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186 posts tagged Nature

Ukrainian nature photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko shows us that snails are so much more than incredibly slow-moving mollusks who leave slimy trails and sometimes end up on people’s dinner plates. By looking at his photos we learn that snails appear to be curious, playful and even affectionate.

Shot in the woodland area near his home town in Berdichev, located in the Zhytomyr Oblast of northern Ukraine, Mishchenko’s beautiful photos are apparently unstaged. Instead he relies on an extraordinarily keen eye for spotting wildlife:

'As a child, my father taught me to hunt mushrooms near my home and we would always come across all manner of bugs and creatures,' he said. 'As I got older and my interest in photography grew, I decided I wanted to catch these magical scenes on camera.'

Visit Vyacheslav Mishchenkos’ website to check out many more of his remarkable nature photos. The only thing missing from them is narration by Sir David Attenborough.

[via 22 Words and Dailymail.co.uk]

Depending on where you live, you may never get to see fireflies or lightning bugs put on their beautiful bioluminescent light shows. That’s all the more reason to appreciate this enchanting time-lapse montage video of fireflies at Lake of the Ozarks, in central Missouri. It was created by Grand Ledge, Michigan-based photographer Vincent Brady, who “had to master several different cameras, learn about photo stacking, 360° panoramas, and even how to pilot a pontoon boat to get all the requisite shots.”

Head over to Vincent Brady’s website to check out his stunning firefly photography and learn more about how he created this beautiful video.

[via Colossal]

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders follows photographer Michael Nichols to the Sequoia National Park in California where he and his team captured an awe-inspiring photo of the The President, a giant sequoia tree believed to be over 3,200 years old. Standing 247 feet (75 m) tall and measuring 27 ft (8.2 m) in diameter at the base, The President is the third largest tree in the world.

Stop and consider this for a moment - how periods of human existence an world events have taken place while this tree has simply been growing and growing. And it’s still growing!

"The tree is one of the fastest growing trees ever measured, accumulating more new wood each year than much younger trees, proving that ancient trees still have plenty of life and energy left."

For the December 2012 issue of National Geographic, Nichols and team spent 32 days using a rigging system to take 126 photos which were later stitched together to create a complete portrait of the tree. By including members of their team in some of the shots, they helped convey just how huge and majestic The President is.

Visit My Modern Metropolis for additional photos of this truly awesome tree.

If you’re familiar with Peacock Spiders, then you probably already know that the colorful males put on awesome displays to attract and woo potential mates. But did you know that some of those feisty arachnids choreograph their courtship dances to the disco hit “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People? (Don’t worry, neither did we.)

This unbelievably amazing phenomenon was created captured by Italian videomaker and sound designer Dario Trovato using peacock spider footage shot by Australian photographer Dr. Jurgen Otto (previously featured here).

[via The Huffington Post]

The speckled egg in this hypnotic gif is demonstrating an amazing evolutionary advancement. It’s a strangely pointy egg and it belongs to a Common Murre or Guillemot, a seabird that congregates in large colonies on rocky cliff shores and does not make nests. Instead the birds lay their eggs directly on bare rock ledges. And that’s one of the reasons their eggs have evolved such an unusual shape - so that when they roll, instead of rolling away from their parents and into the sea, they roll in a tight little circle. It’s further proof that nature is awesome.
Head over to io9 to learn more about Guillemots and their wonderfully unusual eggs.
[via io9]

The speckled egg in this hypnotic gif is demonstrating an amazing evolutionary advancement. It’s a strangely pointy egg and it belongs to a Common Murre or Guillemot, a seabird that congregates in large colonies on rocky cliff shores and does not make nests. Instead the birds lay their eggs directly on bare rock ledges. And that’s one of the reasons their eggs have evolved such an unusual shape - so that when they roll, instead of rolling away from their parents and into the sea, they roll in a tight little circle. It’s further proof that nature is awesome.

Head over to io9 to learn more about Guillemots and their wonderfully unusual eggs.

[via io9]

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena introduces us to an incredibly beautiful nighttime occurrence known as Light pillars. They’re one of nature’s rewards for enduring extremely cold weather.

Light pillars are created when ice crystals with roughly horizontal faces form in the atmosphere and reflect light from the sun, moon, or even man-made sources such as street lights.

"So, how does one explain all of the colors? As the Weather Doctor states, ‘Because the light rays forming pillars are reflected, they take on the color of the incident light. For example, when the sun is higher in the sky, pillars are white or bright yellow in color. But when it is near the horizon and its light color dominantly orange, gold or red, so is the resulting pillar.’”

Light pillars have been known to be the source of false UFO reports, which doesn’t seem at all surprising when you consider the Close Encounters-esque atmosphere in each of these wonderful photographs.

Photos by Jay Callaghan, Osato Naoya, Francis Anderson, Tristan Grezko, and Jason Ahms respectively.

Visit My Modern Metropolis to view a few more.

Weezbo assembled a fantastic collection of macro photos taken by Indonesian photographer Nordin Seruyan (previously featured here) in his back garden in Borneo, Indonesia. His backyard appears to be a veritable wonderland of beautiful mantises, dragonflies, caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, ladybugs and other insects.

Head over to Weezbo to view even more.

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders introduces us to, as RR Helm calls it, “The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen,” a tiny species of crustacean called a Sapphirina copepod or Sea Sapphire. This video footage, shot by liquidguru, feels like something Mulder and Scully might’ve been called to investigate, but there’s nothing supernatural or extraterrestrial about these dazzling animals.

"Copepods are the rice of the sea, tiny shrimp-like animals at the base of the ocean food chain. And like rice, they are generally not known for their charisma. Sea sapphires are an exception. Though they are often small, a few millimeters, they are stunningly beautiful. Like their namesake gem, different species of sea sapphire shine in different hues, from bright gold to deep blue."

"When they’re abundant near the water’s surface the sea shimmers like diamonds falling from the sky. Japanese fisherman of old had a name for this kind of water, “tama-mizu”, jeweled water.”

Visit Deep Sea News to learn a lot more about these awesome little creatures.

Nestled between hills in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt is an awesome piece of land art entitled Desert Breath. Between 1995 and 1997 this site-specific installation was created by the D.A.ST. Arteam, comprised of installation artist Danae Stratou, industrial designer and architect Alexandra Stratou, and architect Stella Constantindies.

8,000 square meters of sand were displaced to create large positive and negative conical volumes which form two interlocking spirals that expand from a water-filled center across an area of 100,000 square meters.

17 years since it was created, Desert Breath still exists, “becoming through its slow disintegration, an instrument to measure the passage of time.”

Click here to view more photos of and information about this beautiful project.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

This awesomely spiky amphibian may look like something from a fantasy RPG, but we swear he’s very real - very real and very pointy. This is the Emei moustache toad (Leptobrachium boringii). These dangerously dapper creatures are endemic to the Sichuan, Guizhou and Hunan provinces of China. For one month every year male Emei toads grow an amazing mustache of razor sharp spikes, also known as “nuptual spines”, that they use to fight each other for prime breeding territory. The spines are made of keratin, the same material found in mammal hooves, horns, fingernails and claws, and they mean brutal business.

Some 90 percent of all males end up injured. Victors win the right to mate. Losers shuffle away and seriously consider never growing a mustache again, because maybe it wasn’t a good idea in the first place and they were just curious how it would look, like that one time when I was in high school.

The spines grow straight through the toad’s skin, and although they will at times pop off in combat, they’ll simply sprout once again, only to fall off at the end of the breeding season.

Visit Wired to learn more about the savagely awesome Emei toad and the world’s most dangerous mustache.