaign ends.
When asked what he plans to do with the donations, the father of two told SKY News Arabia, "I would like to educate my children. And I want to thank everyone who has helped my campaign, and I wish that they can launch a similar campaign for each refugee, because there are now 1,500 homeless children on the street today. I wish that they can find us a solution for our country Syria—a solution for us to go back to our homes, our families, our brothers." He added, "I feel like I am in a dream. I still cannot believe what has happened to me, that the whole world stood by me. And I thank them so much."

Traveler Discovers Photos of Monks Popping Up in His iCloud Account Months After Losing His Device

In an age when people are often absorbed in their own bubbles of different gadgets and social media, it's incredible to hear stories of how individuals can form unlikely connections through technology. One man discovered this when he lost his iCloud-synced iPod while abroad, only to find that his phone was receiving images captured by the device's new owner. "I could visit every country in the world and not having something so amazing happen in my life," the traveler said of his unexpected experience. Through one stranger's uploads, he was able to see the world through a completely different set of eyes.
Meet Scott Herder, an adventurer and aspiring photographer.
He's currently on an 8-month backpacking trip across Southeast Asia, which he's documenting on his website.
Four months ago, he was traveling in Laos, taking in the beautiful sights...
...when he lost his iPod Touch in the chaos of being constantly on the move. Figuring that what's done is done, he accepted the fact that it was gone and didn't dwell on it further—that is, until an unfamiliar picture appeared on his iPhone one day:
Soon, whenever his phone connected to the internet, more photos of a monk and his friends started popping up.
Herder realized that his lost iPod, which was still synced to his iCloud account, had somehow ended up in the hands of a monk who enjoyed snapping pictures of his daily life.
As time went on, Herder began looking forward to learning more about his new friend through each synced photo.
The monk seemed to enjoy selfies...
...and making new friends...
...especially with foreigners!
All in all, a fun-loving, goofball guy whom Herder says he would like to meet.
Herder says he's found it fascinating to learn more about the similarities and differences between their everyday lives through the eyes of the monk.
"At the end of the day, I am extremely surprised to see how, even though we come from such different backgrounds, we are incredibly similar when it comes to wanting to document our travels and our lives," he wrote on BuzzFeed.
Although Herder has no way to contact his new friend, he says he hopes that the updates keep coming.

Gorgeous Landscapes Reveal the Idyllic Tranquility of Japan

Photographer Hidenobu Suzuki has captured the idyllic landscapes of Japan in a remarkably tranquil light. Between the quiet foggy rivers, peaceful rice fields, and twilight at Mt. Fuji, there's something for everyone who's looking for a visually relaxing utopia. "My photographs are like Japanese paintings," Suzuki explains. "Japanese like to express emotions and spiritual feelings through the landscape photography. Contemporary theater, art and music stimulate the brain and increase mood. Emotional art heal people and leads the society to harmony. I took a challenge to capture emotions with my camera." This element of spirituality can be detected in each and every photo, which helps to highlight the beauty of Japan's nature. Suzuki also demonstrates that expressive artwork can serve as a means for finding serenity in both our inner and outer worlds.