Sunset at Xingping, China.

mountain-sunset-landscape-china_80191_990x742Photograph by James Bian, National Geographic Your Shot
The sun sets over the mountaintops in Xingping, China, in this photo by Your Shot member James Bian.
“Guilin and the Li River are famous for their beautiful landscape,” he writes. “Visiting this area [has been] my dream.
Before the trip, I selected a couple of locations to photograph sunrise and sunset, and Laozhai mountain was one of them.
On a clear afternoon, I hiked to the peak an hour before sunset on a trail built and maintained by a Japanese gentleman (which saves a lot of energy for photographers).
The view was overwhelming, with the Li River making a 180-degree turn right under my feet.
I spent most of my time focusing on a wide-angle view until I realized that leaving the river out and just zooming in on the peaks and sun was a much better composition.”
Bian’s picture recently appeared in the Your Shot Daily Dozen.
This photo was submitted to Your Shot.
See more via Mountain Sunset Picture — China Photo — National Geographic Photo of the Day.

The Gates of Hell, Karakum Desert.

the_door_to_hell_wiki1.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscalePhotos: via Wikipedia.
There are places on Earth that are a little creepy, places that feel a little haunted and places that are downright hellish. The Darvaza gas crater, nicknamed by locals “The Door to Hell,” or “The Gates of Hell,” definitely falls into the latter category—and its sinister burning flames are just the half of it.
Located in the Karakum Desert of central Turkmenistan (a little over 150 miles from the country’s capital) the pit attracts hundreds of tourists each year.
It also attracts nearby desert wildlife—reportedly, from time to time local spiders are seen plunging into the pit by the thousands, lured to their deaths by the glowing flames.
So how did this fiery inferno end up in the middle of a desert in Turkmenistan? In 1971, when the republic was still part of the Soviet Union, a group of Soviet geologists went to the Karakum in search of oil fields.
They found what they thought to be a substantial oil field and began drilling.
Unfortunately for the scientists, they were drilling on top of a cavernous pocket of natural gas which couldn’t support the weight of their equipment. The site collapsed, taking their equipment along with it—and the event triggered the crumbly sedimentary rock of the desert to collapse in other places too, creating a domino-effect that resulted in several open craters by the time all was said and done.
crater_panorama.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscale
The largest of these craters measures about 230-feet across and 65-feet deep. Reportedly, no one was injured in the collapse, but the scientists soon had another problem on their hands: the natural gas escaping from the crater.
Natural gas is composed mostly of methane, which, though not toxic, does displace oxygen, making it difficult to breathe. This wasn’t so much an issue for the scientists, but for the animals that call the Karakum Desert home—shortly after the collapse, animals roaming the area began to die.
The escaping methane also posed dangers due to its flammability—there needs to be just five percent methane in the air for an explosion to potentially take place. So the scientists decided to light the crater on fire, hoping that all the dangerous natural gas would burn away in a few weeks’ time.
Read More via This Hellish Desert Pit Has Been On Fire for More Than 40 Years | Travel | Smithsonian.

OneQ’s New Japanese Pin Up Art.

JuxtapozONEQ00ONEQ does phenomenal pinups.
She grew up on a small island in Japan completely separated from the flash and pop of Tokyo culture and gathered all her influences from a neighbor who loved art and Japan’s insistence that schoolchildren spend part of the day drawing.
JuxtapozONEQ02As she grew up she taught herself how to draw completely by herself.
Being isolated has really made ONEQs work stand out.
She readily admits to being influenced by Rockin’ Jelly Bean, whose work looks similar, but make no mistake.
JuxtapozONEQ18What ONEQ does is purely original and comes straight from her.
One of the best things about being is an artist is taking your influences and making them your own.
ONEQ does just that and the results are always stunning. —Zack Tutor
Read and see more via Juxtapoz Magazine – ONEQ and the New Art of the Pin-up.