Photographer Alexander Semenov has done it again. This time the Russian biologist takes us on an up-close encounter with starfish, although looking at these neon carpets I had no idea what they were at first. Even after covering Alexander’s previous work with jellyfish, or Felix Salazar’s images of coral I’m constantly amazed at nature’s ability to create such vibrant beauty. (via flickr)
LA-based photographer and composer Felix Salazar recently captured some wonderful macro photos of several inhabitants in his salt water aquariums. The shocking variety of color makes the coral look like digital renderings, but Salazar assures me each is a unique photo selected from hundreds of attempts to get just the right shot as he experimented with focus and light. You can see many more on his website. (via my modern met)
Grand Prize / Photo and caption by Ashley Vincent/National Geographic Photo Contest. The subject’s name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioural shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favourably on me that day!
First Place for People / Photo and caption by Micah Albert/National Geographic Photo Contest. At the end of the day women are allowed to pick through the dumpsite.
First Place for Places / Photo and caption by Nenad Saljic/National Geographic Photo Contest. The Matterhorn 4478m at full moon.
Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by关嘉城/National Geographic Photo Contest. Dragon boating is a chinese traditional entertainment. As an acquatic sport to memorise qu yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient china, it is usually held in festivals, which can be traced back to two thousands years ago.
Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by Eric Guth/National Geographic Photo Contest. Glacial ice washes ashore after calving off the Breiamerkurjˆkull glacier on Iceland’s eastern coast. During the waning light of summer this image was created over the course of a 4 minute exposure while the photographer backlit the grounded glacial ice with a headlamp for 2 of those 4 minutes.
Viewers’ Choice for People / Photo and caption by Kai-Otto Melau/National Geographic Photo Contest. A race that follows in the path of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen brings the contestants to the Hardangervidda Mountainplateu, Norway. 100km across the plateau, the exact same route Amundsen used to prepare for his South Pole expedition in 1911 is still used by explorers today. Amundsen did not manage to cross the plateau and had to turn back because of bad weather. He allegedly said that the attempt to cross Hardangervidda was just as dangerous and hard as the conquering of the South Pole. The group in the picture used the race as preparations for an attempt to cross Greenland.
Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by Micheal Eastman/National Geographic Photo Contest. With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow.
Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by ulrich lambert/National Geographic Photo Contest. Stilt fishing is a typical fishing technique only seen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. This long exposure shot shows how unstable their position is.
Viewers’ Choice / Photo and caption by Sanjeev Bhor/National Geographic Photo Contest. Everyday in mara starts with something new and different and day ends with memorable experiences with spectacular photographs. I was very lucky of sighting and photographing Malaika the name of female Cheetah and her cub. She is well known for its habit to jump on vehicles. She learned that from her mother Kike, and Kike from her mother Amber. Like her mother she is teaching lessons to her cub. Teaching lessons means addition of another moment for tourist. This is one of the tender moment between Malaika and her cub. I was very lucky to capture that moment.
Honrable Mention / Photo and caption by Fransisca Harlijanto/National Geographic Photo Contest. I was surrounded by thousands of fish that moved in synchrony because of the predation that was happening. It was an incredible experience.
The winners have been announced for the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest which saw over 22,000 entries from 150 countries this year. The winners were selected by a panel of experts comprised of natural history photographer Christian Ziegler and documentary photographers Gerd Ludwig and Debbie Fleming Caffery. Three additional Viewers Choice awards were also given. Above are some of my favorites but you can see additional Honorable Mentions over on National Geographic. In a kind gesture National Geographic made all the winning photographs available as downloadable desktop images, as a fan of large numbers I’m personally going with Predation for a few weeks.
Alexander Safonov is a software architect from Voronezh, Russia who currently lives and works in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong. Not content to sit in front of a computer full-time he obtained a diving license in 2002 and started to experiment with underwater photography about two years later. He has since made numerous excursions to photograph underwater wildlife off Cocos Island, Fiji, the Galapagos and Raja Ampat. However his favorite destination is the annual sardine run off the coast of South Africa where most of the photos you see were captured over the last few years. You can see much more of his work on Flickr and 500px.
These beautiful and other-worldly photographs of ice were taken last year by University of Washington graduate student Jeff Bowman and his professor Jody Deming while they worked on a study combining oceanography, microbiology, and planetary sciences in the central Arctic Ocean as part of the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. Their single focus was the study of frost flowers, a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures nearing -22C or -7.6F, forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef. Via IGERT:
Around their research icebreaker in the central Arctic Ocean new ice grows on long open cracks that network amongst the thick floes of pack ice. Abruptly the surface of this new ice changes texture. The cold, moist air above the open cracks becomes saturated and frost begins to form wherever an imperfection can be found on the ice surface. From these nucleation points the flower-like frost structures grow vertically, quickly rising to centimeters in height. The hollow tendrils of these “frost flowers” begin to wick moisture from the ice surface, incorporating salt, marine bacteria, and other substances as they grow. The fog dissipates and the Arctic sun lights the surface of the frost flowers, initiating a cascade of chemical reactions. These reactions can produce formaldehyde, deplete ozone, and actually alter the chemical composition of the lower atmosphere. [...] Bowman and Deming have discovered that bacteria are consistently more abundant in frost flowers than in sea ice. Since microscopic pockets in sea ice are known to support an active community of psychrophiles (cold-loving microorganisms), even in the coldest months of the year, these results are encouraging.
