How the elephant got his trunk: Sometimes, the "unfinished story" aspect of "amazing capture"-type pictures can bug me, as it did when I first encountered this shot credited to Martin Nyfeler. However the BBC clarifies the situation with more photos and an update on mother and baby. (The Beeb's captions are uncharacteristically unclear about who the photographer is or how the shots were captured—were they stills or video captures? Always some part of the story left to tell I guess.)
Elvis getting out of a flying saucer: We all talk about being prepared for that once-in-a-lifetime photographic encounter. Alex Wypyszinski experienced it—only it involved a galloping bear and a badly burned bison in Yellowstone National Park. Take a look at his amazing encounter. "I thought I was having a hallucination or something," said the photographer. (And note, as one reader aptly mentioned to me, that he could have proved the Muybridge bet* where bears are concerned! Funny.)
The path to Katahdin: Most backpackers are worried about every last little ounce, and are known for fanatical weight-saving measures like sawing half the handle off their toothbrushes. Not Ben Benvie, who took a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and an EF 35mm ƒ/1.4 lens with him for his ~2,200-mile trek up the Appalachian Trail. Now the readers of "Tell My Mom Not to Worry" get to vicariously enjoy his arduous trip. (Note the "trail names" in the captions—a trail tradition I'm guessing?)
Tour-de-force: And, lastly, another treat from boston.com's Big Picture site—47 pictures from National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010. Something for everyone.
(Thanks to several readers, including Jimmy Reina and Ken Bennett)
*Leland Stanford, the "robber baron" Governor of California and founder of Stanford University, once made a $25,000 bet that a horse's hooves all leave the ground at once when it's galloping. Photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who he hired to prove him right, did so. Stanford then supported further work from Muybridge in the same vein. Take a look at the wonderful animated GIF at Wikipedia made from Muybridge's 1887 still photos. Unfortunately, the story had an unhappy ending; the businessman screwed the artist in the end. Sigh.
UPDATE: National Geographic says the elephant photographer was "Tourist Martin Nyfeler of Kloten, Switzerland," and that he took the pictures during a visit to Zambia's South Luangwa National Park in late September. (Thanks to D. Burman and Torgeir Frøystein for this.)
ADDENDUM: I found this outstanding article about Eadweard Muybridge by Mitchell Leslie at Stanford Magazine. Nicely done, and a good read. Muybridge really was a character.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by James Bullard a.k.a. "Saunterer": "Yes, the 'trail names' are a long-distance hiker tradition."