Two new species of peacock spiders have been discovered in southeast Queensland, Australia—one appearing with vivid reds and blues while the other’s details exist in stark black and white. Peacock spiders, named after their bright patterns and dancelike courtship, measure in at just under 0.3 inches. Madeline Girard, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, discovered the two species while in the field, nicknaming the brightly colored spider “Sparklemuffin” and the other “Skeletorus” after its bonelike pattern.
Jürgen Otto, an entomologist who specializes in photographing the arachnids said Skeletorus, officially named Maratus sceletus, is completely different than any peacock spider previously discovered. “Despite the large number of species we have discovered just in the last few years, I can’t help feeling that we may have just scratched the surface of this most exciting group of spiders, and that nature has quite a few more surprises in store,” Otto told Live Science. You can read more in depth about these colorful arachnids in Live Science’s article here. (via My Modern Met)
Using 600 poles of bamboo and 70 radiata pine logs all harvested locally, Taiwanese Artist Wang Wen-Chih created a massive installation that served as the entrance to the Woodford Folk Festival in Australia. Working with the Sydney-based architecture and design collective Cave Urban, a team of 40 workers and volunteers spent 3 weeks building the structure. Each bamboo pole was split into 4-5 pieces and weaved together like a basket. Woven Sky, which rises 15m high and is 100m long, was completed late last year, just in time for the music festival, and served an impressive entrance point into the amphitheater stage.
Leratiomyces sp. / Found in Booyong Reserve, Booyong, NSW
Cyptotrama aspratum or Gold tuft
Mauve splitting waxcap
Marasmius sp. / Marasmius haematocephalus
To think any one of these lifeforms exists in our galaxy, let alone on our planet, simply boggles the mind. Photographer Steve Axford lives and works in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales in Australia where he spends his time documenting the living world around him, often traveling to remote locations to seek out rare animals, plants, and even people. But it’s his work tracking down some of the world’s strangest and brilliantly diverse mushrooms and other fungi that has resulted in an audience of online followers who stalk his work on Flickr and SmugMug to see what he’s captured next.
Axford shares via email that most of the mushrooms seen here were photographed around his home and are sub-tropical fungi, but many were also taken in Victoria and Tasmania and are classified as temperate fungi. The temperate fungi are well-known and documented, but the tropical species are much less known and some may have never been photographed before. Mushrooms like the Hairy Mycena and the blue leratiomyces have most likely never been found on the Australian mainland before, and have certainly never been photographed in an artistic way as you’re seeing here.
It was painfully difficult not to include more of Axford’s photography here, so I urge you to explorefurther. All photos courtesy the photographer. (via Awkward Situationist)
If I had to spend the rest of my life trapped inside a photograph, there’s a good chance I might flip through a stack of photographs by Andrew Smith (previously) to make a selection. Smith shoots mostly in locations around his home in New Zealand where he captures breathtaking oceanside landscapes both in and out of water. Smith photographs almost exclusively with a Nikon D800 and then processes his images in Adobe Lightroom, something he documents in detail on his Before and After Lightroom Blog. These are some of my favorite shots from the last year or so, but you can see hundreds of additional photos by Smith over on Flickr.
Homebush Bay in Sydney, Australia is home to the remnants of a ship-breaking yard that operated during the mid 20th-century. Large watercraft that outlived their usefulness were towed to Homebush Bay and dismantled to salvage any components that could be reused or sold for scrap.
One such ship was the SS Ayrfield, a 1,140-tonne behemoth built in 1911 as a steam collier that was later used during WWII as a transport ship. In 1972 it was brought to Homebush Bay to be dismantled, but fate would decide differently. Operations at the ship-breaking yard subsequently ceased and parts of several large vessels including the Ayrfield were left behind, the largest objects in an area now infamous for decades of chemical dumping and pollution. But only this century-old transport ship would be transformed by time into a floating forest, a peculiar home for trees and other vegetation that have since sprouted over the last few decades.
From 2008-2010 a concerted effort was made to remove many of the lingering chemicals in Homebush left from the industrial era. Not far away is the Brickpit Ring Walk, a former industrial site where nearly three billion bricks were made from 1911 through the 1980s that is now a carefully protected natural habitat. As the forest has grown inside the SS Ayrfield, the bay is now a popular place for photographers who wish to capture the uncanny sight of this strangely beautiful relic of the bay’s industrial past, not to mention nature’s resiliency.
Photographer Nathan Kaso spent almost 10 months making this fun tilt-shift video of Melbourne with a special focus on the city’s annual festivals and other outdoor events. This is where I always make some snarky comment about how I’ve seen enough tilt-shift work, but this video proves that when it’s good, it’s good and the manner of shooting or production just doesn’t matter. Music by Tom Day.
Filmmaker Julian Tay shot some footage of the 2012 New Years fireworks at Docklands in Melbourne, Australia and then decided to see what happened if he digitally reversed it. The result is strangely beautiful as all the little rockets move in reverse creating pretty counter-intuitive visuals, imploding into nothingness. An appropriate addendum, Reddit user ksli832 was reminded of this passage by Kurt Vonnegut from Slaughterhouse-Five:
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks… When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody again.
Happy new years folks, 2013 is going to be amazing. (via laughing squid)