I have to admit, this batch of photos is a little heavier on the aww category.
Don’t miss the stories at the end.
check out the difference between this one and the next.
Baby polar bear
Peacock spider. It’s real.
Another peacock spider, for perspective
It is not common for a Koala to bear twins, and regrettably in this instance the Mum was struck and killed by a passing car.
Fortunately, the driver stopped, and took the mother to the local vet, not knowing she was dead, where it was discovered she had these twins in her pouch.
A recent earthquake in Japan was right in the area where giant pandas live. They were rescued and returned to the wild.
People rescuing pandas
Every body gets milk.
Imagine having this be your job.
This post is truly a group affair. Thanks to Kathleen, Tim, Louise, Claire Elizabeth.
Every year during autumn in northern Europe, Asia and N. America, thousands of starlings put on a spectacular show just before dusk in a phenomenon called murmurations.
A huge flock of migratory birds form a magical shape-shifting flight pattern.
Scientists aren’t sure how they do it. Even complex algorithmic models haven’t been able to explain the starlings’ acrobatics, which rely on the tiny bird’s reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock. The birds tend to flock together for protection and can reach speeds of up to 20 mph.
One starling. Image by Terry Sohl.
Be sure to watch at least one of the following videos. I recommend all three. They may well leave you in a peaceful state of awe.
This video is narrated if you want to both learn more and to have a musical accompaniment.
I’d say this is my favorite, set to Pachelbel’s Canon. The swaying dance of the birds seems to magically keep time with the music. Amazing.
Special thanks to amusing planet for many of the images and the first video.
The diversity of design, materials, and locales we humans inhabit is wonder-full. Here’s a good sampling of the humble, sweet, interesting, weird and gorgeous places we live, including some houses in trees that are way beyond tree-houses..
Where I know, I label place and photographer. If anyone recognizes something unlabeled or incorrectly labeled, I invite comments. There are many I would surely visit if only I knew where to go.
Forest House, Efteling, The Netherlands
Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia, USA
Three story tree house, British Columbia, Canada
Alnwick Garden, Northumberland, UK
Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia, USA
Seven centuries old stone house, Iran
Gaiola Bridge house, Italy. Photo by Maximebermond
Gaudi-designed house, Barcelona, Spain
Banyan tree house on Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Giethoorn, Holland — a roadless village
The bathroom/toilet facility at The Green School in Bali Photo by Faqiang Wu
Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Lapland, Finland
Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Deniz Senyesil
Old Mill house in Black Forest, Germany
Phugtal Monastery, or Gompa, in Ladakh, India
Another wish I knew…
Pierre Cardin’s Bubble House on the Cote d’Azur. Photographed by Mai Linh for Habitat Magazine
Some weather is breathtakingly beautiful; some bizarre; some, like ominous clouds, a little spooky and some just weird. I’ve chosen to leave out more disturbing images of the devastation that can also come from extremes of weather.
Cloud over Lake Tahoe, CA by Bryan Hightower
By Sam Javanrouh
Badlands, South Dakota, US by Mike Hollingshead
End of the rainbow.
Sandstorm in Iraq
By Sam LeBarron
By Ryan McGinnis
Nacreous or Mother-of-Pearl clouds over Norway.
Nacreous clouds are located in the stratosphere between 9 and 16 miles high. Their “mother of pearl” colors come from sunlight striking tiny ice crystals inside the clouds. Very low temperatures near -85 degrees C are required to form the crystals, which is why nacreous clouds are seen mainly during winter over places like Alaska, Iceland and Scandinavia.
Dust storm approaching Phoenix, Arizona, US
By Karen Titchener, Cloud Appreciation Society
Northern light over volcano. Photo by Sigurour H. Stefnisson
Ice castle, Silverthorne, Colorado by Kristal Kraft
As you scroll past some of these images, you will wish you could stop your life and get onto that road. Others you will be grateful if you never have to get any closer than your computer. Some you will simply marvel at human engineers. And as always, for some we must thank the artistry of the photographer.
When I know where the image is located, I label it. If you recognize anything unlabeled, please share the location in the comments.
BP Koirala Highway, also known as Banepa Bardibas Highway, Nepal
Newlands valley, Lake District, England by John Finney
Dallas/Fortworth, aka John Wayne airport.
Highway of Death, Bolivia
Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Nfinity Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees, England
Monument Valley, Utah By Ian Soboley
Monitor Marrimac Memorial Bridge and tunnel, S.E. Virginia, USA
A California highway, probably in Los Angeles
North Atlantic Road, Norway
Iranian Province of East Road
Gate Tower Highway through a building, Osaka, Japan
Cliffside steps, Hunan, China
Rwanduz city in Kurdistan
The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The Atlantic Road, Norway
Perfect car for some of these rugged roadways.
An overpass for animals to cross highway safely, Trans-Canada Highway
Oresund, Denmark and Sweden. Who knew there were two bridges that turn into tunnels?
Staircase at Pailon Del Diablo waterfall, Ecuador
Train at Dudhsagar Waterfalls, India
The Bridge of Immortals, HuangShan, China
Atlantic Road, Norway
Note deer crossing
Rope Bridge over Tsingy de Bemaraha (Stone Forest), Madagascar
I know it’s a little late to start vacation plans for this year. So maybe you will have to wait until next year to visit your favorite place on this post.
Or maybe you’ll just have to add one or two of these to your bucket list.
Or maybe you’ll just stare happily in wonder at the natural diversity of our planet and the buildings humans have constructed to help us enjoy them.
