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Photography

Lounging Seals, a Ravenous Pelican, and a Startled Owl Top Impressive Entries in Nature Photography Contest

April 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

Florian Ledoux’s “Above the Crabeater Seals,” taken in Antarctica with Phantom 4 Pro+. Aerial view of crabeater seals resting in a group on the ice after feeding at night. “The aerial view allow(s) us to better understand how the wildlife use the ice to rest and give birth,” Ledoux. Image © Nature TTL/Florian Ledoux

Replete with stunning shots of Tuscan farmland and close-ups with spiders that reveal their prickly legs, the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition garnered an impressive array of images from creatives in 117 countries. Out of the 7,000 entries, Florian Ledoux won the top prize in the annual contest with his aerial photograph capturing nearly two-dozen seals resting on an ice mass floating in Antarctic waters. Categories range from wildlife and landscape to macro, providing an expansive look at nature’s most impressive qualities and characters—Caitlin Henderson exposes a Lichen Huntsman spider that’s attempting to disguise itself on teal-speckled tree bark, while Paul Holman serendipitously captures a fluffy owl in the midst of a surprise. We’ve gathered some of the entries below, but for a complete look at all the Nature TTL winners, check out the contest’s site and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

Robert Ferguson’s “I’m not going easy,” using Singapore using Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, 200-400mm f/4. “This is the Great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), struggling with a non-native fish. These wonderful birds are free to roam, but have established a large colony on one of the artificial islands in the old Jurong park in Singapore. I had set up my camera to take some portraits and watch their behaviour, and noticed one particular bird that had caught one of the big fish from the pond. I watched, intrigued, as the bird swam in circles, dipping his bill, taking water, then raising his beak to attempt to swallow his large prey. But every time the fish extended its sharp spines on its fins – you can see it hooked on the beak here – and lodged itself firmly. This went on for over 20 minutes, with no sign of either party tiring. I was fascinated to see the intricate veins in the bird’s throat pouch, as the overcast day backlit the thin skin, and I had to move and crouch low to the ground to get the shot,” said Ferguson. Image © Nature TTL/Robert Ferguson

Dipanjan Pal’s “Coexistence,” taken in Iceland using DJI Mavic Pro. “This is a scene very close to one of the popular mountains of Iceland. While flying my drone to the mountain with my drone’s camera pointed downward, I suddenly noticed this beautiful landscape with the blue river perfectly popping against the black sand. The sun peeking through the clouds added more drama to the scene,” said Pal. Image © Nature TTL/Dipanjan Pal

Paul Holman’s “Startled Owl,” taken in the U.K. using a Canon 7d II, Canon EF100-400 Mark II. “The baby little owl made an appearance within the window during a burst of early morning sun. A couple of jackdaws spooked by his presence started dive bombing him. After a few passes I noticed the jackdaw’s reflection in the adjacent windowpane and decided to try and capture this behaviour. The startled look on the little owl’s face adds a little humour to the image,” said Holman. Image © Nature TTL/Paul Holman

Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz’s “The Cradle of Life,” taken in Hungary using DJI FC300C. “Late winter in February, the soda lakes are full of life in Hungary. These lakes are the sanctuary of wide variety water birds. There is a nice, but unknown, hidden lake between the village of Tömörkény and Pálmonostora which is surrounded and covered with cane and sedge – therefore impossible to observe. I took this aerial photograph by a remotely controlled drone. I use a special technique to slowly approach the birds from very high altitude, which is a method also used by conservation experts to count the population of the birds. In the picture the wild ducks roil in the muddy water and leave lines in the yellowish-brownish, sometimes purple, water coloured by organic materials coming from decomposition of cane. The sparkling colour pallet of the image is composed by the blue sky and the white cloud reflection on the water’s surface,” said Koncz-Bisztricz. Image © Nature TTL/Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz

