Blog header

27 Photos That Will Give You Mind-Bending Dreams

Published by Alexandra Kim · February 27th 2014

These 27 surreal photos featuring people are bound to pique your subconscious' imagination. Happy Dreaming!




























What do these photos make you think of? Check out more surreal photos here!


Celebrating 3 Months of 500px Art!

Published by Alexandra Kim · February 26th 2014

500px Art is celebrating 3 months of bringing beautiful wall art to your homes and offices! We’re so proud to be able to offer this great service to both photographers and lovers of photography. To kick things off, we are offering a 25% off discount to all prints ordered between today, February 26, and Friday, February 28, 2014.

To add to the festivities, we have featured 16 of the top selling photos on 500px Art with some interesting anecdotes about them and their photographers. Please enjoy!

Alexander Dragunov is a Russian from Saint Petersburg living in Stockholm, Sweden.

“There was a long weekend last year at the end of March. I decided to go to Berlin, as I never been there before. Reichstag was one of the must-see places in my list, but it was not easy to do. The electronic booking system was broken so I had to stand two hours in the queue to get a permit to visit it the next day. There are no restrictions in taking photos inside the dome, so I took quite many from different levels at different angles and finally chose that one.”

Atsushi Hayakawa is a magazine and book writer from Japan.

“The first time I visited this place it was already nighttime. I went back the next day before the sun went down and this scenery greeted me. It is very mystical and almost divine. The shadow feels as if it is looming towards me.”

Sebastian Wahlhuetter is an anthropologist and photography based in Vienna, Austria. He says he uses his anthropological knowledge to inform his photography.

“The image was actually the first one I had ever uploaded on 500px. Intentionally I just wanted to give this platform a try and within hours this image started its way to fame and glory on the internet, going straight to the Nr.1 rank on the front page with a [Pulse] of 99.9. It couldn't have wished for more. Since 500px also provides the possibility to promote images on 500px Art I just wanted to give this feature a try as well. A great service and a real benefit for me since it gives people in North America access to my work which otherwise would be really difficult.”

Roberto Melotti was born in Bologna, Italy, and has a deep passion for wildlife photography.

“In terms of nature photography, I deeply advise aspiring photographers to love and respect nature in all its aspects. From an ancient Indian proverb: ‘We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.’

In nature photography, the photographer really needs to have a lot of patience and volition. He needs to wake up in the early morning to shoot during golden hours. He needs to be prepared to walk or stay in the cold, in the heat and humidity, inside the mud, backpacking with really heavy photo gear.

Most importantly, he needs to respect nature. For example, some "nature photographers" don't want to wait for a bird to take off. Instead, they simply throw a stone at the bird, which then flies away and then they can easily take a photo. This is the worst way to be a nature photographer. Nature is the most important thing and then the photo, even for the most professional photographer. Unfortunately, some of them ‘forget’ that this so important point.”

Michael Woloszynowicz is a photographer and retoucher based in Toronto, Canada. He shoots a variety of things from portraiture, fashion and beauty to architecture and travel.

“Don't focus all your attention on 'how' to do something. There are so techniques out there both in-camera and in post processing, but those will only get you so far. Generally the techniques can be learned in a few months, but then what? Too many people disregard the 'what' and 'why', and although they're technically proficient, the results still end up a bit short. You have to marry it all together and combine the technical elements with the intangible ones in order to create something eye-catching. The best way to do that is to look at photos, lots of photos and try to analyze what makes them speak to you. Don't dwell on how they were created, what settings were used, etc. Focus on the colours, the conditions, the composition and the light quality and direction and train your eye so to speak. The techniques will help you but your imagination and vision will serve as the guide throughout the process.”

Pat Bryan describes himself as a father, husband and friend to those around him, living in Bellevue, Nebraska.

“This photo was taken during a trip to Alaska this past year. I was lucky to be able to find a group of similar individuals who wanted to go out and experience the Aurora Borealis this night, and many of them from the area that this photo was taken. What inspired me on this night was just the absolute beauty that was displayed in front of us. It was nothing that can be man-made, and it rose above us stretching far into the reaches of space, one of the reasons for the title “Above and Beyond”. I remember looking up and almost forgetting at times to press my shutter in order to take a photo because of it being so awe inspiring.”

Mark Brodkin is a native Torontonian but has travelled the world in pursuit of his images.

“This location is incredibly difficult to shoot because of the weather. You need to get to the location well before sunrise to have a any chance to get the shot. I visited the location over ten times and in most instances I saw only fog, there was literally nothing to shoot. On this morning, the fog slowly sank into the bay revealing the orange bridge and golden skyline. One of the most exciting moments I have had in photography.”

