Crown shyness is a naturally occurring phenomenon in some tree species where the upper most branches in a forest canopy avoid touching one another. The visual effect is striking as it creates clearly defined borders akin to cracks or rivers in the sky when viewed from below. Although the phenomenon was first observed in the 1920s, scientists have yet to reach a consensus on what causes it. According to Wikipedia it might simply be caused by the trees rubbing against one another, although signs also point to more active causes such as a preventative measure against shading (optimizing light exposure for photosynthesis) or even as a deterrent for the spread of harmful insects. (via Kottke, Robert Macfarlane)
Oklahoma-based photographer Natalie Greenroyd was sitting on a raft in a swimming pool when her husband decided to jump in to splash her. She happened to have an underwater camera in-hand and clicked the shutter at just the right moment. You can see more of her photography on Instagram. (via Feature Shoot)
Here is the first trailer for the feature length documentary film AWAKEN, a work that beautifully observes the simple and complex relationships that humans from all over the world have developed with technology and the natural environment. Shot over the course of the five years, the film tracks the ceremonies, private moments, and daily rituals of citizens from over thirty countries, capturing each instance with beautiful panning shots or captivating time lapse visuals.
AWAKEN was directed, shot, edited, and produced by Tom Lowe, who previously created the short film Timescapes, and is set to open next year. (via Kottke)
When reviewing the security footage from outside his house in Austin, Texas, Al Brooks spotted an unusual sight: a bird seems to hover past the camera with its wings completely stationary. Of course it wasn’t really hovering (and no, it’s not suspended by strings) but rather the frame rate of the camera matched the flaps of the bird’s wings perfectly resulting in a stroboscopic illusion. This is the same stroboscopic effect you might see in a video of airplane propellers that aren’t moving or when the wheels on a car appear to be frozen. (via Swiss Miss, Neatorama)
As part of the Stenograffia street art and graffiti festival in Russia, a collaborative of artists worked to create this phenomenal illusion that appears to “erase” a collection of graffiti from a small car and trash dumpster. With the help of a projector, the team painted the familiar grey and white checker grid found in most graphics applications that denotes a deleted or transparent area. The piece is titled “CTRL+X” in reference to the keyboard command in Photoshop for deleting a selection. You can see nearly 100 behind-the-scenes photos of their process here. (via The Awesomer, Mass Appeal)
This new short film from filmmaker Andrew Norton tackles the nebulous origins of inspiration. Does a good idea strike like a bolt of lightning, or does it emerge from a soup of random ingredients cooked at just the right temperature? In a series of brief interviews with writers, artists, kids, and other creatives including the likes of Chuck Close and Susan Orlean, we get personal perspectives on where the best ideas originate. If you liked this, also check out Norton’s previous film: How to Age Gracefully. Where Do Ideas Come From? was presented by Transom with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)