The kiss sailor and other 3 Portuguese heroes of World War II

Mendonsa with the photo that made him famous. 
Alfred Eisenstaedt photographed the Portuguese kissing nurse 
Edith Stain on the day of victory over Japan.
A Portuguese was the protagonist of the most famous photograph of the end of World War II. George Mendonsa (who died on Monday) had documents that prove it. This is the starting point for these stories of Portuguese-American veterans. George Mendonsa shakes his 88 and jumps off the couch, needs to show something and it has to be now. 

He walks down to the dark basement of his home in Middletown, Massachusetts, opens the drawer of a desk and grabs a sheet. Lights a lamp and the light illuminates a black and white image.

A sailor kisses a nurse in Times Square, New York, on August 14, 1945, the day World War II ended. It is the photograph of Kissing Sailor, which was featured in Life magazine and 90 other publications around the world. The nurse is Edith Shain, who died in June last year at age 91, due to liver cancer. As for the sailor, in profile, denying the photographer's face, his identity remains a mystery.

That's what George needs to tell: he knows who that man is. The son of Madeiran now shows four different photographs, where you can see a beautiful brunette behind the kissing couple. The veteran explains that the name of the unknown is Rita Petry and begins to draw their relation with this image: this woman, who does not occupy the center of the gaze, was her companion that day. George abandons the images and grabs a dossier from 2005 with the seal of Naval War College. 

It is an investigation conducted at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab (MERL) in Cambridge, led by the specialist in photographic analysis and former rector of the Yale University School of Arts, Richard M. Benson. Throughout several pages, one sees images of a tattoo and a scar to be compared with two shadows on the sailor's arms. Then, colorful, three-dimensional images of a skull. On the last page, one concludes "with a reasonable degree of certainty" that the bearer of the tattoo and the scar is the sailor of the photo.

George rests the file and rolls up his sleeves. There is a scar on one arm; on the other, a G and an M, their initials. There's no doubt. George is the sailor.

It's a magic moment. In front of us materializes a hidden reality for decades. Even George had to wait 35 years for a similar moment. It was only in 1980 that a friend asked him where he was on August 14, 1945, and he showed an edition of Life in which the editors of the magazine revealed the identity of the nurse and asked the sailor to identify himself. George did it immediately. He and at least ten other veterans. The magazine decided to be careful and did not identify the sailor. But George was always sure it was him, so he ordered the study from the Cambridge laboratory.

In the basement of the house where he lives with his wife, George holds the photograph again with his big hands - the same hands that support the nurse's body - and says: "Whenever another man says he is the sailor, my blood boils . " He raises his eyes and, about to leave the body in an almost lost, almost lost time, promises: "This is my story."

George enlisted to go to war on March 26, 1942, when the shock waves of the Pearl Harbor attack had already reached Newport, on the west coast of the United States, where the young, timid fisherman worked. George spent summers with his Madeiran parents and his brothers on a tiny island near the coast that they named "Portugese island."

"I was 19, those who died in Pearl Harbor were my age ... after the attack that all the boys wanted to go after the Japanese, we wanted to hunt them"

"I was 19, those who died in Pearl Harbor were my age ... after the attack that all the boys wanted to go after the Japanese, we wanted to hunt them down," he recalls. "I was raised in the water, had been at sea all my life, I decided to go to the Navy." For six months he learned how to fly a ship and how to communicate it through light signals.

The first missions in which he participated were coast patrol and training. "On the first day at sea off California, I woke up at midnight to complete my shift. I get to the deck, everything was flooded, the sea came in, and they were all sick and vomited."

When they reached Pearl Harbor, they joined the Fast Carrier Task Force, consisting of three cruisers, three battle ships and about twenty destroyers, the first line of defense of the main target of the enemy: the four aircraft carriers that followed in the center of the group. George embarked on one of the destroyers, the USS The Sullivan, baptized by sailors as "The Sully." The ship had been named after five Iowa brothers who had died aboard the USS Juneau, sunk during the Battle of Guadalcanal months before.

Commander Gentry Kenneth led them in a victorious campaign across the Pacific from the Marshall Islands to the Philippines. The first 4th of July, George's Independence Day, since being boarded was spent bombing Iwo Jima. In December of the following year it faced a hurricane, three destroyers were shipwrecked, but "The Sully" survived and in 1945 was near the coast of Japan, in the Chinese Sea, to support the bombing of Hong Kong, Okinawa, Tokyo and Honshu.

On May 11, the Pacific was conquered. Confidently, the group parked 60 miles from the coast, but that night - "they always attacked at night ..." - suffered a surprise attack. The target was the USS Bunker Hill, the heart of the fleet. Two Japanese kamikaze pilots drove their aircraft into the dark hull of the aircraft carrier and disappeared into a sea of ​​flames. "The airplanes on the deck were full of fuel and they exploded, the men started jumping out of the flames, and we saved a few hundred," George recalls.

Under the firelight of that night, the tall, corpulent Madeiran gathered the shipwrecked and delivered the wounded on a hospital ship. He did not realize whether it was the smell of phosphorus or the taste of metal on the surface of the tongue, but he was overwhelmed by the feeling that time was running out and that everything around him dissolved to highlight the clear profile of the nurses - the lines of his white uniforms, the fine gestures wiping the sores of the wounded and the warm touch in the hand of a burnt that held him to life. These images, he realized later, had to be hidden inside him until the end of the war. Waiting for the moment of revelation.

A month later, the fleet had "sunk the Japanese, the only thing missing was the occupation by the army." George left the Philippines and spotted the American continent on July 10, one year and eight months after his departure.

"The Sully" had been 64 days without anchoring and had only one casualty, when the commander had sent some men to an island in the Philippines to confirm if any Japanese had survived. "They left the boat on the beach and one of them kept it. When the others returned, it was gone." The body was later found.

George received 30 days of leave to visit his family and ten days to travel. He packed his bags and left for Newport. On his way home, he met Rita Petry, an American cousin of her younger sister's husband, who was also visiting. "She was 20 and beautiful," he recalls, George began to court her, but a week later the girl returned to New York. George decided to spend a day in the great city when he returned to California at the end of his leave.

On August 14, the couple were watching the Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall as people started knocking on the doors and windows of the concert hall. His gaze touched Rita's, and each one tried to discover in the other what was happening when the doors were opened and a cry ran through the room: "The Japanese surrendered, the war is over!" The room erupted into applause, and no one looked at the dancers onstage.

George and Rita headed for Times Square, the heart of the city, where celebrations were held. It was two steps away. "It was full of people, thousands and thousands of people," George recalls. The sailor partied at Child's Bar, a well-known neon-lit bar on a corner. "I drank too much," he confesses. "The bartender put a row of glasses on the counter, grabbed a bottle and filled the glasses, we drank, he grabbed another bottle and we drank again."

The party was good, especially for George, but he needed to get to the airport to pick up the one-hour call to San Francisco. He started walking with Rita to the subway station, in the midst of the bustling crowd of Times Square. Near 45th Street he recognized a white silhouette, the same gentle gestures that had taken care of his wounded comrades, the same comforting warmth. Drunk with the alcohol and the memories that flooded him, something loosened within him. George grabbed the unknown nurse and kissed her.

Time has stopped. For George. And for the world.

For George, that kiss was the wounded of the attack on the aircraft carrier he had helped months before, were his parents, the children, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren he was to have. There were all your yesterdays and all your tomorrows. To the world, there were all the powerful and defenseless, all the kamikaze and civilian victims, all the men and women touched by that war. In those two glued lips were the whole world and its celebration at the end of the most deadly conflict in history.

A photographer carried a button and a flash of white light made George a symbol.

The sailor did not notice anything and left Times Square without exchanging a word with the nurse. At the airport he said goodbye to Rita, who would never see her again. When he got into the plane, he could see only the banal profile of his blue uniform, but George lived in eternity.

In Alfred Eisenstaedt's laboratory in New York, the photographer revealed his negatives and a picture stood out. It has been chosen for a prominent place in the 12-page work of Life's special edition of "Victory." In the same issue there were other couples kissing, from Florida to Seattle, but it was the gesture of that sailor and that nurse who became eternal. A man, a woman, and the earliest of gestures became our most intimate connection with what happened that day.

From the War of Independence to the Iraq War

The participation of the Portuguese in the military ranks of the Americans began even before the United States was an independent country. Peter Francisco was born on the island of São Miguel in the Azores on July 9, 1760, but he was abducted by pirates and taken to the other side of the Atlantic as a child. Already an adult, six-hundred-pound, he would eventually become a legendary soldier during the War of Independence (1775-1783) against England, to the point that President George Washington declared at the end of the conflict: Without him, we would have lost two crucial battles, perhaps the war, and with it our freedom. He was truly an army of one man. " These words now rest on a monument at Peter Francis Square in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

During the War of 1812, a group of Portuguese came to found a company to counteract the reluctance of the National Guard to accept immigrants in their ranks. During the Civil War (1861-1865), a regiment of New York included a company formed only by Portuguese and Spanish. Judah Philip Benjamin was a minister of the Southern War during this conflict and was a descendant of Portuguese Sephardic Jews. At the end of the war, he was senator and member of the Supreme Court. Francis Barretto Spínola was a general and ended up being the first Portuguese-American elected to the House of Representatives.

In the Great War (1914-18), it is estimated that about 15,000 immigrants enlisted and many of them eventually mobilized. On December 7, 1941, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Charles Braga became the first Portuguese casualty in World War II (1939-1945). Today, it gives the name to Braga Bridge, that crosses the river Taunton in Massachusetts.

The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest distinction that can be attributed to a soldier and has already been handed over to many Lusodeans. The first was Corporal Joseph H. de Castro, who distinguished himself at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. France Silva was a crew member of the USS Newark and received the Medal of Honor for his heroic behavior during the Boxer War in Beijing, in 1900.

In the Portuguese book in Vietnam, by Eduardo Mayone Dias and Adalino Cabral, the authors admit that there are 100 Portuguese names at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, which records the name of the 58 195 soldiers killed during this conflict.

Since 2002 foreigners entitled to residence in the country can claim US citizenship after one year of military service. According to the latest available data, Hispanics (including the Portuguese) already represent 12% of the American military.

Manny Martin, the survivor of Pearl Harbor.
On the website of a Portuguese community newspaper, the Portuguese Times, it is possible to read a description of the funeral of David Marques Vicente, Corporal Marines, who died in Iraq in 2004, at the age of 25. Days before the funeral, his parents went to the consulate of Portugal in New Bedford to ask for a flag. The consul satisfied the request, but asked that the flag be returned, thinking that it would be used only during the ceremony. It was at this moment that the soldier's parents explained to him that the Portuguese flag would accompany David forever inside the casket.

Manny Martin, the survivor of Pearl Harbor

Manny Martins

The Portuguese presence in this photograph is a sign of another, very important one: that of the Portuguese who fought in the American forces in World War II, from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. On the night of 6 to 7, Manny Martin had fulfilled a shift, and breakfast in the first shift in the morning as they set the rules for the Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii. As she ate creamed beef on toast, a roar ran through the walls of the canteen, as if something were dragging her nails into a picture on her way from heaven to earth, and a burst of seismic force shook the walls of the canteen. It was 07:48. Manny hurried to the doorway, his shotgun resting on his right shoulder, looked straight ahead, looked up at the sky, and spotted a plane.

"What plane is this?" Asked a colleague at his side. "You fool, do not you see a great rising sun? It's the Japanese!"

Thus began World War II for the United States.

Manny Martin was the name he wrote when he enlisted, but at Westport, Massachusetts, where he lived with his parents and "grandma," his name was Manuel Martins. By the early twentieth century, parents had left San Miguel on a steamer and landed on Ellis Island, New York. On that island, Manny's father defined his fate when they handed him a broom. He turned down the work and, pointing to some machines, said, "This is going to break and I'll fix it."

"What plane is this?" Asked a colleague at his side. "You fool, do not you see a great rising sun? It's the Japanese!"

Not knowing how to read or write, he built a prosperous future as a mechanic and in a few years bought a 138-acre plot of land, where he withdrew his support for his 11 children, but he did not give up his work. At age 7, Manny was already milking the cows and cleaning the barn before going to school. He began to carry sacks of flour "as soon as he had strength for it." Years later, when the Azorean community in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island grew, it helped the father to sell the yams and salted peanuts that arrived from the islands in great barrels.

As soon as she turned 18, her mother, Maria Emília Martins, who had lived in the country since she was five years old and therefore read and write in both languages, led her to see her first film. Without knowing, he indicated to the son the way to the war.

By 1940 US involvement was beginning to seem inevitable. Before the films were projected "news of men piloting airplanes in training exercises," Manny recalls. While on the screen black and white images told the story of The Man in the Iron Mask, Manny dreamed that he was an airplane pilot.

He began by revealing the desire to his brothers, then, when he turned 19, to his parents. "The Portuguese are crying a lot, my mother also cried, but she finally accepted."

