7 biggest Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera upgrades


Putting aside the 200-megapixel main camera for a moment, at first glance there’s not a huge amount of camera upgrades for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. 

It sports pretty much the same rear camera setup as its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which held a high spot on our best camera phones list. And given that the older phone takes great smartphone photos, it’s no surprise Samsung hasn’t messed with the formula too much. 

But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that there are some solid camera upgrades, be it in hardware terms of some improvement on the software side and Samsung’s computational photography chops. So read on for 7 of the biggest Galaxy S23 Ultra camera upgrades. 

A 200MP main camera

(Image credit: Future)

OK, let’s start with the biggest and most obvious upgrade: the 200MP main camera. That’s a jump up from the 108MP camera on the Galaxy S22 Ultra and now means the Galaxy S23 Ultra can capture more detailed and higher-resolution photos. And that also means more scope for editing and less of a loss in clarity when you crop into an image. 

Unless you’re using a pro mode, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will deliver 50MP images by default, using a pixel binning process. But these will be higher resolution images than the 12MP shots provided as standard by the S22 Ultra. And with more details, and thus more information captured initially, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s main camera should deliver crisper and clearer shots out of the box. Of course, we’ll need to test this for ourselves. 

Improved low-light photography

(Image credit: Samsung via YouTube)

Samsung has improved the low-light and night photography shooting for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Thanks to the new 200MP Adaptive Pixel sensor, the main camera can now combine 16 pixels into one larger one to improve the amount of light that the camera captures, to make for brighter and more detailed low-light photos. 

By doubling the optical image stabilization (OIS) angles in all directions, the Galaxy S23 Ultra can take better low-light videos with less noise; this boost in OIS also helps in daylight in situations where blur can be a factor, like traversing rough ground. Multi-frame processing during low-light conditions also helps remove noise from videos. 

And around the front, there’s a new night portrait mode for the selfie camera, which delivers an enhanced bokeh effect at night. 

Better Astrophotography mode 

(Image credit: Samsung via YouTube)

Improvements to low-light photography also benefit the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s Astrophotography mode, which is now in the phone’s camera app by default rather than just being a feature of the ExpertRAW app. 

Thanks to the improvements in main camera resolution and OIS, as well as image processing, Samsung says you can capture shots of the Milky Way and the movements of the stars — when used in an Astro Hyperlapse mode — with no specialist equipment; we do suspect you’d need a tripod unless you have extraordinary steady hands and a lot of patience. 

ExpertRAW gets Lightroom editing powers 

(Image credit: Samsung via YouTube)

With the ability to snap high-resolution photos on the 200MP camera comes the scope for more editing. And rather neatly, Samsung’s ExpertRAW app on the Galaxy S23 range now has Lightroom baked in. 

That means you’ll be able to snap 200MP RAW photos on the Galaxy S23 Ultra with all the extra controls enabled by the ExpertRAW app (which is a free download but has a lot of its features now in the Galaxy S23 camera app, like the ability to capture multiple exposures), and edit that image in Adobe’s Lightroom by default. This should make editing images into the photo you want a more seamless and powerful experience. 

New selfie camera

(Image credit: Future)

Around the front of the Galaxy S23 Ultra you’ll find a 12MP selfie camera. At first, this would seem like a downgrade from the S22 Ultra’s 40MP one. But the camera uses Super HDR (also available on the rear cameras), which should deliver brighter and more colorful selfie snaps, as well as video up to 4K at 60 frames per second; that’s up from 30 fps on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. 

Combined with an object-based AI that analyzes each detail in the frame, even down to minute facial features such as hair, eyes, and skin tone, Samsung says the camera should capture photos that are more “true to you.”

Boosted video 

(Image credit: Samsung via YouTube)

The image stabilization upgrades and Super HDR should make the Galaxy S23 Ultra a rather good video recording device. 

But the standout feature is the ability to capture 8K video at 30 fps, the latter some consider to be the best frame rate for video. But by making use of a wider camera angle and bigger pixel size, Samsung reckons the videos the Galaxy S23 Ultra will capture will be more cinematic than before. 

