Oh, hello there!
Did someone say it's time for more Wildlife Photographer of the Year? I think so! Did you hear them, too?
Let's enjoy some nice pictures.
As always, I post adults first. New for this thread: source, if you want to go look at technical details, photographer details, or so on.
Dana was intent on showing his clients the magnificent dunes of Namib‑Naukluft National Park, Namibia, which are among the highest in the world. But he nearly gave up that day as it was so windy and the air in the dry riverbed was so full of powdery sand. In this spot, however, there was relative calm. The skeleton of an acacia tree, dwarfed by the massive dune, gave a sense of scale. What fascinated Dana most was the moving patterns of sand. ‘The shifting winds made the sand dance across the shaded side of the dune like the flames of a fire,’ he recalls."
Walking along the coast of Dublin, Ireland, in February, Gavin came across a dead fox. ‘It seemed to have died naturally,’ he says, a rare sight in this built-up area where it is more usual to see roadkill. ‘I took some shots and admired its beauty, before returning home.’ Later that night it snowed. Hoping for a different kind of image, Gavin retraced his steps the next day. ‘The fox was newly shaped with a shroud of snow,’ he says. ‘I found it gorgeous – so peaceful – but also reflecting the coldness of death and the vulnerability of the wild.’ Gavin framed his shot with a 50mm lens, beloved of portrait photographers and ideal for low light. He converted the picture to black and white to concentrate on the bare essentials and mood of the scene.
Okay I'm not gonna post the descriptions for them all, but for the more esoteric ones I think they add something.
Juan had marvelled at the pattern caused by a crack in a huge agave leaf. The succulent was growing near his parents’ house in Sierra Blanca, southern Spain. As the weighty leaf had grown it had curved over and started to split. Now it was about to be destroyed in a controlled burn, lit to prevent flash fires in summer. Juan was struck by the contrast between the cool blue of the leaf and the warm light from the fire ‘seeping through the wound’. He had to work quickly – its colour was darkening and its smooth texture deteriorating fast in the heat. He used a cool white balance to enhance the leaf’s blue tone, and opted for a flash from the side to emphasise the cracks and give more contrast in the early evening light. But he managed just a few shots before the effect he wanted – ‘like a sheet of ice with fire below’ – was spoiled by the blaze.
Okay this one needs explanation too
Bernardo’s image began life as a geological event half a billion years ago, when extreme heat deep within the continental crust gave rise to this crystal formation. Like a stained-glass window, the black graphite cuts across the colourful panels of quartz and feldspar. Bernardo uses photomicrographs (images taken through optical microscopes) to study rocks and minerals, and to make images with artistic intent. While examining this granulite rock from a working quarry in Kerala, India, he realised its aesthetic potential. ‘I needed a carefully polished section, so thin that it was transparent,’ explains Bernardo. When he transmitted polarised light through the slice, the interaction of the rays caused the minerals to display their natural interference colours. He inserted a colourless piece of quartz (a red tint plate) into the optical path, which shifted the light waves to transform the shades of grey into blues and purples. His main challenge was the grain size of the rock. As it was almost too coarse for his equipment, he had to use a lower magnification lens of 2.5x. ‘My aim is to reveal the beauty of a world that is normally accessible only to geologists and through images to tell the fascinating story of our planet,’ he explains.
Arguably this one is better without, but I've read it now, and thus you must too.
The tracheal tree
David describes the dissected trachea of a silkmoth caterpillar as ‘a Medusa from another world’. The trachea acts as an insect’s lungs. The branched network of tubes delivers oxygen directly to every part of the body. The tiny passageways are prevented from collapsing by hoops of chitin, a substance that gives them a ridged appearance (an insect’s exoskeleton is also made up of chitin). ‘I find the fine structure of nature fascinating,’ says David. He captured this image from an old Edwardian microscope slide, using the very high magnification of a light microscope. ‘Once I had selected the frame of view, the main challenge was to adjust the lighting to create the atmosphere that I wanted.’ Working with a very shallow depth of field and little light, he revealed the exquisite detail of a caterpillar’s life-support system, which would normally be invisible to our eyes.
And that's it for this evening. I'm off to the pub.