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Photography

Vibrant Macro Photographs of Coral by Felix Salazar

January 17, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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LA-based photographer and composer Felix Salazar recently captured some wonderful macro photos of several inhabitants in his salt water aquariums. The shocking variety of color makes the coral look like digital renderings, but Salazar assures me each is a unique photo selected from hundreds of attempts to get just the right shot as he experimented with focus and light. You can see many more on his website. (via my modern met)

 

 



Photography

Winners & Honorable Mentions of the 2012 National Geographic Photography Competition

January 7, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Grand Prize / Photo and caption by Ashley Vincent/National Geographic Photo Contest. The subject’s name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioural shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favourably on me that day!

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First Place for People / Photo and caption by Micah Albert/National Geographic Photo Contest. At the end of the day women are allowed to pick through the dumpsite.

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First Place for Places / Photo and caption by Nenad Saljic/National Geographic Photo Contest. The Matterhorn 4478m at full moon.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by关嘉城/National Geographic Photo Contest. Dragon boating is a chinese traditional entertainment. As an acquatic sport to memorise qu yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient china, it is usually held in festivals, which can be traced back to two thousands years ago.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by Eric Guth/National Geographic Photo Contest. Glacial ice washes ashore after calving off the Breiamerkurjˆkull glacier on Iceland’s eastern coast. During the waning light of summer this image was created over the course of a 4 minute exposure while the photographer backlit the grounded glacial ice with a headlamp for 2 of those 4 minutes.

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Viewers’ Choice for People / Photo and caption by Kai-Otto Melau/National Geographic Photo Contest. A race that follows in the path of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen brings the contestants to the Hardangervidda Mountainplateu, Norway. 100km across the plateau, the exact same route Amundsen used to prepare for his South Pole expedition in 1911 is still used by explorers today. Amundsen did not manage to cross the plateau and had to turn back because of bad weather. He allegedly said that the attempt to cross Hardangervidda was just as dangerous and hard as the conquering of the South Pole. The group in the picture used the race as preparations for an attempt to cross Greenland.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by Micheal Eastman/National Geographic Photo Contest. With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by ulrich lambert/National Geographic Photo Contest. Stilt fishing is a typical fishing technique only seen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. This long exposure shot shows how unstable their position is.

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Viewers’ Choice / Photo and caption by Sanjeev Bhor/National Geographic Photo Contest. Everyday in mara starts with something new and different and day ends with memorable experiences with spectacular photographs. I was very lucky of sighting and photographing Malaika the name of female Cheetah and her cub. She is well known for its habit to jump on vehicles. She learned that from her mother Kike, and Kike from her mother Amber. Like her mother she is teaching lessons to her cub. Teaching lessons means addition of another moment for tourist. This is one of the tender moment between Malaika and her cub. I was very lucky to capture that moment.

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Honrable Mention / Photo and caption by Fransisca Harlijanto/National Geographic Photo Contest. I was surrounded by thousands of fish that moved in synchrony because of the predation that was happening. It was an incredible experience.


The winners have been announced for the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest which saw over 22,000 entries from 150 countries this year. The winners were selected by a panel of experts comprised of natural history photographer Christian Ziegler and documentary photographers Gerd Ludwig and Debbie Fleming Caffery. Three additional Viewers Choice awards were also given. Above are some of my favorites but you can see additional Honorable Mentions over on National Geographic. In a kind gesture National Geographic made all the winning photographs available as downloadable desktop images, as a fan of large numbers I’m personally going with Predation for a few weeks.

 

 



Photography

Software Architect Turned Photographer Alexander Safonov Captures Breathtaking Underwater Scenes off the Coast of South Africa

December 17, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Alexander Safonov is a software architect from Voronezh, Russia who currently lives and works in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong. Not content to sit in front of a computer full-time he obtained a diving license in 2002 and started to experiment with underwater photography about two years later. He has since made numerous excursions to photograph underwater wildlife off Cocos Island, Fiji, the Galapagos and Raja Ampat. However his favorite destination is the annual sardine run off the coast of South Africa where most of the photos you see were captured over the last few years. You can see much more of his work on Flickr and 500px.