It might be overkill for some, given 8K is hardly a widespread standard in TVs. But 8K at 30 fps is an added extra over the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which was limited to 8K at 24 fps and only in the 16:9 aspect ratio (not that you’d likely want very high-resolution videos at a different ratio). But 4K at 60 fps with Super HDR could be the sweet spot to deliver more colorful and dynamic videos than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. 

360-degree audio recording in videos  

(Image credit: Future)

For people looking at making cinematic or more immersive videos, the Galaxy S23 Ultra can be used with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to capture 360-degree audio by using the earbuds’ microphones as well as those on the phone. 

As 360 Audio Recording was a feature introduced with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you’ll need to use these earbuds specifically. But it’s a smart example of Samsung better tying together its whole Galaxy product ecosystem. And it could result in some impressive directional audio in videos that the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro Max can’t match. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera upgrades outlook 

(Image credit: Future)

These camera upgrades all look good on paper, but we’d need to test them out ourselves before rendering any in-depth judgments. So be sure to check back for our full Galaxy S23 Ultra review. 

But given the Galaxy S22 Ultra put in some impressive photography and video results, we’d be quietly confident that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will build upon it, likely seeing the flagship phone enter the upper echelons of our best phones list, especially if the 200MP camera really delivers the photography goods.

Taschen Is Having a Rare Sale on Its Luxe Art, Culture, and Photography Books for Four Days Only


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In a world of Kindles, tangible books will forever have a place in my heart. Images of art and photography are just not done justice on a screen, thanks to the limited display capacity compared to print. Top-quality art and photography coffee table books are a wonderful way to display your interests in your home, but they can often be pricey. So, it’s an exciting time when one of the world’s leading publishers has a really big sale. Taschen has stores in international cities such as New York, Paris, and Hong Kong, but you don’t have to visit one in person to score a sweet deal on a luxury book. Whether looking for gifts, adding to a library collection, or something to leave on your coffee table, the selections of Taschen books now on sale are outrageously beautiful and historic–but don’t snooze since the sale is only live for a few days until February 5.

Aside from historic artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Frida Kahlo, you’ll find premium books featuring popular culture topics like Star Wars and David Bowie. Topics from dogs to surfing are available in smaller formats as well. There’s plenty for photography and architecture enthusiasts, including the late Beijing photog Ren Hang. The books come in a variety of sizes, from pocket to XXL, and have expert commentaries and biographies accompanying the images. Some are as little as $8; scroll through to see a few of our top picks.

Frida Kahlo, The Complete PaintingsRegularly $200

Frida Kahlo transcended art history like no woman artist before her. She was a key figure of Mexican revolutionary modern art and a pioneer of the politics of gender, sexuality, and feminism. This XXL monograph combines all of Kahlo’s 152 paintings with rare photos, diary pages, letters, and an illustrated biography.”

Buy Frida Kahlo, The Complete Paintings at Taschen, $120

Marilyn Monroe, Norman Mailer, Bert Stern Regularly $100

“Bert Stern’s “Last Sitting” photos of Marilyn Monroe – taken just weeks before her death – merge with Norman Mailer’s controversial 1973 biography of Monroe into this intimate portrait of an enigmatic woman – a global celebrity with a tragic end. With their work combined in one book, Mailer and Stern lift the veil on a film icon.”

Buy Marilyn Monroe, Norman Mailer, Bert Stern at Taschen, $60

Dalí, The PaintingsDown from $60

“The most complete study of Salvador Dalí’s painted works yet. After years of research, Robert Descharnes and Gilles Néret located previously inaccessible works that epitomize Dalí’s depictions of the subconscious and its strange workings. Complete with updated captions, this opulent edition contextualizes Dalí’s paintings with his own writings, drawings, and archival material.”

Buy Dalí, The Paintings at Taschen, $40

Witchcraft, The Library of EsotericaDown from $40

“A spellbinding journey through the global history of witchcraft, the third volume in The Library of Esoterica follows this magickal tradition from its ancient roots to its modern incarnations. Through more than 400 artworks, and revelatory essays and interviews with modern practitioners, Witchcraft chronicles a cathartic evolution, from the craft’s emergence in ancient goddess worship to the embrace by today’s diverse witch community.”