And much will have prayed, too. Maria Emilia was a devoted devotee of the Holy Spirit and had convinced her husband to donate a ten-acre parcel of the farm to build a seat of the Azorean feast, the Holy Spirit Club of Sodom Road.

A few weeks after joining Boston, Manny arrived in New York. "The son of a damn Azorean farmer at Grand Central Station in New York ..." he thought. He was given a blue uniform for his tall, slender body and boarded a ship that led him down the west coast, across the mainland into the Panama Canal, and up the east coast to San Francisco.

It was in this city that she found the curves of the dancers of the first burlesque spectacle she attended. "The boys were all, I did not quite know what it was, I went in, I saw everybody sitting in the front and girls dancing in the woods, lots of girls in the woods."

He set sail for Pacific in the wake of these Americans, arrived in Hawaii, passed west of Honolulu, approached the island of Oahu, and anchored in the huge port of Puuloa Bay, the military base of Pearl Harbor.

Manny Martin was on duty at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese attack.

It was here, this morning in 1941, that he had breakfast, when the seismic force of a first explosion led him to the entrance to the canteen and the sight of a Japanese military aircraft. "It was right above us, at 150 feet altitude, perhaps not so much. It was perfectly visible the rising sun."

Manny grabbed his shotgun and ran to the gun house, where he found his superior, Commander Cassey, who ordered, "Go save the Pearl Harbor canal." The Portuguese threw himself into the channel that served as the entrance to the military base and found two Americans there. When the group joined, a plane raced and started firing on them. The three soldiers took refuge in a large tank of water and in another lightning, another plane appeared. "It was hundreds," says Manny.

The metal creature descended from the heavens, "down to 50 feet," and Manny says he saw "the Japanese put their head out of the window with a big smile and drop a bomb."

The three men squeezed against the tank, Manny closed his eyes and the world disappeared.


The explosive burst with a crash, very close to them.

When she opened her eyes, she confirmed that she was whole. One of the Americans pulled her arm. "I was hit," he said.

Manny rested his shotgun on the floor and, as he surveyed his colleague, fixed his face- "he was a very handsome man, fair-haired, short, thick-haired." He concluded: "You look good to me." But the American said the wound was on his back. The Portuguese grabbed the sailor's shirt and "it broke apart," leaving a huge hole in the back.

"I and the other American grabbed him and we took him to the infirmary, he had his shirt all ripped, his belt was soaked in blood, he spoke with difficulty and his breathing was heavy, and when we got to the infirmary, it was already full." account. The attack began "less than half an hour ago."

Manny left the infirmary and was just a lonely, disoriented kid returning to sobs for his post. "I did not know anything about the war, I had enlisted for months, all I knew was that the Japanese were attacking us, I was just thinking: I could be at the farm and I'm here, where the men are killing each other to others."

When the attack ended, less than two hours after it began, Manny discovered that the American had died ten minutes after leaving him in the infirmary. "I never knew his name, but I never forgot his face."

For a week he remained at his post. "We always thought they were going to come back ... Oh my God, so many hours without sleep, I ate nothing on the first day, then we dug a small ditch, I got a blanket and I covered my head, there were a lot of mosquitoes."

In less than a month, Manny returned to the old functions at his unit - "to ensure the proper operation of 82 telephones and a diesel power plant" - but "things never went back to the way they were."

Pearl Harbor was an earthquake that opened huge cracks in the White House. In the two Japanese onslaughts on the base, close to 1,300 military personnel were wounded and 2402 men were killed. President Franklin D. Roosevelt offered a voice to those who were silent and declared war on Japan 24 hours later. He called the day "a date that will live in infamy".

Frank Farias, a teenager in the war

Franks Farias

When Frank was 8 years old, his father, from the island of Santa Maria, was singing the janeiras at a friend's house when he slipped, banged his head on a cement step and died. It was a cold, dark night, but not as cold or as dark as the look of this woman: Galamina Farias, a widow, just arrived in the United States with six smaller children.

Frank started working very new and found that if he went to the troop the family would receive a check. He shared the intention with his mother, who resisted and argued that the son was still 16 years old. He explained that it was "the only way" for her to raise all her children. Galantina signed the authorization for the son to go to war.

"I received ten dollars every two weeks, my mother received more, but I'm not sure how much, it was good money. I went to war for my family."

Frank, a "crazy kid", worked in a dry dock in San Francisco where repaired damaged military vessels. He also participated in small missions at sea to test the repaired ships, but it was the fresh faces of the Americans that were engraved in the memory of the adolescent.

"When we returned to the port, they were behind a fence and shouted, 'I love you, baby, honey, marry me, let's live together.' There were beautiful ones, but they were only interested in money, "he explains. "If we died in the war, the widows received ten thousand dollars, that's what they wanted."

"When we returned to the port, they were behind a fence and shouted, 'I love you, baby, honey, marry me, let's live together.' There were beautiful ones, but they were only interested in money "

The young man had been in the Navy for almost a year when he was ordered to leave. It was July 1945, the next month he would embark for war.

After all, the moment always came. "Crazy Frank", at the age of 18, had always believed that he would go through the war without having to fight, but now everything changed in an instant. He began to pay attention to the conversations of the other sailors about the Japanese enemy. "If they caught you alive, they would put you in a tank, tear off the skin where you had tattoos, cut your fingers and cut your neck - we saw in the news, they lived in holes in the mountains and sent themselves inside the planes against the ships - who does that? "

Three years earlier, President Roosevelt had created the Office of War Information, an advertising bureau that turned to Hollywood radios, newspapers, and studios to gather popular support and mobilize troops. The purpose was to remove the enemies of any human characteristic, to subject them to a metamorphosis so that they resurrected like strange and bizarre beings. The Japanese were not human, they were rats and devils, so they could be attacked, so they could be killed. It was this alien enemy that Frank would fight.

By this time, the Allies' intentions failed and the Japanese did not sign the Treaty of Potsdam, which provided for their surrender. The Japanese prime minister refused to yield and declared, "Let's ignore it. Let's continue relentlessly and fight to the end."

Frank Farias was in the Navy and just did not fight because the atomic bomb ended the war.

On August 6 and 9, the United States dropped LittIe Boy and Fat Man on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and between 150,000 and 250,000 of those mouse-like mythical beings died burned, buried by debris or radiation poisoned.

They called it atomic bombs. Frank did not know what they were, but when he was informed that no one would be shipped-when he sighed with relief because he was saved from the war-the subject was already dominating all the conversations.

Consider the numbers to realize the size of this sigh. Over six years of war, 70% of Europe's infrastructure had been destroyed and 72 million people, including 46 million civilians, had died. Even a teenager, like the Portuguese, perceived the terrible arithmetic of the most deadly conflict in history.