Also, in case, like me, you have been to one or more of these places and your vacation photos don’t exactly capture the spectacular images you see here, let’s remember to give thanks to the artistry of the photographers who manage to duplicate with perfect lighting and mood the beauty of what they see. I wish I knew more of their names.
Please leave a comment if you have a favorite place. And if I’ve left out one of your favorite places, send me a link.
Kotor Bay, Montenegro
Voltera, Tuscany, Italy
Ashikaga Flower Park, Japan
Isola di Loreto, Italy
Crescent Lake, an oasis in the Gobi desert, China
Cliff Castle Ruins, Germany
Glen Canyon, Utah, USA
Amedi city, Kurdistan
Tourettes sur Loupe, France
Red Beach, Panjin, China
Lavender field, Eynsford, England
Bamboo lined path, Adashino, Nembutsu-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Resort spa treehouse, Bali, Indonesia
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Kirkjufell, Iceland by Raymó
Lichtenstein Castle, Germany
Fortress of Bourtange, Netherlands
Selat Melaka Mosque, Malaysia
Kaieteur Falls, Canada
Barahi Temple, Pokhara, Nepal
Wurzburg, Bavaria, Germany
Swim-up bar, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Tree tunnel, Meuth, Ireland
Oneonta Gorge, Oregon, USA
The Caves, Negril, Jamaica
Marble cave, Chile
Las Lajas Cathedral, Colombia
Kuching Sarawak, Malaysia
A roadless village, Giethoorn, Holland
Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin, Georgia
Lucknow Uttar Pradesh, India
South Yorkshire, England
Conrad Rangali, Maldives
Netley Abbey Ruins, Southampton, England
Sandstone waves, Coyote Buttes, Arizona
Neelum Valley, Pakistan
National Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal
Novodevichy Convent, Russia
Church of San Giovanni Battista, Mogno, Switzerland
In case you’re complaining about summer heat, here’s a reminder of another reality.
Floating iceberg, Greenland
Frozen Multnomah Falls, Oregon, US
Icebreaker, Saint Laurent in Resolute Bay, Nunavut Territory, Canada
Plitvicka Jezera, Croatia
Glacier Bay, Alaska, US
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, US
Cracks in ice, Abraham Lake, Alberta, Canada by Chip Phillips
Ice Canyon, Greenland
Cleveland Harbor lighthouse, Ohio, US
Glacier Bay, Alaska, US
Pleneau Bay, Antarctica by Sander Klaassen
Cactus, by Jandksmith
Two feet of snow in New York City, US
spiral iceberg, Antarctica
Great Wall of China
Outdoor jacuzzi on the Matterhorn, Switzerland
West Village, New York City, US, by Julie Rose Sews
Zao Onsen ski resort, northern Japan
Looks like a painting on a Christmas card
Thanks to Sam Pryor at Pinterest. I confess, I lost the info of another person who had many wonderful snow and ice images at Pinterest. I think I’ve learned to be more diligent in saving the names of those I’d like to appreciate.
O.K., this is only the second time in two years that I’ve done a post where you really miss the point if you don’t read as well as look at the pictures. In fact, the first READ THIS post is about the parasite that got me started collecting wonders.
1) Slime molds are single-celled amoebas that can gather by the thousands to form multicelled bodies that can crawl or develop into gigantic pulsating networks.
2) Despite having no brain, the organism is able to “organise” its cells to create the most direct route through a maze in order to reach a source of food.
3) According to Atsushi Tero, from Kyushu University, southern Japan “Computers are not so good at analyzing the best routes that connect many base points because the volume of calculations becomes too large for them, but slime molds, without calculating all the possible options, can gradually find the best routes.”
4) When the individual amoeba cells become hungry, they rush together more like one organism for a common cause, for which some will sacrifice themselves. Inside the organism about 1 percent of the amoebas turn into police. They crawl through the slug-like blob looking for infectious bacteria. When they find one, they devour it and then drop away from the slug, taking the bacteria with it. They then die of the infection while the slug remains healthy.
5) Next some more of the cells (20%) die as they transform their bodies into a stiff stalk of cellulose, so that others can crawl to the top and form a sticky ball of spores that stick to the foot of an animal and travel to another spot to reproduce.
6) Biologists have found slime molds in Antarctica, in barren deserts, high in the canopies of jungles and even on the leaves of household plants.
So now you can enjoy looking at the variety of this life form as reflected in these images thanks mostly to englishrussia a website that translates Russian sites into English.
By Alain Michaud
Slime mold finds its way to an oat through a maze
Thanks to Funny Times column, News of the Weird for getting me started on slime molds.
Thanks to the internet, researching posts for this website and the patience and skill of some incredible photographers, I have become enamored of birds–or at least images of them. I’ve gone from being someone interested in only a few striking breeds that live near me, like the blue herons and egrets, to someone totally charmed by the incredibIe diversity, the colors, the beauty and the sometimes awesome or funny behavior of our flying friends. I hope this leaves you feeling the same . Don’t miss the videos at the end.
If I know what kind of bird it is, I label it. Same with the photographer. I welcome added info as well as comments, as always.
Please see comments below by Eduardo Bernardi to explain this next image. The “Coloruja” does look like a photoshopped version of the Red-breasted toucan. Sorry, but I think he looks better without the huge beak–at least more amusing.
Red-breasted Toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus)
Green-backed twin spot
By Katya Horner
By Katya Horner
Egret by Greg Magee
Flameback by Ric Seet
Spider bird, or Piping Plover with babes
Kentish Plover, by Armando Caldas
Kori Bustard by Paolo Maffioletti
Southern Red Bishop
Swan with babes
Great Indian Hornbill
Pileated Woodpecker and her babes
Doves, maybe inca doves
Female Saddled Bill Stork
Vulturine Guinea Fowl, aka the model for Dracula
Here’s what some photographers go through to bring us these pictures.
