photography

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Craft

Balloon Birds by Terry Cook Mimic Their Real-Life Counterparts

March 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Passing up the typical party tricks of dogs, flowers, and hats, Terry Cook riffs on classic balloon-twisting shapes with his avian creations. After modeling herons, blue tits, mallards, and other European birds, Cook completes the picture by staging and photographing each animal in its natural setting. The artist makes a point of explaining on his website that he carefully removes and deflates all balloons after his photo shoots as to not leave latex debris in the natural world. In addition to his balloon birds, Cook also works with watercolor, acrylic, ink, and even robotics. You can see more of the Aberdeen, Scotland-based artist’s in-progress and finished projects on Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Photography

50,000 Photographs Combine to Form a Detailed Image of the Moon and Stars

February 23, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Photographer Andrew McCarthy has transformed 50,000 individual images of the night sky into one very large and detailed photo of the moon. Every crater and lunar mare on the “light” side looks like it was shot from within the natural satellite’s orbit, when the image was actually created from a telescope and two camera setup 239,000 miles away in Sacramento, California.

McCarthy shares that his interest in the cosmos began as a kid when his father showed him the planets through his telescope, but it was a free telescope from Craigslist a few years ago that reignited his love and got him into astrophotography. His process involves focusing and refocusing on bright stars, taking photos in stacks at different exposure lengths, and switching between an astronomy camera and a Sony a7 II with a 300mm lens. He then loads the stacks into Photoshop and uses special software (and a manual process of duplicating, flipping, subtracting, and editing) to align and adjust the images to create the final product. “I’d love a new vantage, as the view from Sacramento is a bit far,” McCarthy tells Colossal. “If given the chance, I would love to be the first professional astrophotographer to image the Earth from the lunar surface.”

To see the full-sized image click a cropped version below, and to order prints of this or any of Andrew McCarthy’s astrophotography, visit his online store. (via PetaPixel)

Image: Andrew McCarthy (cropped for detail)

 

 



Photography

Winners and Honorable Mentions of the 2018 National Geographic Photography Competition

December 11, 2018

Andrew LaSane

Grand Prize & 1st Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Jassen Todorov / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars sit idle in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert. Models manufactured from 2009 to 2015 were designed to cheat emissions tests mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following the scandal, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars. By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious of and more caring toward our beautiful planet.

A panel of National Geographic photo editors have chosen the winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest from a pool of over 10,000 entries. The grand prize winner, and top pick for the “Places” group is an aerial shot (above) by Jassen Todorov of a Volkswagen and Audi graveyard at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the Mojave Desert. The striking image shows a fraction of the 11 million cars that Volkswagen fitted with devices that could alter performance during emissions tests by the EPA. Todorov’s image uses a plane for scale to visually demonstrate a story of environmental issues. As the winner, Todorov earned $5000 and a feature on National Geographic’s Instagram.

Submitted across three categories (People, Places, and Wildlife), the other winning images and honorable mentions span the globe in terms of content and photographers. To read more about each image, check out their respective captions below, and head over to the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest website.

1st Place (People). Photograph and caption by Mia Collis / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. I was looking to do a series of portraits showing people wearing their Sunday best when I made this photo of David Muyochokera. It was taken on his last Sunday working as a photographer at Weekend Studio, in Kibera—a large shantytown in Nairobi, Kenya. My friend Peter, a local resident, had pointed me to the photo studio just as I was about to leave the area. It was a stunning space, with whimsical backdrops and natural light coming through the doorway. David had worked there for 37 years, but Weekend Studio was about to close permanently. Phone cameras were so common now, he said, and fewer people wanted studio portraits. David planned to retire and return home to the countryside. I was troubled by the studio’s imminent closure, so I eventually took over the rent. A portrait of David now hangs at Weekend Studio in his memory.

2nd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Todd Kennedy / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. On a family holiday driving from Sydney to Uluru, we stopped at a roadside motel in the small rural township of Nyngan, on the edge of Australia’s outback. The area is in the wheat belt, and it was unusually hot for that time of year—over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and very dusty. Our daughter, Genie, is seen here enjoying a refreshing bath in a rubber ducky perched on the sink.

3rd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Avishek Das / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A Hindu devotee kisses his newborn baby during the Charak Puja festival in West Bengal, India. Traditional practice calls for the devotee to be pierced with a hook and sometimes swung from a rope. This painful sacrifice is enacted to save their children from anxiety. While covering the festival, I was able to view the religious practice from the perspective of Hindu devotees. I tried to capture the moment of love and bonding between a father and his child—and show a father’s concern for his little son.