Jesslyn Saw’s “Home Sweet Home,” taken in Malaysia using Olympus EM5 mark II + 60mm f2.8 macro lens. “While on holiday at my family home in Malaysia, I set out to document as many different types of jumping spiders as possible in a fortnight. Battling the rain and heat and humidity of the tropics, the best time to hunt these spiders was early in the morning and late afternoon. It was on one of these late afternoon jaunts that I saw this colourful jumping spider and discovered a nest nearby. Hoping that the nest belonged to this particular spider, I came back again early the next morning to photograph it in its nest. To my delight, I saw that the nest did indeed belong to this spider. However, it took me another two days of early morning visits to finally successfully photograph the spider in its nest,” said Saw. Image © Nature TTL/Jesslyn Saw

Left: Minghui Yuan’s “Chinese Painting,” taken in China using NIKON D7000, Tamron 180mm/3.5 macro lens. “I was wearing a piece of waterproof overalls in the stream of Dabie Mountain, waiting to observe this Matrona basilaris (damselfly). Matrona basilaris is the king of the stream here. There is a male Matrona basilaris every 3 meters. They were waiting for the female to fly over its territory; the male chased away a male opponent and then stopped at the tip of the grass. Against the background of the sky, I discovered the connection between the lines of the grass and the subject. Nature itself is a simple painting,” said Yuan. Image © Nature TTL/Minghui Yuan. Right: Caitlin Henderson’s “Nothing here but this tree,” taken in Australia using Canon 7D, Canon 60mm macro lens. “The Lichen Huntsman (Pandercetes gracilis) is an incredible species of tree-dwelling spider from Australia’s tropical north. Its astounding camouflage enables it to blend perfectly with the tree bark and lichens, and is near impossible to spot by day.
At night, I went searching for these spiders with a torch, using their reflective eye-shine to discover their hiding places in plain sight,” said Henderson. Image © Nature TTL/Caitlin Henderson

Marek Biegalski’s “Shadow game,” taken in Italy using DJI Mavic Pro 2. “Aerial image taken in Tuscany in autumn light. (A) flock of sheep was hiding in the shade from the sun under the shadow of a tree,” said Beigalski. Image © Nature TTL/Marek Biegalski

 

 



Photography Science

Amazing Underwater Photographs Capture the World’s Only Known Pink Manta Ray

March 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kristian Laine, shared with permission

Australia-based photographer Kristian Laine recently got a glimpse at a particularly special underwater creature: the world’s only known pink manta ray. Spanning about 11 feet and nicknamed Inspector Clouseau after The Pink Panther, the aquatic animal lives near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef. “I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” Laine told National Geographic.

Project Manta has been studying the male fish since he was discovered in 2015. After conducting a skin biopsy, the organization concluded that the unusual hue is not due to diet or disease but rather is likely a genetic mutation called erythrism, which causes changes in melanin expressions. Most manta rays are black, white, or a combination of the two.

For more of Laine’s underwater shots, follow him on Instagram or Facebook. You also can purchase one of his photographs of Inspector Clouseau and other ocean fish from his shop. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Science

Striped Eel Catfish Traverse the Ocean Floor as a Strategically Rotating Mass

January 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

For young striped eel catfish, there really is safety in numbers. A recent Instagram post shares a video by Marie-Laure Vergne of about one hundred juvenile fish moving across the bottom of the ocean. The Abyss Dive Center, a scuba diving school located in Amed, Bali, explains in the post that until the fish are fully grown and gain all of their deadly capabilities, they protect themselves by swimming in dense groups. Similar to other catfish, this species has four pairs of barbels on the upper and lower jaws. In their pectoral and first dorsal fins, though, the fish have a highly venomous, and sometimes fatal, spine.

As suggested by The Kids Should See This, the aquatic animals appear to take turns as they move, diving toward the bottom before appearing back at the top only to repeat the cycle. If you focus on one of the fish’s movements, you’ll spot the undulating pattern. The dive center does have a cautionary tip for anyone who encounters the phenomenon: “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do! ).”

