Even from our viewpoint down here on the ground, we know that we live on a stunningly beautiful and infinitely diverse planet. Still, there are some views that the average human simply can’t reach.

That’s where the work of photographer Alex MacLean comes in handy. In addition to his picture-taking acumen, MacLean is also a pilot, and he uses these skills to capture unbelievable photos of our world from above—just by sticking his camera out the window.

The results, as you’ll see, are simply amazing…

1. Look at this stunning picture of a massive group of flamingos taking off at once. They’re all gracefully leaving the ocean’s surface, leaving droplets of water to create brilliant ripples below them.

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2. This is a really cool photo of a water park in Ocean City, Maryland. The shapes and colors look cartoonish, which makes sense since water parks are supposed to be for young kids! The swirly slides and multi-colored tents give this picture a lot of visual variety.

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3. It’s always amazing to see people from way up above because they look like tiny ants. This wave pool is dotted with sunbathers who all want to escape the heat and take a dip in the crystal-clear water of the pool.

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4. You might look at this picture and immediately think these shapes are flowers floating in a pool of black ink. If you look closely, though, you’ll see they’re actually rounded docks full of boats. Such a beautiful photo!

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5. Check out this jam-packed parking lot at a race track. It must have been a crowded day at the races if all these people showed up. Parking must have been a nightmare, but finding your car afterward was probably even worse!

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6. Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, perfect weather, and, if you’re a surfer, radical waves! Here’s a group of surfers at Sunset Beach carving up the waters and, hopefully, keeping an eye out for sharks.

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7. Looking at massive objects from afar really takes the intimidation factor away from them. You’ve probably seen those huge shipping containers before, but the view of those huge boxes of metal from this high up makes them seem like a child’s LEGO set.

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8. Here’s a picture of dozens of coal trains all loaded up and ready to make their long trips across the country. From this distance, the trains look like they could be the treads on a tire or a bicycle, but, alas, they’re only trains.

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9. Olympia, Washington, boasts a heavy logging industry, and this picture clearly proves it. Here, hundreds of enormous logs float in the water, sectioned off by other logs to keep the whole mess of wood organized.

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10. The fact that roads have been built all over the country to get us anywhere we need to travel is pretty astounding. This is a snapshot of a multi-tiered highway in New Mexico. The light cast by the sunset is gorgeous while everyone is out for a leisurely drive.

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11. This watercolor-looking design isn’t a design at all—it’s actually magenta-colored water currents seen from miles away. The way the light plays off the water from this particular angle makes them a fantastic hue of purple.

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12. Many people are trying to move away from coal energy, and they’re turning to solar energy because it’s far more environmentally friendly. Here’s an intense picture of a solar farm; this must be producing a lot of energy!

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13. This trail left by a snowblower, when on ground level, would look like nothing more than a snow-less line in this field. But from up above, it looks like a slithery black serpent making its way over a snowy surface.

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14. This farm in Arizona is absolutely stunning. The variety of fruits and vegetables it’s growing makes for multicolored stripes that, from above, appear like vibrant strands of yarn or some other fabric.

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15. Snake River Valley is a huge plot of land that sits mainly in Idaho, but a little of it spills over into Wyoming as well. This overhead photo shows the intricate irrigation systems used to bring water to the land.

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16. It’s incredible to think about how much sprawling farmland the United States has. If you’ve ever driven through the Midwest, it’s impossible not to notice the mile-long stretches of corn, or in this case, wheat!

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17. If no one told you this was a photo of grain fields in Vermont, you’d likely think it was some kind of fabric on clothing or furniture. From up here, the greenery looks soft to the touch, and the hills look smooth and gentle.

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18. Hopefully a lot of people in Emden, Germany enjoy driving all-white vehicles. These newly packed German cars are getting ready for distribution. Imagine trying to find your car if this was a parking lot? You’d immediately give up!

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19. It must have been autumn when MacLean took this picture based on the beautiful colors of all the trees in this parking lot. Fall is always the best time of year to photograph nature, and this picture definitely proves it.

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20. Going out for a boat ride is always a relaxing way to spend your day, especially if you have good company along with you. But it looks like whoever took these tiny vessels out didn’t do a wonderful job of parking them when they docked!

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21. Nowadays, with the pace at which people are moving into certain desirable areas, it seems like entire housing developments can suddenly spring up out of nowhere. Imagine moving into this new development as a kid and getting lost. Every street looks identical!

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22. Here’s another amazing picture of people enjoying the water in Hawaii. A small group of beachgoers are enjoying a volleyball game on a sandbank. The crystal clear water makes you wish you were there with them.

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23. During those dog days of summer, there’s nothing better than lounging out sunbathing beside a swimming pool. These people have all gathered to quench their thirst for relaxation, and it looks like it’s working perfectly.

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24. These are the shores of Italy. The water gradually becomes a mesmerizing shade of blue as it leads out into the ocean, and the sunbathers sitting on shore are certainly indulging in the magnificent view out into the sea.

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25. This intimidating fleet of aerial warriors are decommissioned B1 bombers laying vacant in Arizona. From way up in MacLean’s plane, the bombers look like little toys, ready to take off into the hands of an imaginative child.

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26. This photo is so unique it doesn’t even look real; it seems like an abstract painting from some Picasso-esque artist. But it’s actually an amazing image of some United States strip mines. It gives you a whole different perspective on what the mining industry is like.

27. At first glance, the rectangular pink shape in this photo looks like a cake with pink icing; you almost want to take a knife and cut a nice corner piece for dessert. But it’s simply a tarp covered with cement blocks. Nowhere near as delicious, but definitely still pretty!

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It really is remarkable how beautiful even something as mundane as a tarp can look from above. Taking pictures with an iPhone just doesn’t have the same appeal!

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