Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 Winners and Honorable Mentions 

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Essence of elephants. Greg du Toit, South Africa. Grand Title Winner Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 2013.

93_Udayan-Rao-Pawar-(India)-Mother's-little-headfulMother. Udayan Rao Pawar, India. Grand Title Winner Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year (11-14 years), 2013.

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The flight path. Connor Steganison, Canada.

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Lucky Pounce. Connor Stefanison, Canada.

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The water bear. Paul Souders, USA.

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Dive Buddy. Luis Javier Sandoval, Mexico.

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Snow moment. Jasper Doest, The Netherlands.

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Lionfish Bait. Alex Tattersall, UK.

eshbolFeeding of the five thousand. Yossi Eshbol, Israel.

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The greeting. Richard Packwood, UK. Nature in Black and White: Winner.

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Freeze frame. Etienne Francey, Switzerland.

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Fish-eye view. Theo Bosboom, The Netherlands.

The results of the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year were announced yesterday and a number of phenomenal images made the shortlist of 100 photographs. The annual competition now in its 49th year is led by two UK institutions, the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, who collectively received 43,000 photos from 96 countries this year. The photos will begin an international tour in the UK starting in November and you can find exhibition times and dates here.

The first two images shown above, Essence of elephants by Greg du Toit of South Africa and Mother by Udayan Rao Pawar of India are the two grand title winners. The rest of the photos are a mix of both winners and runner-up selections, and you can read much more about each photograph over at Wildlife Photographer of the Year. (via My Modern Met)

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Moth: A New Woodcut Print from Tugboat Printshop 

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Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth over at Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop just announced a new woodcut print titled Moth. Shown in production here, the final piece will be a 2-color print measuring 18″ x 25″ and is now available for pre-order. Art and design blogs everywhere were smitten earlier this year with their equally beautiful Moon print. The duo also has an upcoming exhibition of woodcut prints at the Arm in Brooklyn, opening Thursday, November 7th.

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155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope 

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Nearly 155 years before CompuServe debuted the first animated gif in 1987, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau unveiled an invention called the Phenakistoscope, a device that is largely considered to be the first mechanism for true animation. The simple gadget relied on the persistence of vision principle to display the illusion of images in motion. Via Juxtapoz:

The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.

Though Plateau is credited with inventing the device, there were numerous other mathematicians and physicists who were working on similar ideas around the same time, and even they were building on the works of Greek mathematician Euclid and Sir Isaac Newton who had also identified principles behind the phenakistoscope.

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Courtesy the Richard Balzer Collection

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Courtesy the Richard Balzer Collection

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The moving image was only viewable through a narrow slit. Via Wikimedia Commons

So what kinds of things did people want to see animated as they peered into these curious motion devices? Lions eating people. Women morphing into witches. And some other pretty wild and psychedelic imagery, not unlike animated gifs today. Included here is a random selection of some of the first animated images, several of which are courtesy The Richard Balzer Collection who has been painstakingly digitizing old phenakistoscopes over on their Tumblr. (via Juxtapoz, 2headedsnake, thanks Brian!)

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Delicate Butterflies Cast in Glass Dust by Michael Crowder 

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

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Photo by Tom DuBrock

Currently on view at Wade Wilson Art in Houston, Texas is this spectacular collection of glass butterflies by artist Michael Crowder titled Mariposa Mori. The artist forms the brittle insects using a technique called pâte de verre that involves the fusion of tiny glass particles. The final pieces are then displayed in wood cases with felt lining similar in form to traditional entomology display boxes. For other artworks Crowder has been known to use similar particulate substances like sugar, chocolate, marble dust or cigarette ashes. Via Wade Wilson:

The butterflies are made in a method called pâte de verre, which translates to “paste of glass.” Itself a 19th century French creation, pâte de verre is at its simplest melting glass particles together. The variation on this technique that I have developed is to use very small particles of glass roughly the size of grains of sugar and to heat them to a precisely controlled point where I can melt and fuse the particles together, but still allow them to retain an open crystalline surface texture. The effect is almost impossibly delicate and fragile looking, as a butterfly wing should be.

You can see much more of Crowder’s work on his website. The exhibition runs through October 25th. (via Ex-Chamber)

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Photographer Creates Lifelike Images of American Streets Using Toy Car Models and Forced Perspective 

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Over his long career of making and building, self-taught photographer Michael Paul Smith has at times referred to himself as a text book illustrator, a wallpaper hanger and house painter, a museum display designer, an architectural model maker, and art director. All of these skills have culminated in the amazing ability to shoot forced perspective outdoor scenes using his extensive diecast model car collection. Something he calls his “quirky hobby.”

For nearly 25 years Smith has been working on a fictional town he refers to as Elgin Park where all of his miniature scenes take place. To make each shot he positions an old card table at scenic points around Boston and positions his minutely detailed cars and model sets on top. Using an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera and natural light he then snaps away, simply eye-balling the perspective to get everything right.

While these are his most recent photos, earlier shots from the collection have gone into a book titled Elgin Park: An Ideal American Town. To learn more you can read an extensive interview over on Fstoppers. All photos courtesy Michael Paul Smith. (via PetaPixel)

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