From Adrien Mauduit at the Aurora observatory, Senja Island, Norway on March 17, 2019…
“It all started at around 10:00pm LT. Almost nothing until then when all of a sudden a big band appeared in the south. Around 10:30pm LT, a very nice show happened with some colorful and fast moving coronas.”
Adrien Mauduit is a visionary, an artist who captures the essence of Aurora in mesmerizing detail. Join me in appreciation of his vision by clicking on the link below and following Adrien Mauduit.
In January 2019 natural history photographer Clay Bolt captured images of Wallace’s Giant Bee. Considered one of the 25 “most wanted lost” species by Global Wildlife Conservation’s Search for Lost Species initiative, Wallace’s Giant Bee hadn’t been seen in 38 years. Thirty eight years is a long time to miss Wallace’s 6 cm wingspan, science considered the species extinct. Bolt said –
“It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore.
To see how beautiful and big the species is in real life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible.”
Discovered in 1858 on the Indonesian island of Bacan by British entomologist and namesake Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913), the last sighting of Wallace’s Giant Bee (Megachile pluto) occurred in 1981 when American entomologist Adam C. Messer documented six nests in Indonesia. Two specimens found in February and September of 2018 sold on eBay without a twinge of lost species conscience. Clay Bolt’s capture, imaging and release of a single female giant bee affirm the tenacity of waning species.
Elusive Wallace behemoths build nests inside active tree dwelling termite colonies. With impressive jaws, females collect and spit out balls of tree resin, forming protective compartments within termite domain. Giant bees depend on low lying forests for resin and termite colonies. Little as we know about resin ball spitting tree dwelling termite colony squatter Indonesian giant bees, science begs us to realize how remarkable it is to photograph one.
By definition science strives to provide answers arrived at by systematic analysis of nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe. Since the dawn of biological science, mystery of Zebra stripes have confounded science. Enter Tim Caro of University of California at Davis.
Tim Caro visited Hill Livery in England, a stable that keeps zebra alongside horses. Keen observation of zebra, horses and horses cloaked in zebra stripes revealed a simple explanation of why zebras are stripped – stripes confound hoards of biting flies. Apparently optics matter in the horsefly world. Swarms of horseflies hover without discrimination above horse and zebra, but stripes screw with horsefly minds, they can’t land on a striped hide.
Adrien Mauduit, my favorite timelapse photographer, posted Winter Wonderland a few days ago. Shot over three months in Senja, Norway, no one better than Adrien to preface a Winter Wonderland….
“Within the arctic circle the winters can be harsh with long-lasting violent blizzards. However when the snow storm lets up and passes, it leaves a completely transformed landscape. All the familiar roads, trees, mountains and lakes are buried under a layer of deep snow taking on different sort of weird shapes. The flimsy birch trees are bending under the weight and look like they are welcoming your into a fairy-tale. The moon and the windless atmosphere play such an important role in creating a winter wonderland. Most of the sequences of this short timelapse film were shot during an interval of 3 days where the snow stuck to the branches. Senja’s ever-changing weather had the best of this fleeting environment very quickly but it took over 3 months to shoot all the scenes of this movie.
I really wanted the viewer to feel like they actually were in a dream straight from their winter childhood memory. Much like Narnia or Frozen you can just walk through the enchanted frozen forest, lie down in the scintillating fresh powder looking up at the branches contrasting with the blue sky and the northern lights, and all surrounded by the mountains and the sea. From the pink sunrises and sunsets of the winter polar days to the ice figures created on the frozen shore by the converging tides, not to mention the incredibly colorful displays of aurora borealis, get ready to experience an uplifting voyage through the magical astroscapes of Northern Norway.
All was shot with the Sony a7rII, Sony a7s and the Canon 6D Baader modified and a variety of bright lenses ranging from 14mm to 150mm. I used the Lonely Speck Pure Night and Matt Aust Light pollution filters to reduce light pollution and increase details on the deep-sky scenes and also the Vixen Polarie to track the stars and get cleaner shots. For motion control I used the Syrp 3-axis Genie I system and also the Vixen Polarie. All post production was made in Lr with the special timelapse plus plugin, Sequence for mac, TLDF, and final production was made in FCPX. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked shooting and processing it and I thank everyone of you for your support. All content is of course copyrighted AMP&F (except sountrack licensed through The Musicbed: Steven Gutheinz with ‘In the Balance’), and no footage can be used in any way without the author’s permission. Please contact me for media and purchase inquiry. Please share and comment if you liked the video and follow me for more videos like this one! More at adphotography-online.com.” – Adrien Mauduit
If the Republic of Turkmenistan draws a blank you’re not alone. Geography of the former Soviet Union and Central Asia lean toward murky guesses at best. If it helps Turkmenistan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, the Caspian Sea to the west. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1881, named Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic in 1925, Turkmenistan gained independence in 1991 upon dissolution of the Soviet Union. Today, with a population of barely 6 million, Turkmenistan is one of the most sparsely populated places in Asia.
In 1971 Russian geologists thought they’d found a substantial oil field near the village of Derweze, Turkmenistan (commonly know as Darvaza) Engineers quickly moved in, made camp and started drilling to assess oil reserves. What they found was a massive natural gas pocket, the ground collapsed swallowing drill rigs and the work camp. Worried lethal methane gas could poison nearby residents, authorities set the pit ablaze. They thought it would burn itself out in a few weeks. Over 50 years later, fire rages on.
Known today as the gate or portal to Hell, virtually all tourism in Turkmenistan is attributed to viewing the Darvaza Crater. No one knows how long it will burn, but geologists suggest it’s one of the largest natural gas reservoirs in the world.