rivers

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Photography

Through a Blur of Migratory Birds, Photographer Sankar Sridhar Captures the Rituals of the Yamuna River

July 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Sankar Sridhar, shared with permission

When Dehli-based photographer Sankar Sridhar visits the Yamuna River in winter, he observes hundreds of gulls, terns, and other birds as they flock to the Ganges tributary that flows through the Indian city. Despite the river’s inability to maintain a thriving ecosystem in that stretch, the avians are spurred by site fidelity as they migrate each year, a ritualistic act Sridhar recently captured in a series titled Long Live the River.

Because the tributary attracts such an influx of avians, it’s also a site of religiosity and legend. People travel to the water to feed the birds, an act thought to bring good karma, and disperse offerings for their loved ones who’ve died. “My approach to documenting life along a small stretch of this river was driven by the deep connection of rivers and life and divinity in Hindu texts, mythology, and legend. The fact that the Yamuna is considered the only river with the power to grant immortality to humans seemed an irony that could not be overlooked,” the photographer says.

Fifteen drains of untreated wastewater from household, municipal, and industrial sources flow into the tributary, saturating it with chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and garbage that eliminate aquatic life. However, Sridhar notes that in 2017, officials recorded 24 bird species residing in the river’s wetlands. “This finding came as a surprise, given the greatly degraded water quality of the Yamuna,” he says.

Using a low shutter speed, Sridhar captures the annual rituals through clouds of Dehli’s thick smog, blurring the flying creatures as they swoop over the water. The obscured visitors mar clear shots of boats and the horizons as they appear to linger above the water in shadowy flocks. “I aimed to impart a surreal touch to the images by using the boats as the fabled transport into the afterlife while flight-paths of the birds as metaphors —as much for the souls of the dead as the mad chaos in our world that blinds us to the damage we do to the environment,” he says. “Throughout, though, the river remains a giver of life, despite having the life sucked out of her.”

An avid outdoor photographer, Sridhar shares his projects focused on Himalayan landscapes and local communities on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Aerial Photographs of Vast Ocean Landscapes by Tobias Hägg Observe Earth’s Propensity for Change

February 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Tobias Hägg, shared with permission

Photographing the jewel-toned waters jutting up against beaches and the salt-speckled lagoons, Tobias Hägg frames some of Earth’s most striking landscapes. Based in Stockholm, he captures nature’s movement and the inevitability of change within environments, offering a broader look by shooting from above. Hägg often features ocean waters as they ripple, slosh, and crash into the land, although he also documents trees as they transform at the beginning of autumn, showing a thick forest full of orange hues. “I find pleasure in the most simple scenes. In a way, I think it defines me,” the photographer wrote on Instagram. To see more of Hägg’s stunning aerial shots or to add one to your collection, head to his site.

 

 



Science

A Gigantic Circular Ice Patch Formed in a River in Westbrook, Maine

January 16, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via City of Westbrook

Earlier this week a peculiar phenomenon was discovered in a section of the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine. In the chilly winter waters a gigantic disk of ice had formed with a diameter just short of the river’s width. The floating patch was recently captured by the city in an aerial video. In the footage a nearby parking garage seems dwarfed by the mammoth proportions of the circular ice patch. According to Westbrook’s marketing and communications manager Tine Radel, the icy island has been spinning in a counterclockwise direction, and does not appear to be moving up or downstream. You can view an aerial tour of the floating ice patch (set to a pretty dramatic soundtrack) in the video produced by the City of Westbrook below. (via Earther)

   

 

 



Photography

Abstract Aerial Photographs Reveal the Beauty of Meandering Waterways

December 4, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

The project Water.Shapes.Earth uses aerial photography and storytelling to bring an understanding to the complex and diverse ways water inhabits our planet, from a radioactive water pond in Huelva, Spain to mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. The images provide an abstract look at Earth’s surface, presenting purple-hued veins of a divergent river or an icy body of emerald water laced with severe cracks and splinters in its surface. Stories accompany the many images, which bring attention to how each might be a sign of climate change, and to highlight our own destructive mark on our environment. You can read about a salty marsh in Spain or glacial river tributaries in Iceland on Water.Shapes.Earth’s website. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art Design

Wood Tables and Wall Art Embedded with Glass Rivers and Lakes by Greg Klassen

May 11, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Inspired by his daily experience of life in the Pacific Northwest, artist and designer Greg Klassen (previously) fabricates one-of-a-kind tables featuring blue glass rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. The topographical studies mimic bodies of water seen from an aerial view, but the twisting blue pathways are often defined by the wood pieces he selects. While the majority of Klassen’s work serves as functional art, he’s also begun to create more isolated wood and glass sculptures mounted on walls.

Several of Klassen’s most recent tables are available through his online shop, and you can explore more pieces from the last few years on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Photography Science

A Giant Naturally Occurring Ice Circle Appears Briefly in a Washington River

January 10, 2017

Christopher Jobson

All photographs © Kaylyn Messer.

This weekend, word spread via Facebook that a large circle of ice was spinning in small river just outside of Seattle. After seeing a quick video of it in her feed, photographer Kaylyn Messer jumped in her car and was fortunate to witness the incredible sight of this gargantuan ice disc as it spun in the current of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.

“The ice circle was pretty captivating,” Messer shared with Colossal. “You can hear the sound of the river flowing continuously. Sounds from the ice periodically interjected with very small sharp cracks and groans. Overall, it was a quiet experience to stand along the river watching the ice circle rotate.”

Ice circles are a fairly rare phenomenon that occur mostly in North America and Scandinavia in slow moving rivers during the winter. The discs are formed when a large piece of ice breaks off in the river creating an effect called ‘rotational shear’ where the current slowly grinds away at the free-floating chunk until its smoothed into a perfect circle.

Messer shares more photos and videos of the ice disc on her blog.