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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote









Snowflakes, the coolest shapes on the planet are even more beautiful close up
Laura Powell
17th December 2009

As these photographs show, each snowflake is a miniature masterpiece of nature: six-sided, perfectly symmetrical - and unique. It is created in an instant out of water vapour, and vanishes just as suddenly, its pattern never to be repeated.

These amazing images were taken, using a special microscope, by physics Professor Kenneth Libbrecht, who has spent the past 11 years on a personal quest to record the beautiful world of snowflakes. Prof Libbrecht, of the California Institute of Technology, says that the most 'basic' snowflake pattern is the hexagonal prism - a six-sided block with little detail. The flakes, which look like six ferns joined in the centre, are called, more poetically, Fernlike Stellar Dendrites.

They are the largest snow crystals (about 5mm) and make the best powdery snow. The simpler Stellar Dendrites (up to 4mm) look like branches and Christmas-tree decorations are often based on this shape.

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blizzard
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SpursFan1902
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazingly beautiful....
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SquareEyes



Joined: 10 May 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pirtybirdy wrote:
It looked very similar to Etna. My ex lived in Catania and we'd pass it all the time and can also see it on a clear day from his condo window. That thing was smoking every single day, and on active days there would be ash on the balcony that would have to be swept constantly and it would get inside as well. What a mess.


Maybe he didn't tell you he was smoking 20 fags while you slept and just blamed the volcano
Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Probe launched over claims winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year faked wolf image
By Claire Bates
21st December 2009

The Natural History Museum is today investigating allegations that the winner of their acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition faked his image. The stunning first prize picture shows an Iberian wolf leaping over a fence, its eyes intent on a tasty meal in the next field.

Spanish photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez gave the impression he had discovered a farmer who was willing to allow a wild wolf on his land and then left meat by the fence to tempt one of the elusive creatures onto his property. However, the competition organisers have received alleged evidence that the wolf could be tame and is held in captivity. The rules give clear preference to pictures of wild animals over captive ones. Mr Rodriguez faces being stripped of his title if the allegations are proved to be true.

A museum spokesman said today: 'The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition office has been made aware of an allegation concerning the veracity of the photo storybook wolf, specifically that an animal model was used. Using a trained animal model would break the competition rules and we take any such allegation very seriously. Consequently, we have been looking into the details of this claim and we are reconvening our judging panel as soon as possible to consider the information that we have obtained. The judges will then consider the information we have and report to the owners of the competition. The competition will decide on appropriate action based on the decisions reached by the panel of judges and we will make that public in the New Year.'

The allegations first emerged on the website of the Finnish wildlife magazine Suomen Luonto. They spoke to competition judge Rosamund Kidman Cox who confirmed there was an investigation. The competition rules about animals in captivity are clear. Under the heading 'Subjects and Ethics' they state: 'Images of captive animals must be declared. The judges will take preference to images taken in free and wild conditions. Pictures of animals being restrained in any way, or animal models or any other animals being exploited for profit may not be entered.'

The annual competition is the largest and most respected of its kind. It is organised by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine and this year attracted 43,135 entries from 94 countries.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote





Photos show beluga whales meeting divers at Arctic rehabilitation farm
By Lizzie Smith
18th January 2010

It's like no fish this beluga whale has ever seen before. Deep in the Arctic ocean, daylight obscured by layers of ice and snow, the majestic animal has just come face to face with a scuba diver. In the midst of the freezing waters of northern Russia's White Sea, the belugas seem fascinated by the humans - and vice-versa. The encounter is taking place at a special whale sanctuary designed and built by marine biologists from St Petersburg University.

The 'natural farm' acts as a nursery for breeding whales, as well as acting as a rehabilitation centre for former performing animals before they are set into the wild. The natural bay under the ice means that the whales are protected from the strong currents of the wider ocean and left to breed in peace, while also leaving them free to roam as they wish. These wild whales are not endangered, but are considered to be threatened by pollution and loss of habitat.

Occasionally, guests at the local Arctic Circle Dive Centre can swim with the friendly giants, and get close enough to touch. Arctic diver and photographer, Franco Banfi, 58, who captured these shots said: 'When a whale comes up to us and swims by, it looks you right in the eyes. Obviously we don't know what they think, but they are very curious creatures. Sometimes, I'm sure they're trying to figure out what we are and where we came from. As photographer, I've always been driven to bring photographs of animals one hardly ever sees to a printed page.'

