In his ongoing series of portraits titled Just the Two of Us, photographer Klaus Pitchler gained access to the homes of Austrian costume play (cosplay) enthusiasts where he photographed the elaborately costumed individuals against the backdrops of their everyday life. Artist statement:
Who hasn’t had the desire just to be someone else for awhile? Dressing up is a way of creating an alter ego and a second skin which one’s behaviour can be adjusted to. Regardless of the motivating factors which cause somebody to acquire a costume, the main principle remains the same: the civilian steps behind the mask and turns into somebody else. ’Just the Two of Us’ deals with both: the costumes and the people behind them.
While the costumes are incredible, terrifying, and laughable, it’s the strange juxtaposition of ordinary home life and the unknown identities of each individual that create such great images. See much more here. All images courtesy Klaus Pichler.
Flying fish (Exocoetidae) can be seen jumping out of warm ocean waters worldwide. Their streamlined torpedo shape helps them gather enough underwater speed to break the surface, and their large, wing-like pectoral fins get them airborne.
There are about 40 known species of flying fish. Beyond their useful pectoral fins, all have unevenly forked tails, with the lower lobe longer than the upper lobe. Many species have enlarged pelvic fins as well and are known as four-winged flying fish.
The process of taking flight, or gliding, begins by gaining great velocity underwater, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) per hour. Angling upward, the four-winged flying fish breaks the surface and begins to taxi by rapidly beating its tail while it is still beneath the surface. It then takes to the air, sometimes reaching heights over 4 feet (1.2 meters) and gliding long distances, up to 655 feet (200 meters). Once it nears the surface again, it can flap its tail and taxi without fully returning to the water. Capable of continuing its flight in such a manner, flying fish have been recorded stretching out their flights with consecutive glides spanning distances up to 1,312 feet (400 meters).
London-based artist and photographer Carl Warner creates incredible food art with his series titled, Foodscapes. They are scenes of landscapes made entirely from food. Its the most incredible and original use of food as an art medium. Meat becomes mountains, bread floats as clouds and broccoli and carrots make great trees. Warner’s Foodscapes cover all different types of landscapes. With such titles as 2001: A Breadscape to Cereal Dust Bowl, his images are inspiring, detailed and amazingly creative. His website has over 50 different Foodscapes to view as well as his ad work and still life.
The Secret Lives of Fish
Paris-born artist Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard uses fish for her art. Not a common medium for most artists, but that’s what makes her work so incredibly fascinating. The details in each scene are meticulously placed and the positioning of her “subjects” is perfect. Each piece is so unique with its content that it brings to mind particular scenes from movies and film.
The artist works in Berlin, Germany and takes up to three months to complete each piece. Every diorama she makes is perfectly placed and detailed, with set decorations, clothing, shoes, and tiny utensils. After she is done photographing the fish scenes, she cooks and eats them. Recycling at its best.
Amazing Dive Bombing Birds
Off the coast of South Africa, Cape Gannets spot their targets from the air and dive like a squadron of bombers to pursue their prey. A Cape Gannet can snap up a fish before it realizes it’s even being chased. Photographer Alexander Safonov is astounded as he watches these amazing birds dive 25 feet (8 meters) underwater to catch a meal from a school of sardines.
As you can see from looking at these photographs, Cape Gannets are awesome fishers. For one, they can spot their prey from almost 100 feet (30 m) up in the air. Large flocks scour the sea together – sometimes in groups of up to 1,000 – searching for shoals of fish. Then, once the birds spot their fishy meals, they plunge through the air like heavy arrows raining down. Their wings are flexed back against their bodies, and their tails and feet are pointed, making them look like Olympic high divers.
“Photographing diving cape gannets is one of the most incredible things I’ve done so far in my life,” says Safonov. “Seeing hunting birds which normally belong to the air element deep underwater is a surreal sight. Sun rays, bubble trails, scales, chaotically moving bait fish – all contributes to the dramatic spectacle orchestrated and choreographed by nature itself.”
The predatory gannets bomb the water at speeds approaching an incredible 75 miles (120 km) per hour. Luckily, they have no external nostrils for water to force its way into – because at those speeds, a whoosh of water up the nose would really sting! As mentioned earlier, these birds can reach depths of up to 25 feet (eight meters), driven only by their own momentum. Cape Gannets can then stay under the water for three to seven seconds – just long enough for them to snatch their slippery snacks in their sharp bills and gulp them down before surfacing again.
Designing an Aquarium
The above pictures are unbelievable freshwater aquarium designs. Their designs are amazing for a reason, they are the top five winners of the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) sponsored by Russia. Since 2001, the IAPLC has been the largest planted aquarium design competition in the world. With over 1,819 applications from 55 countries, these were judged the best:
- "Forest Scent", Russia
- “Loess plateau”, Macau
- “Colour of life”, Vietnam
- “The view”, Japan
- “Karst”, China
To see over 100 more of these incredible designs, the contest’s website is Aqua Journal. Clicking on the above images will enlarge them, greatly enhancing their detail.