Science

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Photography Science

A Rainbow of Light Diffracts Through Hummingbird Wings in Photographs by Christian Spencer

July 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All images © Christian Spencer. Shared with permission from the artist.

Australian photographer Christian Spencer has lived within Brazil’s Itatiaia National Park for nineteen years. The lush natural surroundings offer a multitude of photo opportunities ranging from pumpkin toadlets to false coral snakes. One of Spencer’s most fascinating finds is the way that light diffracts through the wings of hummingbirds in flight, resulting in a rainbow of colors within the birds’ feathers. The photographer has been following the petite birds for years, and his film recording of the phenomenon was included in his award-winning 2011 short film, The Dance of Time.

More recently, Spencer has returned to these full spectrum moments. Each image in the artist’s hummingbird series captures sunlight filtering through the wings and tail of a black and white Jacobin hummingbird. Despite our age of post-production and photo manipulation, the images were not digitally manipulated; the visual phenomenon is naturally occurring.’WINGED PRISM’ (below) won a prize at the Museum of Modern Art in Resende RJ Brazil, and is available as a fine art print on Spencer’s website. You can follow along with Spencer’s animal encounters and nature-inspired paintings on Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

“WINGED PRISM”

 

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

An Out-Of-This-World Aerial Shot of a Volcano Erupting in Russia

July 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

This past weekend, a volcanic eruption on Russia’s Kuril Islands was so massive it was quite literally visible from space. An astronaut on the International Space Station’s (ISS) Expedition 59 crew documented the plume from Raikoke Volcano, which reached eight miles into the sky. The ISS orbits 250 miles above earth. NASA explained:

On the morning of June 22, astronauts shot a photograph of the volcanic plume rising in a narrow column and then spreading out in a part of the plume known as the umbrella region. That is the area where the density of the plume and the surrounding air equalize and the plume stops rising. The ring of clouds at the base of the column appears to be water vapor.

Because of the reach of its plume, the ash and gas pose a flight risk to airplanes. Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers in Tokyo and Anchorage have been monitoring its movements. Raikoke rarely erupts; its last explosion was in 1924, and before that, 1778. You can explore more scientific documentation of the blast on NASA’s Earth Observatory blog. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Amazing Science

Underwater Footage Captures the Mesmerizing Iridescent Webs of Two Blanket Octopuses Near the Philippines

June 27, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

While navigating the waters near Romblon Island in the Philippines, diver Joseph Elayani came across a magnificent sight. Elayani and fellow divers encountered two female Blanket Octopuses shimmering in the dark water, their rainbow figures illuminated against the dark and speckled sea. The animals get their name from the billowing net-like membranes that stretch between a few of their arms. When threatened, this web is stretched to create a ghostly silhouette to frighten away potential enemies. The mysterious creatures’ mating habits are just as confounding as their blanket-like attribute. Males grow to be about an inch long, while females can grow up to six-feet-long and weight up to 40,000 times the size of their partner. You can view more of Elayani’s dive on his Youtube channel. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Science

An Enchanting Macro Time-Lapse of Blooms and Insects in 8K Resolution by Thomas Blanchard

June 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In -N- Uprising, a video that is equal parts stylized and naturalistic, Thomas Blanchard (previously) documents the life cycles of insects and flowers. Time-lapse allows the viewer to see a caterpillar metamorphose into a chrysalis and then a butterfly, orchid buds burst into full bloom, and a snail grow its eyeballs perched on antennae. By using solid fields of color as his background, Blanchard allows the focus to stay on the impressive transformative moments. The insects were filmed in video at 8K shot over the course of seven months, and the flower blooms are assembled from hundreds of 5K photographs. Music for -N- Uprising is by Alexis Dehimi. Watch more of Blanchard’s videos on Vimeo.

 

 



Photography Science

140,000 Visuals of Outer Space are Free to the Public in NASA’s Image Library

June 12, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Backlit wisps along the Horsehead Nebula upper ridge are being illuminated by Sigma Orionis, a young five-star system just off the top of this image from the Hubble Space Telescope

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has created a library of 140,000 high definition files filled with photos, videos, and sound clips, all free and available for download. Visual and audio content of planets, moons, nebulas, and specific space missions, are searchable by file type. The library spans the last hundred years, and users can narrow searches to focus on any timeframe between 1920 and 2019. Each file also contains a thorough caption including the date and contextual information about the content. Explore the library on NASA’s dedicated website and see more updates from space on the Administration’s official Instagram. (via fubiz)

Composite image of southern Africa and the surrounding oceans captured by six orbits of the NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership spacecraft

Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory produced a matched trio of images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy

Hubble space telescope captures vivid auroras in Jupiter’s atmosphere

This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows an outcrop with finely layered rocks within the ‘Murray Buttes’ region on lower Mount Sharp

Hubble space telescope captures Mystic Mountain in the Carina Nebula

This view of Jupiter was taken by Voyager 1. This image was taken through color filters and recombined to produce the color image

Moon – North Polar Mosaic, Color

 

 



Photography Science

Thorny South African Seeds Get an Up Close Examination in Macro Photographs by Dillon Marsh

June 10, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In order to spread as widely as possible, some varieties of seeds will grow sharp thorns and burs. These sharp points allow the seeds to attach themselves to unsuspecting animals or humans unnoticed, and has earned them the moniker of “hitchhiker plants.” Photographer Dillon Marsh (previously here and here) is accustomed to these seeds hitching a ride on his shoes or clothes during photo excursions through tall grasses of his home in South Africa. Curious about the details hidden beyond their sharp edges, Marsh began to take macro photographs of these natural objects which reveal the often unnoticed resemblance to faces or skulls.

To create such detailed photographs Marsh set up a tiny photo studio. “After carefully lighting the seeds, I then photographed them using a macro lens which allows me to zoom in but leaves me with a very narrow depth of field,” Marsh explains to Colossal. “To overcome this, I take several photos of each seed, incrementally focussing along its entire depth. I then stack the images together in Photoshop in order to create one fully detailed image.”

Marsh is currently adding works to his series Counting the Costs, in which the photographer digitally embeds spheres of melting glaciers amongst city life in India, and soon other parts of the world. You can view more of his projects on Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Science

A Field Recording by Phil Torres Documents the Waterfall-like Sound of Millions of Migrating Monarch Butterflies

May 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Entomologist and TV host Phil Torres (previously) dives deep into the natural world to document sights and sounds that many of us will never have a chance to experience firsthand. In his most recent video, Torres showcases the sound created by millions of migrating monarchs. The iconic orange and black butterflies convene every year in Mexico, where they overwinter during the Northern Hemisphere’s cooler months. In Torres’ six minute video, monarchs cluster by the thousands on individual tree branches and swarm the forest air, creating a rushing, waterfall-like sound. We highly recommend listening to the video with a pair of earphones to really pick up the subtleties in the audio. You can see more of Torres’ outdoor explorations on his Youtube channel, The Jungle Diaries, and follow along on Twitter.

 

 

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