But while the beluga, or white whale, is built for these harsh surroundings, the diving team face extremely tough conditions to get close to the gentle creatures. Before each dive the team have to create holes in the three-foot-deep ice using a hand saw, just to get through to the sea below. Once they're in they have to swim around in heavy layers of clothes to keep alive in the -10C waters. And it's definitely a case of choosing the short straw for one volunteer who gets to stay above ground in -30C winds, making sure the ice hole doesn't freeze over and trap the group.

'Photographing a story in very cold water can turn into a logistical nightmare,' admits Franco. 'But, if we are well trained, the underwater part of things is not really as harsh as you might think. When we come out on land, temperatures can get down to -10C or -20C and things will instantly freeze, so we can barely move. Cold itself will not hurt the equipment, but it may slow down some of its functions as well as our own. Because of the ice-layer and snow cover, there is not sufficient light to shoot with ambient light and batteries lose their charge more quickly in cold weather.'

Franco added that he was keen to show the beauty of the undersea world to those who can't face the icy deep themselves. 'As a photographer, I've always been driven to bring photographs of animals one hardly ever sees to a printed page,' he said. 'I want to see these amazing animals in a way that only a few people have seen and I want to share it with others.'
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SpursFan1902
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have such sweet faces and are such beautiful animals. There are some at Sea World in Orlando and are always one of the first things I go to see.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wildlife Photographer of the Year stripped of award for using 'model' wolf
By David Derbyshire
21st January 2010

It was a stunning wildlife shot described as a 'fairytale' image. Little did the judges know just how accurate their assessment was. Yesterday, this shot of a wolf leaping over a gate was stripped of first place in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition after judges ruled the picture was probably faked.

The winning entry, by Jose Luis Rodriguez, beat thousands to scoop the prize in October last year. But rather than depicting a wild animal, critics say the subject is a captive wolf, in breach of the competition's rules. They pointed out that the wolf was remarkably similar to a tame animal from a zoo near Madrid, while the countryside resembles the Canada Real Centre Zoological Park near the Spanish capital. The photographer, who will miss out on the 10,000 winner's cheque, has denied he used a tame wolf.

Owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the long-running contest is billed as an international showcase for the best nature photography. Louise Emerson, from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition office, said today: 'It saddens us to confirm that after a careful and thorough investigation into the image, the storybook wolf, the co-owners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine have disqualified the winning entry of the photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez. The judging panel was reconvened and concluded that it was likely that the wolf featured in the image was an animal model that can be hired for photographic purposes and, as a result, that the image had been entered in breach of Rule 10 of the Competition. The judging panel looked at a range of evidence and took specialist advice from panel judges who have extensive experience of photographing wildlife including wolves. They also considered the responses to specific questions put to the photographer Jose Luis Rodriguez.'

The 10,000 prize money was never awarded to Mr Rodriguez, but he did receive a 500 category winner's cheque, which organisers said they had agreed he could retain in lieu of royalty payments. They said first place would not be re-awarded as judging is always done 'blind' so that an objective choice can be made about the winner.

Ms Emerson continued: 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the world's most prestigious photography competition of its kind. Any transgression of the competition rules is taken very seriously and if entries are suspected of breaching the rules they are disqualified. Jose Luis Rodriguez's image will be removed from the exhibition and tour. Mr Rodriguez strongly denies that the wolf in the image is a model wolf.'

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Joined: 05 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote








Karate buzzards fight it out in snowy Polish countryside battle
2nd February 2010

These incredible pictures show two birds of prey spectacularly fighting each other in snow like karate movie legends. In one image a large buzzard appears to aim a deadly flying kick at its opponent's chest. Just seconds later it seems to have floored its foe with a total knockout - leaving it spread-eagled on the ground. One bird's effort during the spectacular sequence of events even resembles the infamous 'crane kick' performed by actor Ralph Macchio in hit 80s flick The Karate Kid.

The comical event was captured on camera this month by office worker Marcin Nawrocki, 33. He witnessed the acrobatic display in wintery woodland near his home in Kutno, Poland. Wildlife lover Marcin, a hobby photographer, said: 'I have seen buzzards fight this way many times. They fought very spectacularly and it looked like a deadly scrap. But even after the most ferocious fight the birds just dust themselves off seem to come away uninjured. These two were fighting over some food, which is normally the reason why they confront each other. They are very territorial and were competing to claim the most meat for themselves.'

Eager to drive each other away the birds first squared up to one another with their wings fully outstretched in an impressive show of strength. Then just like screen legend Bruce Lee, the feathered fighters battled for a full minute with precision timing. They rained a series of blows on each other - mixing up their tactics like pro fighters. In Marcin's explosive photographs they can be seen kicking, stamping and charging each other before one emerges victorious.

To get pictures this good Marcin set up a hide built by himself and then had to wait patiently in Poland's plummeting January temperatures. 'The spot where I took this is a forest popular with buzzards. It's very peaceful there with few people, so it's a great place to get amazing wildlife photography.' Common Buzzards can be found all-year round across Europe.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


This picture was taken in January 2010, of Sakurajima volcano near Kagoshima town in south Japan. The volcano ejected lava bombs and created forks of lightning - possibly due to electrically charged ash


This photo from December 2009, shows a glowing lava pond inside the summit crater of the Villarica volcano in Southern Chile. The full moon can be seen behind in the early morning dawn


'Nature's fireworks': Stromboli volcano in Italy, Sicily erupts in May 2009. This volcano erupts more or less constantly


The Soufriere Hills Lava Dome on Monserrat Island in the Caribbean violently erupts in February 2010. The southern cross star constellation can be seen behind


Volcano-chaser braves some of Earth's most dangerous situations to capture amazing photos of violent eruptions
By Claire Bates
12th February 2010

Most people would think themselves unlucky if they passed a volcano as it erupted, but this counts as a good day at the office for one photographer. Martin Rietze is part of a select group of volcano-chasers who seek out the exploding phenomena, and braves huge electric storms and boiling lava to get the perfect shots. The 45-year-old travels around the world's volcano hotspots, from Costa Rica to Italy, in his pursuit of Earth's greatest fiery spectacle.

But Mr Rietze is undaunted by the challenges of his profession likening it to an extreme sport. In fact he says he has had had fewer mishaps chasing eruptions than when mountain climbing. Mr Rietze relishes the dramatic encounters despite the danger. 'I will never ever forget those moments surrounded by poisonous gas, feeling the heat of the flowing and bubbling lava and hearing noises louder than a plane taking off. Sometimes your body can feel the shockwaves and the ground is shaking.' However, he said: 'There is a big difference between a tourist and a long-term experienced observer. One has to know when it is safe to come near and when it is a matter of survival to stay away, sometimes many miles away.'

Mr Rietze used his vast pool of experience to capture a dramatic shot of volcanic lightning at Sakurajima volcano in Japan last month. Scientists are still uncertain as to why lightning occurs during some eruptions. One theory is that it is caused by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust.

A great deal of planning goes into Mr Rietze's expeditions. He tries to catch volcanoes when they are their highest levels of activity, but calculating the ups and downs of the eruptions can take days to complete. 'For long distance destinations I have to invest a fortnight to give myself a good chance of getting some decent shots,' he said. 'In principle a volcano can erupt at any time, day and night. This means you have to wait as long as you can for something spectacular, including whole nights. So if the weather is good I must be patient and wait for it to erupt, whether it is lunchtime or two in the morning.'

The photographer, from Germany, said each volcano requires a different approach. He gives active stratovolcanos a wider berth as they can throw out lava bombs that travel several miles and create pyroclastic flows. 'Here it is possible to have virtual contact with the volcano,' Mr Rietze said. 'If fitted with a proper gas mask, helmet and protective clothing, you can stand a few dozen feet away from boiling lava lakes. It is an experience you will never forget.' But he added: 'When you get this close the camera equipment ages instantly. Sulphuric gasses and acids can destroy the electronics and lens coatings very quickly.'

Mr Rietze has loved watching volcanoes ever since he saw Mount Etna erupt in Sicily as a young boy, and has no plans to give up his risky career. 'I feel like I'm watching Earth's natural fireworks,' he said. It was a childhood dream to watch volcanoes and that fascination will stay with me forever.'

www.mrietze.com

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote















Stunning pictures of sleeping insects covered in water droplets
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote





Tough day at the office: How photographer risks life and limb to catch the perfect wave
18th July 2010

You might think frolicking in the surf sounds like a cool way to spend a day - but professional photographer Clark Little reveals there is a lot more rough and tumble that comes with his job. Standing in the shadow of giant breakers in Hawaii - home to some of the planet's biggest waves - Little waits until the last moment to capture these spectacular images... before the crushing impact hits him and literally sweeps him off his feet.

