So many pictures i didn’t even know where to start ~ while in SF, i finally got to check out the California Academy of Sciences ~ did the Nightlife VIP tour (really, if you can, its perfect! You actually get to have the fun of Nightlife, but without the lines, so you can see everything in the few hours ~ including reserved spots for the planetarium ~ and an open bar)… The space is beautiful! So first, CREATURES! A look at some of the critters encountered… and in the next post you can check out the space… check out the pics on the next page! Everything from (what look like) hummingbird lollipops, frogs galore, living walls, albino gators, dino poop and more…
Ok, so you’ve seen the warning signs, and here are the animals of the LA Zoo! We brought the 40D and the 5D Mark II ~ so these are a mix of pics that both dan and i took while wandering around… hilarious the expressions some of these guys make… and the eyes! And the crazy shenanigans some of them try to get up to… like the orangutan that threads the swing rope through the fence to whip more plants towards itself… and the giraffe with its tongue!!! Anyhow, check out a bunch (ok, 25!) pics on the next page!
NOTCOT Note: SO, jealous that linhchi (shade elaine) had a chance to get into the California Academy of Sciences! But luckily she took some gorgeous pics to share her experience with us!
I’d been waiting for the new California Academy of Sciences to open in Golden Gate Park for over a year, and when opening weekend finally rolled around late in September, I wasn’t willing to combat the crowds. Luckily the company I work for was invited to a party there (hosted by AOL) this past Monday evening, and though we didn’t get to check out the entire place, it was awesome being able to wander around the rain forest dome (I missed the planetarium show!) and get a glimpse of the other parts without enormous amounts of people, and to get a unique view of the place at night! My favorite pic (you’ll see it after the jump) is from inside the rain forest dome looking up at the ceiling & lights. I’ll definitely have to go back and check out the entire place for real. See a lot more pics after the jump!
Remember those amazing photographs of nudibranchs David Doubilet shot for National Geographic where i couldn’t stop gushing about how amazing they were on pure white, like a model or product? Well in our ever shrinking world, i get an email from my globetrotting explorer of a dad, who happened to be in Manado at the Lembeh Strait on North Sulawesi, Indonesia at the Kungkungan Bay Resort scuba diving ~ with pictures of him holding the mini underwater studio setups David Doubilet used for those shoots! He even said that the resort folks were encouraging him to use them, but he decided they were too much of a hassle, but thankfully he took some pics to indulge my curiosity about the set up.
On the next page you can see more pics of the mini studio, as well as some of his scuba diving discoveries i loved ~ i’ve picked out my favorites of my dad’s nudibranchs and frog fish pics!
VIDEO (on the next page)! So i woke up bright and early this sunday morning and decided to wander around Paris, quickly realizing that stores weren’t really open today, i went hunting for outdoor markets once the rain stopped, and found myself wandering around St Germain for some time, crossing through Notre Dame… and as i turned, i heard tons of sqwaking, and followed the sounds… i ended up in the most bizarre and amazing little outdoor flower and bird market, which apparently also has ferrets, chipmunks, chinchillas, piles of hamsters, super fluffy bunnies, all kinds of beautiful little birds, and even a poor little yorkie decked out in more denim than most people…
See the video for the best feel of the craziness, and lots of pics on the next page!
Nudibranchs ~ i’ve been obsessed with these gorgeous creatures since my first dives as a kid in south east asia. David Doubilet ~ i grew up on his breath taking photography. Combine them ~ and video ~ and National Geographic… and i’ve been swooning over this Nudibranch feature on the National Geographic website for days now. So looking beyond the subject matter for a moment, from a photographic/design perspective… what really struck me about this series of photos, was the process! Seldom do you see these beautiful (tiny) little slug like creatures pop off so vibrantly on a perfectly white background… they look more like supermodels in a photo studio… so watching the video blew my mind to see that David Doubilet and his team actually went diving with a portable studio that they brought TO the nudibranches, shooting them where they found them, and only moving them when they weren’t doing any complicated nudibranch activities (mating, feeding, etc). See the full gallery here, and see some of my favorites as well as the set up they used on the next page!
Catherine Ledner is known for her incredible animal portraiture that gorgeously paired with beautiful wallpapers and color palettes… in fact she’s even been featured twice on .org - her site as #4667 and her NYTimes Slideshow with images from her book “Animal House” as #7345. Now, i’m excited to announce that she’s created a new site Catherine’s Animals where you can order limited edition prints of these animal portraits!
Each image is available in 4 sizes - 100 of 11”x14” at $250, 20 of 16”x20” at $500, 20 of 20”x24” at $750, and 10 of 32”x40” at $1700. See more of my favorites on the next page!
Polyface Farm ~ it was one of the few pit stops we’ve made here in Virginia while visiting family… and WOW. While i will openly admit, i know little about sustainable agriculture and farms - dan has been raving about this place and their philosophies and systems ever since he read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan (where the author actually lived on the farm for 2 weeks to fully understand their incredible process!)
