Emperor Penguins by Paul Nicklen / National Geographic
Some arresting photography from the World Press Photo Awards 2013 photo contest. The entrants and winners are all gorgeous, and run the gamut from inspiring to the dispiriting and terrifying.
The above photo is one of many in Paul Nicklen’s prize-winning gallery for the story “Escape Velocity” in National Geographic.
Great story in Airman Magazine about the “Boneyard” – an Air Force base in Arizona that looks like a plane graveyard, but actually gives old aircraft new life:
The planes range from older ones, like the F-86 and B-52 Stratofortress, to newer ones, like the C-5 Galaxy. Though retired from active duty, each aircraft still performs a vital mission.
“Parts,” said Bill Amparano, an aircraft mechanic with the 309th AMARG. “These planes offer parts to the fleet. If a unit can’t find a replacement part for one of their aircraft, they’ll send us a request and we’ll take the part off one of our planes and send it to them.”
In other words, the AMARG is like a giant “pick-and-pull” for the Air Force, offering hard-to-find parts to units around the world. And, while it’s said the Boneyard is where planes go to die, it’s the opposite that’s true.
“They don’t come here to die, they’re just taking a break,” Amparano said.
“Holding Pattern” by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Bates
Photo: “Untitled (D.A.)” by Menno Aden / mennoaden.com
Menno Aden finds art by simply changing his perspective and photographing rooms from above. As he explained in an interview with Slate, the different angle can change the whole feel of the room:
“This happens because all the things on the floor such as the furniture flatten into two dimensions,” explained Aden. “I knew about it and I wanted this organized look over chaotic spaces because it makes the viewer feel elevated—sublime—but to be honest I didn’t know that an untidy room would look so organized, too.”
Room Portraits by Menno Aden
Photo: AP Photo/Narciso Contreras (from Atlantic In Focus feature “Syria’s Long, Destructive Civil War”; click photo to see more)
Kelly McEvers has an arresting story on today’s Morning Edition about a displaced family squatting in a school in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. The heartbreaking details cut through the death tolls, news clips and political statements to show the real cost this civil war has on Syrian families:
Em Ali laughs even when she’s telling the sad stories. But before she says good night, her voice gets quiet. She says that from time to time, she hopes that she will be killed with her kids, “just to stop all this, all of it.”
This kind of journalism, which shows the human side of this distant war, is so important. It seems that the devastation of this conflict don’t become real and impossible to ignore until we can hear the real voices and listen to the real experiences of those involved.
Listen to “For Those Still in Syria, A Daily Struggle” on NPR.org
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, “Two passengers brave the frigid weather while riding outside on a ferry crossing Casco Bay in Portland, Maine, at sunrise, on January 3, 2013” from Atlantic InFocus.
A wintry shot from my backyard in The Atlantic‘s “In Focus.”
“Wintry Weather – In Focus with Alan Taylor,” The Atlantic
Photo: Official White House photo by Pete Souza. President Obama’s favorite photo of the year.
The White House has released a wonderful collection of photos from 2012 taken by White House photographer Pete Souza. Photography is an art form that’s always eluded me – I know how to point a camera, and I know what I enjoy in a photograph, but the alchemy that combines the two and would allow me to take a great photo myself has always been out of my grasp – but it’s hard to look at these photos and not be touched by the realness and beauty Souza managed to capture. Regarding the photo above, Souza said,
“The President pretends to be caught in Spider-Man’s web as he greets Nicholas Tamarin, 3, just outside the Oval Office. Spider-Man had been trick-or-treating for an early Halloween with his father, White House aide Nate Tamarin in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. I can never commit to calling any picture my favorite, but the President told me that this was HIS favorite picture of the year when he saw it hanging in the West Wing a couple of weeks later.”
“Year in Photographs 2012 by Pete Souza” on the White House Flickr stream
White Horse Ledge above Echo Lake in Conway, NH.
My girlfriend and I went to the White Mountains today for a quick hike and a chance to enjoy all the scenery bathed in fresh snow. Conway, North Conway and the Kancamagus Highway are all just a little more than an hour from Portland, and I find myself returning there more and more. The White Mountains were a staple of summer vacations in my childhood, but I was always more interested in helping Kirby save the world from King Dedede on my Game Boy than I was in being awestruck by the region’s natural beauty. Now there is little I enjoy more in life than getting outside and unplugging for a few days, hours, or even just my lunch break.
On the way back to Portland I queued up the latest episode of PRI’s Living on Earth on my iPod. Living on Earth held a regular place in my earbuds when I was working in a warehouse years ago, a reliable source for an hour of entertaining and informative listening while I moved Box A from Point B to Point C. LoE was absent from MPBN for the last few years, but it’s just recently returned to the lineup, which inspired me to download an episode.
Coming back to reality from my quick mountain getaway, this story in particular piqued my interest. In “The Changing of the Environmental Guard,” host Steve Curwood speaks with Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, about what could happen to the country’s environmental policies this year with a new Congress and a re-elected President Barack Obama. After an election where environmental issues got barely any mention at all, and the House still looks largely the same, things still look king of grim. After a day like today outdoors in the White Mountains, I hope they get a lot better.