Ansel Adams made a career of crafting photographs in exquisitely sharp focus and nearly infinite tonality and detail. His ability to consistently visualize a subject — not how it looked in reality but how it felt to him emotionally — led to some of the most famous images of America’s natural treasures including Half Dome in California’s Yosemite Valley, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, and Denali in Alaska, the highest peak in the United States.
No pre-order links yet, but the stamps will be available on May 15. (via @anseladams)
After hiking to a clifftop vantage point, Amit slowly crept closer. Using a wide-angle lens, he set the action of two clashing Nubian ibex against the dramatic backdrop. The battle lasted for about 15 minutes before one male surrendered and the pair parted without serious injury.
Sriram combined 50 individual 19-second exposures to show the firefly flashes produced over 16 minutes in the forests of the Anamalai Tiger Reserve near his hometown. He watched as pinpoint flashes appeared in the treetops increasing in number as they spread down along the branches until something remarkable happened. Synchronising, they pulsated through the canopy like a wave — the pattern punctuated with sequences of abrupt on-off bursts in unison.
This dragonfly unexpectedly landed on the turtle’s nose but instead of the turtle snapping up the insect, it appeared to be experiencing pleasure from the interaction as they shared a moment of peaceful coexistence amid a swamp’s murky waters.
This is a video slideshow of some of the best images from the Mars missions — Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance — presented in 4K resolution at 60fps. These look amazing on the biggest hi-res screen you can find. (via open culture)
To Mr. Lignier, the parallel is obvious. “Digital and social media companies use the same concept to keep the attention of the viewer as long as possible,” he said.
Indeed, social media has been described as “a Skinner Box for the modern human,” doling out periodic, unpredictable rewards — a like, a follow, a promising romantic match — that keep us glued to our phones.
Or maybe being able to keep ourselves busy pressing buttons is its own reward. In a 2014 study, scientists concluded that many human volunteers “preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts.” Maybe we would rather sit around and push whatever levers are in front of us — even those that might make us feel bad - than sit with ourselves in quiet contemplation.
Taken in Piemonte, Italy, the cathedral in the foreground is the Basilica of Superga, the mountain in the middle is Monviso, and, well, you know which moon is in the background. Here, even though the setting Moon was captured in a crescent phase, the exposure was long enough for doubly reflected Earthlight, called the da Vinci glow, to illuminate the entire top of the Moon.
[We] had to call the Royal Air Force each time we launched the drone, and spent months getting permits and approval to do this. Even then we still couldn’t fly it above the stone circle (for fear of damaging the stones).
While we were making these images, something that was always very present was the sound of the traffic on the nearby A303 highway, and I was certain that passing motorists would have been alarmed to see what looked like an alien spacecraft flitting around above the 5,000 year old megalith.
Using a custom hydrogen alpha solar telescope, Jason Kurth took a collection of high-resolution photographs of the recent annular solar eclipse and arranged them into an 8K video of the event. The level of detail here is incredible — you can see solar flares and features on the surface of the Sun pulsing and shifting as the Moon moves across it. You can see a bit of Kurth’s setup on Instagram.
The Nature Conservancy has announced this year’s winners of their annual photo contest. Collectively, the winning photographs “gave voice to nature and showed us the power and peril of the natural world”. As usual, I selected a few of my favorites and included them above. From top to bottom:
Jaime Daniel Fajardo Torres: “This is a species of spider known as ogre spiders, of the genus Deinopis. The photograph was taken at night in the middle of a mature forest in northern Ecuador in the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Chocó, a place considered a hotspot. The spider photographed was generating its egg sac with its own web.”
HJ Yang: An orca attacks two seals in the morning on the beach.
Jeanny Tang: “The holes dug by fish for spawning can be seen after the pond has dried up.”
This is a heck of a time capsule: back in 2011, Chris Floyd photographed 140 people that he followed on Twitter over the course of a year and made a video featuring their portraits and audio of them “talking about Twitter and it’s effect on the way we communicate and form relationships in the modern era”. It’s almost quaint hearing people talk about the site in the time before Gamergate, 4chan, and other factors helped twist it into a very different place.
So proud to be one of the first photographers to reveal a new series of images captured on the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and celebrate its launch. “The Inner Landscape” is a series of six unearthly places that feel more intimate than epic, more ambiguous than explicit, making up a body of work that feels cohesive through its sense of connection and psychological space.
Santiago Borja is an airline pilot who takes stunning photos of storms and clouds from the flight deck of his 767. Definitely offers up a different perspective than the typical storm chaser photography. You can find his work on his website, on Instagram, and in book form.
From over 23,000 entered images, the judges in the Bird Photographer of the Year competition for 2023 have selected their winners and runners-up. I selected a few of my favorite images above; the photographers from top to bottom: Nicolas Reusens, Henley Spiers, and Gianni Maitan.
Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau for capturing a question mark on the Sun. I will never tire of looking at the detail of the Sun’s surface.
Angel An. “This is not, as it might first appear, an enormous extraterrestrial, but the lower tendrils of a sprite (red lightning)! This rarely seen electrical discharge occurs much higher in the atmosphere than normal lightning (and indeed, despite the name, is created by a different mechanism), giving the image an intriguingly misleading sense of scale.”
Mehmet Ergün. More Sun!
Marcel Drechsler, Xavier Strottner and Yann Sainty for their shot of the Andromeda galaxy.
The Andromeda galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy to our own Milky Way, and one of the most photographed deep-sky objects. Yet this particular photo, captured by an international trio of amateur astronomers, revealed a feature that had never been seen before: a huge plasma arc, stretching out across space right next to the Andromeda galaxy.
“Scientists are now investigating the newly discovered giant in a transnational collaboration,” explain the photographers. “It could be the largest such structure nearest to us in the Universe.”
The graceful winding arms of the grand-design spiral galaxy M51 stretch across this image from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Unlike the menagerie of weird and wonderful spiral galaxies with ragged or disrupted spiral arms, grand-design spiral galaxies boast prominent, well-developed spiral arms like the ones showcased in this image. This galactic portrait was captured by Webb’s Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI).
In this image the reprocessed stellar light by dust grains and molecules in the medium of the galaxy illuminate a dramatic filamentary medium. Empty cavities and bright filaments alternate and give the impression of ripples propagating from the spiral arms. The yellow compact regions indicate the newly formed star clusters in the galaxy.
What an amazing, info-dense composite photograph taken by Casey Sims of the semi-finals of the men’s 110-meter hurdles at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest from last month. You can see and analyze the entire race, just from this one image. Eventual finals winner Grant Holloway is in lane 5 and led from start to finish.
In conceiving this tableau vivant, the organizers wanted to keep things modern. Thus, all participants are wearing contemporary clothes with umbrellas substituted in for the 19th-century parasols. Though the team was organized, they weren't quite prepared for what mother nature threw their way the day of the shoot. Preuschl recalls winds of 20 to 25 mph coming off the river, as well as clouds that didn't allow for the shadows they were so desperately looking for. Luckily, there was a window of about 25 minutes when the sun came out and cast those shadows.
He really couldn't have scouted that location any better...it matches the original pretty well. Who knew you could find Belle Époque Paris in southern Wisconsin?
In 1842, a French artist and scholar named Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey set out on a tour of the eastern Mediterranean to document sights and architecture via the brand new medium of photography. He started off in what is now Italy and continued on to Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and the Levant (which includes modern-day Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine). The daguerreotypes he took are the oldest surviving photos of those locations (aside from Italy). It’s incredible to time travel back 180 years to see what these places looked like. (via aeon)
I am a sucker for aerial photography, so I had a lot of fun looking through all the winners and runners-up of the 2023 Drone Photo Awards. As usual, I picked out a few favorites and included them above. From top to bottom, photos by: Sebastian Piórek (a very tidy Polish playground), Brad Weiner (surfer), Gheorghe Popa (amazing abstract shot), and Matias Delacroix (a border crossing between Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
Astrophotographer Cari Letelier caught this amazing shot of the aurora borealis over the Goðafoss waterfall in Iceland. We live in a truly magical world — if science fiction authors made something like this up, you wouldn’t believe it’d ever be real. You can check out more of Letelier’s astrophotography on Instagram or on her website.
Photographs have always been an imperfect reproduction of real life — see the story of Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother or Ansel Adams’ extensive dark room work — but the seemingly boundless alterations offered by current & future AI editing tools will allow almost anyone to turn their photos (or should I say “photos”) into whatever they wish. In this video, Evan Puschak briefly explores what AI-altered photos might do to our memories.
I was surprised he didn’t mention the theory that when a past experience is remembered, that memory is altered in the human brain — that is, “very act of remembering can change our memories”. I think I first heard about this on Radiolab more than 16 years ago. So maybe looking at photos extensively altered by AI could extensively alter those same memories in our brains, actually making us unable to recall anything even remotely close to what “really” happened. Fun!
But also, one could imagine this as a powerful way to treat PTSD, etc. Or to brainwash someone! Or an entire populace… Here’s Hannah Arendt on constantly being lied to:
If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie — a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days — but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.
This is the incredible and interesting and dangerous thing about the combination of our current technology, the internet, and mass media: “a lying government” is no longer necessary — we’re doing it to ourselves and anyone with sufficient motivation will be able to take advantage of people without the capacity to think and judge.
P.S. I lol’d too hard at his deadpan description of “the late Thanos”. RIP, big fella.