This Tragopan Satyra really knows how to strut his stuff to entice a mate. Stay past the first few seconds and you’ll be rewarded.
Transformer owl, what a hoot. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth dealing with the music and other distractions.
This extraordinary video capturing the mating ritual of the Japanese Red Crowned Dancing Cranes is thanks to Anna Osetroff Productions. The full video is available here.
Here are a bunch of creative people playing with setting moons and some suns. Do not miss the gorgeous last photo of the recent annular solar eclipse by Clint Melander. Enjoy.
I believe this is from an solar eclipse
Clint Melander, describes capturing this extraordinary image of the annular solar eclipse of May 20, 2012:
I wanted to capture this remarkable experience of the Annular Solar Eclipse at Horseshoe Bend in Northern Arizona. This large panoramic composite image is made from about 48 images… shot with two cameras, making a composit of the sun in place over the canyon. What make this a fun image is the hundreds of photographers all capturing this extraordinary event lining the canyon rim with a thousand foot drop to the Colorado River below.
Ring of Fire, Horseshoe Bend, by Clint Melander
Thanks to Terri and Claire Elizabeth for getting me started on this.
I know, I know. This post has lots of videos, they take longer and you don’t have time….but are you sure you want to miss the dog and bird in their struggle over the yogurt? or the turtle that lovingly follows the cat? or the cockatoo feeding the dog spaghetti? And more. You can always click on to the next thing if you get bored. And here are a few amusing mixed species stills to check out first.
Every day – at the same time – she waits for him…
He comes… and they go for a walk.
This dog and parrot might be friends or maybe they are just amusing competitors for the yogurt dregs, keep watching after the first few seconds.
Can a turtle really be that crazy about the cat?
Cockatoo feeds a dog spaghetti
This pig and dog sure are acting like fast friends.
Cat and dolphins play
Thanks to Slothster for the turtle following the cat,
to Buzzfeed for the puppy and parrot fighting over the yogurt,
And to Terri, Kathleen, Gary and Louise for forwarding mixed species pics.
If you want to see more mixed species wonders go here:
These two videos couldn’t be more different, except each features some outstanding dancing and each is fun, fascinating and unique in its own way.
First, if you like the classic movie musicals of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, you’ll surely enjoy this updated tribute to Rita Hayworth. The skill needed by Ellen to edit these clips in time to the music is much appreciated.
This video was edited by Rita Hayworth devotee, Ellen. You can enjoy more videos of Rita at her youtube Rita Hayworth fan channel.
According to a New York Times article, part of the rehabilitation programs at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines is dancing. The organizer of the rehab program put this video on youtube in the hope of inspiring other prisons to follow suit. Instead it went viral. Over 17.5 million people have seen it–so in case, like me, you’re one of the last remaining people on the planet who haven’t seen it, enjoy.
In 2004, Byron Garcia, a security consultant for the prison was brought in to address problems at the prison after a series of riots. In addition to many other changes, including the building of a new facility, Garcia started an enforced exercise regime that in the past year evolved into dance classes.
Thanks for Kathleen for forwarding the Rita Hayworth video
It’s ALL people. There is nothing in these images by artist Cecelia Webber except people.
Here’s a close up photo:
The artist says: “I began creating my compositions after noticing that a photo I had taken of my back looked like a petal. From there, I became fascinated by the practice of trying to create organic imagery with greater and greater accuracy.”
The process involves significant sketching and planning to envision the poses required for the final image. The digital images of flowers and plants shown here often require up to 700 layered variations which are then colored to achieve her desired design.
She seems to have a band aid on her second toe in the above right pic.
She also does birds:
Thanks to Jill for turning me on to this amazing artist, Cecelia Webber.
Fiery eruptions, devastated landscapes sharing their barren beauty, life struggling to persist, grand patterns viewable only from high above–we have to offer heartfelt appreciation to the artists who share their stunning images of the power and wonder of volcanoes.
By Jeffrey Brown
The Kilauea volcano on the “Big Island” of Hawaii, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has been erupting since January 3rd, 1983. Photographer Jeffrey Brown has amassed a spectacular portfolio depicting this valcano in all it’s moods and spectacle.
Kilauea currently produces 250,000-650,000 cubic yards of lava per day, enough to resurface a 20-mile-long, two-lane road daily. With lava flowing at an average rate of 800-1,300 gallons per second, more than 500 acres of new land have been added to the island of Hawaii since the volcano’s current eruption began.on January 3, 1983.
Do you worry about where he was standing when he took some of these?
Awe-inspiring destruction of rain forest
A volcanic bubble burst (see video at end of post.)
By Justin Rexnick
By Bill Adler
By Justin Reznick
Prize-winning german photographer, Bernhard Edmaier, presents aerial glimpses of the patterns left by volcanoes from eons past as well as current eruptions from around the globe.
He studied civil engineering before he switched to geology and aerial photography. Edmaier stresses that his photographic projects are never the outcome of random events, but instead require meticulous planning. “I do a lot of my research on the Internet and I maintain close contact with local scientists wherever I intend to photograph. Taking aerial shots demands perfect light and weather conditions, which can sometimes mean a week-long wait before I get to start work.”
The results speak for themselves. These images are from his book Earth on Fire, available from local bookstores and Amazon.