Buy Witchcraft, The Library of Esoterica at Taschen, $25

Ultimate Collector CarsDown from $250

“This double volume is the ultimate collector car anthology, featuring 100 of the most remarkable and desirable cars of all time, from the landmark 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp to the radical 2020 McLaren Speedtail. Each model is presented in stunning imagery by the world’s leading car photographers.”

Buy Ultimate Collector Cars at Taschen, $150

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10 Most photo-worthy spots in Saint Thomas!


This island is one of the few Caribbean destinations that combines history and high-quality beaches. Since the U.S. bought Saint Thomas from Denmark way back, American citizens do not need a passport here. Danish architectural heritage is obvious, especially in downtown Charlotte Amalie, the island’s capital. Another “arguably” must-see attraction near the city center is Blackbeard’s Castle. This lookout tower was reportedly used by the infamous pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. If you want to find a treasure trove of coastal fun, head over to the highly-popular beach near Magens Bay. Sapphire Beach and Coki Point, meanwhile, offer water sports opportunities.

In Saint Thomas you will find some beautiful attractions that you just cannot miss! Places like Grenada, Lindbergh Bay Beach, and The Belgian Chocolate Factory and many more. Continue reading to know more.






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Saint Thomas






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Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island, is one of the Western Hemisphere’s smallest independent countries.

It is known as the Spice Island because it is the world’s second-largest nutmeg grower after Indonesia, as well as a notable producer of mace, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. It also has a stunning landscape, including rich valleys, jungles, and alpine lakes, as well as a tropical temperature and good beaches that attract visitors.






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Lindbergh Bay Beach is a picturesque destination located in Saint Thomas, United States.

Lindbergh Bay Beach is close to the airport. A water sports booth offers diving, paddle boats, snorkeling, kayaks, and windsurfers. A small playground is there on the beach that is mostly loved by children who are visiting the beach. This beach is the most charming beautiful white sand beach of St. Thomas. This is the major port with a bathhouse, on-site restrooms, and lifeguard services. This is the perfect location to relax and enjoy nature.






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The Belgian Chocolate Factory offers a one-of-a-kind experience as it showcases the beauty of chocolate making.

The Belgian Chocolate Factory, located in St. Thomas, offers a unique experience for chocolate lovers as they would be able to see how chocolate is made. Visitors could witness the step-by-step procedure of chocolate making and also sample exotic chocolate flavors.






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Expose yourself to the beauty of marine life and learn more about their ecosystem at the Coral World Ocean Park.

Coral World Ocean Park, located in Saint Thomas, is a park that is famous for its underwater observatory tower. It descends 20 feet into the ocean which allows its visitors to see what it’s like under the sea. The park also features a Caribbean Reef Encounter tank which is home to a diverse range of marine life species. Visitors would surely have a blast seeing marine life up close and learning more about them.






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Magens Bay features great views of nature as it is surrounded by towering green trees and crystal blue bodies of water.

Magens Bay, located in the United States, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the city as it offers breathtaking views of nature as well as bodies of water perfect for outdoor activities. The place is ideal for swimming and snorkeling as visitors could chance upon vibrant fishes and wildlife sightings.






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On land, underwater, or above sea level, fun is guaranteed!.

This resort is one of the greatest seaside getaways you can visit when dropping by the Virgin Islands. Once you get here, you’ll have a world of recreational opportunities. Guests at this resort can enjoy some sailing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, or even scuba diving. The resort also has a unique concierge service that can help you determine what parts of the Virgin Islands you can explore.






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Water Island is the perfect summer destination as it features crystal blue waters and fine white sand.

Visitors will love basking in the sun on the Water Island where it features crystal blue waters and fine white sand. The island is the perfect destination for summer vacation as guests would surely love sunbathing at its shores or swimming in its waters.






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Relax and unwind at Honeymoon Beach which offers a wondrous view of nature and a cool sea breeze.