Today, at age 83 and father of three, Frank Farias is no longer a kid. Manny Martin, widower, 89, two children, and George Mendonsa, married and the father of two children, are not either. In the last 66 years they have been decorated and memorials have been built in his honor, but their stories are disappearing under a dense fog. For example, it is impossible to know how many Luso-American veterans fought with the Allies to defeat the Axis countries. The years go by, the world is spent, and it is increasingly difficult to offer an alternative to the official narrative that, from the neutral country of Oliveira Salazar, there were no martyrs for this war.

Still, the three of them, who survived and are here, have a secret to tell. They explain that something happened, a terrible event, yes, but then something wonderful. It happened at the end, when the air still held the sour taste of blood, the explosive smell of the match and the electricity rose from the floor and shivered the hair of the body. It was a lonely and strange moment in which the story summoned its protagonists and they realized what had happened to them: they had become men.


Interview with Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson an excellent photographer and a great photo manipulator.

His manipulated photo looks so real that its hard to think that its not. Erik did his computer engineering from Sweden, and had passion for photography since his childhood.

He started creating amazing photos and is now one of the best photo manipulator I’ve seen. We also got the opportunity to have an interview, keep reading to know how it all started.

Hi Erik, thanks for this interview. Please tell us more about your art and design background and how it all started?

Ever since I was a kid I have been drawing, maybe it has something to do with my grandmother who was making paintings in water color. I got my first digital camera in the year 2000 on my 15th birthday. I found it fun to modify the photos in different ways but it was quite basic modifications and I didn’t put much time to it. A few years later in 2006 a good friend bought a DSLR-camera and I followed him out on photo walks in the Swedish country side. He got me to re-discover my photo interest and he was the reason that I bought a DSLR-camera about a year later. Today I have changed and upgraded my equipment several times and today I am using a Canon EOS 5d mark II mostly with the Canon 24-70 lens. Today I work as a freelance photographer.

Your work is inspirational, where do you get your inspiration from?

I get the inspiration from everywhere, from daily acclivities to magazines and books. Inspiration has never been a problem for me and I have a book where I write down the ideas that I get. Of course it’s harder to get inspiration under preasure but I usually figure something out.

Could you please describe the steps when working on a design?

When I know what I want to do I usually begin looking for places where I can take the photos that I need, this takes a lot of time and the scene is very important for the final result. When I have find the places and taken the photos I put them together in the computer.

I try to make it look as real as possible and the light is everything to make it look good together. My goal when I create my photos is to make them look as real as possible. Light and perspective is everything when it comes to merging photos together.

That is why I always photograph everything myself and don’t use stock photos. I use different techniques to blend the photos together, usually I just put the different photos on top of each other and work with layer masks to make the parts that I want visible.

I then work with saturation, contrast and brightness to make the transitions between the different photos smoother.

Designers you love?

There are lots of great designers and photographers out there, some old artists that I like are Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher. I also like the Belgian photographer Koen Demuynck.



A Whiff of Water Found on the Moon

Target moon. Water molecules have been spotted on their way toward lunar polar craters like Cabeus A (here color-coded for elevation), the target of next month's hunt for water ice.

Yes, the moon is a "wetter" place than the Apollo astronauts ever could have imagined, but don't break out the beach gear just yet. Although three independent groups today announced the detection of water on the lunar surface, their find is at most a part per 1000 water in the outermost millimeter or two of still very dry lunar rock.

The discovery has potential, though. Future astronauts might conceivably wring enough water from not-completely-desiccated lunar "soil" to drink or even to fuel their rockets. Equally enticing, the water seems to be on its way to the poles, where it could be pumping up subsurface ice deposits that would be a real water bonanza.

A less dry moon makes its debut courtesy of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) that has been orbiting the moon onboard India's now-defunct Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. A spectrometer, M3 detected an infrared absorption at a wavelength of 3.0 micrometers that only water or hydroxyl--a hydrogen and an oxygen bound together--could have created.

But spectroscopists had long distrusted any sign of water in lunar data because Apollo moon rocks were so bone-dry. So M3 team members asked the researchers operating the spectrometer on NASA's EPOXI spacecraft to take a look as it passed the moon last June on its way to comet Hartley 2. EPOXI observations confirmed the M3 detection, as did a reanalysis of Cassini spectrometer data taken in 1999 on its way to Saturn. The three analyses are reported in separate papers in tomorrow's issue of Science.

The discovery "opens up a whole different avenue to a source of water on the moon," says M3 principal investigator Carlé Pieters of Brown University. EPOXI observations show the water/hydroxyl signal coming and going from the surface over days, notes Pieters, which shows that there's water loosely bound to surface rock, not just tightly bound hydroxyl. The best estimate coming out of the reported observations for water's abundance is 0.2 to 1 part per 1000 of water, she says, and that's in the upper millimeter or two that spectroscopy can penetrate. At those levels, an astronaut would have to process the soil from a baseball-diamond-size plot to get a decent drink of water.

More tantalizing, the water becomes more abundant closer to the poles. That and water's abundance varying with time suggests to Pieters that water is being produced on the moon--perhaps through solar wind hydrogen interacting with surface rock--and then hopscotching from place to place through the moon's vanishingly thin atmosphere. Because a water molecule would stick more securely to colder rock, water would tend to migrate toward the colder polar regions. There, it might become trapped for eons as subsurface ice in permanently shadowed craters, which are currently thought to be among the coldest places in the solar system.

Come 9 October, NASA will crash its LCROSS mission into one such crater in hopes of blasting water into view. "It's very exciting," says planetary scientist Dana Hurley of the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The water detection "is one piece of the puzzle; we still have a lot of pieces missing."

By Richard A. Kerr


What You Need To Get Started Wedding Photography Business

Creating a successful wedding photography business can be more of a challenge than one would think. Just because you can take a picture doesn’t mean that starting your own wedding photography business will be smooth sailing. However there are certain building blocks one can take that will assist in creating yourself a successful start to your wedding photography business.

First and most important building block is to build an efficient and through creative plan. This is the foundation and should include your objectives, your mission, and your keys to success. Perhaps you have always enjoyed photography as a hobby and believe you know how to take excellent pictures, or you simply think that the events photographer’s work is so easy that you could easily learn what it takes. You can surely get to know more on wedding photography equipments here, click on!

