Previously: True Facts About Margaret
Behold: a very unusual form of large-scale electrical discharge known as red sprite – never before photographed at this level of detail. To wit:
Even though sprites have been recorded for over 30 years, their root cause remains unknown. Some thunderstorms have them, but most don’t. These mysterious bursts of light in the upper atmosphere momentarily resemble gigantic jellyfish. A few years ago high speed videos were taken detailing how red sprites actually develop. The featured image was captured last month in high definition from Italy. One unusual feature of sprites is that they are relatively cold — they operate more like long fluorescent light tubes than hot compact light bulbs. In general, red sprites take only a fraction of a second to occur and are best seen when powerful thunderstorms are visible from the side.
A fascinating sequence taken from an upcoming PBS documentary ‘Octopus: Making Contact’ (you may have seen BBC2’s ‘Octopus In My House’) in which a sleeping octopus is observed by marine biologist Dr David Sheel who theorises that her colour changes are caused by cephalopodic dreaming.
Winners (and runners up) in the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards.
From top: a camouflaged owl by Shari McCollough; two Great Blue Herons by Melissa Rowell; Kevin Ebi’s shot of a Bald eagle and a fox battling for possession of a rabbit (see how it all turned out here) and the Grand Prize Winner – a red-winged blackbird ‘blowing smoke rings’ by Katherine Swoboda, who explains:
I visit this park near my home to photograph blackbirds on cold mornings, often aiming to capture the “smoke rings” that form from their breath as they sing out. On this occasion, I arrived early on a frigid day and heard the cry of the blackbirds all around the boardwalk. This particular bird was very vociferous, singing long and hard. I looked to set it against the dark background of the forest, shooting to the east as the sun rose over the trees, backlighting the vapour.