Thursday, December 6, 2007

When lightning strikes

A pictures taken one afternoon.
Important to have a tripod
Aperture value = 0
Time value: 2.5 seconds
Use ISO 400 if light is poor

Photos: G Beetge

Friday, November 23, 2007

The bull

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007


An electron microscope image of the Salmonella bacterium. (Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Laboratories,NIAID,NIH)

You've got nerve(s)

A scanning electron microscope picture of a nerve ending. It has been broken open to reveal vesicles (orange and blue) containing chemicals used to pass messages in the nervous system.TINA CARVALHO

Butterfly scales

Colored Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of scales from the wingof a peacock butterfly (Inachis o). These scales have an intricatedesign and overlap like the tiles on a roof. They allow heat and lightto enter and also help the butterfly to retain warmth. They may alsobe very colorful. Magnification: 750 X.

Head louse

And if just the thought of a hay fever attack doesn't start to make you itch, what about this microscopic head louse acrobatically scaling three strands of hair, taken by Garry Hunter and Dave Randall at The University of Sussex.


Colored Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of nylon hooks and loopsin Velcro material. Used as a common fastener on clothes and shoes,Velcro is a nylon material formed into two different structures: one a nail-head-like surface, and the other a smooth surface made up of a seriesof loops. The loops are loosely woven strands among an otherwisetight weave. When the two surfaces are brought together they form astrong bond, but can still be pulled apart. Magnification: 50 X.

Human capillary

Colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a cross-section of a human capillary, showing the red blood cells (red discs) it contains.The smallest type of blood vessel, capillaries pervade body tissue,forming a fine network that links veins and arteries.They have permeable walls that allow the exchange of gases andnutrients between the blood and tissue. Also known as erythrocytes,red blood cells transport oxygen to the tissue and carbon dioxideback to the lungs. Magnification: 2.600 X

Microscopic cross section of a lavender leaf

Early life on Mars?

Explanation: Today a team of NASA and Stanford scientists announced the discovery of strong circumstantial evidence that microscopic life once existed on Mars. Dr. David McKay, Dr. Everett Gibson, and Kathie Thomas-Keprta of Lockheed-Martin, all from (NASA /JSC), and Dr. Richard Zare (Stanford) have led a team that has found chemical evidence for past life on Mars - including what they interpret as possible microscopic fossil remains (tube-like structures pictured above) - in a meteorite thought to have originated on Mars. A small fraction of the many meteorites that fall to Earth from space have composition similar to the Martian surface. Many scientists believe that these meteorites are indeed Martian rocks that have been catapulted into space during a catastrophic event on Mars, such as an asteroid impact. The escaped rocks would then circle the inner Solar System, some of them falling to Earth. The meteorite containing the evidence landed on Earth 13,000 years ago, but may indicate a life-form that existed on Mars billions of years ago. The team's findings will be published in the August 16 issue of Science Magazine. Even skeptical scientists look forward to future research confirming or refuting these exciting claims.


Microscopic view of vitamin C crystal


Beautiful nature


Electron microscopic view

Antarctic mite

Head of an Antarctic mite magnified 1500 times - electron microscope

Photo: Gerry Nash

Volcano Smoke Particle

The particle in this scanning electron microscope image is approximately 8 micrometers (0.008 mm) in diameter. The outer shell is rich in silicon and aluminum. The inner portion contains more magnesium and iron. The small raised areas on the surface are titanium-aluminum-iron-rich crystals of a mineral called spinel. The holes in the background are part of the filter paper that the particle was collected on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thunderbird crash

September 14, 2003 - a Thunderbird F-16C crashed just after takeoff during an air show performance in Idaho. The pilot managed to eject 0.8 seconds before impact and walked away with only minor injuries.
As one might expect at an air show, there were many cameras trained on Thunderbird #6 when the accident occurred. Even so, this photo showing the $21 million jet just before impact is quite remarkable.
Even more remarkable is this video clip from an onboard camera showing the split-S maneuver and subsequent ejection from inside the cockpit. It’s a 4.1 megabyte mpeg, but if you can swing the bandwidth I highly recommend watching it.
As a side note, the accident investigation report was issued this week. It concluded that the accident was caused by pilot error. The pilot misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the “Split S” maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level (MSL) altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level (AGL) instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver.
It was a simple mistake. Unfortunately the stakes are very high when you’re performing low-level aerobatics.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Your nail

high magnification

The skin

high magnification

Salt and pepper

Grain of salt pepper corn

Early morning song


G. Beetge

Saturday, August 18, 2007

7 December 1941

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii on the morning of Sunday, 7 December 1941, which brought the U.S. into World War II. Aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyed five U.S. Navy battleships, along with 188 aircraft, one minelayer, and three destroyers and inflicting over 4,000 casualties. The Japanese losses were minimal at 29 aircraft and five midget submarines with 65 Japanese servicemen killed or wounded.

