“Yosemite Winter Night” by Wally Pacholka, as featured on National Geographic and the fantastic TWAN website. Does anything give you chills like a gorgeous shot of the night sky? Feast your eyes on this panorama! I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the new year than with a timeless view of the Milky Way.
TWAN (“The World at Night”) is an international effort to capture the universal wonder of the starry sky – an experience that humans have held in awe since the dawn of time, and sadly one that comes at a premium in urban areas where light pollution robs millions of this quintessential joy.
Here’s another from this outstanding gallery, a view of the Milky Way over a Chaco Canyon kiva:
It’s about that time of year (for me, at least) when days are shorter, itineraries are longer, and blog posting wanes. My part of the country was fortunate to enjoy a spectacular jewel-toned autumn before the trees lost their leaves for the season, but the long stretch of suspiciously mild weather left many wondering if winter had lost its way. Late maybe, but not lost, judging by the mountainous clouds and frosty-smelling air. Christmas may be wintry after all?
So all this had me thinking about some of my posts from years past, and generally all things “winter” – among them a little tangent exploration of the humble snowflake:
Ice castles anyone? From National Geographic:
NatGeo: In Praise of Winter
And some especially appealing shots of the British Isles under the spell of a winter blast a couple of years back:
Let’s not forget the elegant swan, winter’s most graceful totem. If your December is as hectic as most people find it, a moment of “swan therapy” might be just the prescription. Few animals are as inspiringly soothing to see in photos.
Need to brush up on your reindeer trivia? Here’s some bite-sized factoids to keep handy when Rudolph comes calling:
Of course there are plenty more to choose from. Feel free to browse my archives at your pleasure! If time allows, I’ll soon have a new project in the works: a musk ox portrait to suit the season. More to come soon!
“…It was also one of the largest anthropological enterprises ever undertaken by a single man. When he started in 1896, Indians were at their low ebb, with a total population that had dwindled to less than 250,000. Many scholars thought they would disappear within a generation’s time. Curtis set out to document lifestyle, creation myths and language. He recorded more than 10,000 songs on a primitive wax cylinder, and wrote down vocabularies and pronunciation guides for 75 languages.
Along the way, he never denied asking people to pose. He paid them for it. He asked his subjects to dress in the clothes of their fathers and mothers. To me, this is no different than, say, going to Scotland to photograph different family clans, and then asking someone if they would pose in the kilts of their grandparents.
Curtis was looking for the authenticity that the early 20th century was crushing. He urged Indians, many of them his friends, to show him the dances and ceremonies that the government was then trying to outlaw. In essence, he was an accomplice to a crime – urging people who were not yet citizens to show him the old ways.”
An interesting work by Timothy Egan, author of “The Worst Hard Time” (a favorite of mine). There’s a nice photo gallery with the article at the New York Times.
Image: National Geographic
“In the wild, the white Camargue horses are found only on the wetlands and salt marshes of southeastern France. They are thought to be descended from prehistoric horses that lived during the Paleolithic period more than 17,000 years ago. Throughout history, this ancient breed is believed to have been crossed with several other breeds—particularly Arabian horses. This genetic combination permits these brawny animals to withstand the region’s bleak, cold winters and intensely hot summers. They are so strong it is said they are able to canter through mud up to their bellies!”
Here’s an album of fall photography from a couple of years back. In a good year, the crisp air following an early cold snap changes the colors of the Ozark landscape almost overnight to a brilliant rainbow that rivals even the best of a New England autumn.
Click any photo for full-size view.
I’ve posted these photos to the public domain, so if you like what you see, feel free to download them, use them elsewhere on the web, or as part of an art project – no strings attached. Just pass along the favor.
So, in case you haven’t seen the amazing photo reblog from earlier this week – or noticed the newest addition to my blogroll – I just had to to mention my new favorite blog. It’s a hub for the camera magic of Canadian programmer, part-time photographer and mountain hiker Patrick Latter. Canadian Hiking Photography (as its obscure and enigmatic name might suggest) is devoted mostly to the vistas of Canada’s mountains, lakes, and woods as seen from a trekker’s point of view (though it’s not limited to gorgeous northern scenery).
It’s always great to stumble on a site that can grab your attention over and over because its content stands head and shoulders above the rest; let’s face it, the blogosphere is grossly over-blogged and seriously bogged-down with information overload. But these photos are consistently and refreshingly stunning – every time WordPress sends the latest post to my Inbox, I know it’s going to be good!
For anyone who’s interested, photographic prints of the artwork on the site are available from Smug Mug.
Check it out:
Patrick Latter – Canadian Hiking Photography