VOLCANIC REMNANT, MAELIFELLSANDUR, ICELAND
Bright green moss has colonized a hill in the middle of this volcano remnant.
Etna, Sicily, Italy
This island country is made of volcano remnants.
Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Painted Hills, Oregon
Now we look at volcanoes from even further up–SPACE
The Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Taken from the International Space Station
Hawaiian volcanoes, USA from space
Russia’s Pacific coast, from space
Santorini, Greece, world-renowned vacation spot, is built on a volcano remnant.
First I share one breath-taking image. Then some exquisite photography of animals. Then a slew of cuteness, ending with a series of animals hanging out in a place that’s hard to believe. As always, I’m happy to have you vote for favorites in the comments section. Enjoy.
You knew whales were huge, but this image still astonishing.
If you like this pygmy marmoset and want to see whole post about them, here it is
What was this moose thinking?
A giant grape?
Is this guy too cute to be real?
Photo by Curt Fonger
What was this bobcat thinking?
A champion pigeon
What’s that on the dam wall? Look closely!
This is the Diga del Cingino dam in Italy and the animals are European Ibex. They like to eat the moss and lichen growing on the wall.They also are licking the salt off the stone.
This post was a group affair. Many thanks to people who forwarded me images: Claire Elizabeth, Louise, ABC news via Patty/Patricia, Neil. Thanks also to: Joan Stricker on Pinterest,, Sam Pryor on Pinterest, Roz Grage on Pinterest, and Orange Donkey.
Cara Barer says in her website’s artist statement:
A random encounter on Drew Street with the Houston Yellow Pages was the primary inspiration for this project. After that chance meeting, I began the search for more books, and more methods to change their appearance.
I realized I owned many books that were no longer of use to me, or for that matter, anyone else. Would I ever need “Windows 95?” After soaking it in the bathtub for a few hours, it had a new shape and purpose. Half Price Books became a regular haunt, and an abandoned house gave me a set of outdated reference books, complete with mold and neglect.
Each book tells me how to begin according to its size, type of paper, and sometimes contents. I arrive at some of my images by chance. Others, through experimentation. Without these two elements, my work would not flow easily from one idea to the next.
British artist Su Blackwell painstakingly cuts her delicate 3D paper sculptures from vintage books. Her magical and incredibly intricate sculptures literally free the characters and settings from the printed page, while also reflecting on “the precariousness of the world we inhabit and the fragility of our life, dreams, and ambitions,” as the artist says.
Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.
Two quirky artists create temples that are monuments to their unique personal visions. To fully appreciate these images you have to read the stories that go with them.
In northern ITALY:
A massive underground temple lies beneath a suburban house, built entirely in secret by a group of non-architects, working around the clock for 15 years. Dug out of the rock without building or excavation plans, it was all overseen by a middle-aged former insurance broker.
The underground temple spreads over 300,000 cubic feet (8,500 cubic meters) on five different levels, connected to one another by hundreds of meters of corridors. According to the founder, Oberto Airaudi, or “Falco” as he is now known, the complex is only ten percent complete.
In August of 1978, 28 year old Falco began work on his underground temple. While he chose to keep the project a secret from the government, he did bring on others whom he felt understood his vision. Begun as a group of about 24, the following now numbers over a thousand. Built over a decade and a half, volunteers worked in four-hour shifts, slowly excavating the earth and rock. They often hid the sounds of construction by pretending to throw parties.
View into a hallway
The Italian police showed up in 1992, 14 years after secret construction was first begun. Having heard rumors of its existence, they demanded to see the temples. When three policemen and a public prosecutor were taken down into the massive and intricately decorated complex they were stunned. The structure contains a number of spaces, some with ceilings over 25 feet high. One room is a four-sided pyramid covered in mirrors and topped with a glass dome. The ceiling of the “hall of spheres” is covered entirely in gold leaf.
Hall of Spheres
One of the tunnels
Layout of the various rooms
The house it started under.
Now known as “The Damanhur Temples of Humankind.” Falco says the temples are the re-creations of “visions” of elaborate halls, or temples, he experienced as a child.
Some people call the leader and his followers a cult.
The White Temple is the creation of Thai artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat who started building it back in 1998. He has completed only the first of 9 main buildings planned. In an interview, he said “I will dedicate all my life to this work. Also, I have at least 2 generations to continue it after my death. I estimate that it will take about 60-70 years to complete.”
The main building is painted white to symbolize the Buddha’s purity, and is covered in mosaics of mirrors to sparkle in the sun.
Photo by kurt van aert on flickr
There seem to be meanings to every detail in the temple. In order to go to the main hall (heaven), you’ll have to cross the pit of hell.
Even the fish are white.
But not the toilet.
World's fanciest toilet in gold
World's fanciest no-smoking sign
No one is allowed to take pictures inside the temple, so these examples seem to be from the booklet about the temple.
Because the temple is financed by the artist and contributions, Khositphiphat is free to update the traditional Buddhist temple as he sees fit. Much of the inside of the temple is adorned with a mural which includes contemporary scenes from Hollywood movies and current events. Among them are superheros like Superman, Spiderman, Neo from the matrix as well as Avatar characters, Jabba the Hut and Darth Vadar from Star Wars, the attack of the twin towers on 9/11, then spaceships, aliens, luxury goods, a gas pump and many things “western.”
Keanu Reeves as Neo from the Matrix is on the left, creature from Avatar flies in the center.
Keepers at Pocatello Zoo, Idaho, were worried when they noticed Shooter, a four-year-old elk, acting strangely at his water trough. At six feet tall with another four feet of giant antlers, he can be scarey. He’s punctured tires with his antlers and some zoo staff are afraid of him.