Bowman and Deming are currently building an ultra-clean chamber where they can grow artificial frost flowers and hope that their research leads to a better understanding of how life might be able to survive in extreme conditions elsewhere in the universe. Amazing! Photos by Matthias Wietz. (via the daily what)
Photo and caption by Mark Meyer/National Geographic Photo Contest. Hikers under the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. When conditions are right, streams melt holes into the glacier. At times they are large and stable enough for exploration. The ice filters out most colors of light except for the blue wavelengths leaving a stunning blue glowing from the ice above.
Photo and caption by Janez Tolar/National Geographic Photo Contest. Jamnik, small village in Slovenia. One morning in in autumn, fog was just in the right height at the right time.The atmosphere was heavenly, unforgettable.
Photo and caption by Mohannad khatib/National Geographic Photo Contest. During the Libyan revolt again Muammar Qaddafi, the city of Benghazi was liberated early on, and became the base for the rebels and the transitional governing body. Armed rebels were seen all over the place. Many of them had no previous war experience but joined the revolt willingly to get rid of the regime. This rebel, with his spick span boots and outfit, was gaurding the old shipyard.
Photo and caption by Mandy Wilson/National Geographic Photo Contest. Beautiful Lucky Bay in Esperance, Western Australia is home to many kangaroos. Not only is the turquoise water and white sand a sight to see but at sunset the kangaroos bounce their way across the sand looking for dinner.
Photo and caption by Peng Jiang/National Geographic Photo Contest. The shoal is one of the most fascinating places in Xiapu, China. Fishermen farm fish, shrimp, and oysters and plant seaweed along this coast area.
Photo and caption by Mark Bridger/National Geographic Photo Contest. This is Gandalf the Great Grey Owl and he gets scared flying out in the open so his owners have built his aviary inside a brick shed. He now loves spending his days watching the world go by out of his window.
Photo and caption by Agne Subelyte/National Geographic Photo Contest. I took this picture while I was in an aerial cableway going down from the Mt Pilatus in Central Switzerland. It was the end of a nice day spent hiking, including a stop by the beautiful little white chapel on Klimsenhorn on the way to the top.
One of the most spectacular photography contests is the National Geographic Photography Contest which is currently accepting submissions from all over the world. If you have a photograph you think might be up to snuff, don’t delay because today is the last day to submit which you can do online. National Geographic was kind enough to share 50 of their favorites with Colossal, some of which I’ve shared with you here. But don’t stop with this selection, see hundreds more photos curated by their own editors right here. The winners will be picked in December. Good luck!
Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Jasper Doest / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Larry Lynch / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Richard Peters / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Sergey Gorshkov / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Cristóbal Serrano / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Anna Henly / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Kim Wolhuter / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
Adam Gibbs / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
The winners of the 48th annual Veolia Environmental Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition were announced on October 17th featuring 100 incredible photos selected from 48,000 entries originating from 98 countries, with top prize claimed by Paul Nicklen for his bubbly capture of emperor penguins. Here are ten of my favorites and you can see all of the winners in person at the Natural History Museum in London through March 2013. A full gallery is also available online. (via flavorwire)
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration less than five percent of the world’s oceans have been explored, meaning that 95% of what lies deep underwater on Earth has yet to be seen by human eyes.
One person who has dedicated his life to uncovering the mysteries of the deep is Japanese photographer Yoji Ookata who obtained his scuba license at the age of 21 and has since spent the last 50 years exploring and documenting his discoveries off the coast of Japan. Recently while on a dive near Amami Oshima at the southern tip of the country, Ookata spotted something he had never encountered before: rippling geometric sand patterns nearly six feet in diameter almost 80 feet below sea level. He soon returned with colleagues and a television crew from the nature program NHK to document the origins what he dubbed the “mystery circle.”
Here is what they found.
Using underwater cameras the team discovered the artist is a small puffer fish only a few inches in length that swims tirelessly through the day and night to create these vast organic sculptures using the gesture of a single fin. Through careful observation the team found the circles serve a variety of crucial ecological functions, the most important of which is to attract mates. Apparently the female fish are attracted to the hills and valleys within the sand and traverse them carefully to discover the male fish where the pair eventually lay eggs at the circle’s center, the grooves later acting as a natural buffer to ocean currents that protect the delicate offspring. Scientists also learned that the more ridges contained within the sculpture resulted in a much greater likelihood of the fish pairing.
To learn more about the circles check out the full scoop over on Spoon and Tamago, and you can see two high resolution desktop photos courtesy of NHK here. If we’re still making discoveries this significant in 2012, it really makes you wonder what else is down there. Just 95% more to go.