Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2013

Living Sculptures: 3 Bottle Ecosystem Projects

They're very easy to make, hyper-creative and fascinating and like many other cool things they used to be very popular in the 70's: Bottle Ecosystems, also known as 'terrarium's and 'vivariums', are simple bottles which include the basic ingredients for life to survive: light, dirt, moisture and of course a DNA based organism, or a few of them. The following are 3 bottle ecosystem projects we find particularly inspiring. Think Bottle Ecosystems are cool and want to give it a try? Check out Jenna Consolo's project (below) or just watch this 5:20 min video from Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden that demonstrate how to create a simple terrarium out of a 2L pop bottle and some other easy to find items.

[1] Summer Fun: Ecosystem Edition

It was never her idea for a summer with the kids but some other kids did something similar for a science project and then her friend Michelle posted about how to build an Ecosystem that is "perfectly contained and functions without any outside work or maintenance" describing what she did and show she did it with her children in Alaska. So, Jenna Consolo decided it's time for her and the kids to build their own terrarium.

Here is what you'll need to follow-up on such project with your own terrarium. The process and results (shown above) are described in this blog post on the Cranberry Corner blog:
  • 3 clear 2-liter (empty) soda bottles
  • Clear packing tape
  • Aquarium gravel
  • Water
  • Dechlorinator
  • Rubber band
  • 4" piece of netting (or just cut up pantyhose)
  • Soil
  • Fish, snails or other aquatic life
  • Elodea, duck weed, anachris or other aquatic plants
  • Crickets, pill bugs and earthworms
  • A few dead leaves and small sticks

[2] Clea Cregan's Miniscapes

Started 6 years ago as  as a hobby, Clea Cregan's Miniscapes now merges desktop gardening and design to produce beautiful terrariums they call "miniature gardens" and "living sculptures".

Cregan's creations are usually made for for office receptions, board room tables and studios but also for home environments. Interested? Check out Miniscapes's site or read this interview with Cregan on TheDesignFiles.

[3] Wet Environment Terrarium

Nicole Cammorata, a Boston-based journalist, writer, and editor and a talented photographer published this story in the Boston Globe detailing how to make your own plant terrariums. Sadly, the full story which takes you through the process step-by-step, is behind the Globe's paywall but we still loved the this sequence she posted on Cammorata's blog how to create a terrarium that "favors more of a wet environment". Know any more cool bottle ecosystem projects? Be sure to contact us or post them in the comments thread.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

From Smallpox to HIV: 6 Glass Sculptures of Colorless Deadly Viruses

Deadly viruses such as Smallpox, E.coli and HIV have claimed the lives of hundreds of millions of people but they always seem to have these fantastically vivid colors, right? Well, not exactly. As opposed to what we're used to see on TV and in the movies, viruses are actually colorless as they are simply smaller than the wavelength of light. British artist Luke Jerram thought that's just isn't right, so, since around 2004 he has been making his own representations of viruses, alternative to the artificially colored imagery we are used to receive through the media.

Jerram's sculptures are made in collaboration with glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch and are designed in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol, using scientific photographs and models. The following are 6 scientifically accurate glass representations of deadly viruses created by Luke Jerram. For more about Jerram and his amazing artwork check out the above BBC video or visit

[1] Smallpox

[2] T4 Bacteriophage Virus

[3] HIV

[4] E.coli

[5] Swine Flu

[6] Untitled Future Mutation

CultHats to IFeakingLoveScience

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Color Pic-a-Pix Light Vol 1: Solve the Puzzle and Discover a Beautiful Pixel-Art Picture

The object in this new game from Conceptis is to reveal a hidden picture by painting blocks according to the rules. There is only one unique solution for each puzzle.

Rules are pretty simple: Each row and column should be painted so their length, color and sequence corresponds to the clues, and there is at least one empty square between adjacent same-color blocks. It is allowed to have no empty square between adjacent different-color blocks.

How to play

Select the color you wish to use and click the desired square in the grid. First mouse click fills a square, second mouse click displays a dot to indicate the square is blank and third click brings the square back to its original state. Multiple squares may be filled or blanked by dragging the mouse.