Staff noticed him trying to dunk his head in the trough but his antlers kept getting in the way. He was trying to dunk his head in the water, but his antlers kept getting in the way.
“Nobody could figure out why he was trying to get his head in, and then he started dipping his feet in. We were all completely confused, until we saw the marmot in his mouth. I think he had nudged the animal away from the edge of the trough with his antlers and hooves so he could reach it with his mouth without his antlers getting in the way.”
Scooter placed the hapless rodent down and nudged it with his hoof, as if checking it for signs of life, before calmly watching it scamper off into the bushes.
I’m not sure if the wonder is in the photography or the place itself–probably both. In any case, here’s a tour through some spectacular places around our planet that you might want to add to your list of “someday” vacation destinations.
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Awa’awapuhi Trail, Kauai, Hawaii
Benteng, Chittorgarh, India
Baatara Gorage Waterfall, Tannourine, Lebanon
Ben Bulben, County Sligo, Ireland
Aiguill e du midi, Chamonix, France
Devetashkata Cave, Bulgaria
Etretat, Normandy, France
Four Seasons Hotel, Bora Bora
Ice Canyon, Greenland
Gardens of Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Lower Lewis River Falls, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington State
Marble Caves, Chile Chico, Chile
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Neist Point Isle of Skye, Scotland
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Preachers Rock, Preikestolen, Norway
Rice Field Terraces in Yunnan, China
Vernazza, Cinque Terra, Italy
Canal of Leiden, Netherlands frozen over
Shark Island, Sydney, Australia
Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Spirit Island, Magligne Lake, Alberta, Canada
The Gardens at Marqueyssac,Vézac, France
The Pearl Waterfall, Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands
Thanks to TheCoolHunter for these images. Thanks to Jen H. for turning me onto this site.
The goal of British artist Luke Jerram is “to present the dichotomy between the beauty of pathogens like the HIV virus and the havoc they wreak on humanity.” His works depict viruses and bacteria at approximately one million times their actual size. Jerram consulted with virologists from England’s University of Bristol to ensure his forms were scientifically accurate, then he teamed with highly specialized glassblowers to bring his vision to fruition. Only five editions of each microbe are produced for sale—unfortunately, their potentially lethal counterparts aren’t nearly so rare.
Japanese photographer Tsuneaki Hiramatsu uses time-lapse photography to capture these stunning images showing the patterns of light made by fireflies. None of the artist’s photographs were captured with camera flashes or artificial light.
Lightning bugs are able to light up come using bioluminescence, which is created when a pigment and chemical react and is most often seen in sea creatures.
Hiramatsu spent nearly four years between 2008 and 2011 photographing these tiny creatures in Okayama Prefecture, Japan.
Fireflies over a meandering stream as dusk falls
Fireflies can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
According to firefly.org, fireflies emit light mostly to attract mates, although they also communicate for other reasons as well, such as to defend territory and warn predators away. In some firefly species, only one sex lights up. In most, however, both sexes glow; often the male will fly, while females will wait in trees, shrubs and grasses to spot an attractive male. If she finds one, she’ll signal it with a flash of her own.
They can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
From: Daily Mail online via Gary Whitney. Thanks.
Is that for real? How do they do that? There must be a trick.
Those are the questions the videos in this post brought up for me. I hope you share my surprise and amusement at the expanse of the human repertoire represented here.
Because I had to satisfy my own curiosity, I’m sharing brief descriptions with links for anyone interested in seeing or learning more about how and what you are seeing.
Beatboxing is the art of producing drum beats, rhythm and musical sounds using one’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice. It can also involve singing and the simulation of horns, strings and other musical instruments.
HIKAKIN is a Japanese beatboxer. Be sure to give it at least 30 seconds.
Here is a 7 year old boy, Nana Kyei, from Ghana, beatboxing via Wine and Bowties
MOUNTAIN BIKE STREET TRIALS
Mountain bike trials are a discipline of mountain biking in which the rider attempts to pass through an obstacle course without putting their foot to the ground.
This video features Danny MacAskill the best known practioner of street trials which are a freestyle and non-competitive version of mountain-bike trials. Thanks to his breathtaking skill and subsequent interest on youtube, MacAskill has become a professional street trial rider. You’ll soon know why. MacAskill was born and raised in Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Thanks to Patricia Selk
This is the story of Exodus from the Bible.
HALLELUJAH CHORUS, ALASKA STYLE
Fifth graders at Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat School in Quinhagak,Alaska, a Yupik village of 550 people located on the Bering Sea coast in Southwest Alaska, decided to make a class project to present at a Christmas program for the entire village. It’s well past the holiday, but if you haven’t seen it, it’sl fun.
Thanks to Kathleen.
TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY AND MOVING ART
Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing stunning imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials. He has a channel on youtube, Moving Art.
If you don’t have time to see the whole thing, at least stay through the hummingbird twirling as it chases a bug….or the fish leaping up the water fall….or
Thanks to Jane and Merry.
3-D FACADE MAPPING
This extraordinary example of facade mapping was projected in Berlin, Germany as an ad for LG Optimus One cell phones on September 29, 2011. The sounds you hear in the background are people watching from the street.
Facade mapping is a kind of 3-D animation projected against the side of a building, and initially, at least, “mapped” to perfectly match the buildings surface, allowing the animators to play with the building, both as a subject and as a surface for projecting other images.
You can click on the image or name for any of the following photos and travel to the website of the artist.
