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Photography

Stunning Shots Take Top Prizes in the 2019 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest

October 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Land of the eagle by Audun Rikardsen, Norway. Winner 2019, Behaviour: Birds. All images © their respective photographers, and shared courtesy of Natural History Museum, London

This week, London’s Natural History Museum announced the winners of its 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcase. More than 48,000 amateur and professional photographers from 100 countries shared their best shots and a jury of nine experts selected the winners. Some of this year’s jurors included Kathy Moran, Senior Editor for Natural History at National Geographic Magazine; nature photographer Theo Bosboom; Melissa Dale, Acting Director of Photography at The Nature Conservancy; conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton; and writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, who chaired the committee.

The nineteen winners were selected across categories including animal behavior of mammals, birds, and invertebrates, along with animal portraits, plants and fungi, earth’s environment, and special categories for youth and emerging photographers. We’ve included 10 of our favorites here, including a golden eagle about to land by Audun Rikardsen, a life-or-death duel between a marmot and a fox by Yongqing Bao, and a hummingbird hawkmoth caught mid-sip by Thomas Easterbrook. To see more of the top finishers, check out our September coverage of this year’s finalists, and see the full show at the Natural History Museum in London now through May 31, 2020. Submissions for the 2020 competition open on October 21, 2019.

The architectural army by Daniel Kronauer, USA. Winner 2019, Behaviour: Invertebrates

The equal match by Ingo Arndt, Germany. Joint Winner 2019, Behaviour: Mammals

Tapestry of life by Zorica Kovacevic, Serbia/USA. Winner 2019, Plants and Fungi

The moment by Yongqing Bao, China. Joint Winner 2019, Behaviour: Mammals

Early riser by Riccardo Marchgiani, Italy. Winner 2019, 15-17 years old

Face of deception by Ripan Biswas, India. Winner 2019, Animal Portraits

The huddle by Stefan Christmann, Germany. Winner 2019, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award

Humming surprise by Thomas Easterbrook, UKWinner 2019, 10 years and under

 

 



Photography

Murderous Hippos, Thirsty Birds, and Snoozing Seals are Highly Commended in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition

September 11, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Touching Trust” by Thomas P Peschak, Germany/South Africa

Photographers from around the world submitted their best snapshots of wildlife for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London and now in its fifty-fifth year, the showcase received over 48,000 submissions from 100 countries for the 2019 edition. All photographs shown here were designated as highly commended across a range of categories including plants and fungi, mammal behavior, wildlife photojournalism, and more. Winners will be announced on October 15 and photographs can be viewed in person at the Museum between October 18, 2019 and May 31, 2020. You can also follow the annual contest on Instagram and Facebook.

“Big Cat and Dog Spat” by Peter Haygarth, U.K.

“Cool Drink” by Diana Rebman, U.S.A.

“Last Gasp” by Adrian Hirschi, Switzerland

“The Freshwater Forest” by Michel Roggo, Switzerland

“The Climbing Dead” by Frank Deschandol, France

“Sleeping Like a Weddell” by Ralf Schneider, U.S.A.

“Beach Waste” by MatthewWare, U.S.A.

“Jelly Baby” by Fabien Michenet, France

“Lucky Break” by Jason Bantle, Canada

 

 



Art

A Stadium in Austria is Filled with 300 Trees to Highlight the Tenuous Future of Natural Spaces

September 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature” (2019), Wörthersee Stadium, Klagenfurt, Austria. All photographs by Gerhard Maurer unless otherwise noted

Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift: all typical headliners for stadium attractions. Less common? 300 trees. In Klaus Littman’s public art installation, “FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature”, at Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria, an arboreal group takes center stage. The Swiss curator worked with landscape architect Enzo Enea to arrange the temporary forest, which is comprised of a range of trees typical in the woods of central Europe.

Littmann was inspired by artist Max Peintner’s work, circa 1970, titled “The Unending Attraction of Nature” (some translations use unbroken instead of unending), which depicts a dystopian future where a group of trees is penned in like zoo animals, as a rare artifact and spectacle. The curator first saw Peintner’s drawing more than 30 years, ago and the concept of bringing it to life remained with Littmann over the past three decades.