Take a look at your photography and decide what level of talent you have and what potential you possess. Be critical of your work, but also have others critique your work for you. Learn how to use constructive criticism to improve your photography. If your identity isn’t where you want it, ask yourself, what needs to be improved?
Do you know your equipment well enough?
Do you know how to read and meter your exposures?
You need a digital camera to stay up with your competition. It is also of great importance to be proficient in Photoshop and your digital workflow. It is up to you to overcome any weakness with proper education and practice before you take on photographing a wedding.

Photographing a wedding is a big responsibility. Someone has paid a large amount of money and trust in you to document this special and personal day. This is why it is so important to be confident enough to step into any wedding that comes your way and do a solid job photographing it. Having your skills fine-tuned is just part of what it takes to build that foundation of confidence. The other huge part to building confidence is experience.If you still need some help, you can definitely visit:


In addition to the technical talents required to use photographic equipment effectively, the events photographer must have well developed social skills. He or she has to know how to get the subjects of their photos to cooperate in posing in a way designed to produce the best quality pictures. A photographer should not be over aggressive but at the same time an excess of timidity can lose that precious shot that is going to add so much to the album.


Vienna museum hosts swingers club to expose sexual inhibitions

A renowned Vienna art museum has asked a "swingers" group to move into a Gustav Klimt exhibition to help gallery visitors confront their sexual inhibitions.

During the day visitors to the Secession contemporary art museum walk among the mattresses and erotic paraphernalia of the "Element6" sex club to view masterpieces by Klimt, who once scandalised Edwardian Europe with his sexually explicit art.

By night, the "swingers" return to carry out orgies among the artworks.

"Group sex in the Secession – has our society completely lost it?" Austria's far-Right Freedom Party has asked.

A spokesman for the sex club said it was participating in the exhibition "to give as many people as possible the opportunity to overcome their inhibitions".

"In the framework of this exhibition at the Secession, each individual can test for himself or herself whether this opens up new dimensions for his or her own sexuality," he said.

The sex club was invited into the museum as part of a project by Christoph Buechel, a Swiss artist.

While sex acts are not allowed during day, gallery visitors wander among the club's king-size beds, erotic pictures, bar and whirlpool baths to view the art.

"It's not my thing but why not?" said Ute Wegscheider, a young mother pushing her pram outside the museum. "Maybe I should go check it out with my husband."

The museum is hoping to reignite the original controversy that surrounded Klimt's 1902 "Beethoven Frieze", the centre of the new exhibition.

Now considered one of the Austrian painter's most important works, the frieze was once thought of as obscene and pornographic because of the way women's bodies were depicted.

One section of the mural shows three mostly naked women, one who looks pregnant and the other two covered only by their long flowing tresses of hair. Another includes naked mythical figures and a zombie-like, half-naked female with stringy black hair.

Klimt, who died in 1918, was a Symbolist painter whose primary subject was the female body and his work shocked contemporaries with its frank eroticism.

The room where the frieze is exhibited is locked at night for security reasons. But it too has its share of the sex club's mattresses, surrounded by fake tropical plants and a life-size stuffed lion.

Gerald Adler, of Britain's Kent School of Architecture, who is planning to take students to see the exhibition said that sex no longer had the power to shock in a modern art museum.
"He's putting it in a place that's an accepted venue for avant-garde art, so it loses its effect," he said.


United Photo Press live in Tunisia

Tunisia is the smallest of the nations situated along the Atlas mountain range. The south of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil and 1,300 km of coastline.

Both played a prominent role in ancient times, first with the famous Phoenician city of Carthage, then as the Africa Province which was known as the "bread basket" of the Roman Empire.
Later, Tunisia was occupied by Vandals during the 5th century AD, Byzantines in the 6th century, and Arabs in the 8th century. Under the Ottoman Empire, Tunisia was known as "Regency of Tunis".

It passed under French protectorate in 1881. After obtaining independence in 1956, the country took the official name of the "Kingdom of Tunisia" at the end of the reign of Lamine Bey and the Husainid Dynasty.

With the proclamation of the Tunisian republic in July 25, 1957, the nationalist leader Habib Bourguiba became its first president and led the modernization of the country.

Photography by Alex Burgaz


'Art monk' has his own take on Buddhism

Buddhist monk Shi Daoxin's daily routine is not about chanting scriptures, meditating or temple ceremonies - rather, he spends his time listening to different categories of music, updating his blog, exchanging messages and emails with fans, and granting interviews in addition to working on his music.

A self-claimed "art monk", 28-year-old Shi shot to fame in 2008 for his strong resemblance to Hong Kong actor and singer Nicholas Tse. Then controversy followed for his unconventional way of "disseminating Buddhist wisdom and culture through artistic forms".

On the one hand, he has a huge crowd of growing fans, praising and downloading his songs; and on the other, a substantial number of people who question the true motivation of a monk active in the secular entertainment world.

A monk since 14, Shi said he has always been thinking about how Buddhism could keep up with the times.
According to Shi, he was the deputy abbot of Donglin Temple in Lushan Mountain before setting off for Beijing four years ago. He set up his own Buddhist website and studio, and also helped organize two sessions of Buddhism summer camps in 2007 and 2008, which drew more than 200 students.

Now, he is the first monk to use multimedia to take Buddhism to a wider audience. To date, he has released one album and two singles. A third single is on the way, plus an "inspirational" autobiography and a documentary marking the 130th anniversary of the birth of Master Hong Yi (1880-1942), a Buddhist monk, artist, art teacher and musician. He is also planning a speaking tour of colleges around the country.

Most of his previous songs are what he describes as the "modern and popular version of traditional Buddhist chanting", but now, he is considering a switch in style.

He said he will try something less religious, and easier-to-understand lyrics. He does not think this is a departure from Buddhism; instead, it is a better way to "call forth the busy urban dwellers' reminiscences of childhood and allay their anxiety and restlessness".

But skepticism abounds, especially online. Many accuse him of chasing personal fame in the guise of Buddhism; some even dismiss him as a disgrace to the religion.

A monk at Donglin Temple, who did not want to be named, told China Daily: "If one does this solely in the spirit of promoting Buddhism, I cannot say it is wrong; but we don't advocate it, because after all, a monk is a monk."

Liu Jiawei, a sina.com blogger, has written a series of articles describing Shi's attempts at stardom and the high fees he charges for performances.

In the phone interview with China Daily, Shi did not answer the charges directly. He said: "At least half of my fellow monks approve and even admire my efforts, although they don't publicly admit it, because I have done something they want to do, but dare not."

Shi now lives in modest accommodation in Beijing provided by a friend, and his daily expenses are covered by his secular disciples nationwide.

