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Photography Science

Overview: A New Book of High-Def Satellite Images Capturing How People Have Changed the Earth

October 28, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant / 37·560755°, –5·331908° / This Overview captures the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Seville, Spain. The solar concentrator contains 2,650 heliostat mirrors that focus the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through a 140-metre-tall (460-foot) central tower. The molten salt then circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is used to produce steam and generate electricity. In total, the facility displaces approximately 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

In December of 2013, an Instagram account called Daily Overview began to catalog a wide spectrum of satellite images that capture the many ways people have transformed the face of Earth, for better or worse. The account is run by Benjamin Grant who uses imagery taken from DigitalGlobe, an advanced collection of Earth imaging satellites that provide data to services like Google Earth. The project gets its title from a phenomenon experienced by astronauts who spend extended periods of time in space and what they describe as a “cognitive shift in awareness” as they continuously view the world from above dubbed the overview effect.

As Grant’s Instagram has swelled to nearly a half million followers, some of the best images from the project have been gathered into a new 288-page hardcover book called Overview. The book includes images of our collective impact on Earth, a collection of interlinked systems often too difficult to grasp including aspects of industry, agriculture, and architecture.

All images © 2016 by DigitalGlobe, Inc. from Overview by Benjamin Grant, published by Amphoto Books. Used with permission. (via Twisted Sifter)

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Tulips / 52·276355°, 4·557080° / Every year, tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands begin to bloom in March and are in peak bloom by late April. The Dutch produce a total of 4·3 billion tulip bulbs each year, of which 53% (2·3 billion) is grown into cut flowers. Of these, 1·3 billion are sold in the Netherlands as cut flowers and the remainder is exported: 630 million bulbs to Europe and 370 million elsewhere.

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Olives / 37·263212°, –4·552271° / Olive tree groves cover the hills of Córdoba, Spain. Approximately 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil; the remaining 10% are eaten as table olives. With rising temperatures and phenomenal weather variations in growing regions, olive groves on high hills or slopes will probably suffer less, but groves located on low altitude areas or plains could become totally unproductive.

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Moab Potash Evaporation Ponds / 38·485579°, –109·684611° / Evaporation ponds are visible at the potash mine in Moab, Utah, USA. The mine produces muriate of potash, a potassium-containing salt that is a major component in fertilisers. The salt is pumped to the surface from underground brines and dried in massive solar ponds that vibrantly extend across the landscape. As the water evaporates over the course of 300 days, the salts crystallise out. The colours that are seen here occur because the water is dyed a deep blue, as darker water absorbs more sunlight and heat, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes for the water to evaporate and the potash to crystallise.

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Marabe Al Dhafra / 23·610424°, 53·702677° / The villas of Marabe Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates are home to approximately 2,000 people. Located in one of the hottest regions of the world, the record high temperature here is 49·2°C (120·6°F).

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Port of Singapore / 1·237656°, 103·806422° / Cargo ships and tankers – some weighing up to 300,000 tonnes – wait outside the entry to the Port of Singapore. The facility is the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total tonnage, shipping a fifth of the world’s cargo containers and half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil.

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Ipanema Beach / –22·983606°, –43·206638° / Ipanema Beach is located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Recognised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the sand is divided into segments by lifeguard towers known as ‘postos’.

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Nishinoshima Volcanic Activity / 27·243362, 140·874420 / Nishinoshima is a volcanic island located 940 kilometres (584 miles) south of Tokyo, Japan. Starting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued to do so until August 2015. Over the course of the eruption, the area of the island grew in size from 0.06 square kilometres (0.02 square miles) to 2·3 square kilometres (0·89 square miles).

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Amazing Science

Aerial View of a Hawaiian Volcano Reveals a Giant Smiley Face

August 3, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Last week while flying above the Pu’u O’o crater in Hawaii, filmmaker Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions Video and pilot Colin Burkhardt were met with a cheerful surprise: the raging hot volcanic interior had cracked in the form of two lava eyes and a long crooked mouth. The once-in-a-lifetime view was caught on film and is one of many video clips Kalber frequently shares online and in his own volcano documentaries. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Photography

Boiling Point by Paul Octavious

July 13, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Photographer Paul Octavious captured the above image using a drone in his Chicago neighborhood, editing the image with red marks in post production as a reaction to the hostile environment escalating both in the city and across the country. By using a drone to photograph the thermometer-like image Octavious was also able to capture the landscape surrounding his street intervention, adding a deeper context to his work by providing a glimpse of Chicago’s own streets.

“While photographing a street in my neighborhood from above, I immediately picked out the shape which resembled that of a classic glass thermometer,” said Octavious. “As I painted over the asphalt with red in post, it started to take on something more to me. With everything that’s going on right now in this country, and the violence happening on our streets, the boiling point is at an all-time high. I think while creating this, I had a few things on my mind.”

You can see more of Octavious’ work on his Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Amazing Photography

Pilot Captures Amazing Thunderstorm Photo at 37,000 Feet Over the Pacific Ocean

July 6, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Photo © Santiago Borja, used with permission.

Over the last few years we’ve seen our fair share of storm and lightning photographs, but this shot from Ecuador Airlines pilot Santiago Borja might top them all. Taken from a Boeing 767-300 cockpit at the precise moment of a lightning flash, the image captures a powerful thunderstorm forming above the Pacific Ocean just south of Panama. A difficult shot considering the turbulent weather and near pitch-dark setting.

“I like this photo so much because you can feel the amazing size of the storm and its power,” he tells the Washington Post. “But at the same time it’s wonderful how peacefully you can fly around it in still air without touching it.”