“At Polyface, we want every animal to eat as much salad (green material) as its full genetic potential will allow”
Knowing i can’t do the full story justice, consider this post a launching board to poke those of you who are remotely interested to find out more… but here’s my quick version. First thing to grab me driving up was definitely the logo ~ such a cute entrance sign! With the fish in the chicken in the cow in the tree! Poly-face certainly makes a lot of sense with its multifaceted farming. Essentially the beauty of this farm is its earth/life centered approach, which thrives on a fantastic sense of balance achieved through understanding what these animals and plants need to thrive year round ~ instead of optimizing for speed or fattening things up, they’ve managed to create a sustainable farm in harmony. Most of their species are in a rotation - to keep the cows from overgrazing and consuming their own waste, to give the chickens a chance to pick through and find all the best grubs as well as feed, to turn pigs into “Pigaerators” (tasty corn ferments encourage them to aerate all fertilizer for the farm naturally), water that is collected in their various ponds and wells from winter runoff keep them self-reliant, and so much more i can’t even begin to explain. And from a design perspective, i was fascinated reading about the ways they utilize mobile electric fences and Eggmobiles to facilitate this whole process!
Bottom line? The eggs, sausage, and bacon i tasted were truly incredibly tasty and worth the drive (if you go out there, def get the apple juice too, we thought the jug was HUGE, but it disappeared in about a day - who knew even the toddlers would love it so much?)… the family running the farm was intelligent, kind, and passionate about every aspect of their process, and eager to share their wisdom. If you make it to these parts, you definitely want to roadtrip over and try some of the goods - since they are only available there, and in select restaurants nearby! So, continue your journey, read more about Polyface Farm here!
i was out wandering far out in the fields visiting some chickens and their adorable, huge guard dog ~ and got caught in a thunderstorm, which left me completely drenched in a little green sundress ~ so not as many pictures as i would have liked to show you on the next page - but i was a bit preoccupied with the wetness and protecting the camera! Still - some fun ones! (and big thanks to Robert Frysinger for contributing some of his pics as well.)
Have you noticed that when i go on “vacation” and attempt to take a break, it doesn’t exactly mean a complete break from posting (versus other sites)? Rather, it’s more like you get dragged along on the break with me ~ and get to see “vacation” content of sorts? Well i hope you don’t mind, but here’s one more to amuse you!
So i’ve been in Virginia the last few days ~ Earlysville/Charlottesville to be precise ~ and its been interesting, i never thought i’d find vermont so designy and inspiring ~ but Virginia, not so much. It has however been an incredible place to run into TONS of critters of all shapes and sizes ~ from gaggles and gaggles of canadian goslings/geese, deers - eating and running through the forest, a huge Northern Black Racer - Coluber constrictor (it was getting attacked by mocking birds in the driveway when we got back!), an awesome little toad, turtles (big and little! attacking a half fish), tons of fish, a heron, caught some frogs eggs, put some reservoir bryozoans in the fish tank, chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies, blue tailed skinks, beaver dams (but no beavers…), chickens, cows, and other livestock… and much more as we went on a canoe trip on the reservoir, little hikes and walks, and just finding things in the yard!
I think i’m also getting sick possibly, and/or ready to get back to socal (its been about 3 weeks away now i think)… so i wanted to do more posts for you tonight, but really just having a hard time staying awake and upright at the moment. So next best thing? I thought perhaps you’d like a little photo series on the next page to get a feel for what Virginia has been like for me, and how pretty and nature filled the trip has been! Enjoy! Theoretically i’ll be driving up to Washington DC and hopping a plane to LA on the 3rd…
As i’m sure you know by now, yesterday i disappeared to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on my spontaneous roadtrip up california. Normally i’d think on a weds/thurs this should be a breeze, avoiding the crowds, etc… but no. I seem to have overlooked that it is spring break week for most kids, and it was INSANE! None the less, we had a good time oooooohing and aaaaaaahing and remembering why i really need to take more random excursions and maybe get to some scuba diving all over the world again… (hey, i’m sure i can find inspiring things to post down there too!). Additionally Dan took over my Canon 40d and showed me how its really done (as you may have noticed, i’m more a shoot fast, photoshop later kind of girl, whereas he’s more of a technical, play with settings, take your time kind of guy…) - so here’s a post *mostly* of his incredible pics of the inspiring jellies (and some fish, and some crazy splashing, and a bit more).
But before we jump into the pics ~ anyone in the bay area (or california and neighboring states that can just pop over here) ~ you creatives HAVE to come check out the Jellies: Living Art exhibit… they put the jellyfish tanks in these overly ornate frames, and have them in the context of the works of calder, pollock, chihuly, and more. Its really fascinating - not to mention absolutely mesmerizing - i shot some video i’ll add on when i have time… but for now… To the pics below!
