Stunning Animal Fantasy Photographs with Real Animals

Posted by ted @ 8:32 am, April 7th, 2014


The Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova takes incredible photographs with human models and real exotic animals. The results are stunning – like fairy tales brought to life. The potentially deadly animals are trained and photographed with the help of their handlers and the results are magical.





You can see more of her work at 500px



Posted by ted @ 2:31 pm, July 29th, 2010

Photo by @dino

Faster than, sharper than.

Slower than, softer than.

A statue, a blur.

A cat pounces.

a poem by ObserveTheBanana

How To Take A Really Great Photo of a Really Big Tree

Posted by ted @ 4:10 pm, October 1st, 2009

In my amateur photography efforts,  I have noticed over the years that trying to capture the grandeur of a beautiful tree can be a frustrating endeavor. I seem to end up with a boring little picture of the whole tree from a distance, or  give in to just capturing a piece of it in a closeup. More often than not my new strategy is to stop and just appreciate the beauty of the moment with my eyes, then move on to another subject to photograph. And I am usually dealing with normal run-of-the-mill size trees, not giant redwoods. When wildlife photographer Michael Nichols wanted to create a truly stunning image of a 300 foot redwood tree that would in some way capture is true size, he created a custom camera rig with a gyroscope and three camera aimed at different angles that was lowered from another tree capturing 84  individual images that were then stitched together into a giant vertical panorama.


The result is incredible. Look for a huge foldout of the image in the October issue of National Geographic, and here’s a video of Nichols talking about the process of capturing the image. Click on “More” to see a version of the final image.

[NPR via Gizmodo]

(click for more…)

Robot Love in the Big City

Posted by ted @ 8:22 pm, February 28th, 2009

Every year the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) holds a student film festival (video making contest) they call the UMMys. The entrants vary widely in quality and subject matter and tend to include a lot of teen angst and zombies. Several years ago one entrant stood head and (large metallic) shoulders above the rest. It was called “Rumspringa! The Musical” and was about an amish girl going on her traditional rumspringa to the city and falling in love with a recently unemployed phone answering robot. All songs are written (except the Electric Slide) and performed by the students and it is clever, funny and totally worth watching, cheesy robot costume and all.   Sadly the entire 30 minute production appears to no longer be available on YouTube, but two of the best (IMHO) musical numbers from it are still available for your viewing pleasure.

Your robot overlords command you to click the play buttons below…

Every film needs an internet trailer…..

[Rumspringa! The Musical on MySpace]

Another Observer of Bananas

Posted by ted @ 7:27 am, August 5th, 2008

Over at London Bananas they have a collected a surprisingly large collection of photos of banana peels spotted laying around the London cityscape.

“I see them everywhere. They’re languishing on doorsteps, hanging out in the middle of the road, dangling off street signs, peeking out of piles of garbage, reclining in the middle of the sidewalk, riding the bus for free. A great number of them are bright yellow as if they’re fresh and have just been dropped, although they appear in all states of decay.”

Banana Phone Spotted

Posted by ted @ 7:20 am, August 5th, 2008

Banana phone spotted in Ann Arbor, MI by Flickr user stplast.

Previous post: Banana Phone Video

Back from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008

Posted by ted @ 11:14 am, August 2nd, 2008

Prescott Pusher Homebuilt EAA Airventure 2008

I have returned from Airventure 2008. My feet are a bit sore, my skin is a bit tanned, and my head is swimming with more images of airplanes than it can hold. Even though I knew from last year that this was a huge event, I was re-amazed as I discovered several more hangars and complete fields of planes that I had not reached before. I was there for three full days and was still not able to see it all.

A few notes;
AV-8B Harrier II EAA Airventure 2008 Oshkosh I was looking forward to seeing the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor plane which was supposed to arrive on Tuesday, but apparently they pushed it back to Thursday which was beyond my stay so I did not get to see it. It looked like they had the Harrier fill in for it which is always a impressive sight in it’s own right. They must have burned more than our annual household budget in jet fuel as it hovered and turned for several minutes and performed repeated vertical takeoffs and landings. And let me just say, wow is that thing loud on hover! In case there was any doubt, the Harrier scene in True Lies was complete fantasy.
Martin Jetpack EAA Airventure 2008 Oshkosh