Honeymoon Beach, located in Saint Thomas, is a must-visit destination for those who want to relax and unwind at the beach. It features crystal blue water and fine white sand where visitors could just relax and admire the picturesque scenery before them.






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St. Peter Greathouse Estate & Gardens is a restored and preserved plantation that has beautiful views of mountains.

Visitors who love nature and the great outdoors would surely have a great time at the St. Peter Greathouse Estate & Gardens. It is a colonial plantation where over 150 species of plants and fruits could be found. It also features a magnificent view of the mountains surrounding the plantation, perfect for those who want to go on sightseeing.






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Frederick Lutheran Church is known for its unique exterior design as it is lined with bricks once used as ballast on ships.

Frederick Lutheran Church, located in Saint Thomas, is known for its one-of-a-kind architectural design as it features thick arched window frames that are lined with bricks that were once used as ballast on ships. Visitors should definitely visit the church as it is a unique structure and boasts beautiful scenery.

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How I Photographed the Green Comet


You have likely heard about the “green comet” that’s all over the news. It is known as Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, and it is currently visible in the night sky.

This particular comet only comes around approximately every 50,000 years, so I set up my camera and telescope to photograph it while it is still here. 

In this post, I will explain my approach and provide some photography tips on how you can capture this elusive green comet from the far reaches of our solar system. You can also view my experience in the video below. 

 

What is a Comet?

A comet is a small celestial object made up of ice, dust, and rocky particles that orbit the sun. They are believed to have formed at the birth of our solar system and are thought to contain some of the oldest and most primitive materials in the solar system.

The nucleus of a comet is often described as a “dirty snowball” due to its composition. When it approaches the Sun, the heat causes the ice to vaporize creating a bright coma around the nucleus and a visible tail.  This tail will always point away from the Sun due to the solar wind. 

Comet Tempel 1 after it obliterated Deep Impact’s impactor spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD).

Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF

This particular comet has a massive orbit, completing its path around the sun every 50 thousand years. The last time it was visible on earth was during the stone age, when there was absolutely zero light pollution to contend with!  

At the start of 2023, this comet traveled closest to the Sun. By February 1, it will be closest to Earth meaning there is still time to view this comet. In fact, on February 5, when it’s next to the bright star Capella, or February 9-13 when it’s near Mars, could be great chances to spot the comet. 

Astrophotography offers your best chance to see the tail of comet 2022 E3 and the green nucleus that glows with a green coma.

This graphic shows the massive 50,000-year orbit of Comet ZTF around the Sun. (The Sky Live).

How to see it?

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you will have had the chance to see this comet since January 2023. But now that it has journeyed closest to Earth this month, there are still a few weeks of viewing before those in the southern hemisphere will have their chance to see it. 

It can be found in the area of the sky that is right near the north star, Polaris. Use your favorite astronomy app on your phone, like Stellarium, to guide you in the right direction. 

You will also want to use a pair of binoculars or a telescope to view this object as it is not bright enough to see with the naked eye. Ideally, you would view it without the bright glow of the moon interfering, but that’s precisely what I’ll be doing since there have been limited clear nights for me this winter. 

The path of Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF as it travels past Polaris in the night sky. Astronomy.com

My Approach

To capture the green comet I used a refractor telescope with a focal length of 550mm. This brings the comet in nice and close, but not close to avoid missing the tail, which luckily, was still there. That’s the exciting (and difficult) part about photographing comets – they are evolving, and unpredictable. The last comet I photographed was comet Neowise in 2020.  

I used a full-frame color camera, which utilizes the native focal length of this scope, to capture a nice big chuck of the sky in a single shot. I was able to see it right away through a test exposure, and then it’s a matter of choosing the ideal exposure time to reveal it without too much motion.

The comet is moving at a different speed and angle than the motion of the stars, so my standard method of sidereal tracking wouldn’t work. I’ve seen others use autoguiding on the comet itself (as if it were a star) with positive results.

