Over the last few years, I’ve become strongly affected by the seasons. I suspect it probably correlates with the time at which I started keeping a garden, something I’ve yet to start doing here in the US. Anyway, as winter’s slowly turned into spring, I’ve been taking quite a few photos. Here’s three sets of my favourites

Taken in the Seattle Arboretum during mid-February with Winter still upon the city. Of particular interest was the Winter Garden, a collection of plants that remain colourful and attractive through the winter.

First Spring set at the University of Washington, early March. Blossoms weren’t yet out properly, but the bulbs were in bloom.

Second Spring set at UW, taken today, with blossoms in full profusion. Of particular note are the cherry blossoms flooding the quad and the swarms of people out to enjoy them.

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I wasn’t going to post anything more about the Phoenix Lander, as the media’s picked it up now, and I don’t have a lot to add.

But then, I saw this photo..

It’s Phoenix decelerating with its parachute in the Martian atmosphere, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Not a high quality image, but there’s something totally awesome about this. It’s not just telemetry and indirect guesses – that’s a man-made probe, landing on an alien world, and we can actually see it.

If you’re not in awe of that, what exactly does it take?

via The Planetary Society

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via Open the Future;

A set of photos taken during the recent earthquake in Sichuan province, China, by a wedding photographer who’d just begun taking photos of the bride and groom when the earthquake struck.

Two strike me in particular – one of masonry falling off a church, the other of the bride, resplendent in dress, veil, and dusty debris looking out over the rubble as her new husband is climbing to his feet.

It seems their photos were being taken on some steps outside the church, within which many of their guests remained. You can only imagine the shock – they’ve just experienced an intensely joyful experience, then, having only recently left the church to have photos taken, they experience horror, as the building, filled with friends and family, collapses behind them. 33 are reported missing or dead.

Photos like this, untouched by professional media, give, for me, a much more intense window into events – it was easy to see imagery of rescue workers and devastation on the news and think of it as a distant tragedy, a statistic – this brings it all into so much more focus.

In the post mentioned above, Jamais says ‘With every snapshot, every recording, every blog entry, we’re documenting our world.’ – that’s important – it emphasizes the breadth of documentary that crowd journalism can give – if everyone has a camera and a voice, so much more is captured, and so many more perspectives are presented. That said, I think crowd journalism is similarly important for the personal, immediate nature of it – there’s an increase in perceived honesty and emotional intensity that you get when you’re seeing footage and accounts by people who were actually there, experiencing the event. To some extent, I think this is what makes embedded journalism during wartime so interesting, too..

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For those who like pretty astronomical pictures..

ESO has a press release out with several photos of interesting solar phenomena, including the rare green flash and even rarer blue flash, both caused by the earth’s atmosphere acting as a prism when the sun’s light hits it with a very low grazing angle at sunrise or sunset. More in wikipedia

They’ve also got photos of the zodiacal light and Gegenschein, both caused by solar light reflecting off interplanetary dust..

For those not so fascinated by astronomy, here’s a bunny.

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