6 Captivating Landscape Photos — National Geographic 2016 Winners

6 Captivating Landscape Photos — National Geographic 2016 Winners

These stunning landscape photos will catch you off-guard as the imagery drags you into the lens.
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2016 has been a series of snapshots, from celeb deaths to the presidential elections, but the most stunning, picturesque photographs that have gained attention are the winners of the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

1. Winter Horseman

"The winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus 20 and lower, with a constant breeze of snow from all directions, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. I saw horsemen showing off their skills and commanding the steed from a distance. I quickly grabbed my telephoto lens and captured the moment when one of the horsemen charged out from the morning mist." Anthony Lau

2. Remote Life

"An old woman in a remote village in Himachal Pradesh, India, carries a big log back home to warm up her house." Mattia Passarini

3. Sardine Run

"I captured this image during the migration of the sardines along the wild coast of South Africa. Natural predation, sardines are preyed upon by cape gannet birds and common dolphins. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques. With remarkable eyesight, the gannets follow the dolphins before diving in a free fall from 30 to 40 meters high, piercing the surface of the water head first at a speed of 80km/h to get their fill of sardines." G. Lecoeur

4. Above the Zambezi

"Traversing the skies above the iconic Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-Oa-Tunya or “the smoke that thunders." Phillip Nix

5. Ben Youssef

"Marrakesh, Morocco, is an exciting city for any traveler, but I was tired of walking on the crowded street and being asked for money from local people, so I was looking for a place to settle down. Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef Madrasa, it was still a more quiet and relaxing place than outside. Suddenly a beautiful reflection appeared on the shallow pool when I was taking a rest." Takashi Nakagawa

6. Mt. Bromo Sunrise Eruption

"It's like watching the earth being born. A four hour bumpy jeep ride in the middle of the night got me to the freezing cold view point of Mt. Bromo, Indonesia. After a couple more hours wait in the dark I was greeted with not only a rare opportunity to see this special place erupting, but also a wonderful sunrise casting it's orange glow on the ash. Note the small square temple between the cones. This image was made from a seven shot bracket, taken immediately one after the other." Ronald Nelson


Cover Image Credit: Phillip Nix

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7 Signs You're From the 732

Only the best part of New Jersey.
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If you're from New Jersey, you know how badly the state's looked down upon by outsiders (thanks a lot, Jersey Shore). But you know that all of those false accusations aren't true- the Garden State is your home and only you're allowed to make fun of it. Although Jersey's small, there are different regions and everyone thinks that their's is the best. Here are seven signs you're from the 732, AKA the best part of Jersey:

1. You know that Central Jersey is a place.

One of the biggest arguments is whether or not Central Jersey exists. I live in the middle of New Jersey, so it's pretty funny when people say it's not a real place. I'm not from South Jersey, and definitely not from North Jersey. Also, it's close to both Philadelphia and New York, not just one or the other. Perfect location.

2. Everywhere you go, you see a Wawa.

Legit everywhere, and you go there 24/7. All hail the holy grail.

3. Surf Taco means a lot to you.

Every time I come home from being away at school the first place I go to eat with my friends is Surf Taco. Even when I am home, Surf Taco's always on my mind. Who doesn't love a good taco with chips? P.S. I highly recommend their Teriyaki Chicken Taco, you won't regret it.

4. You go to all the summer concerts.

There's really nothing more fun than summer shows outside, and you already know that PNC Bank Arts Center and Stone Pony Summer Stage are the hot-spots. 'Tis the season of tailgating and enjoying a good show with your friends.

5. Two words: Pork. Roll.

I don't care what Chris Christie has to say, it's pork roll. Quite honestly, Taylor Ham just doesn't sound right. And what's better than a pork roll egg n' cheese on your favorite bagel? Nothing.

6. You live close to the beach...

Spring Lake, Manasquan, Asbury, you name it. You know these areas and where all of the good food spots are in each of them. Living so close to the beach makes for the perfect summers, but with summer comes the bennies.

7. ...So you can easily spot a benny.

If you're from Jersey and you don't know what a benny is, you most likely are one. Bennies usually come in packs; they bring lawn chairs and tents to the beach, wear socks and sandals, and have the "Jersey accent" because they're either from New York or close to.


Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia commons

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6 Spooky Hotels In Texas That Will Give You The Shivers From Check-In To Check-Out

Turn out the lights and grab a flashlight because I'm about to tell you some chilling stories of ghosts within the walls of these hotels.

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If you're anything like me and love this spooky season and all of its perks, then this article is for you. And if you hate scary stories, I'm sorry in advance, but these are just too good to pass up. These haunted tales are not for everyone.

Fair warning if you ever plan to or have stayed at one of these hotels — they've got a hallowing history. And if you stick around to the end, there will be a bonus ghost story.

1. The Baker Hotel: Mineral Falls, Texas 

Baker Hotel

Flickr Creative Commons

The Baker Hotel came to life shortly after the stock market crash of 1929 by none other than T.B. Baker. His hotel towered over the dark days of the city, reaching 14 stories high. With its massive structure also brought forth many amenities for guests to enjoy, including an outdoor pool and two bowling alleys. The extravagance of the building lured many celebrities back from those days such as Bonnie and Clyde, Judy Garland, and President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Baker Hotel is home to one eerie ghost that isn't quite yet ready to check out.

