Eerie Charcoal Forest Captured by Oskar Zapirain

The world is full of incredible forests, but this foggy beech forest in Northern Spain is one of the most striking of them all.

Oskar Zapirain’s photos take us right to Oirtzun, Basque Country. In the sixteenth century, an abundance of both iron ore and forests fit for charcoal production presented families who worked the land with a vast economic opportunity. Seeing this charcoal forest as an asset, the people chose not to engage in clear-cutting–or the act of removing all trees from a given space–but pruned the trees instead.

In a process known as coppicing, young trees are cut down to allow a number of new shoots to emerge from the stump. Eventually the coppiced tree is ready to be harvested, after which point the process begins again. While this exact woodland management technique might not have shaped the charcoal forest in Oirtzun, processes like these allow more generations to extract the wood for charcoal.

The result is visible: the stumps stay relatively short, while the limbs reach upward like an outstretched hand. Combined with the region’s heavy fog, the scene becomes incredibly eerie and mysterious. According to This is Colossal, Oskar Zapirain has been photographing this Spanish landscape for years. The photographer continues to be attracted to its “mystical atmosphere” and uniform lighting. Check out more of his work at Flickr, or in the photos below:

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Hope Among “The World’s Greatest Heap Of Debris”

Highwire Over Cologne 1946

World War II ravaged Cologne, Germany, destroying infrastructure, dozens of landmarks and–perhaps the hardest to rebuild–a sense of cultural substance.

After the war, sights like the one above–a woman walking a high-wire–were not uncommon, and were meant to offer those living within Cologne a brief reprieve from their quite literally ruined reality.

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Hot Air Balloons Dot The London Skyline For Charity

london air balloons rainbow river

Source: Rex Features

On the morning of June 7th, 2015, 40 hot air balloons ascended into the sleepy skies of London, England as part of the Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta. The regatta was organized by the city of London and marketing agency Exclusive Ballooning, and marked the first time in more than 20 years that a mass of hot air balloons floated above the great city.

In an event lasting just over an hour, the 100-feet tall balloons left from Shoreditch Park in Hackney and moved across the Thames between Tower Bridge, the Shard and Canary Wharf before concluding in Gravesend. The event–as part of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal–raised $120,146 (£78,884) for two disabilities-oriented charities, Mencap and Scope.

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What We Love This Week, Volume CXXVII

Syrian Refugee Holding Children

Syrians fleeing the war rush through broken down border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally near Akcakale on June 14. Source: The Atlantic

Syrian War Refugees Burst Through Border Fence Into Turkey

Syrian Refugees Squeeze Fence

Syrians squeeze through a hole in a border fence near Akcakale on June 14. Source: The Atlantic

Battle flared between ISIS and Syrian Kurdish fighters near Tal Abyad, Syria this past weekend. Thousands of civilian refugees then fled to the Turkish border fence–only to be pushed back by both ISIS and Turkish soldiers on the other side with warning shots and water cannons. On Sunday, a flood of refugees returned to the border. This time, they broke through. Thousands of Syrians poured into Turkey and escaped the fighting, which ended with Kurdish forces taking Tal Abyad. Many Syrians have since crossed back into Tal Abyad, at the moment free from ISIS rule. Experience the struggle and the (at least momentary) triumph at The Atlantic.

Syria Turkey Border Refugees

Syrian refugees plead for water at the Turkish border near Tal Abyad on June 13. Source: The Atlantic

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