 

 



Photography Science

Frost Flowers Blooming in the Arctic Ocean are Found to be Teeming with Life

December 11, 2012

Christopher Jobson

These beautiful and other-worldly photographs of ice were taken last year by University of Washington graduate student Jeff Bowman and his professor Jody Deming while they worked on a study combining oceanography, microbiology, and planetary sciences in the central Arctic Ocean as part of the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program. Their single focus was the study of frost flowers, a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures nearing -22C or -7.6F, forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef. Via IGERT:

Around their research icebreaker in the central Arctic Ocean new ice grows on long open cracks that network amongst the thick floes of pack ice. Abruptly the surface of this new ice changes texture. The cold, moist air above the open cracks becomes saturated and frost begins to form wherever an imperfection can be found on the ice surface. From these nucleation points the flower-like frost structures grow vertically, quickly rising to centimeters in height. The hollow tendrils of these “frost flowers” begin to wick moisture from the ice surface, incorporating salt, marine bacteria, and other substances as they grow. The fog dissipates and the Arctic sun lights the surface of the frost flowers, initiating a cascade of chemical reactions. These reactions can produce formaldehyde, deplete ozone, and actually alter the chemical composition of the lower atmosphere. […] Bowman and Deming have discovered that bacteria are consistently more abundant in frost flowers than in sea ice. Since microscopic pockets in sea ice are known to support an active community of psychrophiles (cold-loving microorganisms), even in the coldest months of the year, these results are encouraging.

Bowman and Deming are currently building an ultra-clean chamber where they can grow artificial frost flowers and hope that their research leads to a better understanding of how life might be able to survive in extreme conditions elsewhere in the universe. Amazing! Photos by Matthias Wietz. (via the daily what)

 

 



Photography

Winners of the 2012 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

October 22, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Paul Nicklen / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Jasper Doest / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Larry Lynch / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Richard Peters / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Sergey Gorshkov / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Cristóbal Serrano / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Anna Henly / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Kim Wolhuter / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Adam Gibbs / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

The winners of the 48th annual Veolia Environmental Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition were announced on October 17th featuring 100 incredible photos selected from 48,000 entries originating from 98 countries, with top prize claimed by Paul Nicklen for his bubbly capture of emperor penguins. Here are ten of my favorites and you can see all of the winners in person at the Natural History Museum in London through March 2013. A full gallery is also available online. (via flavorwire)

 

 



Art

Mysterious Underwater ‘Crop Circles’ Discovered Off the Coast of Japan

September 19, 2012

Christopher Jobson

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration less than five percent of the world’s oceans have been explored, meaning that 95% of what lies deep underwater on Earth has yet to be seen by human eyes.

One person who has dedicated his life to uncovering the mysteries of the deep is Japanese photographer Yoji Ookata who obtained his scuba license at the age of 21 and has since spent the last 50 years exploring and documenting his discoveries off the coast of Japan. Recently while on a dive near Amami Oshima at the southern tip of the country, Ookata spotted something he had never encountered before: rippling geometric sand patterns nearly six feet in diameter almost 80 feet below sea level. He soon returned with colleagues and a television crew from the nature program NHK to document the origins what he dubbed the “mystery circle.”

Here is what they found.

Using underwater cameras the team discovered the artist is a small puffer fish only a few inches in length that swims tirelessly through the day and night to create these vast organic sculptures using the gesture of a single fin. Through careful observation the team found the circles serve a variety of crucial ecological functions, the most important of which is to attract mates. Apparently the female fish are attracted to the hills and valleys within the sand and traverse them carefully to discover the male fish where the pair eventually lay eggs at the circle’s center, the grooves later acting as a natural buffer to ocean currents that protect the delicate offspring. Scientists also learned that the more ridges contained within the sculpture resulted in a much greater likelihood of the fish pairing.

To learn more about the circles check out the full scoop over on Spoon and Tamago, and you can see two high resolution desktop photos courtesy of NHK here. If we’re still making discoveries this significant in 2012, it really makes you wonder what else is down there. Just 95% more to go.

 

 



Photography

Underwater Experiments Continued: Wonderful New Photos of Jellyfish by Alexander Semenov

August 26, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Since first covering the photography of Russian biologist Alexander Semenov (previously) back in January his self-directed “Underwater Experiments” series has continued unabated as he releases other-worldy shots of the Earth’s most elusive creatures almost daily. Again and again Semenov captures some of the most jaw-dropping photographs of underwater life I’ve ever seen, most frequently an animal called lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) which is the largest known species of jellyfish in the world. What you see here only scratches the surface of his work over the last couple of months, definitely urge you to get lost in his underwater gallery.