The Truth about “Heaven’s Trail”, the Infamous Photo That Captured the Imagination of Millions

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Heaven’s Trail is a breathtaking photograph that went viral almost the moment it was published online a couple of years ago. Like most good things on the internet, the original source was soon lost; no one had any idea where the picture was clicked, or even if it was real.

One explanation on the internet was: “There’s this place in Ireland where every two years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th to June 18th. It’s called Heaven’s Trail.” Many thought that the view in the picture was impossible. They assumed that the photographer had taken two completely unrelated shots and merged them together.

Heaven’s Trail was shared extensively on blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. One blogger wrote, “I feel pretty comfortable calling utter bullshit on this.” The photograph itself is pretty spectacular. I can understand why people would be curious to know its origins. The stairs in the picture lead up to pretty much nowhere. At the horizon there’s a surreal, heavenly light illuminating a man who appears to be running into the stars.

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This Portrait of Morgan Freeman Is Actually a Finger Painting Done on an iPad

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26-year-old iPad artist Kyle Lambert has created an ultra-realistic finger painting of Hollywood star Morgan Freeman. If you put Lambert’s painting and Freeman’s photograph side-by-side, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. The features are practically lifelike, down to the last freckle.

The British artist from Cheshire took one month and used 285,000 finger strokes on his iPad to complete the painting. He used an application called Procreate that allowed him to zero-in and layer his work. Using the app’s features, he reduced the brush size to only a few pixels for extra precision. This enabled him to zoom in to apply stroke after stroke, producing the amazing, photo-like portrait.

Lambert says that Procreate was crucial to his finger painting process. “It captures every brush stroke automatically and you can export it to the camera roll,” he explains. “It has the best canvas size and video export. It’s the most like Photoshop.”

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Russian Photographer’s Photos Reveal the Unique Beauty of Snowflakes

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Alexey Kljatov is a photographer with a difference – he takes incredibly breathtaking shots of snowflakes with equipment that he developed at home, eliminating the need for cameras and lenses worth thousands of dollars.

It’s hard to believe that Moscow-based Kljatov is an amateur. Take a look at these close-up snowflake photographs and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The amount of precision and clarity he has achieved with just a home-made rig is amazing.

Kljatov used parts from old cameras and attached them to wooden boards using a bunch of screws and some tape. Doesn’t sound like much, but this set-up is really working wonders for him. The close-up views of the snowflakes are enchanting.

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Artist Mom Creates Amazing Mosaics Out of Thousands of Play-Doh Dots

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Who said Play-Doh is just for kids? In an amazing display of pointillism, mother-of-three Lacy Knudson puts together over 10,000 Play-Doh dots to create beautiful mosaics.

It all started when Knudson was putting away her kids’ clay one day. She began mushing it into little balls when she realized that these tiny, colorful dots could be put together to create great artwork. And the best part – she could spend time with her children while working.

Knudson has a unique name for her process – Dozayix. It’s a combination of playDOh and moSAICS. And of course, a whole lot of fun. Her first piece was called A New World, for which she used 23 pounds of Play-Doh. She split it all into 10,000 half-inch dots (called ‘dozaic tiles’) and perfectly arranged each dot to build her mosaic.

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Keep Away from Fire: Belarusian Artist Paints with Petroleum

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A true artist can create outstanding art from almost anything, even ugly, greasy oil. Who would have ever imagined that petroleum could be used to paint breathtaking images? Belarussian artist Ludmila Zhizhenko, that’s who.

Ludmila was a designer at a petroleum company for years before she invented this new technique of painting in 2009. She would use watercolors earlier, but petroleum is now her material of choice. Ludmila’s paintings have are elegant, with an old-world charm. They resemble vintage, yellowed photographs from the last century. Photo artist Sergei Kholodilin says, “This is a synthesis of photography and painting.”

For her paintings, Ludmila uses petroleum produced in the Gomel region. To make one ‘heavy oil’ painting, she needs about 10 grams of the stuff. And there are only two types of petroleum she can make use of. Ludmila lets us in on a few of her trade secrets: “It is important not to stop putting stroke after stroke. Otherwise, if the oil dries out,  it will be very difficult to fix something,” she says. Due to the chemical composition of petroleum, she mostly paints outdoors.

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David Foster’s Amazing Hammered-Nail Portraits

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Who would have ever thought that fine art could be created out of something as crude as a hammer and a bunch of nails? I’ve seen several art forms made using Pointillism before, but former architect David Foster’s work is quite unique. At first glance, it’s hard to believe that his breathtaking portraits were once a plain box of nails.

David’s art covers a range of subjects: celebrities, animals, flowers and get this – even a hammer and nail! The level of precision and realism in his art is a result of years of practicing and perfecting his technique. On his website he says, “I have always been fascinated with how little information the brain needs to interpret a picture.” He loves the simplicity of a picture just made out of dots.

