Throughout the natural world, many shapes are found again and again in different contexts. We see circles, ellipses, spirals, waves, lines, polygons, and many other shapes at various levels of complexity.
Here we have what appear to be feathers similar to those found on birds, but in this case, made entirely of ice, formed spontaneously over the top of a wet spot of ground. As the temperature dropped, the water feeding this puddle slowed, lowering its level. Molecule by molecule, water evaporated from the top of the lowered puddle and condensed on the crystals that had already begun to form on the earlier surface of the puddle, arranging themselves in this pattern.
Sitting here in the airport early in the morning as I all too often do, I watch as passengers make their way here and there. It's a typical scene that any traveler will recognize but it seemed somehow visually interesting this morning. I shot this with the camera set at 1600 ISO and added noise beyond that resulting from the high sensitivity setting; then switched to monochrome which seemed appropriate.
View of the Seattle Skyline across Elliott Bay from Alki Beach in West Seattle. This is about a full minute exposure. Streaks in the sky were made by commercial aircraft on approach into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Click the image to enlarge.
Copalis Beach is extraordinarily flat. As the tide recedes, movements of the clams beneath the sand produce telltale markings on the surface in the form of small concave depressions often surrounded by a raised ring. These range in size from about 1/4 inch up to 2 inches in diameter. Walking slowly along the sand, diggers scan the surface for these signs.
Illuminated by the low-angle sunlight, patterns in the sand carved by the waves and left behind by the tide present interesting photographic subjects.
Once the surface mark of a clam is spotted, a tubular tool is used to extract a core from the beach sand. Pressing this tube into the sand, the air vents out through a hole in the handle. Covering this hole, the tube is then withdrawn with its contents. The clam may or may not come up in the core. It's often necessary to reach into the hole and remove it by hand. This must be done quickly as the clams immediately begin digging deeper when their environment is disturbed. They can move remarkably quickly through the sand. The ambient temperature was in the upper 30s and falling when these pictures were taken.
In the wake of all the clam digging activity, the beach is strewn with collapsing holes, cores, and occasional dead clams and crabs or pieces of them.
The search continues... As the sun finally sets, seagulls scavenge for the dead bits left behind by the clam diggers.
A nearly full moon gently illuminates the beach enabling the search to continue after sundown.
It's still officially Autumn but already the snow from the first winter storm of the season is melting away. A winged seed pod still hangs from a Japanese Maple tree that only a few weeks ago was in the midst of a spectacular color show.
Trapped beneath the ice crust on a frozen puddle, a fallen maple leaf peers up at the rising sunlight.
Just as the crane operator was shutting down for the night, the unthinkable happened: it collapsed. Amazingly the operator survived his bumpy ride down. A resident of the apartment building across the street was not so lucky. He was killed when the walls and ceiling of his unit were crushed by the falling heavy steel crane. Microsoft identified the man who died as Matt Ammon, 31, a lawyer in the company's patent group. Paul Leeper and Linda Rosario, residents in the unit below his were outside looking at the scene as I took these pictures. They described the experience as a loud rumble and explosion-like noise as the equipment impacted their structure. As they told of their ordeal, I was reminded of earthquakes. Only this of course was a lot more localized.
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Frequently people land on this site with search queries like "what part of the eye corresponds to the camera shutter". With a camera, the shutter opens for a very precise amount of time and allows light to hit the film or sensor inside the camera. The closest comparison to that in the eye would be the eyelid that can open and close but its purpose is more analogous to that of the lens cap than the shutter. Shutter mechanisms come in a variety of configurations. More detailed information about camera shutters can be found in this article [Wikipedia].
Camera lenses also have a diaphragm iris [Wikipedia] which adjusts to increase or decrease the amount of the available light that can pass through it during any given period of time. This corresponds directly to the iris in the eye [Wikipedia] which serves the same purpose. I suspect many people confuse this with the diaphragm-type shutter mechanism, however both the eye's iris and that of the camera are visible through the lens while the shutter is generally inside the camera and out of sight. In modern cameras, the iris is usually fully open except at the moment when a picture is taken so it can be seen to move right about the same time as the shutter.