Visitors to “FOR FOREST” can stop by any time between 10am and 10pm from today through October 27, 2019. Admission is free. Follow the project on its dedicated website and Instagram.

Max Peintner “The Unending Attraction of Nature” (1970/1971)

Photograph: UNANIMO

Photograph: UNANIMO

 

 



Animation Science

A Digital Animation Explores the Height of Trees From a 3-Inch Bonsai to a 300-Foot Sequoia

August 23, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In this calming video by Red Side, a variety of tree species are compared side-by-side. The animation spans different common and more unique tree types, starting with 3-inch Keshitsubo bonsai tree and moving all the way to a towering Sequoia sempervirens. In addition to the subtly billowing trees, the video also contains some human-made landmarks that help to add context, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a rocket, and the Statue of Liberty. You can see more of Red Side’s animations, like this animal population video or tornado comparison, on Youtube. (via The Morning News)

 

 



Photography

Birds Hunt, Hide, and Blow Impressive Smoke Rings in a Selection of Images from the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

July 25, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Red-winged Blackbird. Photo: Kathrin Swoboda/Audubon Photography Awards

The Audubon Photography Awards are celebrating their tenth year with an array of bird images that capture moments often missed by the human eye. In the contest’s grand prize winning photo, amateur photographer Kathrin Swoboda presents a red-winged blackbird emitting what appears to be perfect rings of smoke from its beak into the cold morning air. Another image by photographer Kevin Ebi catches an unbelievable rabbit theft in which a bald eagle struggles to steal dinner from an unsuspecting fox.

A new category revealed in this year’s contest is Plants for Birds, which honors Audubon’s Plants for Birds program. The category asked photographers to present unique depictions of birds alongside local plant life, as a way to addresses the importance of native plants to the survival of surrounding wildlife. This winner of the inaugural award was the San Diego-based photographer Michael Schulte who presented a hooded oriole gathering bits of palm fibers for a nest. You can see the rest of this year’s award winners on Audubon’s website.

Great Blue Herons. Photo: Melissa Rowell/Audubon Photography Awards

Bald Eagle and red fox. Photo: Kevin Ebi/Audubon Photography Awards

Horned Puffin (captive). Photo: Sebastian Velasquez/Audubon Photography Awards

Hooded Oriole on a California fan palm. Photo: Michael Schulte/Audubon Photography Awards

Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo: Elizabeth Boehm/Audubon Photography Awards

 

 



Photography

Nature Thrives in Tehran’s Abandoned Courtyards, Staircases, and Bedrooms in a Photo Series by Gohar Dashti

July 12, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Iranian photographer Gohar Dashti was born in Ahwaz during the early years of the Islamic Revolution and grew up during the Iran-Iraq war. Her personal memories of this time influenced her 2017 series Home, which looks at what happens after human displacement. In the photographs, large abandoned spaces are filled with plentiful plants, fleshing out the spaces with lush growth that highlights the absence of human life. “[The] people in Home moved out, and the images show what happens when one’s home is left behind,” she explains in her artist statement. “The photographs reveal the power of nature to consume and conquer a home.”

The sites Dashti choose to photograph around Tehran are not historical, but rather everyday spaces that residents were forced to leave due to social issues. During an interview with LensCulture she recalls visiting her hometown and finding a building that had belonged to her neighbors. “They had left during the war, and the house had fallen into disrepair. But, on their veranda, a fern remained,” she explained. “It had flourished in their absence, and its neck now curved against its own weight. It had the power to stay there. Left alone, it would eventually consume and conquer the home.”

Some scenes are staged to emphasize the power of nature’s unwavering return, while others are stumbled upon and shot as is. No matter what the location the images emphasize Dashti’s personal connections to the country and nature itself. “People are transient while nature is a constant,” she concludes in her artist statement, “it will be here long after we are all gone.” You can see more photographic series from the artist on her website and Instagram. (via LensCulture)

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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)