GREEN
08/06/2013 05:27 pm ET

Extreme Weather Art By Matthew Albanese Is So Real, You Won't Believe It's Staged (PHOTOS)

This shot of lighting above a lake is absolutely stunning -- extreme weather photography at its finest.

lightning

But it's not what you think it is. The photo was actually constructed by Matthew Albanese, a visual artist who specializes in photorealistic three-dimensional artwork.

lightning

Albanese was first inspired to create these nature scenes by a spilled canister of paprika, which turned into a mini Mars landscape, according to the bio on his website. He's since made everything from erupting volcanoes to stunning coral reefs.

reef

Another behind-the-scenes look.

reef

Take a look at some more shots of Albanese's work below, and check out his upcoming book, Strange Worlds, which will be available in September 2013.

tree

trees

fire

fire

beach

clouds

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
Storm Clouds
PHOTO GALLERY
Storm Clouds

CONVERSATIONS