For the last 6 years, Scottish wildlife photographer Alan McFadyen spent an estimated 4,200 hours seeking the perfect shot: a symmetrical image of a kingfisher diving into its own refelection in search of prey. Last month, after 720,000 exposures he finally got it. McFadyen certainly snapped hundreds of other successful images along the way, but this particular photo—as it existed in his imagination—eluded him for years.
“Kingfishers dive so fast they are like bullets, so taking a good photo requires a lot of luck – and a lot of patience,” McFadyen told the Daily Mail. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that female kingfishers only rarely dive, so timing is essential.
McFadyen owns Scottish Photography Hides which rents out hides in pristine locations in Southwest Scotland for use by wildlife photographers. You can explore more of his photography on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)
In the summer of 2013, Chicago artist George Keaton and photographer Mariah Naella were preparing for their engagement party in Wisconsin when they made a seemingly insignificant discovery that would soon dramatically impact their life. Repairmen who were replacing old window frames in their apartment had quietly left something on their kitchen counter: a tiny egg. The workers had inadvertently destroyed a pigeon nest while fixing windows and randomly decided to salvage the egg.
The couple tells the Chicago Sun Times that in the process of discarding the egg outside, Naella realized something was moving inside of it. Within minutes—and to their great astonishment—it almost immediately began to hatch. Late that night the couple purchased a small syringe at Walgreens to use for feeding, and the next few weeks were dedicated to rearing a peppy little pigeon they named Camp.
Two months later, following advice from a wildlife expert, they decided Camp was large enough to release into the wild, but upon opening the window they discovered he was completely uninterested in leaving. Camp has since become accustomed to flying near their Lincoln Square home, and is free to come and go as he pleases, but has never traveled far and always returns home. The pigeon is now a part of the family, and has become a bit of a local celebrity whose daily adventures are shared on Instagram. He’s even spawned an entire line of prints, jewelry, and and shirts.
On learning about Camp’s story randomly through Instagram, Belgian painter Adele Renault realized she had a new muse. Renault is known for her large-scale photorealistic portraits of people and pigeons, and it wasn’t long before she began documenting the Chicago bird’s adventures in lockstep with Naella and Keaton. A selection of her giant oil on linen paintings depicting Camp during several stages of his life will be on view starting tomorrow at Havas Annex in Chicago. (via Colossal Submissions)
At the beginning of 2015, origami enthusiast Cristian Marianciuc challenged himself to create a new origami crane daily for 365 days. Marianciuc says each piece is influenced by the day he’s having, a sort of visual record of the moment set against the folded backdrop of a paper bird. The whimsical cranes are generally more decorative rather than exploring folding techniques, but it doesn’t make them any less fun to look at. To see more, he posts everyday on Instagram. (via Geyser of Awesome)
For Halloween this year, Alexis Noriega of the Crooked Feather designed and built this wickedly amazing pair of pneumatic articulating wings that spring to action at the press of a button. What a great design, the sound of air pressure really adds to it. Noriega says she’ll soon have a tutorial online so you can build your own. (via Laughing Squid)
Ten years ago, after a tsunami struck near Chennai, India, a camera repairman named Sekar noticed a pair of displaced green parakeets perched near his back porch. He immediately started to feed them with rice from his home, and the birds soon nested nearby and slowly—and then not so slowly—began to multiply.
The 62-year-old now cares for an estimated 4,000 birds that live near his home, spending almost 40% of his income on their care. He rises around 4am to start cooking giant pots of rice which he services twice daily on a latticework of boards on the roof of his home. This video from Aravind Kumar takes us into Sekar’s home to see what taking care of several thousand exotic birds looks like.
Containing over 400 precisely machined gears, screws, and aesthetic elements, Derek Hugger’s latest kinetic sculpture Colibri mimics the motion of a hummingbird in flight. Though the motions of flying are unmistakable, the piece has much more in common with a clock than a bird. He shares about the piece:
Every element of motion has been completely mechanized, from the beating wings to the flaring tail. Intricate systems of linkages and cams bring the sculpture to life with a continuous flow of meticulously timed articulations. As each mechanism has been linked to the next, Colibri cycles through its complete range of motions by the simple turn of a crank. This project took me roughly 700 hours and contains about 400 parts.
You can see many more of his moving artworks on his website, and in a refreshingly rare move he also sells detailed instructions of how to make them in his shop. (via The Automata Blog)