High speed photography involves both artistry and technological wizardry.
A standard photographic flash lasts around a thousandth of a second (a millisecond). But high speed photography creates a flash of light around a microsecond (a millionth of a second). This allows the photographer to freeze time at a precise moment. Check out the delicate beauty these ingenious artists have created.
High speed photographerJim Kramer uses food coloring, water, and dishwater soap to help thicken the water, and captures the moment a drop of liquid explodes into a multicolored splash in these incredible images.
Using a timer to track the path of falling drops, a flash is set off at the exact split second of impact and captures the shot.
Alan Sailer likes to shoot bullets through inanimate objects, then capture the resulting carnage at the moment of impact.
Using an air rifle, he has set up a system that lets him take a photograph at the exact moment the bullet pierces the object. Knowing that the pellets shot by these rifles can reach speeds of up to 656 feet (200 meters) per second, an elaborate triggering system was needed. When the pellet is shot, it goes through a laser beam which itself triggers a 17,000 volts flash and the photography is taken during a microsecond (or 1 millionth of a second.)
“Sometimes I have a very specific goal, like, “create a splash in the shape of a
martini glass,” and I design a method for doing that. Other times, I might think, “I
wonder what happens if I increase the viscosity of the drop’s liquid?” Then I set out
experimenting. In both cases, serendipity is a rich source of new ideas and effects.
I can spend several days getting things ready to take a shot. I may have to build
equipment or electronics, and work to get the lighting the way I want it. Then the
liquids will get uppity and require taming. This process can burn a few thousand
shots. Then, I have everything cornered right where I want it, and I can get
dozens of shots that are keepers. Those I choose from.”
As if the above aren’t unique enough, Reugels devised a different approach, using the vibration from a speaker to jostle liquids. To create this work he stretches a black balloon over a bass reflex tube which sits over a speaker. He adds a spoonful of water to the middle of the balloon, drops in some coloring, cranks some techno basslines through the speakers.
Finally, here is a sampling from his refractions series. Single droplets of water with images refracted within them – apparently focus and lighting are the tricky parts.
The world on a string
Big World in a Little Drop
Finally, if you want to sit back and enjoy a slideshow with music and high speed images posted by Corrie White, here you go:
I can’t stop thinking about what life would feel like if I used paints, parts of various plants, nuts, feathers, fur, whatever I could find from nature to make spectacular headpieces and body accessories for myself, family and friends, and I did this 2 -3 times a day!
Thanks to German photographer Hans Silvester we can witness the dazzling artistry of the Surma and Mursi people of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia as they perform their ancient tradition of temporary body decoration on themselves and each other a few times each day.
The peregrine falcon can fly at 90 mp, and reach 200 mph (322kmh) while diving to catch prey.
The longest migration
Every year the Arctic tern flies around 50,000 miles (80,500km) from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again, further than any other bird during its migration . It performs almost all its tasks in the air.
The Arctic Tern flies as well as glides through the air. It nests once every one to three years (depending on its mating cycle); once it has finished nesting it takes to the sky for another long migration.
A poisonous bird?
The Pitohui bird of New Guinea is the only known poisonous bird. Its toxic skin and feathers protect it from predators.
The kiwi is the only bird with no wings. He looks like he has fur rather than feathers, doesn’t he?
The Champion, both fast and intrepid
The great snipe can fly non-stop over a distance of around 4200 miles (6760km) at a phenomenal 60mph (97kmh). Swedish scientists put tiny data chips into 3 snipes and found that one bird flew 4225 miles (6800km) from Sweden to central Africa in just 3.5 days. The other two birds flew 3833 miles (6169km) in three days, and 2870 miles (4619km) in two days.
The peregrine falcon is fast. The arctic tern goes far but not particularly fast. Scientists have long known that snipes are incredibly fast birds. The word ‘sniper’ originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India: if a hunter was skilled enough to kill an elusive snipe, he was called a sniper.
While on vacation this summer I happened upon an exhibit of these colorful and witty works by Israeli artist Hanoch Piven. He uses common everyday objects to create amusing portraits of notable people. A closer look at the particulars of the objects only makes it more fun.
If you’re not sure who is represented, hold the cursor over the image.
Mark Jenkins has been busy since my first post of his Scotch Tape Sculptures. Here are some of the new ones, still deserving of chuckles. In some of the images you might have to search to find the sculpture–the baby.
Karst towers, the rocky formations by the Li river in China near Guilin, are truly natural wonders.
by bouti blog
Below is the town of Guilin.
By eric finlanson
Guilin rice harvest.
The following image is so striking, I had to check to make sure it was real. The story that goes with it makes it even more striking. Here’s a description by photographer Michael Anderson at his website. ” I wandered alone on the riverbanks and met a cormorant fisherman who showed me his traditional methods. They fish at night and the lantern attracts fish toward the raft so the cormorant can dive in and catch them. The fishermen tie a loose string around the cormorant’s neck so they can’t swallow it completely, and the men pull out the fish and store them in a basket. This method of fishing has existed for over a thousand years.
The Guilin tower karsts are an example of karst topography, land formations caused by rainwater combining with carbon dioxide in the air to become slightly acidic.
The acidic water works its way into any crack, fault or fissure in limestone rock and chemically erodes the rock. Over time, the openings caused by the acidic rain are widened into passages or caves and initial trickles of water become streams. Sometimes the cave ceiling collapses forming sinkholes or a cenotes.
The following are examples of the breathtaking variety of karst topography from images taken around the planet.