Given his tight schedule, Shi said he has no time and energy for regular scripture chanting and meditation. Asked whether this will hinder his progress as a Buddhist monk, he answered in the negative. "I gain even more from the things I'm busy with each day more than merely sitting in meditation. "I encourage more of my fellow monks to step out of the secluded temples and do more to promote Buddhism by enduring the hardships of travel."


How to Use the mobile phone as a Photography Tool

Got an mobile phone ? Check out how Chris Folsom from studiotempura uses his as a tool in his photography.

There has been a lot of buzz around the iPhone lately, especially among photographers. And for good reason… the iPhone has a host of photography-related tools that are both fun and useful. I find myself using it more and more lately, so I thought I might share some of those functions with you.
Using the Camera

The most obvious photography-related feature is the camera. Though the iPhone won’t be replacing my DSLR anytime soon, I almost always have my iPhone with me which means it is available many times when my DSLR isn’t. As the quote goes, “the best camera is the one you have with you”.

One of my favorite ways to take photos with the mobile phone is using an app called Pano. Pano allows you to shoot up to 16 images side-by-side which are then stitched together on the fly in about a minute. I shot this image while at a baseball game last week… 


Sailor in iconic V-J Day Times Square kiss photo dies at 95

George Mendonsa was 95 years old and was lusceptible. Photograph of Alfred Eisenstaedt became a symbol of the end of World War II.

George Mendonsa, the sailor whose photograph kissing a nurse became iconic, died on Sunday at the age of 95. The nurse, Greta Zimmer Friedman, had died in September 2016 but the image, captured by photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine, became one of the best known of World War II and shows the moment when Americans celebrate the announcement of the end of the bloodiest armed conflict in history.

The sailor was born in Newport, Rhode Island, in a Portuguese fishing family. He joined the US Navy in 1942 and, after serving in the Pacific for three years, returned home in 1945.

Mendonsa fell and had a seizure at the assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, where he lived with his wife of 70 years, his daughter, Sharon Molleur, told The Providence Journal.

Mendonsa was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945 — known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered to the United States. People spilled into the New York City streets to celebrate the news.

Mendonsa planted a kiss on Friedman, whom he had never met.

An iconic photo of the kiss by Alfred Eisenstaedt was first published in Life magazine and is called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

It became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa served on a destroyer during the war and was on leave when the end of the war was announced.

When he was honored at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa spoke about the kiss. He said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

“I saw what those nurses did that day and now back in Times Square the war ends, a few drinks, so I grabbed the nurse,” Mendonsa said, WPRI-TV reported .

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.
She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”
Mendonsa died two days before his 96th birthday. The family has not yet made funeral arrangements.

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at the age of 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.Greta did not know George and did not even know her name. What he did in those few seconds in Times Square, New York, on August 14, 1945, only came back to him twenty years later, as he flipped through a picture book by German photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt. 

On August 14 of that year, George was in the first meeting with Rita, who later became his wife. The couple watched their lunch be interrupted by shouts of happiness. "So I came to Times Square, the war was over and I see the nurse," he told CNN.

"I had drunk a lot and it was instinctive," said George. The future woman saw the sailor kiss a stranger on the first date, but, he assured her, he was not annoyed: "I was there in the background, smiling like a fool. I did not care. " The nurse - who was actually a dental assistant - also recalled, six decades after the photograph, her version of the kiss: "Suddenly a sailor grabbed me. It was not so much a kiss, it was another act of celebration: he did not have to return to the Pacific, where he had fought. She grabbed me because I was dressed as a nurse and I was grateful to all the nurses.

It was not a romantic thing but a way of saying, 'Thank God, the war is over.' " After the photo, they did not change names or speak again. It was only in 1980 - when Life restarted the quest for the protagonists of photography, which became known as V-J Day in Times Square - who discovered who the true "nurse" was in photography.

Greta and George returned to meet in Times Square in 2012, 67 years after the moment captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt. It also took 35 years for the sailor to find out that the photojournalist had captured that moment.

Incidentally, the seaman's identity was, for a long time, a controversial subject. Only in 2012 an investigation gave as confirmed that it was George Mendonsa.

George Mendonsa poses in Middletown, Rhode Island in 2009, holding a copy of the famous Alfred Eisenstadt photo.
Photograph: Connie Grosch/AP


Belize: What's in the deepest blue hole in the world?

A team of scientists and explorers, who also included Richard Branson, Virgin's millionaire, and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, went looking for what could exist in the Great Blue Hole in Belize. 

The expedition began in December 2018 and ended earlier this month. The results, CNN reported on Saturday, were "surprising." The team, led by oceanographer Erika Bergman, used two submarines and managed to capture images inside the blue hole, so they could construct a 3D map of their interior. "We have made a navigation map that is almost complete, which will allow us to locate everything in the mesh of the whole hole," said oceanographer Erika Bergman and leader of the CNN expedition.

The world's deepest blue hole, or blue eye, as some call it, was placed on the map of expeditions by scientist Jacques Cousteau in 1971 and is about 300 meters (984 feet) in diameter and approximately 125 meters (410 feet ) of depth. For Bergman, one of the most striking discoveries was the existence of stalactites never seen before - a kind of mineral formations in the form of ice-pendants - about 407 feet from the hole, very close to the bottom. 

"It was very exciting to be able to observe that they are in the hole, never before they had been located," he says. But the oceanographer says that the best experience of this expedition was to be submerged in the depths of the great blue hole and plunge into the darkness. "One of the most incredible situations in this great hole is the layer of hydrogen sulfide, which descends about 300 feet and cuts out all the light, allowing explorers to plunge into the darkness. it's all black and lifeless, "Bergman explained.

The team led by Bergman can still see, and thanks to the Sonar submarines they carried, the complex features of the hole. "It was possible to be 20 or 30 meters away from a stalactite or a piece of the wall and see it with all the perfect details, much better than what the vision could provide," said the scientist. However, it does safeguard that some mysteries persist. "Some unidentifiable points were found at the bottom of the hole.

" The team was equally pleased to realize that the Great Blue Hole was free of garbage. "There were basically two or three pieces of plastic - and besides, it was very, very clear," says Bergman, noting the work of the Belize Audubon Society, which helps protect the hole. "It's great that there are spaces on our planet that are as they were thousands of years ago."



Danielle photographs her lovers with a camera in her vagina

It is a photographic process "erotic, tender, unpredictable, vulnerable." It is, "at once familiar and strange." "It's disconcerting and at times confusing - it's something I love. It's both fun and loaded with intimacy." Danielle Lessnau merged her body with a camera to create Extimité, a series of portraits of her lovers made from the point of view of her vagina. "I built eight pinhole cameras from old photo cartridges and installed them with an electric shutter that can be controlled by my hand," he explains to P3.