I adjusted my exposure time to 60 seconds, to avoid too much motion in the comet in a single exposure. This resulted in a somewhat ’round” shape of the comet nucleus, with a slight amount of trailing when viewed up close. 

My Imaging Session

To run the image sequence on this comet I used a ZWO ASIAIR WiFi device to control the session. I can’t say enough about how great these little devices are.

It’s a powerful accessory capable of running a dedicated astronomy camera, guiding, and even autofocusing for those that want it all. I’ve recently switched to a bigger tablet to use the dedicated ASIAIR app, and it’s a treat seeing the huge preview images of the comet as they come through.

Although the WiFi range isn’t great, I can still control the imaging session just inside the garage to stay warm. The ASAIAR mounts directly to the finder scope bracket of my telescope and allows me to clean up all of the cables running to various devices.

I chose to use my Sky-Watcher Esprit 100 telescope as it has the perfect mid-range focal length (550mm) for an object of this size.  This model is included on my list of best astrophotography telescopes available in 2023.

In total, I captured 100 x 60-second tracked exposures centered on the comet. I utilized autoguiding for the stars to avoid star trailing and dithering between each frame (though it probably wasn’t necessary). 

I stacked the images in DeepSky Stacker using comet mode and stacked the images of the comet (not the stars) which created star trails in my final image.

My photo of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

I also created an animation of the comet moving across the star field, using the individual 60-second frames in a sequence. To do this, I simply converted the .FIT files to .jpg, and played the image frames in sequence using Adobe Premiere.

You can watch this animation in action in my video on YouTube. 

Comet Stacking

Both DeepSkyStacker and PixInsight (my go-to image stacking tools) offer a ‘comet stacking’ mode. They allow you to select the comet within the star field and stack the images in accordance with this point. 

I have not tried the PixInsight comet stacking tool yet, but for those interested, be sure to watch this helpful tutorial video by fellow astrophotographer and friend, Bray Falls. 

The process of stacking the comet in DeepSkyStacker involves manually selecting the comet in each sub-frame (which is a little tedious), and then choosing the ‘comet stacking’ mode in the stacking parameters (see below).

Be sure to locate the ‘comet’ tab within the stacking parameters window, and select ‘comet stacking’ if you wish to create an image like mine. This simple tutorial video may help.

Using the comet stacking mode in DeepSkyStacker.

The tool includes a ‘stars + comet’ mode, but it did not work for me on this project. A potential workaround for creating an image of a stacked comet without star trailing is to remove the stars from the comet image and place a background of tracked stars behind it.

Tips for Shooting the Comet

In terms of astrophotography-specific tips, I have a few things to keep in mind.

  • Decide on your composition: You can either track the comet itself with a star-trailed background or capture the motion of the stars, and the comet will be blurred. As mentioned above, unlike a typical deep-sky object, they are moving independently from one another.
  • Track the comet: For the ultimate portrait of this dirty snowball, you’ll definitely want your telescope to track the COMET – this will allow you to take a clear, long-exposure shot. You may want to stick to shorter subs tracking the stars and stack the image.
  • Use the correct stacking mode: The stacking process is a bit different for comets and there are actually comet-stacking modes in both DeepSkyStacker and PixInsight. Try both to see which one delivers the best result.
  • Get Creative: Many people like to create an animated timelapse of the comet traveling through the stars, which is a pretty cool effect because you can see how fast it’s actually moving through space. 

The bottom line is, once you’ve found it, the way you capture it is up to you. If you’re like me, just the whole idea of the event is fun – I don’t need to take the best photo out there.

Just remember, comets can be faint and difficult to see, so be patient. It will help if you let your eyes adjust to the darkness and use a star chart to help you locate it using the surrounding stars. 

Final Thoughts

Unlike some of the celestial events that get media attention, I think comets are a pretty big deal. They’re visitors from the far reaches of our solar system and they’re only here for a short period of time.

The fact that they’re (kind of) doing their own thing makes it cool. Whether it’s every 76 years or every 50,000, when they visit, it reminds us of our comparatively short lives here on our rock and how incredible this whole experience is.

So go outside and look for the green comet while you can, because nothing lasts forever. 

