Portals of London: urban exploration to discover gateways to alternative universe

Salim Fadhley writes, "Portals of London, an urban exploration blog, presents an alternative geography of London. It's a catalog of the weird, decrepit and slightly crumpled - things the author posits might plausibly be portals to alternative universes, but then again might not." Read the rest

What 'Independence Day' Is Like In Transnistria, An Unrecognized Country Inside Moldova

Transnistria, officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, is an Eastern European territory with a strong Soviet vibe. Technically, the country does not exist. Transnistria is considered a part of the Republic of Moldova, and isn't an officially recognized nation of its own, despite declaring independence in 1990, followed by a war in 1992. I attended this year's Independence Day celebrations in Transnistria, hoping to understand what the place and the people are all about. Here's what I saw. Read the rest

Gorgeous time-lapse video of Sunday night's SpaceX launch

On Sunday evening, SpaceX launched a satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Visual Burrito created this beautiful time-lapse, 4K video of the spectacle in the sky.

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Glorious collection of control panel photos

Control Panel is a fantastic visual blog "in praise of dials, toggles, buttons, and bulbs," a companion to the Control Panel group on Flickr.

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Steel wool burning in slow motion

Some people just like to watch the wool burn. A GIF excerpt from this 2016 macro video of steel wool in flames is making the viral rounds two years later. The original video is worth revisiting, so here it is... Read the rest

Depictions of Addiction: a free online photography course, starting in two days

The amazing, award-winning photographer and photography teacher Jonathan Worth (previously) is about to launch his next course: Depictions of Addiction, from Connected Academy, with internationally renowned photographers Nina Berman, Jeffrey Stockbridge and Graham Macindoe. Read the rest

Welcome to Slab City, the "last free place"

Slab City is a curious community in the Sonoran Desert about 150 miles northeast of San Diego. Formerly a World War II Marine Corps base, it's now home to around 150 off-the-grid squatters and thousands of temporary campers and RV owners who wait out the winter months before continuing their journeys. The name comes from the concrete remnants of the military base. Author and architect Charlie Hailey and photographer Donovan Wylie documented the anarchic living and structural scene in their new book "Slab City: Dispatches from the Last Free Place." The pictures are a compelling and provocative view inside this not-so-temporary autonomous zone that embodies a curious kind of liberty for its diverse inhabitants. From an interview in Smithsonian:

What were some of the more interesting dwellings that you saw?

Wiley: [The dwellings] were all so autonomous and each had its own individuality, which in itself makes them interesting. The structures were people; they revealed the people and the place and were all very different and fascinating. [Being there] really made me question the idea of what being free is, and what it means in terms of American mythology, the desert, expansion and history.

Hailey: The scale of construction ranged from a piece of cardboard on the ground placed within a creosote bush to these large telephone structures to pallet structures that were two stories tall. Each one expressed what that particular person wanted to make them, but then against restraint of what resources were there and what nature would allow.

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Affinity Photo is an awesome low cost Photoshop alternative

I pay for a monthly subscription to Adobe's suite of photo editing apps. They streamline my workflow on my Mac, iPad and iPhone. What's more, they allow me to make my mediocre photos almost look like they were taken by someone who knows what they're doing. I'll be the first to admit, however, that subscription-based software is bullshit. Yes, you'll always have access to the latest updates that the application developers have to offer, but for all of the money you're paying over the course of months, or even years, you never end up with a product that you can say you own. Stop paying that monthly fee and you're left with bupkis. I don't much care for how that feels. I'm also not crazy about how much horsepower Adobe's software needs to perform well. Photoshop and Lightroom work great on my 2015 MacBook Pro. The same goes for Adobe's mobile apps on my iOS devices and Android smartphones. Unfortunately, the pixels flow like mud if I attempt to do any image editing in Lightroom on my Microsoft Surface Go. It's just not powerful enough. Happily, I discovered Affinty Photo a few years ago. It's a low cost Photoshop alternative for iOS, Mac OS and Windows that, for many image editing tasks, is just powerful enough to get shit done.

