Photo of the day

These top 100 Audubon photos are amazing.

Category: Professional
Photographer: Aaron Baggenstos
Species: Bald Eagle
Location: Skagit Valley, WA
Story Behind the Shot: Every year thousands of Bald Eagles gather along rivers in the Pacific Northwest in search of their favorite food, wild salmon that have swum upstream to spawn. When these two birds locked talons in a battle over one such fish Baggenstos was there to capture the action. To overcome the cloudy conditions he used a Nikon D4S camera body at ISO 3200, and he froze the moment by locking in his shutter speed at 1/2000. Lastly he shot to the right of the histogram to optimize results in post-processing, a technique he recommends for anyone photographing action in low light. 

Photo of the day

Closest ever photo of Jupiter’s great red spot:

NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt

Photo of the day

Going to go with another of my own.  The next night a different set of swans came by and these two had their juveniles with them.  Pretty cool. This time I had my Olympus E620 on me. (I’ve generally been pretty happy with this camera, but it’s weakness is definitely low light– you can see the noise in this sunset-time photo.)

Photo of the day

I was looking up Hurricane Irene recently and came across this photo from back in 2011.  I just like it:

A deer wades through floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011, in Lincoln Park, N.J. Irene was just the third hurricane to come ashore in New Jersey in the past 200 years. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Photo of the day

Another of my own from a recent trip to Colonial Beach, VA.  I think I might have set the camera to HDR for this one, but the reality was pretty amazing:

Photo of the day

Wow.  These photos from the Red Bull Illume photo contest are just mindblowing.  So many awesome photos.  Via Atlantic photo:

Overall Winner Lorenz Holder captured this image of BMX Pro Rider Senad Grosic on a bridge in Gablenz, Germany. Holder: “Senad and I were on the way to a different location early in the morning when we passed this scenic spot. We saw a sign from the street and I had some pictures in mind that I’d seen from this bridge on the internet. When we got there the sun was just above the trees and it was lighting up the full color-spectrum of the autumn leaves in a very soft way. I’d chosen a very low camera position to get an almost perfect mirrored scene on the water surface. The bridge looked like a perfect circle and the light was still very good. When Senad was on the bridge, it took us two or three tries to get the shot. There was also no more time for another try because the wind came up and the perfect reflection on the water was gone.”

© Lorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume

Photo of the day

This Ed Yong piece on mass wildebeest drownings in the Serengeti is pretty fascinating.  First, your promised photo:

A pile of drowned wildebeest wash up on the bank of the Mara. (Amanda Subalusky)

Sometimes, everything goes wrong. The river might be especially deep or strong at that point. The opposite bank could be slippery or steep. The herd might be too big. Aggressive tourists can push them to more dangerous crossing points. “If there’s anything that keeps them from getting out on the other side, they’ll start to pile up. And even as they’re drowning on one side of the river, there are still wildebeest following them in.”

The result is an annual mass drowning. “We’ve seen up to 300 carcasses wedged into the river bank in some places,” says Subalusky. “It’s quite a sensory experience. The smell is potent for a quarter mile, and lasts for weeks. There’s a ranger station nearby and they really hate it when the drownings happen.”

She and her colleagues, including husband Chris Dutton and supervisor David Post, spent five years studying the migrating wildebeest, counting their corpses as they floated downstream. Through their sometimes grisly work, they’ve shown that these drowning herds account for a shocking large proportion of the river’s nutrients. Disney symbolized the circle of life with a lion cub being held aloft by a monkey. It might have done better with a mound of rotting, sodden wildebeest carcasses.

“Even when people noticed these drownings, it’s easy to underestimate the size and frequency of them,” says Subalusky. Her team estimated that around five mass drownings (defined as events involving at least 100 dead wildebeest) happen every year. Together, these events create around 6,000 carcasses and 1,100 tons of dead meat—roughly like dumping ten blue whales into the river every year.


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