Tekapo Starlight (by Alex Cherney)
Lake Tekapo on South Island in New Zealand is arguably one of best night sky locations in the Southern Hemisphere. The significance of its pristine night sky without light pollution is recognised world-wide and is being included in the list of UNESCO Starlight Reserves.
The World at Night ( twanight.org ) works closely with UNESCO Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative helping to increase public awareness of the importance of dark skies.
Footage in this time lapse was filmed for a BS JAPAN documentary feature about Lake Tekapo night sky.
This is where we’re sleeping tonight. Different night, same amazing starlight.
Yesterday morning we got up before the sun and went to Bondi beach for a sunrise swim. It was amazing: vast and almost empty but for a few brave surfers, runners and yoga enthusiasts. This experience embodied so much of my first impressions of Australia - a country in which the land and fitness are national obsessions.
We then walked to the more secluded and less popular Bronte beach, which was even more beautiful. Children are trained in surf rescue there from a very early age, and there were dozens of dog walkers. Some people even took their dogs down to the wave-free natural pools for a swim.
Clare Richardson, Beyond the Forest
In his introduction to Landscape and Memory, the historian, Simon Schama, asserts that, ‘Although we are accustomed to separate nature and human perception into two realms, they are, in fact, indivisible. Before it can ever be a repose for the senses, landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock.’ This proposition – that our understanding of landscape is dependent on memory, and vice-versa – poses a difficult dilemma to someone who has led a life dominated by transience.
…within Beyond the Forest she employs a somewhat radical strategy to illustrate that fictions exist in what might otherwise be misconstrued as fact. When the images are reproduced, they always bare a faint yellow cast – as if they’ve been fogged or have aged prematurely – which, to someone who has dedicate years to both admiring and slavishly attempting to produce perfect c-prints, appears to be a serious error on the part of the printer. But as the book unfolds, the consistency and ensuing effectiveness of this intentional flaw progressively intensifies. ‘The yellow cast removes the pictures from photography,’ Richardson explains, ‘They become much less real. I wanted the work to look more pictorial, and not like photographs. The first time we descended into the valley it was twilight, there was a heavy fog in the air, there were horses and carts and old dirt paths, and I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t a film set or a Breugel. Also, you can’t help but look at a few haystacks and think of the Old Masters, so maybe there’s a bit of that in there.”
Since its invention, photography has fought a long, embittered battle to distinguish itself from painterly traditions, to be understood as an entirely separate but equally legitimate visual interpretation of the world. As Berger’s reading of Strand points out, this battle was nearly won more than four decades ago. Yet looking at Richardson’s latest work its hard not to suspect that perhaps something incredibly valuable has been lost along the way – an ability to employ myth, imply fantasy and stir the imagination beyond the limits of visual reality. In the book’s subtitle, Richardson tells us that the villagers portrayed in Beyond the Forest claim to descend from the children of Hamelin, Germany, who in the thirteenth century were led out from the town by the Pied Piper, never to be seen again – a fable recorded most famously by the Brothers Grimm. “You see, it’s a real place, but it’s explained through this folkloric tale. Every folktale has a bit of truth within it, but there’s a lot of twisting of that truth through word of mouth, so the surface of the reality changes. Ultimately, I wanted the book to be like that – something that you’d read as a bedtime story.”
Article written by Aaron Schuman, read more here.
Patience (After Sebald) “is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss”. It is also a documentary of sorts, a “film in search of an author” - namely, writer and Wandersmann W.G. Sebald, the German-born, British-based author of The Rings of Saturn, Austerlitz, and On the Natural History of Destruction.
The Rings of Saturn is one the most successful experiments of psycho-geography in creative writing. It narrates stories about people and places, and it is organised to follow various walks (or one long walk) that Sebald took through East Anglia and Suffolk and along the coast. I have never read a book like it. That is, I have read many books that try to imitate its meandering structure and eclectic range, but never one as strong, persuasive, good.
Sebald’s work interweaves the local and the universal, the infinitely large and the infinitely minute. It moves effortlessly from history to literature, from anecdote to myth; it typically involves bio-chemistry and astronomy, physics and mechanics, and it deals with transportation, disease, military technology, voyages of discovery, the impermanence of man, and the permeability of borders. It is at once creative and documentary writing, in that by invention it conjures up times and places, people and objects, while at the same time describing and observing what is placed in front of the reader’s eyes as though it were an objective reality, a palpable landscape. Think Walter Benjamin meets Italo Calvino meets Stephen Hawking: there you have him.
I am not alone in my love of Sebald: film-maker Grant Gee has been equally obsessed with Sebald’s work, and the journeys - both imaginary and real - it prompts the reader to undertake. Gee’s film Patience (After Sebald) was screened for the first time almost exactly one year ago at a conference on Sebald, in which various members of my department were involved. Tonight it’s being screened followed by a Q&A at the Renoir cinema in Russell Square, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
“This is the incredible moment a fox is captured nose-diving into deep snow to catch a mouse. Wildlife photographer Richard Peters took this picture while travelling through Lamar Valley in Yellowstone national park”
Photograph: Richard Peters/Rex Features via The Guardian - Week in Wildlife Slideshow
Antarctica - Photographer: Herbert PontingA century before the makers of Frozen Planet, the photographer Herbert Ponting travelled with Captain Scott to Antarctica. The British Antarctica Expedition, 1910-1913, was to become a tragedy when Scott and his party died after reaching the South Pole second to their rival Roald Amundsen. Yet before they set out for the centre of the frozen continent they explored, and photographed, its spectacular sights. Ponting took powerful, touching shots of penguins, seals and the expedition’s dogs and horses. This picture – Grotto in an Iceberg – taken from an ice cave, is Ponting’s most famous shot. Scott’s ship is in the distance; Ponting, deep in the ice grotto, sees its swirling serpentine contours and ovoid aperture. It is like the frozen eye of a frost giant spying on the explorers. That frozen giant would get them. This photograph is one of the most beautiful ever taken of Antarctica, but it is forever tinged by death.