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50 Weird And Funny Things People Found On The Subway


Here in this post, you can find 50 weird and funny things people found on the subway. Subways can be a source of humor in many different ways, from humorous incidents and situations to the quirky and unexpected things that can happen while riding on one.

Some popular examples of subway humor include people doing silly things, people dressed in funny costumes, funny advertisements, and unexpected interactions between passengers. Additionally, the unique personalities and cultures that can be found in different subway systems around the world can also add to the humor and entertainment value of riding on a subway.

Scroll down and enjoy these photographs. All photos are linked and lead to the sources from which they were taken. Please feel free to explore further works of these photographers on their collections or their personal sites.

#1 This guy has a turtle shell backpack

Image Source: HarryTOMalley

#2 Poor the guy on the right, he’s holding his breath, hoping they won’t notice him

Image Source: CopyX

#3 Just taking my bag for a walk

Image Source: LucasLarson

#4 A subway in Seoul had been converted into a grocery store

Image Source: The_Day_Man

#5 Be trendy

Image Source: omafist

#6 Perfect timing

Image Source: yumpop278

#7 And his name is John Cena

Image Source: SENTIONAUTS

#8 Doggo: these seats are way too small. How’s a fella supposed to sit?

Image Source: liamrichards

#9 Someone’s enjoying their evening commute… or not

Image Source: afrowa

#10 He doesn’t sell weed, he just sells tropical plants

Image Source: zeaky888

#11 They haven’t drunk enough beer, so probably dehydrated

Image Source: cxrry

#12 It’s good that it isn’t an advertisement for hemorrhoids

Image Source: kappi8

#13 Tiered of flying from Brooklyn to the central park daily

Image Source: __instant.classic__

#14 More concerned about the guy on the bottom right tbh

Image Source: morgannelamorte

#15 Single Bald men conference

Image Source: harpoonstencil

#16 The lady is certainly amused

Image Source: carlfreis

#17 Just another day on the subway

Image Source: REDDIT

#18 Looks like Ted Mosby trying to be Tony Stark

Image Source: ericchavez13

#19 The new Marilyn Monroe

Image Source: Noerdy

#20 This knight probably just lost his horse to the enemy that day

Image Source: Scaulbylausis

#21 My lil man looked sad

Image Source: REDDIT

#22 It’s literally the last thing she would have thought she’d sit next to

Image Source: scuppaugzpropitiate

#23 I choose you Charmander, to protect my virginity

Image Source: ARILOTTER

#24 Ah, just a casual Friday really

Image Source: Imgur

#25 He must have had a crazy night

Image Source: Pinterest

#26 A Peacock On The NYC Subway

Image source: BookerDeWittsCarbine

#27 Well…

Image source: Jazzdaddy66

#28 I Found Her. She Is Alive

Image source: 0Bits

#29 HoHoHo

Image source: Imgur

#30 You Keep Doing You

Image source: GallowBoob

#31 A Guy Feeds A Kitten In The Subway

Image source: TheHofinstop

#32 This Man Was Sketching People On The Subway And Telling Them That They Are Beautiful

Image source: daaaabear

#33 Hmmm

Image source: subwaycreatures

#34 Super Mask

Image source: subwaycreatures

#35 Springfield

Image source: zhenxing

#36 I’m Feeling Lucky

Image source: ibsanv

#37 Cat Scarf

Image source: cyberpunkkarmathief

#38 Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Image source: Georgefayiz

#39 Taking Christmas To A Whole New Level

Image source: bendiknee

#40 Just A Fox

Image source: IosifMarianna

#41 Dude Just Whipped Out This Desk On The Subway And Started His Meeting

Image source: brdesignguy

#42 Quidditch

Image source: SanchoLibre

#43 “How To Talk To Your Cat About Gun Safety”. Interesting

Image source: subwaycreatures

#44 Duck And Cover

Image source: WullieBlake

#45 Never Have I Wanted To Touch Someone’s Hat So Much

Image source: beckyshangrila

#46 Do You Think She Woke Up In Brooklyn?

