Photo of the day

The 2020 Audubon photo awards are out and this is just a brilliant collection of photos.  But, the grand prize winner, just wow…

Category: Professional
Species: Double-crested Cormorant
Location: Los Islotes, Mexico
Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II with Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 DX AF Fisheye lens; 1/640 second at f/6.3; ISO 320

Story Behind the Shot: I’ve spent many hours underwater at this California sea lion rookery in the Bay of La Paz, but I had never before encountered diving cormorants there. Shifting my focus from the playful sea lions, I watched in awe as the cormorants plunged beak-first into the sea to snap at the sardines swimming by. Although I spent a long time admiring these birds, I didn’t see a single one catch a fish. Adding insult to injury, curious sea lion pups would zip by the hunting birds and nip at them from behind.

Bird Lore: Cormorants are superb divers, well adapted to rapid pursuit of fish underwater. Their bodies are heavy but streamlined, with dense plumage. When they dive, they hold their wings tightly to their sides, propelling themselves with their powerful legs and webbed feet, steering through the water with their tails. Some cormorants may be capable of diving more than 300 feet below the surface, but most of their hunting is done at shallower depths.

Photo of the day

OMG I think this “Winners of the 2021 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition” may be about my favorite photo gallery ever.  So many great images. This one really sticks with me:A leopard seal swims with its mouth open, toward a penguin, underwater.

Facing Reality. Aquatic Life Finalist. With their silky coats, big, dark eyes, and perpetual grins, leopard seals can look downright cuddly lounging on Antarctic ice floes. It’s safe to say, though, that penguins have a different perspective of these powerful apex predators. Weighing up to 1,320 pounds (600 kilograms), with powerful jaws lined with sharp teeth, leopard seals are capable of catching and subduing a wide range of prey. Studies have shown that leopard seals feed on everything from krill, fish, octopuses, and crabs to penguins and other seals. A recent study conducted on the Antarctic Peninsula, not far from where photographer Amos Nachoum captured this image of a leopard seal preying on a young Gentoo penguin, found that penguins make up about a quarter of the leopard seal’s diet throughout the year. 

Amos Nachoum / BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition

Photo of the day

Something you don’t see every day.  From Atlantic’s photos of the week:A horse is lifted into the air, hanging from a sling beneath a helicopter.

A picture taken in Saignelegier, Switzerland, shows a horse being airlifted by a helicopter during a test by Swiss army forces on April 9, 2021. The exercise was part of a project carried out by the Vetsuisse faculty of veterinary medicine and the Swiss army veterinary service, examining the rapid evacuation and transport of injured horses to a medical veterinary facility. 

Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty

Photo of the day

I love Massimo’s twitter account.  Just full of really cool photos, videos, and science.  He recently led me to the super-cool wave photos of David Orias.  So many great photos at his page.  I really love this one, though:

Pelican Flock 73A2308
by David Orias

Photo of the day

This is so cool.  Not a doctored photo at all, but, a very cool atmospheric phenomenon!

 The cruise ship Anthem of the Seas appears to hover in mid-air on Wednesday evening close to Bournemouth Pier. Photograph: Triangle News/Ryan Rushforth

If the sight of a ship apparently hovering above the sea is a very rare event in the UK, then two in a fortnight must be an even more unlikely occurrence.

But 13 days after a giant tanker was pictured floating above the water off Cornwall, the effect of an optical illusion known as a superior mirage, similar images emerged of the cruise ship, the Jewel of the Seas, off the Dorset coast.

When the Cornwall illusion occurred, the BBC meteorologist David Braine said it was common in the Arctic but can appear “very rarely” in the UK during winter.

It is caused by a meteorological phenomenon called a temperature inversion. Normally, the air temperature drops with increasing altitude, making mountaintops colder than the foothills. But in a temperature inversion, warm air sits on top of a band of colder air, playing havoc with our visual perception. Both the Cornwall and Bournemouth instances were caused by chilly air lying over the relatively cold sea, with warmer air above.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to cruise ships that would usually be in far-flung locations being anchored off the English coast.

Photo of the day

Haven’t done one of these in a while.  From Atlantic’s photos of the week a few weeks ago.  I love horses and I love a good silhouette, and this photo was taken on my birthday, so…

A horse's breath is visible in the sunlight on a cold day.

A racehorse gallops in North Yorkshire in Middleham, England, on February 11, 2021. #

Ian Forsyth / Getty

Photo of the day

And another great photo from the recent Atlantic gallery.  Love a good silhouette.


An Israeli youth rides a stand-up paddleboard at sunset on the shore of the coastal city of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, on January 21, 2021. 

Jack Guez / AFP / Getty


Photo of the day

Haven’t done a photo of the day in a while.  From Atlantic’s photos of the week: (This one’s for you, Mika!)


The aurora borealis, seen in the sky over Muonio in Lapland, Finland, on January 18, 2021 

Alexander Kuznetsov / Reuters

Photo of the day

Great NYT retrospective of the year in photos. So many depressing photos. This one was not.

Washington, June 6

Demonstrators during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, on a day when half a million people turned out to protest systemic racism in nearly 550 places across the United States. Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Photo of the day

NYT with a great year in photos feature.  You know I can’t resist a great wave/surfing photo:

Nazaré, Portugal, Feb. 11


Maya Gabeira of Brazil on the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman, and the biggest wave surfed by anyone during the 2019-20 winter season, a first for women in professional surfing.

 Armando Franca/Associated Press

Photo of the day

I love Alan Taylor’s annual review of great photos. Here’s his selection from the first part of this year. Oh, for simpler times when we just worried about burned Koalas.

Simon Adamczyk, a wildlife rescuer, carries a rescued koala at a burning forest near Cape Borda, on Kangaroo Island, southwest of Adelaide, Australia, on January 7, 2020. During the disastrous 2019-2020 fire season in Australia, more than 46 million acres were scorched, and as many as 3 billion animals were affected. #David Mariuz / AAP Image / Reuters

Photo of the day

These wildfires out West– damn!  Atlantic’s gallery.  Seen this one a lot, but I’m going to share it myself anyway:

A boat motors by as the Bidwell Bar Bridge is surrounded by fire in Lake Oroville during the Bear Fire in Oroville, California, on September 9, 2020. 

Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty
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