Rumor has it i’ve been a bit of a workaholic the last few months, and lacking at indulging my inherent wanderlust… so today was supposed to be a quick drive up to SF from LA with dan, but one thing led to another and it became a spontaneous roadtrip/adventure - leading to everything from lunch in a danish town (solvang) - trying danish pancake balls (aebleskiver) - feeding ostriches and emus - a giant tree stump turned treehouse/pirateship on the side of the road in a tile/bricklaying yard - 1797 Mission San Miguel Arcangel - driving by Hearst Castle - seeing beaches filled with elephant seals - cruising up the coast through state parks on cliff hanging roads to big sur - stopping off to admire the view constantly - buying 99 cent chips for $1.79 (cliff view markup?) - seeing otters playing so far below they looked like tiny dots - sunset in Big Sur - martinis and dinner watching the sun fully disappear - and now i’m in Monterey Bay in a luscious king sized bed overlooking Cannery Row and the ocean as i try to get this post up as my photo excuse as to why the posting and editing was a bit quiet today.
Tomorrow ~ Monterey Bay Aquarium and then back to regularly scheduled working… but for now, catch up on the roadtrip in pics first (as well as a full map of where i’ve been and where i’m headed)?
Are elephants the new steadycams? Or the new paparazzi? (elephrazzi?) Are spy cam technologies finally being put to good use to capture incredible new nature footage? Does a tree trunk rendition of R2D2 really slip under a tigers radar as it rolls around the jungle floor?
Apparently YES! A three-part BBC One series: Tiger - Spy in the Jungle, which is narrated by Sir David Attenborough is the latest creation of John Downer who has been recording footage over a period of 3 years in the Pench National Park in India… using some ingenious “trunk-cams”, which allowed the team to follow four newborn tiger cubs through adulthood. Although i’ve captured a bunch of screenshots after the jump (you never know when videos might disappear off the web and we have nothing to look back on!)… you MUST check out the videos over on the BBC page. For our lucky UK readers - the first programme of Tiger- Spy in the Jungle will be shown on BBC One on Sunday 30 March at 2000 GMT
Inspiration comes not only in all shapes and sizes, but from literally anywhere… and all of us at NOTCOT have a particular fascination with the inspiration from nature (ok some more than others, since Justine picks nature over design with her phd studies!)… So when we heard about the new deep sea species found in Antarctica, and then found these high res images and video of them, we swooned. And realized we HAD to post them. Here’s what we found out from the Australian Antarctic Division: “The return of the last of three Antarctic marine science research vessels marks the culmination of one of Australia’s most ambitious International Polar Year projects, a census of life in the icy Southern Ocean known as the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census (CEAMARC). Australia’s Aurora Australis and collaborating vessels L’Astrolabe (France) and Umitaka Maru (Japan) have returned from the Southern Ocean, their decks overflowing with a vast array of ocean life including a number of previously unknown species collected from the cold waters near the East Antarctic land mass.” Some of the shapes and curves of these are just incredible… don’t those tunicates look like glassy hearts? Lots of imagery after the jump!
As i’m sure most regular NOTCOT readers have noticed ~ my background and those of our few contributors is quite varied, but passion-filled! Justine and i grew up heavily inspired by both design and nature, and as a result i’m here doing NOTCOT, and she’s helping out when not busy finishing up her PhD in Animal Behavior and fencing… we grew up surrounded by all types of creatures, so it should be no surprise that we’re smitten with Life in Cold Blood, and i’m anxiously awaiting the DVDs… Here’s what she has to say about Attenborough’s latest:
Those of us lucky enough to be in the UK have caught our first look at the final installment in David Attenborough’s “Life” series. And this final series is a group particularly near and dear to my heart, the herps! “Life in Cold Blood” takes a look at the world’s diversity of reptiles and amphibians. The first episode: “The Cold-Blooded Truth” did not disappoint, packed full of gorgeous footage and remarkable creatures.
The making of (“Under the Skin”) was equally exciting, including glimpses of Attenborough in the early days of his career. The man is, without question, a legend. As a zoologist in training, I think I can honestly say, his documentaries have been an inspiration. And the producers of the series may just have outdone themselves again. You owe it to yourself to check out the BBC Life in Cold Blood site in its entirety of clips and goodies, but here are couple shots to whet your appetite after the jump!
DVD and Book are at the BBC Shop… which all Planet Earth lovers simply must have.
This one goes out to all the carnivores, biologists, and butchers who read NOTCOT… i went by the opening at GR2 saturday night, and when i popped by the original Giant Robot store, i couldn’t help it but i totally had to buy two of these silly Gotochi Dissection Animals… See? I buy things sometimes not because i need or want them, but because i just really want to take a bunch of pictures to share with you. So after the jump you can see my full coffee table photoshoot of a tiny bull and tuna showing what i imagine to be the different edible anatomical portions of both - check out images of the packaging, and fun closeups of both… as well as all the other models GR has in store.