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Photography

A Shark Swimming in a Heart-Shaped School of Salmon Tops 2020 Drone Photography Contest

September 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Love Heart of Nature” by Jim Picôt. “In winter, a shark is inside a salmon school when, chasing the baitfish, the shape became a heart shape.” All images © the photographers, courtesy of 2020 Drone Awards, shared with permission

The 2020 Drone Photography Awards garnered an arresting collection of aerial shots, and among its winners is a serendipitous image of a heart-shaped school of salmon. Captured by Australian photographer Jim Picôt, the piece is particularly special because a shark swims near the center, chasing one of the fish. Other prized shots include heron roosts nestled in the treetops, and a group of swimmers floating between crashing waves.

Hosted by the Siena Awards Festival, the contest received entries from photographers in 126 countries, and an exhibition titled Above Us Only Sky will run October 24 to November 29 in Siena to showcase the top images. Check out some of our favorites below, and dive into all the winning shots on the contest’s site. (via PetaPixel)

 

“Gray Whale Plays Pushing Tourists” by Joseph Cheires. “At the end of the gray whale season, I was told about a gray whale that, for the last 3 years, used to play with the boats, pushing them gently. So we went back the year after and incredibly the gray whale appeared and this shot is the result.”

“Alien Structure on Earth” by Tomasz Kowalski. “Sometimes we need to change the perspective to feel the strength of the structure stronger than we’ve ever thought. The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur.”

“Where Herons Live”  by Dmitrii Viliunov. “Many think that herons make nests in reeds or in a swamp. In fact, they nest in the tops of huge trees and with a drone it is sometimes possible to see them.”

“On the Sea” by Roberto Corinaldesi. “An aerial view of swimmers, where the sea becomes the place to take refuge, between the blue carpet and the white foam of the waves.”

“Frozen Land” by Alessandra Meniconzi. “With temperatures of minus 30°C, winters in the Eurasian steppe can be brutal. But life doesn’t stop, and local people move from one village to another with a sledge, crossing icy rivers and lakes.”

“Phoenix Rising” by Paul Hoelen. “The phoenix rising is a symbol of re-emergence from the ashes of fire. This is symbolized through the beginnings of an actual regeneration process at the industrial mining site of Lake Owens. After a destructive past and the creation of the most toxic dustbowl in America, migratory birds are returning, and life is beginning anew…”

“Black Flag” by Tomer Appelbaum. “Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing due to Covid-19 restrictions while protesting against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rabin Square on 19 April 2020.”

 

 



Illustration

Meticulous Illustrations Document the Flora and Fauna Observed throughout the Devon Countryside

September 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jo Brown, shared with permission

Behind Jo Brown’s home in Devon is a rich countryside complete with a wooded area and thick vegetation. For years, the United Kingdom-based illustrator documented the wildlife and plant species she encountered in her Nature Journal, a black Moleskine that now has been reproduced exactly in a forthcoming book, Secrets of a Devon Wood.

Each page of Brown’s notebook contains a pen and colored pencil drawing that begins at the pages’ edges, appearing to grow from the corner or across the paper. Sometimes captured through close-ups that mimic scientific illustrations, the delicate renderings depict the detail of a buff-tailed bumblebee’s fuzzy torso and the red tendrils of a round-leaved sundew. Brown notes the common and Latin names for each species and common characteristics, in addition to where and when she spotted it.

To keep up with the illustrator’s journeys into the countryside, follow her on Instagram and Twitter, and pick up a print from Society6. (via My Modern Met)

 

 

 



Photography

Elegant Portraits Highlight the Feathery Features of Leila Jeffreys' Perfectly Posed Birds

September 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Tweets.” All images © Leila Jeffreys, shared with permission

Those of us who’ve been party to an awkward family photoshoot or embarrassing school picture have reason to feel envious of the birds Leila Jeffreys (previously) photographs. From a pair of stoic budgerigars to a yellow trio named “The Tweets,” the avian subjects are captured in sophisticated and graceful poses that highlight their most stunning features, from the curvature of their beaks to the singular barbs of their feathers.