2nd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Nicholas Moir / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A rusting Ford Thunderbird is blanketed by red dust from a supercell thunderstorm in Ralls, Texas. The dry, plowed fields of the Texas Panhandle made easy prey for the storm, which had winds over 90 miles an hour ripping up the topsoil and depositing it farther south. I was forecasting and positioning a team of videographers and photographers on a storm chase in Tornado Alley—this was our last day of a very successful chase, having witnessed 16 tornadoes over 10 days. The target area for a storm initiation was just south of Amarillo, Texas. Once the storm became a supercell, it moved southbound with outflow winds that were easily strong enough to tear up the topsoil and send it into the air.

3rd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Christian Werner / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. While on assignment for Der Spiegel, we made a road trip through Syria to document the current situation in major cities. When I first entered the Khalidiya district in Homs, I was shocked. I hadn’t seen such large-scale destruction before, and I had been to many destroyed cities. The area around the Khalidiya district was extremely quiet. No city sounds, cars—nothing. Only the chirping of swallows and the wind. We walked down the streets of Khalidiya, but the destruction was so large scale that you couldn’t have the big picture from the point of view on the street—you could only manage it with a view from above. To make this image, I asked a Syrian soldier in charge of the area if I could climb onto a ruin. The soldier agreed, allowing me to climb at my own risk. I climbed up the ruins of a former house—which was full of improvised explosive devices—and took the picture. I was very lucky to take the picture when I was on the rooftop. Without any sign of life, it would have been a dead picture. I can recall the memory vividly.

Honorable mention (Places). Photograph and caption by Rucca Y Ito / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Japan’s Blue Pond in Biei-cho, Hokkaido, has become very famous for attracting tourists from around the world. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and trees. This pond, frozen during winter, was artificially made to prevent river contamination from the nearby active volcano, Mount Tokachi. The accumulated pond water contains high levels of minerals, such as those containing aluminum. The alluring view of the blue pond can take one’s breath away. To make this image, I made the exposure longer to capture the way the snow was falling. At the same time, I lit up the strobe for a moment to capture the snowflakes that are reflecting in the foreground. I took as many photos as I could and chose the one I thought had the best balance of the falling snow and the unfocused snowflakes. I wanted to express how time is created in just one moment and, by tying together these moments, history is made.

1st Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Pim Volkers / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene.

2nd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Jonas Beyer / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A few miles from Qaanaaq (Thule), Greenland, I was on a hike in search of musk oxen when I came upon a group of them. This ox was running on a hillside in deep snow, which exploded underneath it—an amazing sight. The photo came together in a few seconds. I was lucky enough to be at the right spot to observe them frolicking, and then I had the incredible experience of watching them closely for about an hour. I love photographing musk oxen against the wintry landscape: They’re extremely tough Arctic survivors. This photo shows their beauty and their power—and the snow they deal with for about eight months of the year.

3rd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Alison Langevad / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. As the late-night hours ticked by and my eyelids grew heavy, two southern white rhinoceroses appeared silently from the shadows to drink from a watering hole in South Africa’s Zimanga Game Reserve. On alert, they stood back to back, observing their surroundings before lowering their heads. I felt privileged to share this moment with these endangered animals. While I was well prepared technically, with my camera set correctly on a tripod, I underestimated the emotional impact the magnificent beasts would have on me. I had photographed them months earlier, and now both rhinos sported a new look: They had been dehorned to deter poachers. I had heard about this development but had not yet seen them. I was full of emotion—and horror—that poaching had such a devastating effect. It must have been a hard decision to dehorn their rhinos, and I am grateful for the reserve’s efforts.

 

 



Photography

Rural Iceland Transformed Into A Rouge-Tinted World by Photographer Al Mefer

October 1, 2018

Anna Marks

Al Mefer transforms rural Iceland into a rouge-tinted world, producing images that make the area’s shrubbery look like candy floss, and moss-covered landscapes appear like red velvet cake. Mefer photographs a mixture of Icelandic topography, from iconic waterfalls to fields full of pink sheep. His photographs reveal the elements of the natural world that are often blurred into the background, such as the clustered patterns moss makes when growing on boulders, or how water froths was it spills over a waterfall.

