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Photography

Stark Black and White Photographs of Waterfalls by Massimo Margagnoni

December 18, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

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Vettisfossen Waterfall, Norway

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

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Waterfall, Norway

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Gullfoss Waterfall

Photographer Massimo Margagnoni explores aspects of nature and climate change through his stark black and white landscape photography. Of my favorites are his long exposure images of waterfalls in Norway and Iceland, many more of which you can see on Flickr. The award-winning Italian photographer has been published in National Geographic and recently published a book of his work, Fotografia dell’essere.

 

 



Art

Nature Imitates Andy Goldsworthy: Rare Ice Disk Forms in North Dakota River

November 27, 2013

Christopher Jobson

When I first saw this giant rotating ice disk spotted in North Dakota this week, I assumed it had to be some kind of human-created object, perhaps a new piece by famed land artist Andy Goldsworthy. The video above was shot by retired engineer George Loegering while hiking along the Sheyenne River. He estimates the rotating disk was some 55 feet in diameter and must have been forming for some time. The St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke with National Weather Service hydrologist Allen Schlag:

The cold, dense air—the air pressure Saturday in nearby Fargo was a record high for the city for the month of November, according to Gust—turned the river water into ice, but since the water was relatively warm it didn’t happen all at once. Floating bits of ice got caught in the eddy and started to spin in a circle.

“It’s not a continuous sheet of ice,” Schlag said. “If you were to throw a grapefruit-size rock on it, it would go through. It’s not a solid piece of ice—it’s a collection of ice cubes.”

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Photo by Brook Tyler

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Photo by Pål Sigurd

Although extremely rare, ice disks do indeed appear naturally from time to time when conditions are perfect. Above are a few examples of people who have been lucky enough to stumble onto one while holding a camera. Learn more over on St. Paul Pioneer Press. (thnx Ben + all)

 

 



Photography Science

Animal Earth: New Photos Exploring the Diversity of the World's Most Obscure Species

October 29, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Segmentation, a distinguishing feature of the annelids is clearly visible here. Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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Nudibranchs, together with a huge variety of other marine mollusks, are commonly known as sea slugs (Coryphella polaris). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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Many tube-dwelling polychaetes have elaborate, colorful tentacles for filter feeding and gas exchange. The funnel-shaped structure (operculum) seals the tube when the animal retreats inside (unidentified serpulid). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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The compound eyes of a cynipid wasp (unidentified species). Some insects have simple eyes in addition to compound eyes, three of which can be seen on the top of this wasp’s head. Photo by Tomas Rak.

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The spherical test and impressive spines of a sea urchin. Coelopleurus floridanus. The mobile spines offer protection from predators. Since this species lives in relatively deep water, the purpose of the bright pigments in the skin and underlying skeleton is unknown. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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A jellyfish (Bougainvillia superciliris) with a hitchhiking amphipod (Hyperia galba). Photo by Alexander Semenov.

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In the cnidarians, what looks like a single individual is often a colony of polyps with specialized functions. In this floating colony (Porpita sp.) there are polyps for providing buoyancy, feeding (tentacles), digestion and reproduction. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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The colors and patterns of the sea slugs warn predators of their toxicity. This nudibranch is Chromodoris annulata. Photo by Arthur Anker.

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A sea angel, Clione limacine. In this image the grasping tentacles and chitinous hooks are retracted. Photo by Alexander Semenov.

We’ve all grown up learning about familiar animals like fish, tigers, elephants and bears, but this new book from Ross Piper takes the opposite approach: exploring the diversity in size, shape and color of the world’s most obscure and rarely seen organisms. With photography from Alexander Semenov, Arthur Anker, and other animal specialists and researchers, the 320-page Animal Earth promises to open your eyes to a variety of truly bizarre species from deepest oceans and the most adverse climates. The book is set to be published mid-November from Thames & Hudson.

 

 



Photography

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 Winners and Honorable Mentions

October 18, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Essence of elephants. Greg du Toit, South Africa. Grand Title Winner Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 2013.

