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Photography

Eye-Opening Entries From the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

April 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photo and caption: David Edgar. I took this photo of an adolescent humpback whale in the South Pacific, several miles off the coast of Tongatapu, Tonga. I captured this as a split-shot with half my dome port submerged, and the other above the surface. This playful whale came right up to me and looked directly into my eyes as the tip of his rostrum glistened in the afternoon sun. Looking closely, you can see Loni, our expert skipper, lining up a surface shot of this incredible encounter from the roof of our dive boat.

National Geographic’s 2019 Travel Photo Contest has been running since March 18, and will continue to accept submissions until May 3, 2019 at noon Eastern Standard Time. Each week, the publication has been unveiling a selection of entries received the previous week. Images from week four include a split-shot capture of an adolescent humpback whale, a candid moment of a mother loon feeding her chicks, and squiggles of headlamp-sporting skiers careening down the French Alps.

Entrant categories are nature, cities, and people, and the grand prize winner will receive $7,500 along with a post on National Geographic’s travel Instagram account. Find out more about content requirements and participation on the Travel Photo Contest website.

Photo and caption: Michelle Valberg. Nothing better than being in my kayak in the rain, watching beautiful moments like this unfold.

Photo and caption: Christopher Markisz. Marine-layer fog, glowing in artificial light, pushes inland through the Golden Gate Bridge on a breezy bay area evening.

Photo and caption: Paul Rozek. Walking around all day in Antigua, Guatemala, there was a persistent cloud layer that obscured the mountainous terrain surrounding the town. Late in the evening while walking through Antigua just for a few moments, one of the volcanoes became clear and offered a spectacular view with the Santa Catalina Arch. The volcano complex known as La Horqueta, surrounds the town of Antigua in Guatemala with numerous volcanic peaks in the area including Fuego, Agua, Acatenango, and Pico Mayor.

Photo and caption: Dunand Basile. Full moon skiing session with two friends in the natural reserve of Les Contamines-Montjoie—the French Alps. With no telephone network, we had to communicate with our headlamps. I had two chances to photography; this is the second. We can see the first skier waiting for the other one at the end of the couloir. Two-minute exposure

Photo and caption: Eduardo Bastos. On a scientific expedition to Snow Island, Antarctica, we had as company a colony of more than 200 southern elephant seals. During the days with strong winds, this group formed different designs trying to protect itself.

Photo and caption: Alessandra Meniconzi. This winter, the breathtaking Khuvsgul Lake in Mongolia—called by locals, the “dark blue pearl”—has signs of climate change. The frozen surface melts faster than usual and the ice was not very thick. The sounds were scary: thundering, cracking, shaking, but locals keep moving across the ice as their means of transportation.

Photo and caption: Jon Anderson. Occasionally, divers are in exactly the right place at the right time to witness an inexplicably beautiful event unfold. While watching a school of fish expand and contract in the Revillagigedo Islands, I suddenly realized a once in a lifetime moment was occurring. A giant oceanic manta ray entered the school from the left, and as it neared the center, the fish morphed into a near perfect sphere. The wings of the manta rose as it crossed the center of the sphere and I squeezed the shutter.

 

 



Photography Science

Self-Taught Nature Photographer Alison Pollack Tracks the Fascinating Fungi of Northern California

March 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Stemonitis

Stemonitis. All photographs by Alison Pollack

Avid photographer and retired environmental consultant Alison Pollack documents the fascinating phenotypes of mushrooms and slime molds she encounters on hikes in northern California. Her images show shaggy white Comb Tooth fungus (Hericium coralloides), Stemonitis slime molds that wouldn’t look out of place on the dessert menu of an experimental restaurant, and Comatricha that bear a strong resemblance to urban lamp posts. Recently, the north Bay Area-based photographer shared with the Marin Independent Journal that she has had a longtime interest in hiking and mushrooming, but has grown more focused on fungi photography in the last two years. You can follow along with Pollock’s findings, and help her identify unknown species, on Instagram.

Hericium coralloides

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Tyromyces chioneus

Tyromyces chioneus

Hericium erinaceus

L: Comatricha / R: Hemitrichia calyculata

Crepidotus mollis

Physarum viride

Trametes versicolor

Mycena

 

 



Art

Dazzling Jellyfish, Snakes, and Turtles Glow with a Multitude of Colors in Vibrant Tattoos by Zihee

March 4, 2019

Anna Marks

Eye-popping giraffes, tropical green leaves, and snakes entwined in floral motifs jump out in Korean designer Zihee Tattoo’s ink-based creations. Inked on wrists, elbows, and thighs, Zihee adds a vivid splash of creativity to human skin, emphasizing the vibrancy and delicacy of natural forms. Brimming with every color in the rainbow—including lilacs, crimson reds, and sunflower yellows—Zihee’s work celebrates her interest in nature, while shading together pigments seamlessly. In her leaf tattoos, cool blues flow into luscious greens, reflecting how light manipulates the organic forms’ color as it lands upon them in nature. You can find more of Zihee’s work on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Freshly Cut Flowers Make Sparks in Electrically Charged Images by Hu Weiyi

February 18, 2019

Anna Marks

Image credits: Hu Weiyi and A+ Contemporary

Image credits: Hu Weiyi and A+ Contemporary

In The Tentacles project, by Chinese artist Hu Weiyi, bright sparks and fiery electrical waves flow through a series of freshly blossomed flowers against matte gray backgrounds. To produce the images, Hu uses high-voltage capacitors to create electrical currents that run through the pink and maroon roses, showcasing the power of electricity in all its beauty and danger.

The photo series was inspired by a previous project Hu created in 2014, called Flirt, which introduced cold light to various objects to manipulate viewers’ perception without using digital software. “I then began to study the high-voltage arc and made a high-voltage capacitor which can instantaneously penetrate through the air,” says Hu. “The principle is similar to that of the electric baton, but much stronger.”

