Amazing Nature Photography Is Actually of Miniatures

miniature mountain scene photo
Migrated Image

Few things are more beautiful or inspiring than nature photography, wherein the planet's most breathtaking places are on full display. Clearly, the person responsible for this picture has an eye for landscapes and the power such images can have. But there's just one catch: nothing about this incredible image is what it seems. The snowy mountains in the distance are not tall, the crystal blue water is not wet, and that's not really the sky. In fact, this scene is a miniature and this picture was taken in a basement.

making mini mt scene photo

The artist, Matthew Albanese, is a not just a photographer--he's a creator of worlds. For the past few years, he's been constructing landscape scenes in miniatures and photographing them in such a way that makes them seem as real as any found in nature.

Albanese is a 'do it yourself' kind of guy who designed these impressive pieces with common materials, and with extraordinary results. Cotton and steel wool form ominous clouds; tile grout raises distant mountains; patio-table glass becomes the rippling surface of an alpine lake--and that's just the first step. Using a variety of photographing techniques, adjusting the depth of field, and masterfully lighting each scene, Albanese is able to capture images that seem so natural.

According to the artist:

My work involves the construction of small-scale meticulously detailed models using various materials and objects to create emotive landscapes. Every aspect from the construction to the lighting of the final model is painstakingly pre-planned using methods which force the viewers perspective when photographed from a specific angle. Using a mixture of photographic techniques such as scale, depth of field, white balance and lighting I am able to drastically alter the appearance of my materials.

Perhaps because some might otherwise be unconvinced that his work is actually in miniature, Albanese provides images of his models in their early stages and outlines the process by which each was constructed.

tornado mini photo
making tornado photo
Steel wool and cotton were hung to create the tornado. The burst of lightning was a simple slave flash built into the model.
field of grass mini photo
making grass field photo
Faux Fur was used to create the texture of flowing waves of grain. The sunset was achieved by shifting the white balance with the addition of colored gels.
aurora mini photo
making aurora mini photo
This is how I sampled the aurora borealis from a colored spotlight. A black curtain (not visible in this image) was used to create the "curtain of light" edge of the aurora.
waterfall mini photo
making waterfall mini photo
Model made out of glass, plexiglass, tile grout, moss, twigs, salt, painted canvas & dry ice. The waterfall was created from a time exposure of falling table salt.