Posts tagged with animals
Exploring the Crystal Desert: Antarctica Through a Photographer’s Lens
Christopher Michel doesn’t like to sit still. Despite a career that includes gigs as a Naval flight officer, tech investor, entrepreneur, journalist, and government science advisor, Michel has managed to steady his hands long enough to also hone his skills as a photographer. His pursuit of the perfect image has taken him from Mount Everest to Papua New Guinea to the Korean Demilitarized Zone — and even, in 2010, to the edge of space (inside a U-2 spy plane). His most recent journey, however, is to a place he deems most magnificent of all: the frigid waters of Antarctica’s so-called “Crystal Desert.” On board a giant ship chartered by Harvard (his alma mater), Michel photographed icebergs as they froze, melted, and refroze. We managed to slow Michel down long enough to ask him a few questions about his polar voyage.
What kind of photography equipment do you recommend for extreme environments like Antarctica?
Antarctica and camera equipment aren’t friendly. From the inevitable Zodiac sea spray of the Southern Ocean to the battery-draining deep freeze, a smart photographer needs to come prepared with backup equipment, extra power, and protective everything.
Art at a Snail’s Pace
You’ve finally made it, after a breathless climb up the winding marble staircase, to the upper terrace of the Duomo di Milano — the famed Cathedral of Milan, Italy, and the fourth largest in the world. You flip through your guide book. A towering forest of ornate spires, the same ones that enchanted the literary likes of Mark Twain and Henry James? Check. The hundred gruesome gargoyles, staring down from their marble perches? Check. There is the precious white marble, quarried from Candoglia, and a view of the Italian Swiss Alps in the distance (amid the smog). And yet, if you happened to be one of thousands of tourists who visited the Duomo two months ago, there was also something out of place — a bit of modernity sticking out among the 14th-century Gothic masterpiece.
There, slinking across the cathedral’s steps and roof, were dozens of bright blue plastic snails.
At the Coney Island Aquarium, Sea Life Goes On
It was just a few short weeks ago that the New York media was gushing over the arrival of Mitik — the adorable baby walrus — to the New York Aquarium, where he seemed to be loving city life. But when Hurricane Sandy hit last week, sending more than 12,000 water animals into darkness, the aquarium, just off the boardwalk in Coney Island, faced the biggest challenge of its life. The aquarium’s basement flooded with 15 feet of water, damaging generators and cutting electricity. Tanks full of freshwater fish were doused with murky storm overflow, while the ground floors — home to the major exhibits — filled with up to three feet. For four days straight, aquarium staff worked around the clock to make sure the animals were safe — many of them neglecting their own damaged homes. Eighteen stayed through the storm. “It was an intense couple of days,” says aquarium director Jon Dohlin.
The aquarium is now closed indefinitely, and struggling to recover — with generators powering the exhibits’ environmental controls. We went behind-the-scenes to see firsthand.
Jill Greenberg on Capturing the Horse as Supermodel
One might say there are two Jill Greenbergs. First, there is Jill Greenberg the commercial photographer: She’s done work for corporations like Disney and Coke; her editorial photos have appeared on the covers of Time, Fortune, New York, and others. But it’s Jill Greenberg the artist who gets people talking. From sinister shots of John McCain under the text “WARMONGER” to closeup portraits of children crying (after being offered candy and then having it snatched away), her images have been called “repulsive,” “grotesque,” and have elicited death threats. Her latest project, a book called Horse, is more, shall we say, tame.
You were harshly criticized for the McCain photos you took during the last election, under a strobe light, which made him look almost devil-like. It was an Atlantic assignment, but you doctored the outtakes as an art piece. Was it hard to find editorial work after that?
That incident’s backlash really surprised me, considering I delivered their cover image exactly to their specifications. I don’t really know, but I think the Atlantic was afraid that McCain might be elected and needed to cover themselves. Photographers own all their images when shooting for magazines. The contract actually said you will use all means within your reach to publicize the images and shoot, including your own website, which is where I posted my agit-prop political cartoons. The incident got them an unbelievable amount of traffic, right before they relaunched the magazine with a redesign.
Pusheen the Cat Tells All
Like most members of the feline family, Pusheen the Cat enjoys sitting on warm computers, long petting sessions, and many other quintessential feline activities. But she’s not your typical tabby. Adopted from a shelter in her youth (hence the name, based upon the Irish word for kitten, puisín), Pusheen has since grown into one of Tumblr’s furry sensations.
Her human-like snacking abilities, love of dress-up, and abnormally adorable on-screen bop have garnered hundreds of thousands of fans. She already has a line of merchandise and is working on her first book. And yet, despite all this fame, Pusheen remains her modest, friendly, yarn-loving self. How does she stay so grounded, amidst all the adulation? Pusheen answers, in typical fashion.
Where do you live?
I live in the USA. To be specific though, I spend most of my time on this couch.
Where’s the coolest place your travels have taken you?
I think that would have to be the refrigerator. It’s honestly one of my favorite places in the world.
You’re kind of a big deal. People can even buy shorts and earrings and whatnot with you on them. With all this attention, how do you stay humble?
I always start my day off with a delicious slice of humble pie. Mmmmm.
Anyone special in your life these days?
Are you asking me out?
You don’t eat cat food. Let’s take tonight, for example. Any dinner plans?
If you want to go get a pizza, I won’t say no!
How has Tumblr changed your life?
Before, I was just a chubby tabby cat. Now, I’m a chubby tabby cat with a blog!