The Woman on the 7th floor has no name, but her story is well-known. She is suspected to be the mistress of the hotel manager back in the dark days of America and resided in the hotel in suites on, you guessed it, the 7th floor. Distraught by the effects of the affair, the woman went to the roof and jump off (Hint: she died.) The legend continues as she never left the building. According to my research, in the 1960's, an employee of the hotel alerted the others that they had seen a ghost-like woman on the 7th floor.

More spooky incidents include that of guests smelling hints of old perfume when no one else is around and it quickly leaves, and employees and guests have reported to finding lipstick smudges on their glasses when no one else was around.

2. Hotel Galvez: Galveston, Texas 

Hotel Galvez

Flickr Creative Commons

The Hotel Galvez surfaced in 1911 in the coastal town of Galveston, and soon brought a dark storm of horror. In the 1950s, a young woman named Audra of 25 years old frequently visited the hotel to be reunited with her Marine fiancé each time his ship arrived at the port. Throughout her visits, she would frequently stay in Room 501 and take trips to the 8th floor to look out to sea. She would watch the waves endlessly crash until the return of her beloved. One night, a storm blew through with waves of horror to crash upon the hotel and the bride-to-be's heart. Audra was informed that her fiancé's ship had sunk and there was not a single survivor.

Overcome with sadness, she went to the 8th floor where she used to scan the Gulf for that magical ship and hung herself with the water as the last thing she saw. The story gets worse. Sorry. A few days after her suicide, her fiancé (believed to be dead) arrived at the hotel to greet his bride but instead was greeted with a more haunting news. From then, people have reported strange sounds and random items breaking. The "Ghost Bride" may still be awaiting the return of her fiancé and releases havoc until then.

3. The Adolphus: Dallas, Texas

The Adolphus

Flickr Creative Commons

The Adolphus, founded in 1912 by Adolphus Busch of the beer company, follows a similar theme to the Hotel Galvez of a distraught bride-to-be. Although in this case, the bride-that-never-was. This ghost story dates back to the 1930's when a blushing bride was awaiting her walk down the aisle in The Adolphus. Upon the big day, she had discovered that her husband-to-be had stranded her. Heartbroken over this event, she hung herself in the ballroom of the 19th floor where her wedding was to be held. The hotel currently has had the ballroom closed for decades, but there have been reports of wedding music coming from within those walls. Plus, people have also exclaimed that they have heard a woman weeping when no one else is around — the bride sobbing over her lost marriage.

4. The Emily Morgan Hotel: San Antonio, Texas

Flickr Creative Commons

The Emily Morgan Hotel originally was a medical center in 1924 then turned hotel. This immense building houses multiple ghosts that have come to make the Emily Morgan a permanent stay. On the 3rd floor, there have been multiple instances in which people claim to have been awoken by a singing woman/humming young girl in their rooms sitting at the edge of the bed in the middle of the night.

On the 7th floor, some have reported seeing anomalies or dark shapes floating by and quickly disappearing into the air.

On the 9th floor, there have been times in which people suspect inanimate objects have moved or broken on their own.

On the 11th floor, guests and employees have reported to seeing an elderly woman in a hospital gown roaming the halls and vanishing.

In addition to those odd sightings, people have also claimed to hear an old hospital gurney going through the hallways. And finally the 12th floor, where the hospital used to be located. On the 12th floor, reports of strange touches, haunting sounds, and smells of a hospital and alcohol have surfaced through some visits.

5. Driskill Hotel: Austin, Texas 

Flickr Creative Commons

The Driskill Hotel, founded in 1886 by a Confederate Colonel Jesse Driskill, houses a similar theme as to The Adolphus and Hotel Galvez's tales of a misfortunate wedding, as well as some other ghostly visitors roaming the property. Col. Jesse Driskill was a well-known gambler and often held his games at his hotel. Shortly after the grand opening, Driskill died in his magnificent hotel. It is suspected that the ghost of Driskill pops by to check in on his building and watch over the events held within. Furthermore, there have been multiple accounts of people claiming to have heard a little girl bouncing a ball around the hotel when no children are near.

The story relates back to a little girl chasing her ball down the grand staircase and falling to her death. However, in my opinion, this is the most chilling story of the hotel's past. Twenty years apart from each other, a haunting scene occurred in the exact same place and under the exact same circumstance. A bride and groom were at the hotel for their honeymoon, but it was not as sweet as expected. The bride committed suicide in the bathtub of their room, 525. Then as I said, exactly 20 years later another bride ended her life in that very bathtub of Room 525. CREEPY!

6. The Jefferson Davis Hospital: Houston, Texas

Wikimedia Commons

I know I kept a trend of haunted hotels, but this story was too spooky to leave out. Plus, being a resident of Houston, I had to include a scary story from my home city. This is the spooky Jefferson Davis Hospital.

The Jefferson Davis Hospital was built in 1924 on the Houston Cemetery of fallen soldiers of the Civil War from the 1800's and victims of yellow fever. The hospital erected as a psychiatric hospital, that would later close in 1939. Anyone brave enough to enter the hallowing halls of the Jefferson Davis Hospital has reported to hearing screams and mumblings, even chilling scents of an old hospital and death. In 2004, the city of Houston turned the creepy abandoned hospital into a condominium. The Elder Street Artists' Lofts now sit on top of a cemetery and an old hospital that houses some mentally insane patients.

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