On my low-powered Surface Go, Affinty loads in half the time that Photoshop does, allowing me to get in and out of working on a photo quickly before uploading it to go along with a story. Read the rest

Photographer travels the globe documenting remarkable libraries

The World's Most Beautiful Libraries is a lovely collection of some of the most awe-inspiring libraries ever built. Read the rest

Account aggregates thematically similar Instagram travel pics

Platforms like Instagram reward users who post specific kinds of content, in some cases leading to travel largely for the photo op. Insta Repeat examines how stylistic themes have emerged in the genre of of Instagram travel photos by aggregating shots that are similar in theme, location, and type of person. Read the rest

Wondrous winners of Nikon's "Small World in Motion" microscopic video contest

Above is a "Zebrafish embryo growing its elaborate sensory nervous system (visualized over 16 hours of development)" captured by Elizabeth Haynes of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and colleagues. This wondrous clip is the winning entry of Nikon's "Small World in Motion" microscopic video contest revealing dynamic weirdness and beauty at the tiniest scales. Below, second place, Dr. Miguel Bandres and Anatoly Patsyk (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology), "Laser propagating inside a soap membrane;" and third place, "Polychaete worm of the Syllidae family," by Rafael Martín-Ledo of the Conserjería Educación Gobierno de Cantabria.

See more: Small World 2018 World In Motion Competition

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Photos recreate favorite meals of famous artists and writers

Photographer Michelle Gerard created a fantastic series of photographs that recreate the favorite meals of famous artists and writers as if they were in their actual workspace. You can see F. Scott Fitzgerald's meal of canned meat and apples and oranges next to his typewriter in a cheap North Carolina hotel, David Lynch's preferred meal of a chocolate milkshake and "lots of coffee with lots of sugar at Bob's Big Boy at precisely 2:30pm," and more at Designboom.

[via Nag on the Lake] Read the rest

School apologizes for promo photo manipulated to darken students' skin for "diversity"

Art school Émile Cohl in Lyon, France formally apologized after students noticed that a group photo on the school's United States promotional web site had been manipulated to make several of the people appear to have dark skin. The manipulated photo is at the very top of this post. Below it is another image, without the alterations, from the same series of snapshots. From The Guardian:

Antoine Rivière, the college director, told L’Express he was only made aware of the altered photo when he was contacted by some fifth-year students who appeared in it.

“We had sent a certain number of documents to an American communications agency in order to highlight our college,” he said. One of the photographs had been doctored without the school’s knowledge...

The school is planning to open a branch in the US in the near future.

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Broken film camera hacked into supercool wrist-cam

Photographer Alireza Rostami scavenged the lens and shutter from his broken Chinese Seagull TLR camera to create this fantastic wrist-worn camera complete with a self-timer. More at PetaPixel.

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New photo book gives rare glimpse inside North Korea

Inside North Korea collects Oliver Wainwright's gorgeous photos of the striking public aesthetic of a brutal dictatorship. Read the rest

God mad at Trump: photo proof!

Today, CNN photographer Khalil Abdallah captured this photo of God's anger at the White House. (via @matthoyeCNN)

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NASA's gorgeous music video for Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune"

The scientist/artists in NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio created this magnificent video to accompany a recent performance by the National Symphony Orchestra Pops of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune." From NASA:

The visuals were composed like a nature documentary, with clean cuts and a mostly stationary virtual camera. The viewer follows the Sun throughout a lunar day, seeing sunrises and then sunsets over prominent features on the Moon. The sprawling ray system surrounding Copernicus crater, for example, is revealed beneath receding shadows at sunrise and later slips back into darkness as night encroaches...

The visualization uses a digital 3D model of the Moon built from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global elevation maps and image mosaics. The lighting is derived from actual Sun angles during lunar days in 2018.

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