Aaron Brethorst is a prominent software developer living in Seattle, Washington.

“[My favorite] photographs [are the ones] that tell a story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it's incredibly challenging to capture both narrative and context within a single image.”

Matt Molloy is a Canadian who loves most forms of art, including photography, music, drawing, painting, land art, digital art.

“I love lots of different types of photography, but timelapse is my favorite, especially landscapes. I think it's really interesting to see a different perspective of time, how things change and evolve over time, in a way that you don't normally notice in real time. It's also great that you get lots of still photos to choose the perfect shot from, a video, and a "time stack" (all the photos in one image) So you can get a lot out of a timelapse.”

Steven Suwatanapongched is exploring work in software development design and photography in Los Angeles, California.

“A friend of mine had his wedding at the Adler Planetarium several years ago. I remember walking out and seeing the view of Chicago and thought, 'This is a great view of Chicago, I need to come back and photograph this some time.’ So the Adler is one of my go to spots for Chicago skyline photos.

This was also taken just after the ‘Polar Vortex’ that hit the Midwest this winter. There was ice everywhere. I had to use my tripod to help find the black ice so I wouldn’t slip and fall that night.”

Coco Moni is an Argentinian living in Miami, Florida, and works as a private Swiss banker.

“The picture la habana from the Cristo is a nice view to all the city from the Christ which is 150 meters higher and the lighting was perfect that evening. What drives me to photography is a need to share with others the beauty I see around me.”

Sue Hsu has a passion for photography and lives in Taipei, Taiwan.

“In [the] suburbs in Taipei, I am lucky to find so many kinds of birds. I find them very charming and beautiful. An example would be the kingfisher. They are easy to find here next to the streams. The female is a little shy. The male, on the other hand, would catch some fish and hand it nicely to the female during the mating season!”

Dale Johnson is an engineer for Boeing living in Seattle, Washington, and travels the world his job.

“Spend some time looking at other peoples work, and 500px is a good place to do that. Pay attention to what you like about the images and what you don't like. Notice how the light interacts with the elements of the photo, such as its direction and quality. It's also important to really know how to use your camera and how the key variables (f-stop, shutter speed, and ISO) can affect the resultant image. When you are comfortable with your camera and don't have to worry about how to get the settings that you want for the effect that you are after, you can focus on setting up the scene at hand and composing the elements to tell the story that you are after.”

Steven Blackmon is a musician by profession, choral and orchestral conductor, and occasional composer, but is truly passionate about photography these days.

“I try to be always in a ‘photo capture’ mode with my eyes, and it’s a habit that has served me well over the years…it also explains why my portfolio really runs the gamut of subject matter. [...] I most especially enjoy nature photography, I suppose…you’ll notice that there are not generally a lot of people featured in my gallery, though I’m working on making myself branch out a bit into portraiture. Recently, several friends have asked me for headshots, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of accommodating them.”

Dmytro Cherkasov is from Kiev, Ukraine, and is a passionate traveler. He discovered photography through travel.

“Most of all I am enjoying to shoot landscapes and animals. With a landscapes photos you could express your vision of the World's beauty and share it with others. While, with animals you are finding yourself in whole new world. I cannot claim that I have achieved a technical perfection in animal photography, I am far from there. Nevertheless, I am always fortunate to have fascinating meetings and exciting moments during the observations. I believe, that my ‘Golden Shot’ is still ahead.”

Nicole Young is a full-time photographer and author, currently living in the US.

“When I fell in love with photography in high school I never thought I would make a career out of it. I thought that doing photography as my job would eliminate the passion I felt for it. After being a professional photographer for several years, I have found that is not the case! The key is to keep doing it in a way that works for you, and that you enjoy. You also need to allow yourself the time and freedom to photograph image just for you to keep the adventurous spirit alive.”

More stunning art like these are available on 500pxArt. Check it out! The sale ends soon.


Visitors in the Hermit Kingdom - An Insider's Story From North Korea

Published by Alexandra Kim · February 25th 2014

A United Nations panel released a 400-page report last Monday that stated an international criminal investigation will be called for. This will be to explore the crimes against humanity conducted by the authoritarian state. These crimes include “extermination; murder; enslavement; torture; imprisonment; rape; forced abortions and other sexual violence; persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds; the forcible transfer of populations; the enforced disappearance of persons; and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” according to the report.