Mefer’s project Dreamscapes of Iceland started while Mefer was traveling around the country with friends, and began to use a reflex camera to capture the country’s beautiful scenes. While exploring the Golden Circle, in the South of the country, Mefer photographed locations that would imprint an indelible memory upon him: Skógafoss’s waterfalls, cliffs and coastline, and Jökulsárlón’s glacial lake. “Iceland has been photographed a million times,” says Mefer, “I wanted to picture it in a way that it’d feel new yet as oneiric in the images as it is to see it live.”

The red and pink colors in Mefer’s photographs resemble the reddish hues inside the human body; the tones magnify the differences in texture and form between the living and non-living whilst having an emotional impact on the viewer. “Color affects us emotionally and I often focus my attention on it as a tool to rewrite reality,” he explains. Although some of Mefer’s photographs include people, a stillness is still captured in each photograph. “There’s a common trait among my projects to feel that the landscapes are mysterious and unexplored,” Mefer says. “They’re lonely even if populated.”

To view more of Mefer’s work visit his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art Photography

Remote Landscapes and Abandoned Structures Momentarily Transformed by Colorful Plumes of Smoke

June 13, 2018

Anna Marks

Billowing clouds of smoke burst upon rugged mountainous terrains, deserted architecture, and blossoming fields. These vibrant, ethereal sceneries are captured by French photographers Isabelle Chapuis and Alexis Pichot and are part of their Blossom project. The duo’s smokey clouds emerge from beautiful landscapes and desolate buildings alike, transforming both natural and abandoned scenes into enchanted spaces of sorcery and wonder.

Chapuis and Pichot’s collaborative project is a celebration of the beauty of natural forms, of what nature grows into without humankind’s influence. Each cloud is created by adding colored pigments to smoke including pastel pinks, vivid blues, dark greens, and creamy yellows. The duo captures the resulting colorful scene scene with a Nikon D810 camera.

The project is set in various parts of the globe including the US, Morocco, Turkey, and Norway, each of which has unique natural topography. The clouds take different forms depending on the landscape. In one photo a mustard yellow cloud resembles volcanic smoke, yet in another, a cloud looks like an peach-hued spiritual form haunting an old industrial site.

With ‘Blossom’, the artists share with Colossal that they seek to illustrate a visual manifestation of humanity’s creative impulse, and to raise awareness on the interventions of mankind in territory. “If people are absent from these photographs, their imprint is suggested among these wild natural or abandoned landscapes,” states Chapuis.

To view more of Chapuis and Pichot’s work visit their website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Mesmerizing New Collages by Lola Dupré Distort the Human Form into Gravity-Defying Shapes

May 21, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

For Satellite Journal / Photography and styling: Tre and Elmaz / Model: Genevieve Welsh

Collage artist Lola Dupré (previously) continues to create mind-boggling manipulations of photographs in her surreal style. The Scotland-based artist cuts images into thousands of shards and arranges them to create her intricate collages. In rearranging the photo fragments, Dupré adds unusual elongations of faces and limbs, multiplies eyes and mouths, and bends bodies in defiance of gravity and anatomy. Her work is often commissioned for magazine editorials—included here are several examples of recent projects. You can see more of the artist’s surreal creations on her website (where originals are for sale), as well as on tumblr and Behance. She also shares her process on Instagram.

For Satellite Journal / Photography and styling: Tre and Elmaz / Model: Genevieve Welsh

For Satellite Journal / Photography and styling: Tre and Elmaz / Model: Genevieve Welsh

Diptera / Photography: Denef Huvaj

For Le Mile Magazine / Photography: Alexandre Felix / Model: Nala Luuna Diagouraga

For Agapornis Magazine / Photography: César Segarra / Styling: Laura Mata / Model: Salva Lopez

Reinvention of the Soul II – Anticlone Embodied for Glassbook / Creative Director and Model: Sade English / Photographer: Warren King

For Eye Republic Magazine / Photography: Lisa Carletta / Model: Bee

Charlie I

Emmanuel Macron

 

 



Design Food

Natural Materials Organized into Precise Geometric Shapes by Kristen Meyer

April 12, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Prop stylist and designer Kristen Meyer melds quotidian materials into distinctive outlines in her series of geometric flat lays. The designer, who is based in New Haven, Connecticut, gathers crackers, sticks, spaghetti, herbs, and other common raw materials and arranges them in circles and squares. The finesse comes in her use of negative space, creating implied borders lines that help complete the shape without a full density of “ingredients.” You can see more of Meyer’s work on Instagram. She also offers prints of her images on her website.

 

 

A Colossal

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins