Earth, shot on iPhones

June 9, 2017

You've seen the ad campaigns for iPhones appealing to your sense of beauty in photographs. Image form Daily Billboard.

You’ve seen the ad campaigns for iPhones appealing to your sense of beauty in photographs. Image form Daily Billboard.

A twist on the old saw: Put millions of good cameras in the hands of millions of people, and beauty will result.

Not that beauty will ALWAYS result, but that there will be much beauty found, if for no other reason we have a really beautiful planet.

It’s a commercial, sure. I still like it.

With poetry from Carl Sagan. (It’s not poetry? That’s just the way he wrote?)

And if  you want to share it, here’s the YouTube version from Apple:

Spoken text (done by Sagan himself?) comes from Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan’s paean to Earth:

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is no where else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.

Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the only home we’ve ever known.

I wish I’d had this stuff when I was younger; so many beautiful places and people I must recall with only the images in memory!

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New York street scene

April 5, 2017

Still life with traffic cone and fire hydrant. New York City. Photo creative commons copyright Ed Darrell; please use with attribution.

Still life with traffic cone and fire hydrant. New York City. Photo creative commons copyright Ed Darrell; please use with attribution.

Taxi in from La Guardia. Along Prince Street in Manhattan, July afternoon sun combined with a serendipitous arrangement of fire hydrant and traffic cone.

It made me smile, so I clicked a photo.


Signs of life: Sea monster in the neighborhood

March 2, 2017

Jamelle Bouie is just shooting stuff around the neighborhood. Love this one.

Jamelle Bouie found this in the neighborhood. No, I'm not sure which neighborhood, but clearly it's got some great neighbors.

Jamelle Bouie found this in the neighborhood. No, I’m not sure which neighborhood, but clearly it’s got some great neighbors. Details: Camera: Leica M5 with Canon LTM 35mm f/2 lens. Fuji Provia 100f. Copyright by Bouie, hope he doesn’t mind my using it here.

A more interesting neighborhood, perhaps, than most of us have. Or maybe not.

What’s in your neighborhood? Have you recorded it on film (or electrons), just for history’s sake? Why not?


Golly! Gollum jade plant

February 19, 2017

Yeah, like that Gollum.

In the sun, it’s a pleasant meditation on green luminescence.

Gollum jade plant

Gollum jade plant, Crassula ovata ‘Gollum,’ one of our indoor collection.

I know way too little about this thing, where it grows wild, why it evolved such unique leaves. But the sunlight passes over and through it as if they are old friends, and that gives me peace.

A single branch of Gollum jade. Photo by Ed Darrell, please share with attribution.

A single branch of Gollum jade. Photo by Ed Darrell, please share with attribution.

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Frosty Sandias

January 10, 2017

Sandia Peak on a frosty evening, from Mark Boslough

Sandia Peak on a frosty evening, from Mark Boslough

Living with a mountain provides myriad moments that cannot quite be captured on film, but must be filed away in memory to produce a smile at some future moment.

But, sometimes a camera can come close.

That last bit of sunlight at the top of the mountain, on a cold day, giving hope, or assurance, before it is snuffed out for a time by the rotation of the Earth.

The mountain will be there tomorrow. The Sun will return. The moment won’t be the same.


Lunar fogbow? Beautiful, whatever you call it

January 10, 2017

I follow Phil Plait to get smart and stay informed about the stars and the universe.

Sometimes it’s just the sheer beauty one finds that wakes you up.

Phil posted this on Twitter, a lunar fogbow:

From Twitter, Phil Plait: Göran Strand (@astrofotografen) captured a VERY rare sight: a lunar fogbow! http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/12/26/g_ran_strand_photo_of_a_very_rare_lunar_fogbow.html …

From Twitter, Phil Plait: Göran Strand (@astrofotografen) captured a VERY rare sight: a lunar fogbow! http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/12/26/g_ran_strand_photo_of_a_very_rare_lunar_fogbow.html

Plait’s explanations are fun:

Göran Strand is an amazing astrophotographer whose work I’ve highlighted here many times. He has an astonishing skill in making beautiful photographs out of rare and bizarre phenomena.

It’s not just a beautiful photograph. It’s a rather rare phenomenon beautifully captured by Göran Strand, and wonderfully explained by Plait at his blog at Slate:

And here he is once again: That photo above shows that’s quite uncommon sigh: a fogbow! But this being Strand, even that’s not unusual enough. For him, it had to be even more difficult to track down. That’s not just a fogbow, it’s a lunar fogbow!

Fogbows are similar to rainbows, in that they’re caused by water droplets, but in detail they’re very different. In a rainbow, sunlight is bent and reflected inside a raindrop, and sent off at an angle. The drops are big compared to the wavelength of light, so they act a bit like mirrors. Each color of sunlight, though, bends at a slightly different angle, separating them, creating the multihued rainbow.

Plait’s got more good science explanation. Go see.

Strand has photos to sell in various formats. I see in a lot of offices, “inspirational” posters with good photos and occasionally-pithy-but-often-banal sayings and platitudes, hoped by bosses to spur productivity on the cheap. Order up a sizable print from Strand, get the full description of the photo, and mount it in your office instead. You’re likely to discover than genuine natural beauty from awe-inspiring photos spurs creativity and productivity more than the stock photos and stock sayings.

Those photos are starting points for learning, too, teachers. Real photos, worthy of any history, economics, geography, astronomy, chemistry, physics, geological science or environmental science class.

Try ’em and see.

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Snow geese coming at you

January 3, 2017

Wildlife photographer Nancy J. Warner caught a breathtaking view with dozens (hundreds?) of snow geese taking off, flying directly at her.

Nancy J. Wagner on Twitter: Seeing 1000s of #snow #geese flying towards me was breathtaking. Looks chaotic, but they take to the air very methodically. #Skagit #birding

Nancy J. Wagner on Twitter: Seeing 1000s of #snow #geese flying towards me was breathtaking. Looks chaotic, but they take to the air very methodically. #Skagit #birding

I’m not familiar with Ms. Wagner’s work, but it seems we should be. Wagner shoots wildlife that would make nice adornments for your home and office walls, truly inspiring.


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