When he started making portraits, David worked only with ink. He began experimenting with nails only in the past couple of years. He starts with a photograph of the subject, which he painstakingly reproduces by stippling with an ink pen. He enlarges the inked drawing to mark out where the nails go. Then the nailing begins, and many thousands of nails later, the piece is complete. On an average, his smaller drawings number about 5,000 nails, while larger ones can have as many as 30,000. David’s prize winning piece made from 16,000 nails is called Lashes and Nails.

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Tree Shaping – The Art of Turning Young Trees into Living Works of Art

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Who said you need to chop the wood off trees to make sculptures? Tree shaping is an art form that makes use of living trees to make wonderful creations. Also known as Biotecture, Grown Furniture or simply tree sculpting, the technique involves growing and shaping the trunks of trees and other woody plants by grafting or pruning. The trunks or branches are grown into ornamental or useful shapes.

Tree branches and trunks have the unique ability to unite together by grafting. The new shapes are retained when fresh layers of wood grow over the older ones. So a tree sculptor winds two or more parts of a tree together by cutting off the bark and then binds the wounded parts together so that the contact is secure. This promotes the tree parts to grow together. These stems and branches need to be wound together for at least a year depending on the amount of resistance they need to overcome. Additional layers of wood grow during this time, acting as a natural cast and retaining the new desired shape. Once the shape is able to hold itself, the bracing is removed. The techniques used by artists vary between Instant Tree Shaping, also known as Arborsculpture (mature trees bent into the desired shape and held until cast), Aeroponic Culture (the use of living, air-suspended roots to make bridges) and Gradual Tree Shaping (trees are grown from saplings for the specific purpose of creating a design).

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Feast Your Eyes on the Most Amazing Wood Carving Ever Created

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China has a long-standing tradition in wood carving. For centuries, its chisel-wielding masters have been turning bland pieces of wood into awe-inspiring masterpieces, but none as impressive as the mind-blowing creation Zheng Chunhui. This talented Chinese artist spent the last four years painstakingly carving a detailed replica of Along the River during the Qingming Festival, a famous traditional Chinese painting, into a 12-meter-long tree trunk. The breathtaking beauty of his work simply cannot be expressed into words, you just have to see it for yourself.

As you can imagine, Zheng Chunhui needed mountains of patience to complete his wooden masterpiece, but it was all worth it. Apart from the praise of everyone who got to see the artwork up close at its recent unveiling, the Chinese artist was also honored by the Guinness Book of Records with the new world record for the longest wood carving. It measures 12.286 meters long, 3.075 meters high and 2.401 meters wide.

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Banana Tattooing, an Increasingly Popular Art Form

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Up until a few years ago, people rarely looked at bananas as anything more than delicious fruits, let alone as an art medium. But that was before artists started taking advantage of the banana peel’s oxidation process to create amazing artworks. Today, more and more artists are becoming specialized in banana oxidation art, also known as banana tattooing.

Banana peel may seem like a strange canvas too some, but it’s also one that can yield some pretty impressive results. Case in point, the amazing artworks of End Cape, a young Japanese artist who specializes in bruising bananas. Using a sharp tool like a simple needle or a thumbtack, he spends up to five hours puncturing the peel of the tropical fruit and creating breathtaking masterpieces inspired by popular anime, traditional Japanese art and famous landmarks. The process is very similar to that used by regular tattoo artists, only without the paint. In contact with air, the bruised sections of the banana turn brown, revealing artist’s designs. Apparently, the colder the fruit is, the faster it oxidizes. By controlling the density of needle holes, End Cape is able to create different textures and shades of brown.

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Artist Sculpts Celebrity Portraits in Expensive Lipstick

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Ever dreamed of having your face immortalized in expensive lipstick? No, well, you can, thanks to Singapore-based artist May Sum, who has made a name for himself by carving expensive lipsticks from top brands in the makeup industry into detailed busts of various celebrities, from Lady Gaga to Audrey Hepburn.

Some women would kill for a stick of lipstick from established brands such as Yves Saint Laurent or Estee Lauder, but artist May Sum doesn’t think twice before butchering them into oily busts of popular fashion icons. It’s not clear what kind of tools he uses during the carving process, but considering the size of his medium, they must be pretty tiny and precise. Although his lipstick busts aren’t exact replicas of the characters he aims to depict, the Singaporean somehow manages to always nail he details that define his muses. For example, Lady Gaga is easily recognizable by her unmistakable hairdo and large glasses, while Coco Channel can be distinguished by her signature hat and pearls. May Sum can carve sticks of lipsticks into anything from animals to sceneries and customs portraits, but she is most famous for her “Strong Women” series.

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Artist Trains Pigeons to Smuggle Cigars from Cuba

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Some artists are willing to do anything for their masterpieces, including risking their freedom. American Duke Riley is one such artist. He walks the fine line between legal and illegal in his new project called “Trading with the Enemy” which involves smuggling cigars from Cuba to Key West using pigeons specially trained for this shady task.