Play Color Pic-a-Pix Light Vol 1

Monday, June 20, 2011

7 Contemporary High-Speed Photographers

If you ever tried taking a photograph of a running dog or a fast moving car you must have noticed it is quite a difficult task. Even with the most generous lighting conditions and very good lenses normal photography equipment is unable to capture sharp images of extremely fast motion due to the familiar effect of motion-blur. That's where special High Speed Photography equipment and a lot of experience and knowhow get into the picture... High Speed Photography is the art and science of taking of motion picture film, video or still photos of extremely fast phenomena such as explosions and detonations; water splashes; gunshots and other extreme high-speed actions.

* Note: This article was originally published on January 25, 2008. It got lost during a major CultCase crash and was republished on June, 2011.

The first practical application of high-speed photography is attributed to Eadweard Muybridge for his famous horse feet research. Later innovators such as of Eastman Kodak's, Bell Labs', Wollensak Optical's, Redlake Laboratories' and others further developed the equipment allowing up to 10,000 frames in a single second, even though most modern equipment is usually a bit slower that that. The Photron APX camera, for example, is capable of high resolution capturing of 1024 x 1024 images at 2000FPS or 1024 x 512 ones in 4000FPS.

Apparently, a few physical and chemical phenomena are way too fast to be captured even via a 10,000 FPS camera. Some stages in nuclear explosions occur in the speed of light or in other words exactly 299,792,458 meters per second. That was just too fast for any device to be able to capture until the 1940s when Harold E. Edgerton, AKA the "Doc" introduced us with a new ultra high-speed technique titled Stroboscopic Photography.

The amazing images shown above taken by Edgerton in the early 50s show the growing hit and shock fireballs about one millisecond after nuclear detonation. Using his Rapatronic cameras Edgerton managed to take such nuclear detonation photographs with the amazing exposure time of up to 10 billionths of a second. For making Stroboscopy and High Speed photography what they are today Edgerton (below) won many awards including the SMPTE Progress Medal in 1959 and the Eastman Kodak Gold Medal Award in 1983.

Lucky for us and right from the start, Edgerton's work was in no way limited to the physics of nuclear detonations. In 1937 Edgerton's "Coronet" milk drop photo was featured in the first photography exhibit of New York Museum of Modern Art's. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Edgerton was also of the first photographers to take high-speed shots of subjects commonly experimented by contemporary photographers. He took the pictures of athletes (1938), hummingbirds hovering (1953), bullets bursting balloons (1959) and blood coursing through capillaries (1964), and set up the path for countless of enthusiastic followers. "Self-Portrait with Balloon and Bullet" for example (below), was taken in 1959 but still looks fresh and stylish.

Today, following the path-breaking achievements of Edgerton and other High Speed Photography innovators and as technology become cheaper and more affordable, high-speed photographers became more common. What was once a technical scientific occupation is today a popular form of art attracting countless of enthusiasts across the world. Thus, fueled by the power of Internet, countless of High Speed Photo fans are able to freeze time and share fractions of their reality with you and me.

The following is a selection of seven outstanding contemporary High Speed photographers and some of their work. While some of them are already famous and others don't even have a name, each one of them has his own unique visual language. Enjoy.

1. fotofrog

Based in Hagen, Germany fotofrog has been photographing for over 20 years with his main interests being High speed photography, infrared and macro. Gunshot and impact photos are pretty common nowadays but fotofrog spices them up with a with some thrill and danger, combining his model hands in the shot, very close to the action. A word of advice from fotofrog: don't try this at home.

2. Kai Kuusisto

The photos Kai Kuusisto, AKA kaintero, takes with bicycle rider Antti Koljonen particularly interesting as they always combine some drama or a good sense of humor with their high speed subject. Other than a great High Speed photographer this 27 years old great looking dude from Helsinki, Finland is also a bmx rider and a civil engineer. Stylish. You can also meet him on MySpace or read this recent article from

3. Andrew Davidhazy

Professor Andrew Davidhazy of the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology is one of the most outstanding experts for High Speed Photography worldwide. His photos include everything from Gunshots, Splashes and Dripping water to Schlieren and Photoinstrumentation Photographs.

