“The night left a thin layer of snow over the highest mountains [in] fresh air that is difficult to have in our cities,” describes photographer Alessandro Mari. Here, the runoff from Iceland’s most photographed mountain forms a waterfall.
Icy conditions made this shot a challenge: “Water spray was constantly refreezing to my lens, so I had to frequently wipe it down,” says photographer Ed Graham.
Nachi Great Waterfall, Japan
Over 400 feet high, with a waterflow of one ton per second, Japan’s tallest waterfall is the center of worship at the Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine.
Tappiya Falls, Philippines
The Banaue Rice Terraces, sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World, envelop this high waterfall. “One could feel the spray hundreds of feet back and hear the sound of the roar five times [further than] that,” says photographer Joel Bear.
A horseback rider overlooks a broad cascade in Iceland.
A visitor is dwarfed by the cascading water and mist of one of Iceland’s famous waterfalls.
El Chaltén, Argentina
Moody weather shadows a cataract in Patagonia.
Elk Falls, Canada
This falls of the Campbell River blankets the surrounding rock with an icy spray.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
After driving 11 hours straight, photographer Casey Horner “was quite surprised that the parking lot was nearly empty, as this is one of the most photographed places on the West Coast … luckily, [there was] a single person on the bridge … in the perfect place for me to grab this [shot].”
Stirling Falls, New Zealand
Stirling Falls plummets from a height of nearly 500 feet in Fjorland National Park. “I went speechless when taking this photograph, standing on the deck of the boat right underneath in the spray of pure glacial water,” says photographer Leona Chorazyova.
Yosemite Falls, California
In late April, snowmelt increases the flow of the iconic, 2,425-foot waterfall.
Upper Yellowstone Falls, Wyoming
“One of my favorite parks,” says photographer Gosha L. The Yellowstone River flows through two major falls, the Upper and Lower, before reaching the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Niagara Falls, Canada
The famous falls (actually composed of three separate cataracts) has the highest flow rate in North America and attracts about 30 million tourists a year. “After spending three hours in the cold, I could barely feel most of my body, but my soul was bursting with excitement,” says photographer Isabelle DF.
Devils Punchbowl, New Zealand
“This small southern beech tree … caught my eye just as we were about to head back down the track to the township,” says photographer Wynston Cooper. “It’s an example of what one can see by spending time at a location: It was right at the end of my visit that I noticed that the light had changed.”
Lower Yellowstone Falls, Wyoming
Colorful clouds roll over the falls, seen from the popular South Rim overlook known as Artist Point.
Nearly 200 feet wide, this popular waterfall is one of Sweden’s largest.
Salto Corumbá, Brazil
Faced with tourists swimming at the base of the 230-foot-tall falls, photographer Victor Lima says “I realized that I could try using people to give sense of scale to the image.” Lima’s image was chosen as the December 2015/January 2016 cover of National Geographic Traveler.
Mulafossur Waterfall, Faroe Islands
A tall waterfall cascades off a promontory of Vagar, one of the North Atlantic’s autonomous Faroe Islands (officially Danish territory). “One hour after arrival, the sky cleared up for a very short moment when the clouds were roaring past the mountain ridge,” says photographer Haitong Yu.
Verzasca River, Switzerland
After a two-hour-trek, photographer Marc Henauer found one of the Swiss river’s many cataracts, venturing into the chillingly cold water to snap this shot of a place “like a jewel…the most difficult to reach and a true gift of nature.”
A visitor gazes into the gorge formed by this powerful waterfall in southern Iceland.
Nelson Falls, Australia
Trees diffuse the light of the setting sun across this tiered waterfall on Tasmania’s west coast.
Tinago Falls, Philippines
Taking its name from a Tagalog word meaning “hidden,” this remote but popular cascade can only be reached by descending 500 winding steps.
Water still runs beneath the icy shell of this waterfall in Banff National Park.
Pacific Northwest, United States
“After getting lost, trekking down a dirt hill for a mile, only trusting the sound of roaring waters to lead the way, working around the mist spraying on my lens, and ignoring the bone chilling water I had to stand in to capture this shot, I came back with memories and a photo that will stick with me forever,” says photographer Benito Martinez.
These two waterfalls were artificially created beneath a stone bridge.
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