For “Trading with the Enemy,” Riley, who makes a living as a tattoo artist, started off by training 50 birds. Some were taught to carry cigars from Cuba to their destination – which, if you don’t already know by now, is illegal, and some were given special cameras to document their trip back and forth over the boarder. The spying equipment was engineered by Riley himself who worked for several years to make them as light as possible so the pigeon’s wouldn’t even notice them. According to the New York Times, the artist’s concept was a commentary on “the long history of pirating on the southern border.” Riley also wanted to dismiss the government’s very expensive high-tech spying gear by using homing pigeons instead of drones. “I wanted to subvert this billions-of-dollars high-tech system with things that were being used in ancient Sumeria. A lot of the work I do seeks to create some sense of possibility or empowerment, in a humorous and romanticized way, using the simplest means possible,” Riley says.

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The Incredibly Realistic Colored Pencil Drawings of Adolfo Fernandez Rodriguez

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Although he started drawing with pencils after the age of 40, Adolfo Fernandez Rodriguez – a Madrid based artist, quickly mastered this technique. Using only colored pencils, he now draws life-like characters, bubbles, reflections and ripples of water that often get confused with hyper-realistic oil paintings and even photographs.

His mind-blowing creations include incredibly realistic waves and drops of water, distorted reflections as well as some very accurate depictions of statues and extremely detailed complex pieces such as two hands on a pile of hay with every straw carefully contoured, or the pages of a book where the artist really took the time to fill the pages with words and drawings. “I only recently discovered this Spanish artist and, really, what else is there to say about his work except – ‘WOW!’ Done in a very realistic style, all of his drawings look like paintings and many of them are almost impossible to tell apart from a photograph. I find not only his work, but also his interpretations and expressions of the love he feels for his many subjects, to be incredibly inspiring,” fellow pencil artist Lissa Rachelle Robillard wrote about Rodriguez’s work.

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Who Needs Paintbrushes? Argentinian Artist Paints with His Eyes

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Did you know the human eyes could be used as a tool for painting? Argentinian artist Leandro Granato recently invented the bizarre technique by snorting paint through his nose and squirting it through his eyes and onto the canvas.

Leandro Granato, 27, uses a very unique variation of drip painting which involves snorting watercolor through his nose and then pushing the liquid out from his eye socket. As impossible as this may seem, he uses up to a pint and a half (800 ml) for each piece. The young artist first discovered his talent during his childhood. “Ever since I was a kid I knew I had a special connection between my eye and my nose,” he explains. “As I grew up I started realizing air and liquids could go out of my eye if I put them through my nose.” By combining his special ability with his passion of art, Leandro started putting liquid paint up his nose and became the inventor of a new painting technique he suggestively calls eye-painting. “When I decided I would do this for a living my whole family thought I was going crazy – as well as many other people,” the artist remembers, but in the end he proved them all wrong. His eye-painting creations take between 10 minutes and 10 months to complete and sell for up to £1,500 ($2,400).

Leandro-Granato

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Incredibly Detailed Portraits Created Exclusively with Black Ink Dots

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Armed with nerves of steels, artist Pablo Jurado Ruiz creates incredibly detailed portraits by adding thousands of tiny ink dots to a white canvas. Talking about his creative approach, he explains: “With a creative concept based primarily on human representation, I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision. My current work is focuses on a simple but realistic drawing and worked in an impressionist technique, complex and very accurate as pointillism or stippling art. “

Born in 1973, in Malaga, Spain, Pablo fell in love with graphics at a very early age, after discovering American and European comics. Later, while studying art history and artists like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Georges Pierre Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, he became fascinated with painting. Today, Pablo Jurado Ruiz is known for his ultra-realistic portraits done with techniques like pointillism and stippling. The Spanish artist uses countless black dots on a white piece of paper to create amazing works of art inspired by his favorite themes: love, disappointment, nature and childhood.

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Lethal Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Stone Statues

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When photographer Nick Brandt first visited Lake Natron, in Northern Tanzania, he was shocked by the macabre animal statues he saw aligned across its shoreline. He later found out something even more shocking – those were real animals calcified by the lake’s alkaline water.

Natron, which gives the lake its name, is a naturally occurring compound found in volcanic ash. It’s the same mineral the Egyptians used to preserve their mummies. The lake’s alkalinity is similar to that of ammonia, with a pH between 9 and 10.5, and the temperature of the water can reach 60 °C. No animal can withstand this caustic environment and venturing into the acidic environment is usually fatal. As soon as birds and bats plunge into the waters of lake Natron, the minerals start turning their flesh into stone and preserving them exactly as they were in their final moments. Flamingos sometime use the predator-free salt islands that sometimes form on the lake for nesting, but it’s a risky gamble, as the photos below clearly show. Only invertebrates, a few algae invertebrates and some fish that live near the edges of the lake can survive this environment.

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