4. Greg Scott

Hummingbirds are living helicopters made by nature. They can fly forward, backward, up, down, and even upside-down. Their wings' motion changes its angle with each flap. Unlike other birds, hummingbirds flap their wings horizontally in the shape of a figure 8 and do that on an average rate of 50 times per second. During courtship Hummingbirds' wings can speed up to 200 times a second. The above photos were all taken at 1/33000 sec, using an Olsen custom flash. Click them and have a look at the high-res versions. In my humble opinion, considering the way these birds were moving while being photographed, the level of details and focus here is simply amazing.

5. breic

Water and milk splash photos are amongst the most popular High Speed Photography subjects and it's not easy to make a difference. There is not much publicly known about breic except for being a north American and
having a unique visual language for a spectacular set of milk color splash photos. The above milk splashing onto black plastic photos include food coloring. Lighting: Vivitar 283 (without diffusion) at camera right, aluminum foil reflector at left. ISO100, f/38.

6. Pulse Photonics

There are many great companies out there doing fabulous High Speed work. Yet Pulse Photonics has been in business for more than 25 years during which time it has supplied lighting and cameras for many scientific research disciplines. The wealth of experience gained during this period is clearly shown in their work and has gained them the only slot on this article devoted to a company rather than an artist. Some of the bullet photos taken by Pulse Photonics, such as the above "Bullet through metal" for example, are within the level of art. At least I would gladly have one in my living room for what it counts.

7. bowie22

Other than being a "taken" young man bowie22 from Kingsport, Tennessee has a special talent for drop and reflection photos. For me drop and reflection photos are of the most interesting High Speeds due to the clean look of the water surface, the shape of the drop serving as a mirror and the additional requirement of macro techniques.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

It was exactly 01:23:45 AM (UTC+3) on 26 April 1986 when reactor #4 at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the former U.S.S.R., exploded and sparked a chain reaction ending up with what we know today as the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. A huge plume of highly radioactive fallout, 400 times more than during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Wikipedia), was exploded into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. But 23 years later, for Swiss decay photographer Timm Suess the Chernobyl ground-zero is also the stuff dreams are made of. At least his dreams.

Like Stalker in Tarkovsky's sci-fi masterpiece, filmed 7 years before the Chernobyl disaster, Suess takes us to a stunning photo-journey into one of the most horrific, abandoned and destructed areas on the surface of earth. While the "Zone" parts in Tarkovsky's fiction film where shot at a deserted hydro power plant on the Jägala river near Tallinn, Estonia, Suess' Chernobyl Journal is an overwhelming HDR photo documentary project chronicling a two-day trip taken in March 2009 through the real thing – the Chernobyl zone of exclusion. Packaged into an online presentation on Suess' website, the must see collection includes approx. 450 photographs as well as a few short videos. Below are a few samples we find particularly interesting.

The Road to Chernobyl

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Road towards Chernobyl town, still outside the zone (Source). More from this set, including pictures taken in the town of Chernobyl nearby Suess base camp, here.

Red Forest

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Panorama of the Chernobyl power plant, view from the railway bridge (Source). More from this set, taken around the Red Forest area near Pripyat, Chernobyl, here.

Pripyat Center

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The Pripyat city administration building. The radioactivity sign was probably placed there after the accident (Source). More from this set, taken in the city square of the ghost town of Pripyat west of Chernobyl, here.

Apartment Building

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Another corridor in an apartment block in the ghost city of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken around an apartment block in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Amusement Park

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The Ferris wheel in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken around the amusement park in the ghost city of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Swimming pool

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

The public swimming pool in the ghost town of Priypat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in a public swimming pool in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

School Greenhouse

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Greenhouse of a school in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in and around the greenhouse of school #1 in the ghost town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, here.

Ship Graveyard

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Liquidator boats at the ship graveyard north of Chernobyl (Source). More from this set, taken in the North of Chernobyl, where the old liquidator ships went to die, here.

Around Reactor Island

Chernobyl Journal: HDR Photo Journey to the Zone of Exclusion

Cooling tower of the unfinished Chernobyl reactors 5 and 6 (Source). More from this horrifying and thrilling set of pictures from and around the Chernobyl Reactor Island, including reactors 1-4 and unfinished reactors 5 and 6, here.

For more see Chernobyl Journal: