This towering ginkgo tree is located within the walls of the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains in China. Every autumn the green leaves on the 1,400-year-old tree turn bright yellow and fall into a golden heap on the temple grounds drawing tourists from the surrounding area. You can see more photos here and here. (via F*ck Yeah Chinese Garden)
In this superbly shot stop-motion music video for Chet Faker’s latest single Talk is Cheap, creative directors Toby and Pete create a striking visual of the four seasons. It gets a tad macabre at the end, but it’s still beautifully executed. If you liked this, check out Emma Allen’s makeup stop-motion short Ruby.
A few days ago Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a 1837 book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction.
When I realized the book Theisen shared was only one of a series about the seasons, I got in touch and she agreed to photograph the other three so we could share them with you here. Above are photos of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter which were donated to the University of Iowa by Charlotte Smith. How much fun are these? Keep an eye on the University of Iowa’s special collections Tumblr as they unearth more artificats from the archives.
Update: Because this post is getting so much attention, here are some more amazing fore-edge paintings found on YouTube.
We all know that as the seasons change on Earth, temperatures rise and fall, plants grow or die, ice forms or melts away. Perhaps nobody is more aware of this than NASA’s Visible Earth team who provide a vast catalog of images of our home planet as seen from space. Last month designer, cartographer, and dataviz expert John Nelson download a sequence of twelve cloud-free satellite imagery mosaics of Earth, one from each month, and then created a number of vivid animated gifs showing the seasonal changes in vegetation and land ice around the world.
Despite having encountered numerous seasonal timelapse videos shot here on Earth, this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this visualized on such a large scale from space. It really looks like a heartbeat or the action of breathing. Read more over on Nelson’s blog, or see a much larger version of the gif here. (via Co.Design)
For his Behind a Little House Project Italian photographer Manuel Cosentino found an unsuspecting muse: a tiny nondescript house on an unexceptional hill. He returned to photograph the small building from the exact same location for nearly two years in order to capture the dramatic changes in weather and light that utterly changed the scenery just beyond the horizon. As part of a traveling exhibition the photos are mounted on a wall behind a book containing copies of a photo of the house against a white sky. Viewers are then invited to draw their own interpretation of what appears behind the little house. Via his artist statement:
The first photograph starts the series with a Big-Bang-like explosion and sets everything into motion, the last is a new beginning – it represents that piece of “carte blanche” that we are all given with our lives. By drawing in the book anyone is at the same time breathing life into it, keeping it alive page after page, and is also responsible for his or her contribution within a wider context.
Making the rounds this year on a couple of design-y gift guides is The Present, a clock designed by Booklyn-based creative firm m ss ng p eces. The clock automatically sets itself to the current calendar date when you insert two AA batteries and then takes a year to make an entire revolution as the single hand highlights colors associated with the passing season. An original run of the clock was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year, but the clock is now available to the general public through their website.