"Photographically", a pinhole, without lens or viewfinder, is "the perfect instrument". Each shot by the 33-year-old photographer, based in Brooklyn, New York, lasted between one and two minutes. "By using the vagina to hold the camera I allowed my own breathing to become an invisible actor," he says.

The natural movement of the body destabilizes the capture and gives rise to a blurring effect on the image that is particularly useful in preserving the identity of the portrayed men Danielle describes as "lovers with whom she shared unique stories" and who, his proposal of collaboration with "love and greed." "It's a collaborative process that implies that I become vulnerable, that gives me control," describes the young woman, who studied at the famous photography school at the International Center of Photography in New York.

Danielle Lessnau did not create Extimité to convey a specific message. Rather, he wants the viewer to give it personal meaning. "I wanted to materialize what I feel, my visions and excitations, when I am in a private space with another person," he emphasizes. "When I look at someone, my whole body reacts. [While capturing the images] we both wanted and were desired, we were both powerful and vulnerable." I wanted to explore these roles, this distance and proximity, and play with this web of looks. " Here the chamber is an instrument, but also a symbol "of the penetration of his body by lovers and light."

Recent group exhibitions include Our Souls to Keep at Field Projects, NYC; Figure Fuggenti at Acta International, Rome; Divina Comedia at XXXI Festival International of Sexual Diversity at Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City; Notas al Futuro at Galerié Breve, Mexico City; and Hidden Narratives at Rita K. Hillman Gallery, New York. In 2017 she was awarded an honorable mention in the annual juried competition at Baxter Street Gallery, New York. Lessnau lives and works in Brooklyn.



This photographer just captured images of rare black leopards at night in Africa. See the photos

A male melanistic leopard captured on camera in Africa, for what's thought to be the first time in a century
A wildlife photographer captured an image of a black leopard late at night, something that’s fairly uncommon among wildlife enthusiasts.

What happened: Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas released extremely rare images that he captured in Africa of the black leopard, known as a black panther in Africa and Asia, walking around at night.
Burrard-Lucas said in his release that he was always interested in black panthers. He spent his life chasing them down to capture some photos.

It wasn’t until he visited the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya that he finally had an opportunity to take photos of the panther. He took several photos at night with the hope of capturing photos of a leopard.

Black Panther has been everywhere in recent years - but spotting one of the animals the famous superhero is named after in the African wilderness is a little more rare.

Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas managed it - and there are even claims this is the first time anyone has captured a melanistic leopard on camera in Africa in 100 years.

Very few images of these iconic, secretive creatures exist.

Will heard rumours of a black panther - which is a loose term for a black leopard or black jaguar, depending where in the world it's from - at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya.

After following leopard tracks through the undergrowth with a guide called Steve, Will settled on a place to set up his Camtraptions camera traps.

"I'm quite used to doing camera traps and not actually achieving anything because it is such a speculative thing - you don't know if the animal you're trying to get is going to come down the trail that you've set the cameras up on."

They weren't sure whether the tracks they were following were those of the black leopard or a regular spotted one.

"I never get my hopes up, and after the first couple of nights I hadn't got this leopard and I was beginning to think I'd be lucky if I get a photo of a spotty leopard, let alone this black one."

On the fourth night though, his luck was in.

“We had always heard about black leopard living in this region, but the stories were absent of high-quality footage that could confirm their existence,” said Nicholas Pilfold, scientist at San Diego Zoo Global and lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, according to USA Today. “This is what Will’s photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight.

“Collectively these are the first confirmed images in nearly 100 years of black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard.”

What makes a black panther?

It's easy to think of black panthers as animals in their own right, but Will says that's not the case.

"The term that makes them black is called melanism and it's the same thing that makes a house cat black, or any other cat species.

"It's kind of like albino but the other way.

"A black panther is basically a melanistic big cat. Typically in Africa and Asia that would mean a melanistic leopard - a black leopard.

"In South America it would be a melanistic jaguar - a black jaguar.

"Black panther is a looser term."

Will captured a spotted leopard on one of the camera traps, which could be the black leopard's dad.

You don't need two black leopards to make one, but both parents need to carry the recessive gene for melanism.

Will says it's hard to say how many leopards there are in East Africa, given how secretive they are

"And then add to that only a tiny, tiny fraction would be black?

"There might be a handful in east Africa that are black."


Oscar 2019 | Photographers' Union criticizes absence of category in broadcast

In Response to Academy Awards Controversy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has polemicized and been criticized this year for announcing that some categories would not be shown during the broadcast of the 2019 Academy Awards.

In addition to furious filmmakers and Internet users, the American Society of Cinematographers wrote a letter condemning the Academy's decision. 

"After several comments on the subject of ASC members, I think I speak for most of them by stating this as an unfortunate decision. We consider cinema a collaborative effort process where the responsibilities of director, cinematographer, editor and other areas are interspersed. 

This decision can be perceived as a separation and division of this creative process, minimizing our fundamental creative contributions, "he wrote. 

"The Academy is an important institution that represents our art in the eyes of the world. Since the creation of the organization 91 years ago, the Academy Awards honored the talent, technique and contribution of film directors in the film process, but we can not quietly condemn this decision without protesting, "concludes Kees van Ostrum, President of ASC . 

Oscar 2019 | The Rock explains why he declined to be the presenter Last Monday (11), the Academy confirmed that the categories of Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Makeup & Hair and Best Short Film will take place during commercial breaks without being televised. However, it will be possible to watch these awards online, as the Academy will air the entire ceremony - and without cuts - on the official Oscar site. 

This year, the Oscar will have no fixed presenter. After controversy, Kevin Hart gave up commanding the ceremony. The 2019 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on February 24.

Kees van Oostrum 
ASC President


Till Death Do Them - Birds that Mate for Life

Love is in the air. This Valentine’s Day, take inspiration from some of the great bird species that mate for life. Here are just a few examples of the many winged wonders that fall into this category.
Black Vulture

Average clutch size: 2 eggs
Cool fact: This vulture species doesn’t build a nest, but rather lays its eggs on the ground or in hollow cavities.

Yes, even Black Vultures stick together. “One bird, presumed to be male, chases a presumed female through the air and periodically dives at her” as part of the mating ritual, according to Birds of North America online. They form such a tight bond, in fact, that they hang out year round—not just during breeding season. 

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagles. Photo: Steven Sachs/Audubon Photography Awards

Average clutch size: 1-3 eggs
Cool fact: Measuring six feet across and four feet tall (or even larger!), Bald Eagle nests are some of the largest of any avian species.