Borja also shared a second thunderstorm photo with Colossal taken in October of last year along the coast of Venezuela. You can see more of his travel and storm photos on Instagram.

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Photo © Santiago Borja, used with permission.

Update: Photographer Kevin O’ Mara shares his own aerial thunderstorm photo taken over Alabama in 2013.

 

 



Art History Photography

Aerial Shots That Demonstrate The Stark Divide Between Rich and Poor

June 22, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Papwa Sewgolum Golf Course © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

During apartheid, barriers were both constructed and modified to segregate urban spaces—roads, rivers, and large stretches of open land separating rich neighborhoods from the poor. Twenty-two years later these barriers still exist, large homes with lush lawns just a few yards away from tightly-packed communities organized with dirt roads rather than tree-lined streets. Photographer Johnny Miller wanted to capture the dramatic divide from a new perspective, and decided to shoot many areas in South Africa from several hundred feet in the air for a series titled “Unequal Scenes.”

By utilizing aerial photographs, the separation is all the more apparent, suburban sprawl nestled up against tight and overcrowded streets. Due to the camera’s position so high in the air, the details of each area becomes obscured. It is difficult to pinpoint an exact location for the photographs, allowing the viewer to relate the imagery to communities in their own part of the world that may also carry distinct inequalities.

“My desire with this project is to portray the most Unequal Scenes in South Africa as objectively as possible,” Miller explains in a statement about the project. “By providing a new perspective on an old problem, I hope to provoke a dialogue which can begin to address the issues of inequality and disenfranchisement in a constructive and peaceful way.”

Miller has an upcoming exhibition of his photographs in early August in Johannesburg that will be announced soon. You can see more of his aerial photographs that document inequality on his Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. (This Isn’t Happiness)

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Bloubosrand Kya Sands © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

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Manenberg Phola Park © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

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Masiphumelele Lake Michelle © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

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Strand Nomzamo © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

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Strand Nomzamo © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

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Vukuzenzele Sweet Home © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

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Vusimuzi Mooifontein Cemetery © Johnny Miller / Millefoto

 

 



Art

Striking Aerial Photos of Hong Kong Shrouded in Fog by Andy Yeung

April 20, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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All photos © Andy Yeung.

For his latest photo series Urban Fog, photographer Andy Yeung launched a DJI Phantom 3 from Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong to capture the city at night while covered in mist. Yeung said he was inspired by a similar project of the city photographed during the day, and was intrigued to see how he could present the city lights at night as they illuminated the fog. The photos are remarkable for their likeness to a thunderstorm with the cool lights of the city glowing inside the fog like flashes of lightning. You can see more of Yeung’s work on his website. (via Designboom)

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Art Photography

Dramatic Aerial Landscape Photos of Our Impact on Nature Captured by Daniel Beltrá

March 30, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

February 8th 2007. Southern Ocean.

February 8th 2007, Southern Ocean, all images © Daniel Beltrá

During his past two decades as a photographer, Daniel Beltrá has photographed landscapes in all seven continents, exploring equally the beauty and tragedy found in nature across the globe. Beltrá works mostly in the air, providing the viewer with the expansive scale of what he encounters while perched inside an airplane or helicopter such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which he captured over the span of two months.

Other locations the Spanish photographer has traveled to included the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans, and the Patagonian ice fields. Beltrá was drawn to each of these locations due to the complexity of nature found at each. He explains in his artist statement that the “fragility of our ecosystems is a continuous thread throughout my work. My photographs show the vast scale of transformation our world is under from human-made stresses.”

Beltrá hopes that his unique aerial perspective and subject matter instill an understanding of how we are directly affecting the environment around us and at the edges of the globe. Many of his images from locations in Iceland and Greenland were recently included in his solo exhibition “Ice/Green Lands” at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago that closed on March 5, 2016. The photographer also recently published a collection of his images from the 2010 BP oil spill in his book SPILL. You can see more of his expansive landscape photography on his Instagram and Facebook. (via Ignant)

August 19th, 2014. Ilulissat, Greenland

August 19th, 2014, Ilulissat, Greenland

August 24th, 2014. Ilulissat, Greenland

August 24th, 2014, Ilulissat, Greenland

July 7th 2014, Iceland aerials

July 7th 2014, Iceland aerials

Water in Iceland's Ölfusá River flows around sandbars towards the Atlantic Ocean, July 7th 2014. The Ölfusá is Iceland's largest river and its watershed drains 6100 square kilometers or 1/7th of Iceland, including the Langjökull glacier. According to a recent study by the University of Arizona to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, parts of Iceland are rising as much as 35mm per year; this is directly related to the melting of Iceland's glaciers and to global warming.

July 7th 2014, Iceland’s Ölfusá River

September 16, 2013. Brazil. Aerials from Manaus to Santarem. Photo by Daniel Beltra for Greenpeace

September 16, 2013, Brazil. Aerials from Manaus to Santarem

September 10th, 2012. Arctic Ocean. Greenpeace MY Arctic Sunrise ship expedition to the Arctic to document the lowest sea ice level on record. Photo by Daniel Beltra for Greenpeace

September 10th, 2012, Arctic Ocean

Para, Brazil. February 11, 2012. Aerials south of Santarem and along the road BR163. Rainforest in the Tapajós River, coordinates: -4.737923-56.448047. Photo by Daniel Beltra for Greenpeace

February 11, 2012, Para, Brazil

Louisiana (USA). May 6th, 2010. Aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, the BP leased oil platform exploded April 20 and sank after burning. Leaking an estimate of more than 200,000 gallons of crude oil per day from the broken pipeline to the sea. Eleven workers are missing, presumed dead. Photo by Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace

May 6th, 2010, Aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead