Nature’s Colors and Flickr Slideshow

Copyright All rights reserved by Anne Mäenurm.  No use without photographer’s permission.

SUNRISE UNDER THE RAIN.  From Anne: “Basically I like to go out to take pictures of sunrise and sunset; the best thing is always to go visit the same location many times so you can be prepared to get a good photo. You had better check the weather conditions as well! Camera gear: Currently I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 300mm f/4 for nature, Canon 17-40mm for landscapes, Sigma 150 f/2.8 macro for macro shots and portraits, Canon 85mm f/1.8 for portraits. I use Benro A-297 M8 tripod, Canon remote switch and Cullmann 40200 head. For landscapes I use Lee neutral density filters and Lee Big Stopper and polarizer.” See more on Flickr by Anne Mäenurm.

CLICK HERE to view the Flickr Slideshow.


Waves of Hurricane Irene

ROCKY SUNRISE.  August 26, 2011 at Blowing Rocks, Jupiter Island, Florida, copyright © by Matthew King. All rights reserved.

See more from Matthew King on his Flickr photostream.

“It was an interesting morning because it was high tide so water would literally crash over the rocks and then continue west towards the beginnings of the beach. Getting to the positions I was in was a matter of timing the waves and just running. I shoot with a Nikon D90 and wanted to have the ability to zoom in, but also zoom out, so I used a Nikor 18-105 mm to have a decent range. Because Hurricane Irene had already moved north I only faced the rough seas, overspray, high tide, and the wind was really gusting.
“One of my favorite shots on my that I took in that series you can view on my Flickr photostream is where another photographer was taking photos and a large wave came crashing over the rocks and shot thirty or so feet into the air. You can see the photographer running out of the way. ” —Matthew King


Hurricane Irene 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011— Over the last week, massive hurricane Irene brought intense winds and rainfall from the Caribbean and moved slowly up the east coast of the U.S. forcing evacuations and resulting in destruction and floods. It is now is classified as a “tropical depression” as it heads off eastern Canada back to the Atlantic.
CLICK here to view the GOES-13 satellite movie showing Hurricane Irene.
The animation runs from 8/27/2011 10:15 a.m. EDT to 8/29 at 10:15 a.m. EDT.

Credit: © NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters

More from This GOES-13 image below is from Monday, August 29 at 7:45 a.m. EDT and shows activity in the Atlantic Ocean with the remnants of Hurricane Irene moving into Quebec and Newfoundland (left), Tropical Storm Jose (center) and newly formed Tropical Depression 12 (right).

Credit: © NASA/NOAA GOES Project



US Earthquakes: East vs. West

Yesterday’s earthquake, with its epicenter just 90 miles south of our Reston, Virginia headquarters, shook our building with 30+ seconds of deep rumbling here at Nature’s Best Photography. There was no warning and the aftershocks may continue through the next weeks. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in nearby DC is open today, but the Gem and Dinosaur Halls are closed for assessments. The world’s largest obelisk, the 127-year-old Washington Monument, will be closed indefinitely after a crack in the very top of the 555-foot-high stone spire was discovered. This map from the US Geological Survey, based here in Reston, shows the current information on earthquakes around the world. Learn more on their website.

Interesting to note:
US East coast quakes are different than the more frequent occurrences in the West.

To quote from the Huffington Post: (click here for the whole story)

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — The East Coast doesn’t get earthquakes often but when they do strike, there’s a whole lot more shaking going on. The ground in the East is older, colder and more intact than the West Coast or the famous Pacific Ring of Fire. So East Coast quakes rattle an area up to 10 times larger than a similar-sized West Coast temblor.

“They tend to be more bang for the buck as far as shaking goes,” said Virginia Tech geology professor James Spotila.

Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude quake was centered in Virginia and was felt up and down the Eastern seaboard for more than 1,000 miles. There hasn’t been a quake that large on the East Coast since 1944 in New York.

While this was a rarity for the East, a 5.8 quake isn’t unusual for California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, where one occurs about once a year. Those states have had 103 quakes 5.8 or bigger since 1900, compared to now two in the East.

The ground is different in the East in a way that makes the shaking travel much further, allowing people to feel the quake several states and hundreds of miles away.

The rocks in the Earth’s crust in the East are colder, older and harder, which means seismic waves travel more efficiently and over greater distances. Rocks on the West Coast are relatively young and broken up by faults.

“An intact bell rings more loudly than a cracked bell and that’s essentially what the crust is on the East Coast,” USGS seismologist Lucy Jones told a news conference in Pasadena, Calif.

In the East, hurricanes are the worry far more than quakes. Former FEMA chief Witt said people on the West Coast know what to do in an earthquake: drop to the floor, cover their heads and hold on to something sturdy until the shaking stops.

Find out how the animals reacted on the National Zoo Website:
The Zoo has a flock of 64 flamingos. Just before the quake, the birds rushed about and grouped themselves together. They remained huddled during the quake.

NEXT UP: we are bracing for the effects of the first hurricane of the 2011 season. “Irene” is expected to hit US mainland later this week.