Despite the dangers of broken bones from being slammed into the seabed, drowning or even being attacked by sharks, Little's passion for the awesome power of surf drives him back into the water every day. Now his personal favourites from a stunning collection four years in the making - and some never-before-seen images - are available in a new calendar.

Included in the mix is 'Good Morning' - the moment Little spotted the rising Sun perfectly cupped by a curling wave. He said: 'Sunrise is my favourite time to shoot since the wind tends to be calm and nobody is around. I will swim out in the dark 15 minutes before the first hint of light and start taking pictures. Seeing colours fill in what used to be pitch black is an incredible feeling I never get tired of. It keeps me going to the beach in the pitch black day after day, year after year. I love it.'

Another image, Typhoon, shows the underside of a wave shot from the sea floor straight at the sky. Clark, 41, said: 'Due to the circular motion of the tube and the movement of the water and air, some tubes form tornado-like cylinders filled with air that circle around the tube. Very strange behaviour. Even surfers who have surfed their whole lives have not seen these or do not realise they exist.'

Another breathtaking image, of Hawaii's golden sand being sucked up into an otherwise clear breaking wave, is deceptively benign. Little revealed that the beauty of this image in particular hides a dangerous secret. He said: 'This means the wave is a large wave breaking in very shallow water of two feet or less. If I do not time it right and escape out the back of the wave, the full force will come down on me and push me into the sand. Imagine someone throwing a bed mattress out the window of a two story building and it lands on you. I have seen people break their arms, legs and even necks from the force of these shorebreak waves. People do get paralysed for life if they are not skilled and careful in these waves.'

And waves aren't the only potential danger. Little said: 'One concern is sharks are known to feed in the early morning or late afternoon, which is when the sun pictures work best. I have seen very few sharks while photographing, but you do feel their presence sometimes and it keeps me aware that I am a visitor in their home.'

Having lived on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, for 35 years, Clark has never been far from what captivates him most. And his camera - typically a Nikon D300 - lets him freeze for everyone the jaw-dropping sights he has enjoyed all his life. He said: 'Since I was a child the ocean and the waves have always fascinated me. Like snowflakes, no two are the same. I surfed for 30 years so my mind would capture these split-second images, but then I would forget them. Finally, when I discovered the waterproof camera and started taking pictures in 2007, I felt I could stop the waves and see details and the beauty.'

Clark's new calendar is available now in the UK through his website www.ClarkLittlePhotography.com
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major.tom
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's Treebeard!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote











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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote





X-Rayed Flowers
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote






If you glow down to the woods today... the moment fireflies turn woods into an enchanted forest
2nd September 2010

These aren't deleted scenes from James Cameron's sci-fi epic Avatar - these spectacular images show mesmerising phosphorescent patterns swirling through a forest that are all produced by earthbound insects.

Amateur photographer and full time physicist Kristian Cvecek spends nights in woodlands waiting for fireflies to come out so he can capture them on camera. German Kristian, 31, from Erlangan, near Nuremburg, photographs the creatures near his home. He uses slow shutter speeds to capture on camera their movements between the trees and ferns.

He said: 'The fireflies are also called in some regions "'St. John bugs" because they start to fly at around the St. John's Night which is between the 23rd and 24th of June.'

Fireflies are winged beetles and give off a green luminous glow from chemicals in their lower abdomen in a process called bioluminescence. As babies - the larval stage of the insects' lives - they use their glow to warn off predators but as adults they use the same phenomenon to attract mates.

In Germany, many people celebrate the summer solstice with a bonfire and name it after St John. 'Depending on the weather they can start to fly earlier in the month and fly for around 3-4 weeks' added Kristian. 'As I don't have the opportunity to go into the woods every night, I always have a limited amount of nights to shoot them, so getting the pictures I wanted took a lot of perseverance.. They come out between nine and 10 o'clock at night, so it is already quite dark and they show up nicely against the dark background.'
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