Viet Nam, Halong bay
By steve vidler
By Paul Smit
by Michael Buckley
Karst Forest, Madagascar
By Tequila Minsky
Bryce Canyon Karst, Utah
El Torcal de Antequera, Spain
El Torcal de Antequera, Spain
Shilin, South China
Akiyoshidai Karst pinnacles in Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Mammoth Cave is the longest cave in the world, with over 350 miles explored so far.
Everything in these images by Carl Warner is made from food. The mountains are bread, rocks are cheese, the cloud is cauliflower. Each scene is photographed in layers from foreground to background taking two to three days to build and photograph.
And the ocean is salmon.
Below is Carl at work.
Making this image.
The image below of a Chinese junk is made from Chinese food.
Image of Tuscany is made from food common in Italy.
I’m not much of a fan of high rises, or huge construction projects. But these photos of the gravity-defying “Sky Park” atop the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore had me double-checking to make sure it wasn’t photo-shopped.
The Sky Park stretches longer than the Eiffel tower laid down or four and a half A380 Jumbo Jets, with 40682 square feet (12,400 square meters) of space, the Sands SkyPark can host up to 3900 people.
The Sky Park sits on a highrise hotel, and the resort includes a convention center, “ArtScience museum” two large theaters, ice skating rink, casino and of course many shops and restaurants.
When advertising manages to give visibility to talented people and entertain us, I say great. Plus these are all too long to fit into the 15 second slots that overwhelm, so you won’t see these on tv, only when passed around the internet on sites like this.
Volkswagon sponsored a contest on a website called “The Fun Theory” “dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.” Here’s my favorite entry.
This remarkable image got me started thinking about the California condor, the largest flying bird in North America. This is probably not a condor but it sure is a big vulture, like the condor.
Here are some interesting things about condors and the efforts to save them from extinction.
1) Condors have a wingspan of 9 ½ feet, and can weigh up to 25 pounds as adults.
2) Using thermal updrafts, condors can soar and glide up to 50 miles per hour and travel 100 miles or more per day in search of food.
3) They feed primarily on large dead mammals such as deer, elk, bighorn sheep, range cattle, and horses.
4) They can live up to 60 years in the wild, and become sexually mature at six or seven years of age.
By Meng Tang
5) Condors mate for life and females lay a single egg, about five inches in length and weighing around 10 ounces, every second year. Male and female condors share incubation shifts.
6) California condors are curious, intelligent, and playful. They are very gregarious and often feed, bathe, roost, and play together. According to Sophie Osborn of the Peregrine Fund’s California Condor Restoration Project in Arizona, “tug-of-war and punting empty water bottles around with their bills are two of their favorite “games.”
Am I crazy for thinking this fellow (or gal) looks sorta cute?
7) They are more closely related to storks than birds of prey and are close to ravens in personality.
8) The populations’ low point was in 1982, with only 22 remaining, 21 in the wild and one in captivity. Their numbers were decimated by years of shooting and poisoning. The poisoning came in two forms: condors became indirect targets when they fed on carcasses that had been laced with poisons to kill predators such as coyotes; condors also succumbed to lead poisoning by eating the remains of animals killed by hunters using lead bullets.
9) In 1987 the controversial decision was made to bring all remaining condors into a captive breeding program before it was too late.
10) Because condors only lay one egg every two years, captive breeding techniques were developed in which eggs are removed as they are laid, usually causing the captive condors to lay a second and sometimes third egg. The extra eggs are incubated.
11) These chicks are raised by caretakers using a hand puppet shaped like a parent condor head. The puppet prevents the young condors from imprinting on people.
This is a puppet mom or dad, in case you couldn’t tell.
This video shows a puppet feeding a two-day-old chick.
12) Condor chicks that are not raised by puppets, are raised by their parent birds. As a result of captive breeding, condor populations have increased dramatically from 22 birds in 1987 to more than 270 birds in 2005.
Again, the artistic quality of the image is what drew me to these animal pics. Here’s a quick link if you want to see my original exquisite animal images. And thank to Pixdaus which provided most of these.
III) Larger animal camo, with hints–for this part I number them. Some are easy to see and some not. So if you are having a hard time finding the animal, you can look at the end of the section and I will give a hint.
IV. HELP! This section has a few images I have found in other posts about camouflage, stared at for longer than I can tolerate, and not been able to find the animal. So I invite you to find it and post a comment that describes where to look and what to look for.
V. Videos–Don’t miss the videos at the end. A chameleon and an octopus like you’ve never seen.
Bugs are some of the best at camouflaging as leaves, but did you know frogs, lizards and snakes do a pretty convincing job too?
Note: a decaying-leaf bug.
An unfolding leaf stick bug.
A praying mantis mixture of dead and alive.
By Igor Siwanowicz
Half dead leaf.
A leaf-mimic katydid
A dead leaf butterfly
A cryptic frog.
These leaf-fish in the Amazon are remarkably stealthy.
Some bugs prefer mimicking flowers more than leaves.
By Igor Siwanowicz
This praying mantis is looking for the right flower.
III. Larger animal camo with hints
No. 1No. 2
Can you spot the green chameleon?
How about now?
Names and hints: 1) Cheetah 2) Three toed sloth 3) Grizzly in snow 4) Kangaroo (on left) 5) Owl 6) Python 7) Wolf (on right) 8) Jaguar 9) Something in the deer family 10) Lion cub 11) Lizard 12) Crocodile 13) Elephant 14) Frog 15) Rocky Ptarmigan chick in nest 16) Mimic Octopus 17) Giraffe 18) Snake 19) Owls 20) Ermine weasel 21) Waterfall frog 22) Some kind of reptile 23)American Bittern bird, 24) tawny frogmouth bird.
