photographing snowflakes Nature Photography Science and Art 

Photographing Snowflakes: Sky Crystals

By Don Komarechka  Snow: We love it and hate it. I’d rather not count the number of rushed mornings that become panicked when I realize I need to dig out from underneath a heavy blanket of frozen frustration. By the trillions, snowflakes are definitely a nuisance, but one at a time they can be one of the most beautiful and curious subjects I have ever photographed. There are a few simple rules—and a few complex ones—that govern how a snowflake grows. The easiest way to understand the shape of a…

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Birds: The Greatest Eyes on Earth Animals Biology Nature Photography 

Bird Eyes: The Greatest Eyes on Earth

By Emily Willoughby @eawilloughby Powered flight has arisen independently on our planet a total of five times: in insects, pterosaurs, bats, birds, and, of course, human beings. A suite of highly specific characteristics is necessary for the defiance of gravity, from lightweight, lift-generating surfaces to precise sensing devices. But dragonflies and F-16s notwithstanding, nothing has conquered the skies quite like the bird. For us—clever, indeed, but weak, fragile, and relatively blind—it should come as no surprise that the vision standards for becoming a US Air Force pilot are remarkably stringent:…

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messel Nature Photography Paleontology 

Eocene Fossils: The Mines of Messel

By Steven Spence Gimli: “And they call it a mine. A mine!” Boromir: “This is no mine, it’s a tomb!” (Film: Lord of the Rings) In November 2015, it was my good fortune to tour a special exhibit of never-before-displayed fossils from the shelves of the Hessiches Landesmuseum Darmstadt. The fossils were shown in the Visitor’s Center at the Messel Fossil Pit. Messel is, indeed, a mine and a tomb, but you won’t find the bridge of Khazad-dûm, a Balrog, or the tomb of Durin like in Tolkien’s Middle Earth…

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Animals Nature Photography 

Seabird Watching in Baja California

This is the latest addition to wildlife photographer Max Goldberg’s collection of photo essays based on his recent National Geographic tour of the coast of Mexico. After a long day spent exploring Isla Espíritu Santo on foot, it was time for a sunset cruise around the island to watch and photograph seabirds. The first birds I saw that evening were pelicans perched on the rocky shoreline. Most of the time, they were by themselves sunning or watching the waves, but sometimes they would gather in small groups of three or…

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Animals Nature Photography 

Swimming with the Sea Lions

Max Goldberg continues his tale of photographing whales, sea lions, and other wildlife in Cabo Hardly anyone got any sleep the night before our fourth day on the National Geographic trip to the coast of Mexico, because we were too excited about the next day’s activities. Before we went to bed, we were briefed on what we were going to do: swim with sea lions. We woke up, had breakfast, and got in the boats for a little tour around the sea lion colony. The first thing I noticed was…

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A humpback whale off the coast of Baja California in December 2015. Animals Nature Photography 

Magnificent Humpback Whales of Los Cabos

By Max Goldberg Following the adventurous Alaska trip my father and I took last summer, for winter break my family and I traveled to Baja, specifically Baja California Sur. For those who slept during world geography, Baja is the little pointy area south of California and west of Mexico. Baja is well known for its wildlife. Seeing the whales is one of the biggest attractions here. Many whale species, including humpbacks, grey whales, blue whales, and right whales migrate to Baja and other warm waters in the winter to mate…

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Nature Photography Science and Art 

Alaska Wildlife Photography: Behind the Scenes

Hello! My name is Max Goldberg, and you may have seen multiple stories and photos of my adventures in Alaska last summer. As you read, you may be wondering, “How did he get those pictures? They have to be fake. Also, how do I get to Alaska? What gear do you recommend?” Before we get into all that, I should give you a little background. First, you simply cannot just get up and go to wild Alaska, unprepared. Not only dangerous, but incredibly stupid. During the entire trip, my father and I…

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Mary River Turtle Animals Environment Nature Photography 

Using the Power of Photography for Good

World-Famous Photos of Mary River Turtles Chris van Wyk enjoyed viral success with his pictures of an algae-covered “punk” Mary River turtle. Major news outlets around the world published his photos. The media attention affected decisions related to preserving the turtle’s habitat. Steven Spence, reporting for GotScience, asked Chris about the experience. The following essay is a redacted version of his communication. [tweetthis]We all have the power to change the world. —Chris van Wyk[/tweetthis] The Power of Photography Photography can change the world, the right photograph at the right time…

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Animals Nature Photography Science and Art 

A Tale of Two Turtles: Part 2

By Steven Spence This is the second part of our series on turtles and how cute animals can inspire successful conservation efforts. Have you read A Tale of Two Turtles: Part 1? Best-Looking Turtle in the World Chris Van Wyk, photographer and conservationist, was in the right place at the right time to capture incredible photos of an algae-covered Mary River turtle. His photos went viral and appeared in major newspapers worldwide. Thanks to this photogenic turtle, conservationists were able to save its habitat from a dam that was going…

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Turtles, Steven Spence Animals Biology Environment Nature Photography 

A Tale of Two Turtles: Part 1

By Steven Spence It began simply enough, visiting the zoo with my niece and her parents. They have a great love of animals. We figured, what better place to spend time together? While we were there I noticed a turtle with a green mohawk and photographed it through the glass of the tank. When I shared the photo on social media, people started asking questions, which led me to wonder why this picture had such an effect. As I researched, I realized understanding this question was perhaps a key to…

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