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)
All photos by Ansis Starks, courtesy Mailitis Architects
Perched on the Songshan mountain in rural Henan, China, this new temple designed by Latvian architecture studio Mailītis Architects brings a whole new perspective to the legendary Shaolin monks: specifically an aerial perspective. The recently completed Shaolin Flying Monks Temple contains a one-of-a-kind levitation pavilion that houses a vertical wind tunnel designed in part by Aerodium that blasts participants toward the sky in the center of a 230-seat amphitheater.
“The concept is to tell the history of Zen and Kung-Fu through artistic performances and architectural image of the building itself,” says Mailītis. “It serves as a metaphor for mountain and trees and was inspired by Songshan mountain – the natural environment for monks to develop their skills.”
Over the last year, Netherlands-based artist Jeroen van Kesteren has been toiling away at these sculptural airships as part of a series titled Orphanage for Lost Adventures. Made primarily from cardboard, aluminum foil, adhesives, and an assortment of papers used for sails and propellers, the whimsical flying machines have a distinct steampunk feel. The pieces range from 40 to 50 centimeters tall and take about a month to make. Jeroen shares additional images of the airships and several additional sculptures on Pinterest. (via Colossal Submissions)
For his ambitious Airportraits series, photographer Mike Kelley sets up camp outside of airports and meticulously photographs planes as they takeoff and land—shooting thousands of photos per location. He then uses Photoshop to isolate the planes and combines the images into the composite “portraits” you see here. Each image tells a fascinating story about the nature of each airport and the many unseen variables that affect the flight paths of each airport like noise regulations, plane size, and air traffic patterns.
When he initially began the project two years ago, Kelley’s plan was relatively straightforward: fly to 10 or so cities around the globe and spend a day or two at each airport scouting the location, taking photos, and then off to the next destination. This plan worked well in Europe where the weather was consistent, but soon he faced the reality that seasonal weather in places like Japan was completely unpredictable. In Tokyo he left without a single usable photo after days of trying. Some cities he had to return to 2-3 times in hopes the weather would improve, and in other places it would take nearly a week to photograph enough planes to make an image.
During editing, most planes are left “as is” in the location they appeared in the sky while taking off. Planes in the processes of landing proved to be more difficult. “For the landing images, I did take slight artistic liberty with the position of the aircraft, because in real life the planes follow a very specific glidepath to the touchdown point,” Kelley shares with Colossal. “If I hadn’t moved them, all the planes would be directly on top of one another and there’d be no real dynamics or movement in the image.”
Perched in the sky fifty-two stories above Tokyo, a new exhibition celebrates a 30-year retrospective of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio famous for anime films like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke. The centerpiece of the Studio Ghibli Expo is a room filled with various airships from several Ghibli films, specifically a sizeable illuminated replica of a ship from Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky that rises and falls as if airborne, complete with dozens of whirring propellers. The retrospective also includes original artwork, interactive exhibits, and a small cafe serving 11 dishes inspired by different films. You can additional photos and read more about it on The Creator’s Project and RocketNews24.
A digital artist and photographer who goes by the name Kagaya recently spotted this unusual sight of a commercial airliner appearing to blast a contrail of rainbows out of its engines. Spotted above Oshino-Mura, Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan, the rare phenomenon is most likely a form of cloud iridescence caused by the perfect convergence of water vapor and sunlight. Kagaya explains that he was nowhere near the event and had to use a long telephoto lens to zoom in on the plane. If you need a few more rainbows today, here’s some more examples of cloud iridescence. (via Neatorama)