I’ve got a few sites I visit really only because they give me great ideas for gaming. I’m partial to photos, since they give strong impressions and let me make my own decisions about how to incorporate them. Here’s a quick run down of the sites and some recent goodies.

National Geographic Photo of the Day has all kinds of awesome pictures of animals, exotic locations and foreign cultures. Next time you say majestic mountains, hand them a picture of Yosemite to drive the point home. Perhaps these irrigation fields are actually formed by magical bubbles that keep the desert out and moisture in. There’s a cool pic every day, and I find a useful one at least once a week, usually more often.

Neatorama is just plain neat. Cool random stuff. Mostly it’s just links to generally interesting articles and games, but once in a while you get some real gems. Recent inspirational articles include the Eight New Natural Wonders which features some very exotic and unique locations, an update about Zombie Boy (clearly some sort of necromancer), and a short piece about the indigenous Ainu people of Japan.

Brass Goggles is a steampunk focused blog. Another link site with lots of cool pics and links to steampunky things. Steampunk is great inspiration because it can fit fantasy, sci-fi and historical settings, depending on where you want to slip it in. Just on the first page (as of the time this was written), they have a vertical city, a mechanical steed and some character portraits (some links in that post may lead to NSFW artwork, tread carefully).

Damn Interesting doesn’t have many photos, but I mention it because it’s so well named. The regularly post longer, multi-page articles on some topic. Invariably it is damn interesting. They don’t post often, but it’s always worth the time to read through the article. The article on Lucid Decapitation (creepy!) could inspire some sort of undying head, the Pit of Life and Death might make you place an acid lake filled with alien monsters in your next adventure, and the story of a Large Hearted Gentleman might work it’s way into your next NPC.

Stuck in Customs is the photo blog of Trey Ratcliff, an expert in High Dynamic Range photography. The short version is that HDR photos are extra shiny, with a kind of other-worldly brightness to them. Not all of his photos are HDR, but he’s well known for the ones that are. Trey travels quite a bit and has photos from a lot of great places. He also has a flickr page, which is easier to search and browse. These statues make me imagine that they are channeling mystical power through their bell-shaped enclosures, and this overgrown Chinese tombstone could be part of a forgotten graveyard. I’ll be looking for an excuse to use Rajesh’s photo.

What are your favorite inspirational web sites? Let us know in the comments.