Smithsonian just released the 70 finalists for their 14th annual photo contest and is currently accepting votes for their Readers’ Choice award. This year Smithsonian received some 48,000 submissions from photographers in 146 countries and territories from which they selected finalists in 7 categories: Natural World, The American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images, Mobile, and Sustainable Travel. Selected here are some of our favorites, but you can see the rest and vote for your favs on their website.
Embroidery artist Humayrah Bint Altaf stitches fabulously ornate insects and trees that incorporate antique gold twist cord, hundreds of metallic beads, Rococo threads, and other delicate materials. The end results are scarab beetles that could practically crawl off the canvas and honey bees prepared to take flight.
“I often wander through the woods near my home, where I gather leaves, twigs, feathers and other things I can find to bring back home and preserve,” says Bedford-based Altaf. “I also like to incorporate nature’s treasures into my embroideries and with each piece I feel that a part of me has been embedded into my work.”
With a background in fashion design, Altaf had the opportunity to study at the Royal School of Needlework that helped launch her career in embroidery. She now sells original works through an online shop and shares much of her process on Instagram. (via The Creators Project)
This weekend, word spread via Facebook that a large circle of ice was spinning in small river just outside of Seattle. After seeing a quick video of it in her feed, photographer Kaylyn Messer jumped in her car and was fortunate to witness the incredible sight of this gargantuan ice disc as it spun in the current of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.
“The ice circle was pretty captivating,” Messer shared with Colossal. “You can hear the sound of the river flowing continuously. Sounds from the ice periodically interjected with very small sharp cracks and groans. Overall, it was a quiet experience to stand along the river watching the ice circle rotate.”
Ice circles are a fairly rare phenomenon that occur mostly in North America and Scandinavia in slow moving rivers during the winter. The discs are formed when a large piece of ice breaks off in the river creating an effect called ‘rotational shear’ where the current slowly grinds away at the free-floating chunk until its smoothed into a perfect circle.
Messer shares more photos and videos of the ice disc on her blog.
After noticing the birds in Michigan were far different than those in her native Germany, Lisa M. Ca., an amateur photographer, began photographing them with her DSLR. In an attempt to find more creative ways to capture the variety of species that flew through her backyard, Lisa purchased the Bird Photo Booth 2.0. The device uses a motion detector to snap its shutter, capturing birds with a macro lens at ten images per second. After selecting her favorite images of the mourning doves, blue jays, and cardinals that feed from the Photo Booth’s attached seed bowl, Lisa touches up the images in Photoshop. You can follow more of her backyard photography on her Tumblr. (via Bored Panda)
Artist, illustrator, and designer Lisa Ericson (previously) paints hyperrealistic images of imaginary animals, hybrids that intertwine species. Previously focused on a body of work that merged mice and butterflies, Ericson’s newest series focuses on the creatures below, painting bright fish against matte black backgrounds. The vibrant works highlight a variety of coral integrated into fins and tails of scaly animals, as well as showcasing the groups of fish that have decided to make these tails their home.
Ericson’s work is currently in a two-person exhibition titled Supernature at Antler Gallery in Portland, OR which runs through December 22. You can view more of her in-process and completed animal paintings on her Instagram and Facebook.
Photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes who together specialize in underwater photography, were recently on assignment for National Geographic in Cuba when they captured this amazing school of blue silversides. The thousands of finger-sized fish are swimming through mangroves (small trees that are able to grow in salt water) but the photographer’s ingenious perspective makes them appear to swim through the air. The image was one of several selected for National Geographic’s Best Photos of 2016.