Jeffreys often teams up with conservationists, ornithologists, and sanctuaries to determine her subjects before bringing them to a studio. When they’re together, the Australian photographer focuses on their personalities, hoping to capture their idiosyncratic tendencies. The result is intimate and engaging photographs at a human-scale, a choice that strays from traditional portraiture by centering a different species.

Many of the elegant portraits here are included in Jeffreys’ recently released book, Des oiseaux, and you can explore a larger collection of photographs available for purchase on her site. Otherwise, keep up with her feathered frames on Instagram and watch this arresting footage of the birds in action.

 

“River and Cloudy”

“Rain and June”

“Celery”

“Coral”

“Candle”

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Vintage-Style Illustrations Merge Animals, Insects, and Botanics to Form Bizarre Hybrid Creatures

September 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Mark Brooks, shared with permission

Full of extraordinary creatures, the illustrated series The Creative Specimens seamlessly combines species into unusual hybrids. Similar in color, each organism is bizarre in form. The feathered head of a bird is placed on a tortoise’s body, octopus tentacles sprout from the bottom of a cactus, and speckled coral comprises a deer’s antlers.

Adobe’s 99U Conference spurred the collaborative project as a way to offer a visual language encompassing various creative careers and passions. Inspired by the biological classifications of Charles Darwin and his contemporaries, New York-based art director and graphic designer Mark Brooks digitally rendered the organisms by referencing vintage illustrations. He then passed the project to Joanmiquel Bennasar, an illustrator living and working in the Balearic Islands, who recreated the creatures in watercolor.

Explore more of Brooks’s and Bennasar’s illustrated projects on Behance.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Amusing Footage Dives Underwater to Capture Flamingos' Strange Eating Methods

September 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

In the last few months, underwater footage has transported us into the depths of the previously unexplored Ningaloo Canyons and glimpsed the stunning blanket octopus as she unfurls her iridescent web. Now, the San Diego Zoo dives below the surface to capture the unusual ways flamingos eat.

Their pink-feathered heads plunge underwater to suck up mud and other debris from the sandy bottom. Filter-like plates called lamella trap shrimp and other aquatic creatures before dispersing the rest through the sides of their bills. Make sure you turn the volume up to hear the ungainly birds’ equally strange noises.

Check out a variety of amusing videos featuring baby lemur twins, penguin drama, and other animal antics on YouTube. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Art

Step Inside Petrit Halilaj's Monumental Nest of Oversized Flowers Within Reina Sofia's Palacio de Cristal

August 28, 2020

Christopher Jobson

“To a raven and hurricanes that from unknown places bring back smells of humans in love,” 2020. Exhibition view at Palacio de Cristal. All photos courtesy Petrit Halilaj and © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. Photo by ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzmán and Rocío Romero). Shared with permisison.

Bowerbirds are renowned for one of the most unusual courtship behaviors in the animal kingdom, where males build elaborately decorated nests—called bowers—in an attempt to court a mate. Kosovar visual artist Petrit Halilaj drew inspiration from this unique ritual for his first solo exhibition at Reina Sofia’s Palacio de Cristal (previously) in Madrid. Titled “To a raven and the hurricanes which bring back smells of humans in love from unknown places,” the installation serves as a metaphorical nest that connects the inside and outside spaces of the palace and features several avian elements like trays of birdseed and a giant pair of bird’s feet that descend from above.

The collection of artworks is actually a collaborative effort between Halijaj and his life partner artist Álvaro Urbano, who helped construct the oversized forsythia, palm seeds, cherry blossom, poppy, carnation, and lily that fill the space. “I wanted to conceive Palacio de Cristal as a place for the celebration of love,” Halijaj shares. From the museum’s release:

There is something strange and disproportionate about the size of this nest, the gigantic scale of its flowers, and the comfort and centrality it offers the birds. The artist thus suspends the logo-centric perspective that makes us believe we are the center and measure of all things, encouraging us to recognize ourselves as just one more element among many. The nest is thus revealed as the setting for a ritual that lies in wait for encounters, alliances and unions among its different visitors, altering and changing with the space.

“To a raven...” is open now through February 28, 2021, at the Palacio de Cristal, and you can see more views on Yellowtrace.

 

Studio process view