The North Korean people did not always know these horrifying circumstances. The state of North Korea was created only six decades ago during the Cold War when a proxy war broke out on the peninsula between the communist Chinese and democratic Americans. At the end of the conflict the country was split in two, divided by their respective leading parties. As a result, thousands of families were split apart as well.

Fast forward to present day, North Korea is shrouded in mystery. It is often referred to as the “Hermit Kingdom” and “the edge of the world”. The outside world’s main information on the country comes from defectors who have fled the state, desperately searching for a more hopeful future and an escape from circumstances described in the UN panel’s report.

Outside visitors are allowed to visit North Korea, their visits categorized into different streams: journalism, charity, tourism, family reconnection. The last category intrigued us. What would it be like to know your family was living in such a place? What would it be like to have grown up with your siblings and then wake up to find them gone one day? We caught up with an insider, who has requested they remain nameless, whose family has known this trauma. Please note the photos accompanying this story are not related.

My grandfather is from a city on the coast in what is now North Korea. He grew up in a home with his parents, two brothers and one sister. Their family was quite well known in their town, and they did not want for anything. They were happy.

One night they received news that the communists were coming down from the North. The entire town was panicked. There was a huge rush to get to the ships that were taking people to the South. Due to unfortunate circumstances, his family did not make it onto the ship.

The next option was to make the trek from their village in the North down through the Korean mountains to the South, where people were saying it was safe. In the bitter Korean winter, it would be quite the journey. But alas, another twist of fate! Amongst the people who did not make it was my grandfather’s grandmother. There was no way they could manage with both a 70-year-old grandma and three very young children. My grandfather’s family was faced with an impossible decision.

After much deliberation, it was decided that my grandfather’s father would make the journey to the South alone. With hindsight, it may seem harsh. But the reality they were living in was a confusing and terrifying one. Rumors of the communists killing all men who refused to join their party were spreading throughout the peninsula. They could not take the risk of this happening to my great-grandfather.

The plan was for him to journey to the South and stay there while the chaos died down. They were desperately hoping that this would last only a couple weeks. They had no way of knowing that the war would last for three very long years…

In the morning of his departure, my great-grandfather had a thought. My grandfather, though only fifteen at the time, was tall and looked mature for his age. He decided to take him along, lest the communists think he was a young man. So, last minute, my grandfather gathered a few of his things and prepared himself for the journey as well.

Their farewell was short, but painful. My grandfather told me that as he and his father walked out into the gloomy, snowy morning his mother called out to him, “Have a safe journey!” Perhaps it was the fear that enveloped him so, but he did not reply. He did not turn around to acknowledge his mother’s final words. How could he have known that this would be their last exchange? He told me that it haunts him to this day.

My grandfather and his father did not go back in the coming weeks. They did not return to the North as a pair ever again. My great-grandfather died without seeing his family again.

After many, many years my grandfather was able to make contact with his now elderly brothers and sister, still living in the DPRK. He, my grandmother, and I were able to visit his hometown recently. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I messaged a friend right after I got back: “I just got back from a 9 day trip to North Korea where I met my grandfather's family for the first time. Prior to my trip I thought I had a pretty good sense of where the world was at, but now my entire perspective has changed. I could write you a thousand pages on the things I saw and how conflicted I feel…”

When you visit Pyongyang your guide, who never leaves your side, will take you around to all the monuments glorifying Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. They allow you to take photos, as long as the subject depicts the “impressive progress” of the city. But this progress is full of eerie dichotomies that show the true state of the DPRK. Streets lined with street lamps that never turn on. Eight car wide lanes but no cars that drive on them. Tour guides waiting patiently for foreign customers at patriotic museums. Shop keeps that accept only foreign currency.

The worst was the Arirang Mass Games. 100,000 North Korean children all performing a strictly choreographed dance routine that depicted the country’s history and, of course, celebrated the Kim family. This was extremely difficult to watch for me, as it was the perfect metaphor for how the North Korean people are treated. Cogs in a wheel. Pawns in a game.

This is how everyone looks at North Koreans. They hear “North Korea” and they think Kim Jung Il, nuclear missiles, crazy plots of murders and Dennis Rodman. But it’s important to remember that these are real people, just like you and me. They just happen to have the terrible misfortune of being born in such a country. Kim Jung Il, nuclear missiles, and crazy plots of murders are their reality. But what is also their reality is blinding fear, stagnating famine, dire circumstances and no way out.

My grandfather was lucky to escape when he did. So many, like the rest of my family in North Korea, were not as fortunate as he was. We must not forget them. We must never forget that they are there, they are people, and they need help.

On Thursday, a group of 80 South Koreans met 174 of their North Korean relatives in a rare occasion agreed to by both the North and South Korean governments. These families were allowed to see each other a limited time of 11 hours over the span of three days before a heart-wrenching goodbye. Al Jazeera reported that at the time of separation many family members clutched each other’s hands at first, unwilling to let go. The South Korean group was then flown back home and watched from their windows as their families slowly disappeared out of view.

What are your thoughts on the Hermit Kingdom? If this story moved you, we suggest you check out Liberty in North Korea to get involved in North Korean refugee advocacy and awareness.


Weekly Monday Contest

Published by Alexandra Kim · February 20th 2014

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover new announced theme, deadline and how to enter.


Last week we chose Family Day for our contest theme and have received close to 460 entries. We have chosen twelve from all the contestants to share with you today. Please enjoy and click on each thumbnail for a full size photo. Let us know which one is your favourite in the comments below :)

New theme: It’s Summer Somewhere

1. Select photo that fits this theme. Upload image to your 500px profile or pick an existing photo.
2. Add a tag "500pxsummersomewhere".
3. You are done. To track all entries click here.

Theme is open to your interpretation and creativity, so get snapping and tagging. Deadline is March 3rd at 12PM (EST). To make your efforts worthwhile there’s a random draw giveaway for all who enter for a chance to win 2 months Awesome membership. Lucky draw winner is Gerard Hermand.

Good luck this week!


The Story Behind that Insane Shanghai Tower Climb

Published by Alexandra Kim · February 20th 2014

The insane YouTube video of Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov swept across the interwebs this week, inducing vertigo everywhere. Not only was a stomach-dropping video produced, but some pretty jaw-dropping point of view photos as well. We corresponded with Vadim Mahorov, one half of Team ‘ontheroofs’.

Hi Vadim, thanks for taking the time! The video of your climb is crazy, but it's not the first you've ever done. What made you so interested in climbing these landmarks?

Yes, we do have a lot of videos. We started shooting them ever since we climbed the Moscow bridge in Kiev. We climbed to the pylon right by the cables that time. The video got more than 1.5 million views.

We climb to the top of buildings to see the city from an unusual angle. But this is just a small part of what we do.

Are you particularly proud of this one?

No. How can you be proud of climbing somewhere high? I think only professional mountaineers can be proud of their ascends.

What sparked your interest in photography?

I started taking photos four years ago. It was completely random. I just took a few shots with a camera phone and I liked it, so I bought a camera and off we go.

Is photography a hobby or a profession?

There’s a saying that the best hobby is the one that also feeds you. That applies here.

Do you plan out your climbs and shoots before you do them? What goes into planning it?

Yes, we do plan them. Every time it’s different. It’s hard to say what goes into planning. We wouldn’t be too happy if other people followed in our footsteps. It’s extremely dangerous.

What were you feeling during your first climb?

Unsurprisingly, I felt complete delight. You could see the whole city, and the people below me looked like ants.

Are you ever afraid of getting caught by the police?

Nope, we are not afraid. ‘Hunting season’ is open on us. Not because we have broken the law, but because our actions had a public outcry. The police don’t like it when something goes against their rule book.

What equipment do you take with you on your shoots?

I’ve been shooting with Canon5D Mark III, Canon 70-200 4L, 17-40 4L. Vitaly shoots with exactly the same lenses, but Canon 6D camera instead.

Do you do any other type of photography?

Yes, we not only take photos from the roof tops, but also underground. We do take a lot of photos during our travels, but that’s mostly for ourselves. I also shoot a lot of industrial shoots - factories and such.

How did you find out about 500px and what do you like about it?

It was a while ago, when 500px was just getting started. I signed up for an account at the time when you needed a promo code to get access. I wasn’t active in the beginning because I thought that my photos were not worthy of being on the site.

I like 500px because you can see really great photos there. The same cannot be said about other photo sharing sites, especially Russian ones.

You guys are heroes now. What are your plans for the future?

Plans for the future? I’d love to continue to travel, and don’t stop at the current progress. But apart from the travel plans we have lots of ideas. We are keeping them discreet, but you’ll find out about them in the due course.

Owls. Yay or Nay?

I wonder why this is a traditional question for you? I’m pretty neutral to owls.

What are your thoughts on rooftopping? Daring or dangerous?

Feb 20, 2014 2:55pm - Edit: The second YouTube video was just replaced with Vadim and Vitaly's first video that was mentioned in the interview.


Our thoughts on photography, web development, and life. Join us for updates, interviews, reviews, and stories.

Subscribe to RSS

Popular Photos

BorrowLenses. Get 10% off your next order with the 500px gift code