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Mother. Udayan Rao Pawar, India. Grand Title Winner Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year (11-14 years), 2013.

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The flight path. Connor Steganison, Canada.

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Lucky Pounce. Connor Stefanison, Canada.

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The water bear. Paul Souders, USA.

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Dive Buddy. Luis Javier Sandoval, Mexico.

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Snow moment. Jasper Doest, The Netherlands.

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Lionfish Bait. Alex Tattersall, UK.

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Feeding of the five thousand. Yossi Eshbol, Israel.

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The greeting. Richard Packwood, UK. Nature in Black and White: Winner.

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Freeze frame. Etienne Francey, Switzerland.

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Fish-eye view. Theo Bosboom, The Netherlands.

The results of the 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year were announced yesterday and a number of phenomenal images made the shortlist of 100 photographs. The annual competition now in its 49th year is led by two UK institutions, the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, who collectively received 43,000 photos from 96 countries this year. The photos will begin an international tour in the UK starting in November and you can find exhibition times and dates here.

The first two images shown above, Essence of elephants by Greg du Toit of South Africa and Mother by Udayan Rao Pawar of India are the two grand title winners. The rest of the photos are a mix of both winners and runner-up selections, and you can read much more about each photograph over at Wildlife Photographer of the Year. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Design

Unknown Artistic Insect Builds a White Picket Fence to Protect its Nest of Eggs

September 2, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Earlier this summer while on vacation in Peru, graduate student Troy Alexander fell in love with the Amazon rainforest, and on his return asked an advisor at Georgia Tech if he could take a leave of absence and return to Peru as volunteer researcher. Three weeks later, Alexander found himself on a plane heading back South America to begin work for the Tambopata Macaw Project which focuses on parrot biology and conservation. It was a decision that would lead to his potential discovery of a new species of life, or at least one so rare nobody has a clue what it is.

While assisting with the project, Alexander stumbled onto fascinating structures attached to tree trunks, including a blue tarp that appeared to have been built by a spider or insect. The artistic organism had constructed a protective barrier around its egg sac complete with evenly placed vertical supports and perfectly parallel strands of webbing that unmistakably mimics a white picket fence. Though he had no idea what built it, he snapped a few photos, hoping that when he got home an entomologist would help him zero in on the moth or spider responsible and that would be the end of the story.

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Weeks after his return, Alexander hoped for a quick ID by posting a photos to Reddit’s popular “whatsthisbug” subreddit where biologists and experts in both insects and arachnids were all stumped. He says the photos have now been viewed “by the professional entomologists moderating Whatsthisbug, but also entomologists at Cal Tech, Georgia Tech, Rice University, the Smithsonian Institute, and more… [but] still no definite confirmation.” Some suspect that it could be something similar to the
Ribbed-Cocoon Maker Moth which also builds a protective structure, but nothing so distinct as this fence.

Scientists estimate there are still millions of undiscovered plant and animal species on Earth, so it’s no surprise that there are still plenty of undiscovered lifeforms out there, it’s just amazing that something so creative has never been documented before. (via Why Evolution is True)

 

 



Art

Amazing Little Puffer Fish Creates Ocean Floor ‘Crop Circles’ ... Now with Video

August 22, 2013

Christopher Jobson

Right around this time last year, news broke about the discovery of an amazing little puffer fish capable of creating elaborately designed ‘crop circles’ at the bottom of the ocean as part of an elaborate mating ritual. The behavior was first documented by a photographer named Yoji Ookata who later returned with a film crew from the Japanese nature show NHK which later aired an episode about the fish.

Even as articles bounced around the web it was still difficult to imagine how a tiny fish could create such a large design in the sand, even when staring directly at photographic evidence. Finally, video has emerged that shows just how the little guy delicately traverses the sand in a rotating criss-cross pattern to create a sort of subaquatic spirograph. The textured sand sculpture not only attracts mates but also serves as protection when the fish pair and lays eggs. (via The Awesomer)

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