These birds, the symbol of the United States, mate for life unless one of the two dies. Their spectacular courtship rituals are a sight to see, with the birds locking talons, then flipping, spinning, and twirling through the air in a maneuver called a Cartwheel Display. They break apart seemingly at the last moment, just before hitting the ground. 

Laysan Albatross
Laysan Albatrosses. Photo: Kiah Walker/USFWS

Average clutch size: 1 egg
Cool fact: Nearly three-quarters of the world’s population of this species nests on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

Laysan Albatrosses, which don’t breed until they’re eight or nine years old, are monogamous, annually solidifying their bond through ritual dancing. “If they do lose their mate, they will go through a year or two of a mourning period,” says John Klavitter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist at Midway Atoll. “After that, they will do a courtship dance to try to find another mate.” 

Mute Swan
Mute Swans. Photo: Matthew Callahan/Audubon Photography Awards

Average clutch size: 5-7 eggs
Cool fact: During mating, the black knob at the base of a male’s bill swells up on these extremely territorial birds originally introduced from Europe.

Mute Swan pairs reportedly stay together for life. However, divorce does occur in less than 3 percent of mates that breed successfully and 9 percent that don’t. They re-mate when a partner dies; how quickly this happens depends on the survivor’s gender. Females find a new male within as few as three weeks. Males, however, tend to wait until the following fall or winter—allowing time to defend their nests and finish raising their cygnets.

Scarlet Macaw
Scarlet Macaws. Photo: Tracey Kidston/Audubon Photography Awards

Average clutch size: 2-4 eggs
Cool fact: These birds can live to be 75 years old in captivity or, on average, 33 years old in the wild.

Typically these rainbow-colored birds spend their lives together. They even preen each other and their young, picking bugs from their feathers. Scarlet Macaw parents, which reach sexual maturity sometime between age three and four, won’t raise new chicks until their previous ones have fledged and are independent.

Whooping Crane
Whooping Cranes. Photo: Klaus Nigge/USFWS

Average clutch size: 2 eggs
Cool fact: Not surprisingly (when you get a look at the legs), this crane species is the tallest bird in North America.

Talk about a mating dance, Whooping Cranes—which are monogamous and mate for life—bow their heads, flap their wings, leap and bounce off stiffened legs all in the effort to secure a partner. This pairing off usually happens when the birds—which are red on Audubon’s Watchlist—are between two and three years old.

California Condor
California Condors. Photo: Marc Slattery/Audubon Photography Awards

Average clutch size: 1 egg
Cool fact: When a Golden Eagle is around, this condor species—normally the dominant scavenger—will leave the carcass for the other bird and its seriously strong talons.

It takes California Condors, highly endangered birds on Audubon’s Watchlist, between six and eight years to reach sexual maturity. Once the birds mate, they stay together for years if not for life. During courtship, aerial displays bring the pairs to several nest options—kind of like searching for a potential home. The female, of course, has the final say in where the birds settle down. 

Atlantic Puffin
Atlantic Puffins. Photo: Lorraine Minns/Audubon Photography Awards

Average clutch size: 1 egg
Cool fact: Puffins can fly up to 55 miles per hour, flapping their wings 400 times per minute.

These pigeon-sized “clowns of the sea” don’t breed until they’re between three and six years old. Once they do, however, Atlantic Puffins stick with their partners for good, returning to the same burrow each season, sharing egg-incubating and parenting duties, even performing what’s known as billing, during which the birds rub together their beaks. For more great information about Atlantic Puffins and Audubon's conservation work to protect them, check out Project Puffin.


Freebie Alert! Learn more fascinating facts about 821 species of North American birds with our handy Audubon Bird Guide App.

By Michele Berger


Behind the Scenes: Digital Manipulation

Edgar Martins, the photographer at the heart of the current controversy, has told Lens and at least one other blog, Jain, that he will be telling his side of the story soon. 

The text of his e-mail response to requests for interviews, identical to both blogs, is shown below in italics.

Original post There’s probably no more troubling issue facing photojournalism than the digital manipulation of images that are supposed to faithfully represent what’s in front of the camera.

Digital technology permits so many interventions — some acutely obvious, others so subtle that only computers can detect them — that the line has blurred between manipulation and the kind of enhancement and editing that viewers customarily expect; like cropping, color correction, burning and dodging.

Blurry as it may get, there’s no question that the digital rearrangement or insertion of physical objects constitutes manipulation that The Times will not accept. (In the 1930s, it was another matter.)

The longstanding policy is unambiguous:

Images in our pages, in the paper or on the Web, that purport to depict reality must be genuine in every way. No people or objects may be added, rearranged, reversed, distorted or removed from a scene (except for the recognized practice of cropping to omit extraneous outer portions).

That’s not to say it doesn’t happen.

A picture essay in The Times Magazine on Sunday and an accompanying slide show on NYTimes.com, “Ruins of the Second Gilded Age,” have been found to include digital alterations. The photos showed unfinished or unoccupied construction projects around the United States that came to a halt — at least in part — because of the financial crisis. They were taken by Edgar Martins, a 32-year-old freelance photographer.

By Tuesday, sharp-eyed readers were calling the pictures into question. One comment on the MetaFilter blog included an animated dissection. The PDN Pulse blog also pointed out five instances in which objects had apparently been duplicated.

In response, The Times published an editors’ note, noting that the introduction to the essay “said that the photographer, a freelancer based in Bedford, England, ‘creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.’”

A reader, however, discovered on close examination that one of the pictures was digitally altered, apparently for aesthetic reasons. Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from NYTimes.com.

Kenneth Irby, the visual journalism group leader at the Poynter Institute, had no comment Wednesday on the Magazine essay, which he hadn’t yet seen. Speaking generally, however, he noted the “tremendous competition in the marketplace for imagery,” while at the same time, “with a click of a mouse, a perceived imperfection can be adjusted and modified.”

He continued, “To distinguish oneself with a great photo or powerful reportage — that’s a temptation.”


Following is Mr. Martin’s e-mail response on Thursday to a request for an interview?

However, I will not be able to do share my views with you for a few more days.

I have been informed of the discussion that is currently taking place concerning the feature, which I had anticipated to some degree, but which I have not yet been able to acquaitance myself with it, as I am travelling and so unable to access the internet. (Yes, believe it or not there are still places in this world with limited or no internet connection..)

I will no doubt be discussing this issue you with yourself, your readers and readers from other blogs fairly soon.

In the meantime let the debate rage on… no doubt this will open up a healthy dialogue about Photography, its inexorable links to the real & its inadequacies. Or so I hope…