The intent of the pre-emptive strike was to protect Imperial Japan's advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies — for their natural resources such as oil and rubber — by neutralizing the U.S. Pacific Fleet (in the fashion of War Plan Orange as practiced by both sides).The Japanese high command was (mistakenly) certain any attack on the United Kingdom's colonies would inevitably thrust the U.S. into the war. By contrast, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had moved the fleet to Hawaii, and ordered a buildup in the Philippines, to deter Japanese aggression against China, or European colonies in Asia.
The attack was one of the most important engagements of World War II. Occurring before a formal declaration of war, it spurred the U.S. into World War Two against Japan and then Germany which declared war on the U.S. a few days later, creating a conflict that encircled the world. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy".

Last flight

On the night of May 3, 1937, the Hindenburg left Frankfurt, Germany for Lakehurst, New Jersey. This was the first trip of the year to Lakehurst, but the ship did fly to Rio de Janeiro earlier that year.

The crossing was uneventful, except for strong headwinds. The ship was half full, with 36 passengers and 61 crew members (21 more than usual), but the return flight was fully booked by people attending the coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom, which would take place on May 12, at Westminster Abbey, London.

The reason why the ship was only half full was probably because of concerns of a bomb on board. A letter was sent to the German Ambassador claiming the ship would be destroyed by a bomb after flying over New York City.

On May 6, the ship arrived in America. The ship was already late, and the landing was further delayed because of bad weather. Captain Max Pruss took passengers on a tour through New York City, and the seasides of Boston and New Jersey.

Finally, around 7:00 p.m. local time, altitude 650 feet, the Hindenburg approached the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. This landing was different, known as a high landing or flying moor, because the ship was winched down from a higher altitude. This type of landing maneuver would save the number of ground crew, but would require more time. At 7:08 the ship made a sharp full-speed left turn to the west around the landing field because the ground crew were not ready yet. At 7:11 the ship turned back toward the landing field and valved gas. All engines idled ahead and the ship began to slow. At 7:14, and altitude 394 feet, Captain Pruss ordered aft engines full astern to try to brake the ship. At 7:17, the wind shifted direction to southwest, and Captain Pruss was forced to make a second sharp turn, this time towards starboard. At 7:19, as the ship made the second sharp turn, 300, 300, and 500 kg of water ballast was dropped because the ship was stern heavy. Six men (three were killed in the accident were also sent to the bow to trim the ship. None of these attempts to correct the problem worked and the ship seemed to sink even more, but Pruss was now permitted to land. At 7:21, altitude 295 feet, the mooring lines were dropped from the bow. At this point, the cameramen were filming the lines being caught by the ground crew or stopped rolling altogether, and missed what was about to happen.

At 7:25, witnesses on the port side started reporting a small burst of flame near the vent in front of the upper fin. Commander Rosendahl's feeling at once was that the ship was doomed. One witness on the starboard side reported a fire beginning lower and behind the rudder on that side (however this may have happened after the initial fire on the port side).


