What better way is there to show both the beauty and power of nature than with these incredibly electrifying images of lightning? While sometimes it just takes being at the right place at the right time, like for amateur photographer Bertrand Kulik and his photo of a brightly illuminated Eiffel Tower, for others, like Dan Ransom, it requires carefully assembling a composite image or “stacking” multiple photos together to showcase a wild electrical storm (like the one Ransom stunningly captured at the Grand Canyon). Whether these magnificent shots were the result of luck, hard work or patience, they all give us a deeper appreciation for a part of nature we rarely get to see.
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I love wasps… pretty sure this is a Paper Wasp. She really loved this plant so I was able to get very close. Look how she’s posing so beautifully! Wasps are the supermodels of the insect world.
Doug Perrine captured these stunning photographs in the Maldives. The particular location (Vaadhoo Island) has a concentrated population of bioluminescent phytoplankton. Bioluminescence is a natural chemical reaction which occurs when a micro-organism in the water reacts with oxygen. When washed ashore by the tides, the phytoplankton’s chemical energy is turned into light energy, illuminating the waves.
A coloured honeycomb from a beehive is seen in Ribeauville, France. Bees at a cluster of bee hives in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M’s candy processed at a nearby biogas plant is the cause. Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville have seen bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colorful substances that have turned their honey unnatural shades.
Photo credit: Vincent Kessler / Reuters
An old tree stump with grass growing over it, Faroe Islands
that is a goddamned unicorn
“The 3,000-plus known nudibranch species, it turns out, are well equipped to defend themselves. Not only can they be tough-skinned, bumpy, and abrasive, but they’ve also traded the family shell for less burdensome weaponry: toxic secretions and stinging cells. A few make their own poisons, but most pilfer from the foods they eat. Species that dine on toxic sponges, for example, alter and store the irritating compounds in their bodies and secrete them from skin cells or glands when disturbed. Other nudibranchs hoard capsules of tightly coiled stingers, called nematocysts, ingested from fire corals, anemones, and hydroids. Immune to the sting, the slugs deploy the stolen artillery along their own extremities.”
The fire rainbow is the rarest of all naturally occurring phenomena. The clouds must be cirrus and at an altitude of 20,000 feet at least. There must be just the right amount of ice crystals present, as well.
The sun has to hit the clouds at exactly 58 degrees. It makes the rainbow appear to be on fire, hence the name. It’s actually cold as ice, though. In the weather world, the phenomena is known as a circumhorizontal arc.
It isn’t a traditional rainbow, per se, but an effect that happens when light passes through wispy cirrus clouds at high altitudes. Even more specifically, the hexagonal ice crystals that make up the cirrus clouds must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground for the fire rainbow to appear.
The light enters through a vertical side face of the hexagon and leaves through the bottom causing the light to refract, or bend, like in a prism. If the crystals are aligned precisely, then the whole cloud lights up as a rainbow.