The hot air balloon has been carrying humans high into the sky since the first manned flight back in 1783. It’s a whimsical means of transportation that captures the imagination of pilots every year at the Festival Internacional del Globo in León, Guanajuato, Mexico. The images above come from the 2012 event, which featured a collection of over 200 balloons.
The Darth Vader hot air balloon certainly takes the cake in my opinion. I’d really love to see a semi-transparent version lit up a night… It would be quite the sight!
For information on finding a festival near you, check out this Wikipedia list.
One of the best methods to view the magnificence of Earth is to step outside the confines of gravity and get a “bird’s eye view.” These high-resolution satellite images chosen by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and printed in his new book, “Earth from Space“, display amazing patterns and textures of the ever-changing world below. Yann has a keen eye for aerial photography and is also a devoted environmental activist. In fact, a major focus of the book is a discussion of the sobering impact of pollution, deforestation, etc…
However, I am more drawn to the beauty of the selected images. It’s amazing to see how the rivers cut through the Earth and how farm land creates extensive geometric patterns.
Street Lamp (Yellow Bench), 2012, Neon, cement, metal and electric energy
Check out this Neon Installation from artists, Iván Navarro and Courtney Smith, titled Street Lamp (Yellow Bench). Iván is a Chilean sculptor known for his mastery of fluorescence and incandescent light and Courtney has spent her career manipulating furniture into unique works of art. The duo melded their styles to create these incredible glowing benches in Miami. Unfortunately, I don’t believe they function as actual seating, but nonetheless, they make for an excellent display of light.
Brendan Austin is a visual artist who shares his time between Europe, the United States, Africa, and Asia. His work is comprised of architectural and landscape photography taken during his many travels. The photographs are replete with supernatural and celestial undertones. I really like the “over-saturated” rockscape images; they sort of look like the surface of some toxic, extraterrestrial planet, maybe Venus?
Wow! This is one of the coolest time-lapse videos I’ve ever seen. Sean Goebel, an astronomy graduate student, ascended the 14,000 ft summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii to capture the observatories at work. The footage was filmed over three nights last April, and yes, the lasers are real.
So what do the lasers do?
They function on the principle of adaptive optics. In brief, they are extremely powerful 15-40 watt lasers (1000+ times more powerful than your laser pointer) that track atmospheric turbulence. Winds in the atmosphere can blur out the fine detail of the stars (the reason stars twinkle), and the telescope can use the information from the lasers to make slight adjustments to cancel out the blurring. This ultimately creates a better image of the sky.
What kind of gear was used?
Straight from Sean:
“I shot the montage on a Canon 5D Mk. II and an old-as-dinosaurs Rebel XT. I’m trying to run the XT into the ground (the shutter is rated for 50,000 photos and I’ve taken about 70,000), but it refuses to die, so I keep using it. When the shutter dies, I plan to fill the mirror box with dirt, plant a cactus in it, and then buy an actually decent second body. Anyway, the 5D II was usually paired with either a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 or a Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8, and the Rebel XT was usually used with a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Additionally, a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Bower 35mm f/1.4, and a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 were each used for one scene. I also used a home-built rotary table to create camera motion in some of the scenes. My timelapse dolly lives in a closet in California, so it wasn’t used in this montage.”
I shot all my images in RAW format (yep, that’s a lot of space). Images were edited in Adobe Camera Raw (part of the Photoshop suite). To add adjustable crops/white balance/etc., I ran the images through a moderately buggy program called LRTimelapse. Images were resized to 1080p in Photoshop and saved as jpgs. A few sequences were run through Virtual Dub with MSU Deflicker (for deflickering) or After Effects (for stabilization). The final video was edited together in Adobe Premiere.”
Many of you are very familiar with the debacle that landed on the big screen in the form of the recent Star Wars prequels. All you had to see was a CGI Jar Jar Binks to know that the gritty, western space odyssey you knew and loved was long gone.
The ad agency Sincerely Truman created the above video to highlight 4 rules that JJ Abrams should follow in his attempt to resurrect the Star Wars franchise.
To sum up the video, the rules are as follows:
The setting must take place in the frontier. Star Wars is a Sci-Fi Western, and the intrigue lies in the outskirts of the universe.
The future is old — no shiny spaceships, metallic droids, etc. It must be gritty.
The Force is mysterious. You don’t need to tell us how it works.
“Star Wars” isn’t cute. This is where I think JJ Abrams will certainly excel. He turned Star Trek into a violent, cut throat universe and I think he can do the same for Star Wars.
If you’d like to join the movement, head to this site to add your support.