Send us your photos on our Power of Nature Flickr group!

Live Emergency Storm Tracking

Live Video Briefings from the National Hurricane Center Now Accessible on Over 600 iMap® Interactive Local Media Hurricane Maps and on iPhones Nationwide

Audiences Can Track Hurricane Irene on their Favorite Local Media Stations’ Websites and Keep Informed with the iMapWeather Radio iPhone Application

Norman, Oklahoma, August 23, 2011-
With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the eastern seaboard over the coming days, weather leader Weather Decision Technologies, Inc., is providing a vital new emergency information tool to local newspaper, radio, and television websites called the iMap®Tracker. The video widget embedded in hundreds of iMap weather maps in local media sites features live video updates from the nation’s hurricane experts at The National Hurricane Center (NHC). Over 600 media companies have the iMapTracker module already embedded in their websites, in hurricane zones and across the country. WDT and the media companies are also offering the iMapWeather Radio emergency alerting application for iPhone to all those affected by Irene and associated storms, offering real-time alerts before, during, and after the storm has passed.

A map of all participating local media outlets can be viewed at:

“WDT is offering groundbreaking access via an interactive map to track storms and watch live video updates from the National Hurricane Center,” said Mike Eilts, President and CEO, WDT. ” Millions of digital viewers who go to their local and trusted weather-related media outlets will benefit from timely updates and information online. With iMapWeather Radio for iPhone, residents in affected areas can be alerted before, during, and after the storm as they travel to and from affected zones,” said Eilts.

The iMapTracker feature within the interactive iMap provides real-time video streaming of the National Hurricane Center’s critical storm updates and will commence automatically if and when the NHC starts providing regular briefings via an animated notifier on every iMap weather map. The NHC provides hourly updates during hurricane landfall situations, and will hold special briefings during high-risk scenarios when storms are especially strong and storm patterns threaten large cities or vulnerable populations. These briefings may be accessed live and in archive form, as they are being issued during the course of Irene’s path up the eastern seaboard, landfall, and beyond.

Each NHC update and briefing will be available live and as archive video on-demand for four hours after the feed is over to viewers of WDT’s partner websites in over 600 demographic market areas (DMA’s). For media outlets with iPhone users, WDT is offering on-demand updates directly to mobile phones through its custom, iMapWeather Radio iPhone application.

The iMapWeather Radio iPhone features real time NWS alerts, watches and warnings, interactive radar, and custom local media videos and programming for Hurricane Season. For more information on iMapWeather Radio:

About Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. (WDT):
WDT’s iMap® services provide dynamic interactive and mobile weather mapping solutions for the world’s leading local media and Internet companies. WDT is a global leader in providing state-of-the-science weather detection, nowcasting, and forecasting systems. Go to and
For more information, contact Mike Gauthier at 405.618.2239 and

Nature’s Best on Voice of America

International competition receives more than 20,000 entries from 56 countries

By Julie Taboh | Washington, D.C. | Voice of America

Visitors view one of the winning photos in the Nature’s Best Photography International Awards exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. (July 2011)
Visitors view winning photos in the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice
International Awards Exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
in Washington, DC. (July 2011)

Hear an interview with NBP editor Steve Freligh on the Voice of America website.

VOA reports:

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is home to a collection of more than 124 million objects, including ancient dinosaur bones and the celebrated Hope Diamond, which many regard as the world’s most famous jewel. But tucked away on the second floor of the iconic institution is another gem of an exhibit which has attracted an impressive number of visitors. There, colorful, large-format prints showcase captivating images of nature taken by both professional and amateur photographers from all over the world. These are some of the winning entries in the 2010 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards competition. The contest drew more than 20,000 entries from photographers in 56 countries. Thirty-nine of the winning entries are now on display at the Smithsonian. It is a stunning collection of photographs, presenting images of everything from exotic wildlife to a wide variety of plant life and vibrant landscapes.

The annual contest was launched by Stephen Freligh and his wife and co-publisher, Deborah, both lifelong nature enthusiasts. They created the competition in the magazine, Nature’s Best Photography, in 1996. Each year, the winning entries are featured in the magazine and exhibited online. Since 1998, a selection of the winning entries has also been exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Freligh says he created the contest “to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature through the art of photography.”

Freligh looks at every photograph entered into the competition. He, along with a panel of judges made up of photographers, publishers and conservationists, carefully select images for their excellence in composition, use of light, technical accuracy and overall image appeal.

From the wild, to the walls of the Smithsonian

The contest is named after the late Windland Smith Rice, an accomplished nature photographer and conservation activist who was a 1999 award recipient and passionate supporter of the awards program. Freligh says his goal for the competition is to recognize talented photographers like Smith Rice and use their work to motivate people to “experience the wild” and, take advantage of modern technology to “go out and get good images.” His ultimate hope is that all nature enthusiasts will become ardent protectors and guardians of the planet. The annual Awards contest begins accepting entries for next year’s competition from photographers of all ages and levels of experience beginning January 1, 2012.