Oklahoma City Tornado Devastation Captured In One Photograph

While the photos — all over the interwebs and TV — of entire neighborhoods flattened by yesterday’s massive tornado near Oklahoma City, are inarguably stunning, no photo, in my opinion, captured the utter devastation more completely than this image by Associated Press photographer Sue Ogrocki.

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I first saw this photo this morning in the national edition of The New York Times, in black and white, and while I’ve since seen in it color, without color it has WAY more impact and a sad timelessness.

As for the content of the image, is there anything more poignant than a mother holding her child, surrounded by rubble and a ravaged tree, an important reminder that even admidst a calamity there can be something to be thankful for?

New Blog Hits Close To Home

realitysandwichesToday I have the pleasure of offering up an enthusiastic shout-out for a new addition to the blogosphere…but not just any old new blog.

RealitySandwiches is my wife’s latest creative outlet. After supporting my blogging for many years, it’s her turn, and Laurel will be sharing a sampling of her many facets, from crafty DIY projects, original poetry and photos, to her best thinking on parenting and psychology. (Laurel has been psychotherapist for nearly 20 years and really knows her stuff.)

It’s been a lot of fun helping Laurel learn to use WordPress, but mostly I’ve loved watching her dig in with a fierce joy of creating.

So, check out RealitySandwiches when you have a chance, and you can always find a link to her in the Bellingham Blogs links list in my sidebar.

Eyecatchers: 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

sony-photo5Today’s Eyecatchers installment features a selection of amazing images, culled from over 122,000 entries from 170 countries for 2013 Sony World Photography Awards via the World Photography Organisation (WPO).

Numerous websites are currently featuring these photos, but I wanted to share here those that particularly spoke to me.

The contest’s jurors review entries submitted in six different categories, described by WPO like this:

  • Professional Competition – for serious photographers.
  • Open Competition – for amateurs and enthusiasts.
  • Student Focus – for those studying photography.
  • Youth Award – for anyone aged 19 and under.
  • 3D Award – for anyone using true 3D technology in photography or video
  • National Award – new in 2013 for photographers in participating countries

But, I was struck by how consistently good the photos were across the different categories, from Pros to amateur youth. It really made me question the description of the Pro category: for serious photographers. That, it seems to me, is a total insult to the amateurs!

I mean, are contestants in the Student Focus group, who are currently studying photography, not serious?

Or, is there anything not serious about this entry from the Youth category? (Click image to enlarge.)

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Anyway, below, as I’ve said, are some of my favorites, but be sure to check out the hundreds of photos at WorldPhotography.org, or Google the awards and you’ll find links to many slideshows. In some cases, such as at The Atlantic, you’ll find captions that provide some enlightening information about the images.

Enjoy! (Click images to enlarge.)

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Eyecatchers: 3-D Aerial-view of Central Park

This is one of the coolest photographic images I have ever seen, and it makes me miss New York City in a big, big way (must be clicked on and enlarged!):

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This really captures what a precious jewel the park is, an oasis of nature in a desert of concrete and steel and glass. I can’t imagine Manhattanites surviving without it.

About the photo (via The Atlantic):

Sergey Semonov, a Russian photographer, submitted the image to the Epson International Photographic Pano Awards, and took first prize in the amateur category.

Semonov works on a small noncommercial team called AirPano, which travels the globe creating these 3D aerial panoramas. They shoot from helicopters and then stitch the images together. Mostly, they produce these spherical panoramas that I find confusing to navigate, but clearly this one has been flattened for our viewing pleasure.

Eyecatchers: Andrew Osokin’s Snowflakes

Click to enlargeUn.frickin.believable!!!

Today, via The Curious Brain I discovered the jaw-droppingly beautiful macro photography of Andrew Osokin. The link to Osokin’s site didn’t work last I checked, likely because these photos have gone viral, and taking a look at his work it’s pretty obvious how that happened.

If you’re like me, when you think of a snowflake you think of paper cutouts, symmetrical geometric patterns, all straight lines and crisp angles.

But now, thanks to Osokin, I see that there’s MUCH more going on in that wintry white stuff.

The most striking flakes, to me, look more like the leaves of plants — ferns, cedar fronds, even seaweed — than any ice crystal I’ve seen before.

It kinda blows my mind, thinking about the level of complexity in these forms. But, I fear losing the experience of awe if I were to insist on knowing why these structures exist and how they form.

Rather, I think I’ll just take simple pleasure in them, as I do with many other forms of nature, large and small.

Enjoy!

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