If you see a wolf in the image below, please explain where.
Please post a comment if you see anything in the following images.
Many thanks to Moominmom3 who explains where to find and explain where to look for two wolves and some kind of reptile under the comments section below.
O.K. Now you just have to check out this chameleon. Sorry if you don’t like the music but wait until the end. It’s the best.
This octopus video is a section of a TED talk by David Gallo. It’s hard to believe it’s real, but it is. The whole talk can be seen here.
Here’s another way to point out the animals hiding in my “help!” images, thanks to Mel in Scotland.
Ok Go is a rock band whose videos are phenomenally creative and a phenomenon on the web. They are famous for making intricate, amusing music videos done in one continuous take.
When OkGo told Roland Sonnenburg at the Talented Animals training company they wanted to make a video with dogs that was “magical and charming” AND they wanted to film it in one continuous take, they were told that sounded impossible.
“Working with animals we use cuts and optimal camera angles for everything. Without cuts, the animals would have to all work at the same time with their trainers far away, and we would need to get each dog and trainer and bandmember and crewmember to nail every single behavior all in the same take,” according to Sonnenburg.
This is how they did it: 12 trainers, two furniture movers, 12 dogs, one goat, 38 buckets, a bunch of furniture, spreadsheets, flow-charts, and recorded audio instruction, four weeks, 124 takes and practice, practice, practice.
They rehearsed the routines with each dog practicing their own moves with their trainer. When things started looking good the band came in and got integrated with the dogs. They started practicing at half speed. The last four days they began filming. Around take 49 things started clicking. Around take 60 a new problem arose: the dogs were getting so good and enjoying it so much they starting doing it faster than the music. Finally they settled on take 72.
Thanks to Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo for this info and more.
The video for this song showcases a Rube Goldberg machine with moving parts that take exactly the length of the 3.5 minute song to unfurl. The machine rolls metal balls down tracks, swings sledgehammers, pours water, unfurls flags and drops a flock of umbrellas from the second story, all perfectly synchronized with the song.
The requirements were that it had to be interesting, not “overbuilt” or too technology-heavy, and easy to follow. The machine also had to be built on a shoestring budget, synchronize with beats and lyrics in the music and end on the same moment as the song, play a part of the song, and be filmed in one shot. To make things more challenging still, the space chosen was divided into two floors and the machine would use both.
“We wanted to make a video where we have essentially a giant machine that we dance with,” said the band’s Damian Kulash, Jr., in a short “making-of” video posted on YouTube. Synn Labs, a Los Angeles-based arts and technology collective was hired to dream up the most outlandish and elaborate mechanism they could to “dance” along with the music.
It took about 55 – 60 people about a month and a half of very intense work.
This includes eight “core builders” who did the balk of the design and building and another 12 part-time builders. Additionally Synn Labs recruited 30 or more people to help reset the machine after each trial run. Because of the machine’s size and complexity, even with all those people helping, it took close to an hour to re-set it.
It took more than 60 takes, over the course of two days, to get it right. Many of those takes lasted about 30 seconds, getting no further than the spot in the video where the car tire rolls down a ramp. “The most fiddly stuff, you always want to put that at the front, because you don’t want to be resetting the whole thing,” says Adam Sadowsky president of Syyn Labs.
Below is the music video, followed by a short video about making it.
Here’s a short video about making the Rube Goldberg machine.
If you want to see an interactive map of the floor plan in the Rube Goldberg machine, go here.
HERE IT GOES AGAIN
This video was choreographed and directed by Trish Sie, the sister of OkGo lead vocalist Damien Kulash. It took a total of seventeen attempts to complete. According to Kulash, “We were really lucky that my sister had this great idea to do this dance on treadmills and we had a week off so we could actually do the whole thing and it didn’t cost too much money.” This video too was made in one continuous take and is the first that went viral.
Check out this confused “mother,” a reed warbler, feeding it’s “baby” cuckoo sitting atop a nest it has long outgrown. Does it notice how different this baby is?
By Per H. Olsen
Cuckoos are famed for laying their eggs in host species’ nests, leaving unwitting “foster” birds to raise their chicks. Known as “brood parasites” they are able to specialize their eggs’ appearance in order to disguise them in the nests of other birds. In a mere ten seconds, the cuckoo hen swoops down and lays an egg very similar to her host’s, and flies off with one of the host’s eggs in her bill.
By John Markham, Bruce Coleman Ltd.
When the young cuckoo hatches, its first act is to dispose of any other eggs: it heaves them out of the nest, leaving itself as the sole occupant.
What happens next is peculiar. The foster parents don’t appear to notice they are rearing a monster. Instead, they work hard to satisfy the demands of the chick, even though it sometimes becomes so large that it no longer fits inside the nest, and has to sit on top. It’s one of the oddest sights in nature.
By Roger Wilmshurst/Photo Researchers, Inc
Confused “Mama” feeding its “baby”.
Now the Honey guide bird and the Honey badger. They have a symbiotic relationship, providing mutual benefit.
These ethereal sculptures are the creation of Milan, Italy-based artist Benedetta Mori Ubaldini. She describes her pieces made of chicken-wire as coming “from a childlike side of my imagination. What I love is creating installations as three-dimensional pictures. The simplicity of this material contains the magical power of transparency that is capable of giving each piece the lightness of an apparition, a ghost-like quality, like a trace from memory.”
Red Riding Hood
Donkey and friend.
Click on any picture to reach the artist’s website.