Photographer Salah Baazizi has an amazing knack for photographing birds up close and personal as they pluck fish from the waters around Bolsa Chica in southern California. The split-second shots of terns, herons, and cormorants give the illusion Baazizi is sitting just inches away, practically sticking a camera down their beaks, but in reality he uses a 400mm super telephoto lens and positions himself at great distances. This is only the smallest fraction of the hobbyist photographer’s wildlife photos, you can explore hundreds of additional shots over on Flickr.
Much has been written lately about the plight of the monarch, the most iconic butterfly in North America that may soon be headed for the endangered species list. The use of herbicides in the U.S. has completely decimated milkweed plants, the insect’s primary food source, while illegal logging is quickly destroying the monarch’s wintering habitat in Mexico. Over 90% of the butterfly’s population has vanished over the last 25 years.
Luckily there’s a bit of hope. The U.S. government recently dedicated millions of dollars to foster the growth of milkweed, while organizations like monarch Watch offers free milkweed for restoration projects while teaching people how to raise and release butterflies at home. We hatched about 20 butterflies at our house this summer here in Chicago, while some people are a bit more obsessed, raising hundreds of them in a season.
This amazing HD timelapse from Front Yard Video shows the full metamorphosis of a monarch from a caterpillar to butterfly. What you see here is infuriatingly difficult to witness in person because after weeks of waiting the transformation to and from a chrysalis takes just a few minutes. (via The Kid Should See This)
After witnessing the destruction brought on by hurricanes in Thailand, the Southern U.S. and around the world, Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn began creating a series of sculptures titled ‘Force of Nature’. Made from bronze, stainless steel and aluminum, the sculptures, full of life and energy, depict mother nature hurtling planet earth around in circles. The powerful and furious image is meant remind us of the power of nature and what Quinn describes as our “false sense of security” towards it.
“After having seen the ravaged coast of Thailand and the Hurricane that affected the Southern States I decided to create a sculpture dedicated to Mother Nature,” explains Quinn. At any moment in time, nature’s wrath could be awakened, bringing with it sudden destruction. The sculptures, which have been installed all around the world, remind us of this fact. And for Quinn they also harken back to something more ancient and primitive: “This would be reminiscent of the early statues made as peace offerings to the Gods in the hope of quenching their anger.” (via Bored Panda)
Apparently if you’re a thirsty butterfly, one option available to you is a refreshing sip of turtle tears. No, this isn’t a staged photo masquerading as science, it’s an unusual behavior known as lachryphagy (tear drinking), and is one of several ways butterflies obtain moisture and nutrients. Captured here by Ama la Vida TV, this photo shows two Dryas iulia drinking tears from the eyes of a few turtles. The photo won the 2014 Wikimedia Picture of the Year. (via Laughing Squid, Twisted Sifter)
Created as a set of billboards along two Massachusetts highways, “Healing Tool” is a temporary public art installation by artist Brian Kane produced to temporarily relieve stress and promote introspection during one’s monotonous daily commute.
Kane’s digital billboards circulate between pictures of surrounding natural environments, creating “unvertisements” that promote nothing instead of shoving products, restaurants, and services in consumers’ faces from above. The piece builds upon a body of work Kane has been producing that places digital experiences into real world situations. “Healing Tool” is named after the Photoshop tool used to patch over errors in photographs, just as his project is patching over unnatural blips of landscape (billboards) seen from the highway.
The pieces change depending on the time of day. Daylight hours feature natural images of areas surrounding the billboards, while evening hours display high-resolution images of the moon and Milky Way that allow viewers a clear glimpse of the cosmos despite urban light pollution.
Kane explains, “By removing the marketing message from the advertising space, we create an unexpected moment of introspection. People are allowed to interpret an image based on their own experience, and not necessarily with the singular focus of the advertiser’s intent.” (via The Creator’s Project and Junkculture)
Multi-disciplinary artist and illustrator James R. Eads plays with motion and color to render harmonizing illustrations of people and nature. With swirling van Gogh inspired skies and percussive strokes of color, his style is well-suited for meditations on human connection and the relationships between humans and the natural world. He also makes pretty wicked gig posters.
The LA-based artist lives and works at the The Brewery where his studio is open to the public during bi-annual art walks. You can follow his work on Instagram or Facebook, and prints are available in his shop.
The twinkling lights dotting the ceiling of this dazzling cave system are the work of arachnocampa luminosa, a bioluminescent gnat larva (also called a glowworm) found throughout the island nation of New Zealand. It is believed that the light, emitted mostly from females, is how the insects find mates. These long-exposure photos by local photographer Joseph Michael capture small communities of worms amongst 30 million-year-old limestone formations on North Island. You can see more shots from the project titled Luminosity, here.