The research behind The Tentacles took Hu over a year. He worked with various technicians to try different types of electric discharge devices that would exert the right amount of electrical flow to be captured by his camera. In this experimental phase, Hu used dozens of roses and took hundreds of photographs before finding the right images and settings for his final collection. “My studio is therefore filled with the unpleasant smell of rotten flowers, just like a morgue,” says the artist.

Hu’s work illustrates the aesthetic beauty and diversity of physical forms; the softness and stillness of the spongy rose petals in comparison to the dangerous allure of the electrical spark. “The moment of discharge is wonderful and sexy, but it can also be a cold-blooded tool for torture and execution,” he explains. Hu’s combination of materials illustrate the impermanence of natural plant matter, much like the fragile nature of the human body when exposed to lightning. “The flowers in full bloom remind me of my own fragility and powerlessness,” says Hu.

In comparison to manipulating photographs with software such as Photoshop, the time, precision and research in Hu’s work gives the subjects in his images more weight, their electricity more tangible. You can see more of Hu’s photographs on A+ Contemporary’s website.

 

 



Photography

The Abandoned Grandeur of Crumbling Palaces Showcased in Large Format Photographs by Thomas Jorion

February 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Thomas Jorion, "Pappagallo, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Thomas Jorion, “Pappagallo, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

Whereas many photographers seek to capture beautiful ephemeral moments with their camera lens, French photographer Thomas Jorion is drawn to a more eternal timeline. Using an analog 4×5 camera, Jorion focuses on abandoned places: spaces and structures lost to the nature and time. In his photographs, once majestic buildings that are now largely forgotten are given the same careful composition and attention that more currently-engaged spaces might receive. His solo exhibition Veduta at Esther Woerdehoff Galerie in Paris explores the abandoned villas and palaces of Italy through April 6, 2019. You can see more of Jorion’s work on Instagram.

"Cedri, Italie" (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Cedri, Italie” (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Fondali, Italie" (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Fondali, Italie” (2017), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Ghepardi, Italie" (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Ghepardi, Italie” (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Sognare, Switzerland" (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

“Sognare, Switzerland” (2016), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Thomas Jorion

"Fulmine, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

“Fulmine, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie 

"Pensile, Italie" (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

“Pensile, Italie” (2018), Pigment print, American box frame in raw oak, image courtesy of Esther Woerdehoff Galerie

 

 



Art

Flowers Blossom From the Bodies of Wild Animals in New Graphite and Acrylic Works by Nunzio Paci

February 7, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Bologna-based Italian artist Nunzio Paci (previously) fills his artwork with images that evoke aspects of human knowledge dating back centuries, such as anatomy, botany, and natural medicine. In his works animals are illustrated with lush plants and flowers, elements which seem to grow and thrive straight from their core. Although a touch morbid, the pieces also have a sense of lightness—there is beauty that can be found in rebirth. This fall Paci will be Artist-in-Residence at Lingnan University in Hong Kong where he will teach a Studio Practice course and work on his own projects to prepare for a solo exhibition. You can see more of his anatomical illustrations and paintings on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Photography

A Traveling Exhibition of 100 Stunning Selections from the 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

January 17, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

"The golden couple" by Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner 2018, Animal Portraits

“The golden couple,” Marsel van Oosten, The Netherlands, Grand Title Winner 2018, Animal Portraits

Last fall Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten was the overall winner of the 54th annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (previously) after being selected from over 45,000 submissions. His image, The Golden Couple, captures a pair of golden snub-nosed monkeys against a wooded backdrop. Their bright blue faces glow against the lush forest of China’s Qinling Mountains—the only habitat where the endangered primates are found in the wild.

In total there were 19 category winners from the tens of thousands who submitted images of wildlife and natural environments from all corners of the globe. Winning images included a wasp carrying a perfectly round segment of mud, two owls nestled snuggly in a pipe, and a leopard dreaming on a low branch. The winners, plus a selection of other entries from the competition, are currently in an exhibition which will travel to Canada, Spain, Australia, and Germany. The next stop for “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” is the Field Museum in Chicago, which opens March 22 and runs through January 2020. (via Block Club Chicago)

"Pipe owls," Arshdeep Singh, India, Winner 2018, 10 Years and Under

“Pipe owls,” Arshdeep Singh, India, Winner 2018, 10 Years and Under

"Hellbent," David Herasimtschuk, USA, Winner 2018, Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

“Hellbent,” David Herasimtschuk, USA, Winner 2018, Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

"Mud-rolling mud-dauber," Georgina Steytler, Australia, Winner 2018, Behaviour: Invertebrates

“Mud-rolling mud-dauber,” Georgina Steytler, Australia, Winner 2018, Behaviour: Invertebrates

"Night flight," Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA, Winner 2018, Under Water

“Night flight,” Michael Patrick O’Neill, USA, Winner 2018, Under Water

"Windsweep," Orlando Fernandez Miranda, Spain, Winner 2018, Earth’s Environments

“Windsweep,” Orlando Fernandez Miranda, Spain, Winner 2018, Earth’s Environments

"Mother defender," Javier Aznar González de Rueda, Spain, Winner 2018, Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award

“Mother defender,” Javier Aznar González de Rueda, Spain, Winner 2018, Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award

"Lounging leopard," by Skye Meaker, South Africa, Grand Title Winner 2018, 15-17 Years Old

“Lounging leopard,” Skye Meaker, South Africa, Grand Title Winner 2018, 15-17 Years Old

"Bed of seals," Cristobal Serrano, Spain, Winner 2018, Animals in their environment

“Bed of seals,” Cristobal Serrano, Spain, Winner 2018, Animals in their environment