Greatest nature photographs?

Lately the Guardian is into nature photographs, and some lovely snaps they are.  First is their presentation of the ten greatest nature photographs of all time.  I can’t get on board with all of their selections, but there are some undeniably great pictures.  Here are two:

Fig. 1. Galápagos tortoises (Geochelone nigra) having a dip at dawn on Isabela island.  Photograph by Frans Lanting.

Fig. 2: A swimming polar bear (Ursus maritimus)—and its reflection—off Baffin Island.  Photograph by Paul Nicklen.

And, at another site, the Guardian has 21 nice photos of microscopic marine life. Here’s one:

Figure 3:  A larval spider crab (family Majidae, species unknown). Photograph by Cheryl Clarke-Hopcroft.

h/t: Matthew Cobb

5 Comments

  1. Pete Moulton
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Well, I can’t argue with their including at least one Nicklen; the guy’s photography is fantastic. As part of a holiday gift this year, my significant other bought me tickets to see three National Geographic presentations (she does this so she can go too, you know), and Paul Nicklen was first on the docket. He used this image of the Polar Bear in his presentation, though there were others, including an up-close and personal portrait of a Leopard Seal resting on an ice floe, that I thought were even more amazing.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      A Leopard seal? Oh, yes, this is the Paul Nicklen who had an amazing encounter with a frightening but friendly female Leopard Seal who tried to feed him penguins!

      The video he made from the pics is breathtaking:

      • Hempenstein
        Posted April 30, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        The seal musta thought this was God before him, and that he’d better appease him.

        But the mouth looks like a dog’s, and the behavior is like a retriever’s. How close are seals to wolves?

        • Posted April 30, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          Intereting observation. The phylogenetic tree of the Carnivora order puts the Canidae (dogs and wolves) and Pinnipedia (seals and sea-lions) in the same sub-order Caniformia (“dog-like”), with other extant and fossil groups, including Ursoidae (bears).
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivora#Classification

          So this means that retriever dogs and leopard seals are more closely related to one another than to cats or civets. However, the Caniformia is a large group, including bears, pandas, badgers, raccoons, weasels, etc.

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    How is it that the reflection of the polar bear isn’t disturbed by any ripples on the surface. Surely the disturbance created by his going into the water would still be echoing, or if not that, disturbances from released air – unless polar bears can paddle about underwater for extended times. And if they can, their hemoglobin might have interesting O2 binding curves vs. non-diving relatives.


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