 

 



Animation Music

Animated Fish Swim in Mesmerizing Patterns in an Otherworldly Animated Music Video by Hideki Inaba

September 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Directed by Hideki Inaba (previously), Tape is a new animated music video for the Swedish group Canigou. In the approximately five minute-long animation, fish, jellyfish, and abstract bubbles swim and float in transfixing patterns through a mysterious environment. The ambiguous setting, rendered largely in shades of blue and red, seems to be set on another planet. Inaba’s animation accompanies Canigou’s atmospheric electronic sounds, creating a complementary visual and sonic landscape experience. Canigou is comprised of married duo Emma and Richard Lindström. Inaba has created live visuals for Red Hot Chili Peppers and animated for the Netflix series Disjointed. You can watch more of his work on Vimeo and tune in to Canigou on Soundcloud and Spotify.

 

 



Art

Animals Evolve into Islands Teeming With Coral, Succulents, and Tropical Fish in Hyperrealist Paintings by Lisa Ericson

August 8, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

“Anchor,” 20”x24”, Acrylic on panel

Lisa Ericson (previously) deftly paints animals in scenes that reach outside of their natural environments, creating unique relationships that defy the natural order of the animal kingdom. In her newest series a deer, flamingo, and multiple turtles form miniature ecosystems in glassy blue water. Coral sprouts from the hooves and legs of the two larger creatures, while brilliant flowers and butterflies surround the smaller turtles. These paintings are featured in Ericson’s current exhibition Islands, which runs through August 25, 2019 at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon. You can see more of her beautifully rendered plants and animals on Instagram.

“Pollinate,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel

Detail of “Pollinate,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel

Detail of “Pollinate,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel

“Bleach,” 16”x20”, Acrylic on panel, all images via Antler Gallery

“Harvest,” 20”x24”, Acrylic on panel

“Pollinate II,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel

 

 



Photography

Richly Hued Portraits of Elegant Chinese Goldfish by Tsubaki

June 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Evanescent fins, pebbled hoods, and glowing orange scales of small fish take center stage in photographs by Tsubaki. The Taiwanese photographer shares with Colossal that they seek to “let more people appreciate this beauty from the Chinese world, which represents peace, beauty and richness.” People have been cultivating goldfish for thousands of years, Tsubaki explains, and their presence is replicated in patterns ranging from wood carving to textiles. The photographer is interested in showcasing creatures of such ancient and historic meaning using a modern technique.

Tsubaki is especially drawn to Lionhead goldfish, but also documents Ranchu, Red Hat, Tosakin, and Ryukin breeds. Each photograph features a solitary fish, with a black background bringing out the translucent colors and elegant silhouettes of the aquatic animals. You can see more of Tsubaki’s fish studies on Behance and Instagram.

 

 



Craft Food

Crocheted Seafood and Knitted Loaves Top the Menu of Kate Jenkins’s Food-Focused Exhibitions

January 28, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Photo by Emma Wood

Brighton, England-based textile artist Kate Jenkins has been recreating veggies, seafood, and other favorite foods in wool for the last 12 years. Jenkins got her start in knitwear design, but has begun to focus on knitting feasts rather than fashions. In 2015 Jenkins made her largest installation to date, crocheting dozens of sardines, mussels, clams, shrimp, prawns, lobsters, crabs and other delights from the sea for a full-size fish counter titled “Kate’s Place the Stitchmongers” in Alexander Palace in London. For inspiration Jenkins knits or crochets from life, always purchasing the food she plans on recreating for accurate scale and texture.

Jenkins is currently working on her follow-up exhibition to “Kate’s Place” titled “Kate’s Bakes” which will switch from seafood to wheat in a life-size bakery that will be exhibited at the Handmade Festival in Barcelona this May. She hopes to tour the piece around the world, stopping in London, Paris, and New York, and incorporate localized treats for each destination. If you like Jenkins’s immersive knitting and crocheting experiences you might also like Lucy Sparrow’s felted corner stores and bodegas which have popped up in both London and New York. You can see more of Jenkins’s crocheted treats on her website and Instagram. (via Atlas Obscura)

Photo by Emma Wood

Photo by Emma Wood

Photo by Emma Wood

Photo by Emma Wood

Photo by Emma Wood

Photo by Emma Wood      

Photo by Emma Wood

 

 

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