Tuesday they unveiled the new Martin Jetpack. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the event, this was not so well organized. A massive crowd encircled the designated spot, leaving only a small circle around the pack, which was of course not large enough for their planned demonstration flight. So, as the planned time came and left, they were still struggling to push back the crowd into a larger circle which was of course difficult and potentially dangerous as the front rows tried to back into a tight crush of people who did not want to back up. They then moved around their little platform and podium several times and finally began setting up their PA system while the crowd grew hot and impatient. When they finally pulled off the sheet to unveil the “Jetpack” a child called out what was probably on the mind of many there, “it’s not a jet! it has propellers!”. Indeed, the “Martin Jetpack” is not actually a jet at all and instead sports two ducted fans connected to a 200hp, 4 cylinder 2-stroke engine (water cooled). They explained that they were not cleared for an actual flight among the crowd due to safety reasons and instead performed a short hover with a handler holding each side of the pack. Many people wondered aloud why they didn’t take it out to the runway for a real flight. Talking to them later at their booth I learned that they are keeping it in the “ultralight” classification by limiting the onboard fuel to 5 gallons, which should give a 30 minute flight time, and the top speed to 60mph, although they have not reached that speed in tests yet. They are also including a ballistic parachute system for safety, the only problem being that the chute can not operate under 400 ft, and the cushioned landing legs can only handle up to about 10 ft, which still leaves them with a safety issue for anything in between. They have looked at the zero altitude, zero speed chute systems used in military ejection seats, but found them prohibitively expensive. They say that overall the pack is very stable and training time is only about 3 days, being much easier to handle than a helicopter or even a small plane. Currently the control system is all mechanical, but they note that the future addition of a computer system could help overcome pilot error. It is indeed an impressive looking piece of technology, although the big unveiling was not worth the hot crush, and it is not clear to me who the market for such a device would be.
Terrafugia Transition EAA Airventure 2008 Oshkosh

And speaking of new technology with out a clear market, the folks from Terrafugia were showing off their new flying car prototype, insisting that, “it is not a flying car, it is a road-able aircraft.” An interesting concept which has certainly been tried many times, but leaves some interesting questions like, how safe is it on the road, how does it handle on the road, or in the air for that matter, and what happens in a fender – bender? I would guess the answer to the last one is a very expensive repair bill and re-certification for flight. They claim you can fly to a destination airport, then drive in to town, or that you can continue a long trip on the road when flying conditions become unfavorable, but the only real niche for this that I can see is those new “fly in” communities with their own small airport. Saves you having a hangar I guess.
Red Bull Stunt Helicopter EAA Airventure 2008 Oshkosh The aerial displays were amazing as usual. I still am boggled by the way those stunt pilots manage to put their planes into an end-over-end tumble which in no way seems to include the characteristics of normal airplane flight, then recover and zoom on. An interesting additional this year was the world’s’ first acrobatic helicopter display. Chuck Aaron, the only FAA certified stunt helicopter pilot, put his stock BO-105 CBS Red Bull helicopter through rolls, loops and flips to the delight of an amazed crowd.
Twin Beech 18 Aerobatics EAA Airventure 2008 Oshkosh Another piece of acrobatic work that grabbed my attention was Matt Younkin’s astounding performance in a Twin Beech 18. Seeing a large old twin engine craft like this scream towards the ground to pick up speed, then pull up sharply into a loop, or haul over into a roll was really something. I could hear those engines roar, heaving that beast through it’s maneuvers and part of me kept wondering why those wings didn’t rip themselves from the fuselage.

There were many many more exciting sights than I can list here, not the least of which were the field after field after field of beautiful vintage aircraft. I seem to particularly like the lines on the old sea planes. Interestingly there seems to also be a trend in the new Light Sport plane market for small sea planes which offer the freedom to fly in to all kinds a beautiful lakes and small ocean island locations.
Airventure Oshkosh is a great time for anyone who is even passingly interested in airplanes. If you get the chance to go, I recommend it. Now I have to continue sifting through the 700+ photos I took. I will be uploading photos in groups to my flickr set over the next few days. Look there in a few days for lots of photos and a few short videos.

There be frogs

Posted by ted @ 8:11 pm, May 22nd, 2008


B and I had a very nice ride on the bike trail down to the park where we discovered a choir of frogs around the swimming hole turned nature pond. They seemed less shy than usual and allowed me to get up close and personal and take lots of pictures. I ended up with 50 shots of frogs – in the water, next to the water, bulging throat, on top of each other, etc. After some difficult weeding I got it down to 16 nice shots and a very short movie with sound which I put in a flickr set for all to enjoy.


Photos on Imagekind

Posted by ted @ 8:12 am, March 12th, 2008

I decided to experiment with making some of my photographs available for sale on Imagekind. They offer high quality prints with optional framing. So far I have one gallery of Iceland pictures, and I planning to upload more soon. Check it out!