For the last decade, Kansas-based photographer Chad Cowan has driven almost 100,000 miles across the United States chasing powerful supercell thunderstorms and recording them in high definition. The endeavor began as a personal project to capture a few storms as they developed but quickly grew into a full-blown obsession. Cowan has recorded hundreds of storms and condensed the highlights into this short film titled Fractal with editing help from Kevin X Barth. He shares about the nature of thunderstorms:
The ingredient based explanation for supercell thunderstorms cites moisture, wind shear, instability and lift as the reasons for their formation. I prefer to focus on the big picture. Supercell thunderstorms are a manifestation of nature’s attempt to correct an extreme imbalance. The ever ongoing effort to reach equilibrium, or viscosity, is what drives all of our weather, and the force with which the atmosphere tries to correct this imbalance is proportional to the gradient. In other words, the more extreme the imbalance, the more extreme the storm.
You can see more of Cowan’s storm photography on his website and on Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
Masayoshi Matsumoto (previously here and here) doesn’t twist up your average balloon animal creations. Instead, the Japanese artist produces larger than life beetle larva and spider crabs, creating latex masterpieces that blow away the simplistic balloon animals we’ve come to expect. Multi-colored and not bound to any particular species, the works are incredibly realistic interpretations of the animals they imitate, making the requests at your child’s next birthday particularly bizarre. You can see more of his insects and animals on his Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram.
Over the last three years photographer Jem Cresswell has photographed humpback whales during their annual migration to Vava’u, Tonga, swimming with the great creatures in the vast waters of the southern Pacific Ocean. Cresswell’s series Giants captures the individual personality of the great whales, each of which seem to pose specifically for his underwater camera.
“I was initially drawn to the whales’ gentle nature, sheer size and the feeling of insignificance in their presence,” said Cresswell. “Over the past 3 years returning to Tonga, I have sought to capture intimate portraits of these complex and conscious animals, bringing the viewer into the world of these mystical giants.”
In addition to being intrigued by the animals’ size, the Australian-based artist is also fascinated by their brains. In 2006, spindle cells, which were only thought to be present in humans and great apes, were also found to exist within the brains of humpback whales. These cells, which are tied to social organization, empathy, and intuition, were found to be more than three times as prevalent in humpback whales than they were in humans.
This sense of humanness is one of the reasons that Cresswell chooses to shoot his underwater subjects in black and white. “The main focus of the project concerns the whale’s sense of character and consciousness,” he explained to Colossal. “To me, black and white avoids distraction and draws the viewer directly to the subject. Black and white also has a sense of timelessness to it, which I feel represents how long these creatures have been around for.”
Cresswell will continue photographing humpback whales in the future, but at the present he is taking a break to work on a new series focused on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. You can get a behind-the-scenes perspective of Cresswell’s underwater shoots on his Instagram and in the short video below. (via My Modern Met)
GIF via Design Milk
The French lighting and furniture design firm DCW editions just released this novel minimalist lighting concept called the ISP Lamp that contains an LED light mechanism inside a narrow brass capsule inspired by the design of an airplane fuselage. By opening the end and pulling out the cylindrical light, it appears is if you’re pulling out a physical “tube” of light itself, not just a bulb. You can see a few more photos and videos on their website and on Facebook. (via Design Milk)
La Cuccanga, 2017
From climate change to capitalism run amok, street artist Blu (previously) pulls no punches in his soaring multi-story murals on the streets of Italy. While mixed with a healthy dose of sarcasm and humor, the inspiration behind each artwork is anything but funny as he translates searing critiques into aesthetically beautiful paintings. For instance a 2016 piece criticizing housing problems in the Celadina district of Bergamo, Italy depicts cramped residents as a brightly hued rainbow but leaves a small group of authorities in the lower right completely devoid of color. Collected here is a selection of murals from the last year, you can see more detailed shots by flipping through his blog. You can also get an idea of how he works—perched on a tiny suspended seat—in this short GIF.
Porto Torres, 2016
Alta Voracita, 2016
NASA’s Juno spacecraft launched in 2011, arriving at Jupiter in July of 2016 to begin a series of what will eventually be 12 orbits around the Solar System’s largest planet. The path selected for this particular mission is a wide polar orbit, most of which is spent well away from Jupiter. But once every 53 days Juno screams from top to bottom across the surface of the gaseous planet, recording data and snapping photographs for two hours. It takes around 1.5 days to download the six megabytes of data collected during the transit.
Juno only takes a handful of still photographs each time it passes Jupiter, all of which are made available to the public. Lucky for us Sean Doran stitched together the images from Juno’s last transit (colorized by Gerald Eichstädt) to create an approximate video/animation of what it looks like to fly over the giant planet. Music added by Avi Solomon.
Update: There’s now an extended version.