The Hindenburg, moments after catching fire.At 7:25 p.m. local time, the Hindenburg caught fire and quickly became engulfed in flames. Where the fire started is controversial; witnesses on the port side saw yellow/red flames first just forward of the top fin, around cell 4. One, with views of the starboard side, saw flames beginning lower and farther aft, near cell 1. A crew member on board also recalled the flames spreading from cell 4 into starboard. Wherever it started, the flames quickly spread forward. Almost instantly, a water tank and a fuel tank burst out of the hull, as seen in the picture on the right. At the same time a crack appears behind the passenger decks. The ship's back broke, and the section from the nose to the aft engine cars lurched upwards, while the stern stayed in trim. As the Hindenburg's tail crashed into the ground, a burst of flame came out of the nose, killing three of the six crew members in the bow. As the ship kept falling with the bow facing upwards (because there was more lifting gas still in the nose), part of the port side directly behind the passenger deck collapsed inward (where the "dent" was), and the gas cell there exploded, erasing the scarlet lettering "Hindenburg" while the ship's bow lowered. One careful analysis of the flame spread, by Addison Bain of NASA, gives the flame front spread rate across the fabric skin as about 49 ft/s. The ship's gondola wheel touched the ground, causing the ship to bounce up once more. At this point, most of the fabric had burned away. At last, the ship went crashing on the ground, bow first.

The time it took for the ship to be completely destroyed has been disputed. Some believe it took 34 seconds, though others say it took 32 or 37 seconds.
The incident is widely remembered as one of the most dramatic accidents of modern time. The cause of the accident has never been determined, although many theories, some highly controversial, have been proposed.


Sharbat Gula (born ca. 1972) is an Afghan woman of Pashtun ethnicity. Forced to flee Afghanistan to a Pakistan refugee camp she was photographed by journalist, Steve McCurry. The image made her famous when it was featured on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic Magazine. Gula was known throughout the world simply as the Afghan Girl until she was formally identified in 2002.

Gula was orphaned during the Soviet Union's bombing of Afghanistan and sent to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan in 1984. Her village was attacked by Soviet helicopter gunships sometime in the early 1980s. The Soviet strike killed her parents forcing her, her siblings and grandmother to hike over the mountains to the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan. She married Rahmat Gul in the late 1980s and returned to Afghanistan in 1992. Gula had three daughters: Robina, Zahida, and Alia. A fourth daughter died in infancy. Gula has expressed the hope that her girls will receive the education she was never able to complete.

1984 photograph

At the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in 1984, Gula's picture was taken by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry. Gula was one of the students in an informal school within the refugee camp; McCurry, rarely given the opportunity to photograph Afghan women, seized the opportunity and captured her image. She was approximately 12 years old at the time.

Although her name was not known, her picture, titled "Afghan Girl", appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic. The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and with her piercing sea-green eyes staring directly into the camera, became a symbol both of the 1980s Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. The image itself was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine.

Search for the Afghan Girl
The identity of the Afghan Girl remained unknown for over 15 years; Afghanistan remained largely closed to Western media until after the overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001. Although McCurry made several attempts during the 1990s to locate her, he was unsuccessful.

In January 2002, a National Geographic team travelled to Afghanistan to locate the subject of the now-famous photograph. McCurry, upon learning that the Nasir Bagh refugee camp was soon to close, inquired of its remaining residents, one of whom knew Gula's brother and was able to send word to her hometown. However, there were a number of women who came forward and identified themselves erroneously as the famous Afghan Girl. In addition, after being shown the 1984 photo, a handful of young men questioned falsely claimed Gula as their wife.

1984 vs. 2002

am finally located Gula, then around the age of 30, in a remote region of Afghanistan; she had returned to her native country from the refugee camp in 1992. Her identity was confirmed using biometric technology which matched her iris patterns to those of the photograph with virtual certainty. She vividly recalled being photographed – it was the first and only time she had ever had her picture taken. The fame and symbolic character of her portrait were completely unknown to her.

Modern pictures of her were featured as part of a cover story on her life in the April 2002 issue of National Geographic and was the subject of a television documentary, entitled Search for the Afghan Girl, which aired in March 2002. In recognition of her, National Geographic set up the Afghan Girls Fund, a charitable organization with the goal of educating Afghan women.

Photo credit: Mike McCurry


Credit: Ilia Shalamaev

Friday, August 17, 2007


Photography is a system of visual editing. At bottom, it is a matter of surrounding with a frame a portion of one's cone of vision, while standing in the right place at the right time. Like chess, or writing, it is a matter of choosing from among given possibilities, but in the case of photography the number of possibilities is not finite but infinite.



Photo: G. Beetge
Canon EOS 350D

The way you see

To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

Hold still

"Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

Avoid a sneezer

Dead queen


A bugs' life

Photo:G. Beetge
Canon EOS 350D

Collapsing waterdrop


Old favourite


Thursday, August 16, 2007