Image source: dervison123

#47 Try Explaining To Your Boss That You’re Late Because You Missed Your Stop While Feeding A Pink Chicken Cheerios On The Subway

Image source: subwaycreatures

#48 Saying Hey From The NYC Subway

Image source: StuffyUnicorn

#49 Spotted On The Subway

Image source: crazeecatladee

#50 Brazilians In The Moscow Metro

Image source: sallem654


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Shot of Milky Way over Tudor ruins wins top prize at photography competition


Cowdray Comos’ taken by Richard Murray won the South Downs National Park astrophotography competition (Image: Richard Murray/PA)

A “hauntingly beautiful” shot of the Milky Way rising over the ruins of a Tudor mansion has won the top prize in a photography competition.

The image, taken by Richard Murray from Waterlooville, Hampshire, captures the night-time scene at Cowdray ruins in Midhurst and claimed the top prize in the South Downs National Park astrophotography competition, which attracted 60 entries.

In September 1793, while it was undergoing repairs and refurbishments for the impending marriage of the 8th Viscount Montague, a devastating fire destroyed most of the property, leaving the ruins that remain.

The competition celebrates the national park’s status as one of only 20 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world, which recognises the region as one of the best places globally to stargaze.

South Downs lead ranger Dan Oakley said of the winning image: “It’s such a well-framed image and shows what the landscape would have been like a couple of centuries ago.

“It’s a great little chocolate box photo of the South Downs.”

Mr Murray, who won a £100 prize, said: “We were blessed with crystal clear skies and I was lucky enough to be able to capture this shot of the Milky Way rising behind the Cowdray ruins.

“It demonstrates that you don’t have to travel too far from town to enjoy the spectacular dark skies the South Downs National Park has to offer.

“The national park has such a wide variety of beautiful landscapes and buildings to photograph and is truly a special part of the UK, both by day and night.”

The Argus: Beachy Head moonrise by Andrew Parker

Beachy Head moonrise by Andrew Parker (Image: Andrew Parker/ PA)

Runner-up in the main category, was a shot of the moon rising behind Beachy Head lighthouse, near Eastbourne taken by Andrew Parker, who won a £75 prize.

Mr Parker, who lives in south east London, said: “Despite travelling around the country to pursue my hobby of landscape and astrophotography I still go to the South Downs more than most other places. The skies around Birling Gap are fantastic.”

The judges were also wowed by a photograph of a toad crossing a road near Cuckmere Haven, by Peter Brooks from Eastbourne.

The picture won the South Downs Nature at Night category and Mr Brooks received a £100 prize.

The Argus: Toad In The Road by Peter Brooks

Toad In The Road by Peter Brooks (Image: Peter Brooks/ PA)

Mr Oakley said: “I like this image because it’s a bit different. It sums up the theme of ‘nature at night’ and really highlights the fragility of nature.”

Mr Brooks said: “I took this particular image to highlight the dangers toads face when migrating back to their breeding ponds.”

Patience — and a cooperating otter — win photography award


Feb. 1—SANDY LAKE — For Fran Bires, the great outdoors have been a lifelong interest — something he can now express through photography, a hobby that took off for him about five or six years ago.

And since the Sandy Lake resident and his wife Nancy live near the Maurice K. Goddard State Park, the couple often spend plenty of time hiking, biking or taking photos there — including a photo Fran took last year of an otter.

The otter, perched on a rock and looking back at Fran, is a rare example of an animal “cooperating” during a photo shoot, and one that recently won Fran the People’s Choice Runner Up Award from the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation’s Annual Photo Contest.

“It was cool, but it was also very unexpected,” Fran said of the award.

Fran’s photo was one of about 600 submissions to the contest in 2022, according to a press release.

The quality and volume of the photos is evidence of the passion people have for their state parks and forests, Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation President Marci Mowery said in the release.

“Photography is one of many ways that people enjoy these special places,” Mowery said.

Despite the recognition, Fran said he didn’t set out to be an award-winning photographer; his true passion has always been the outdoors and wildlife.

To that end, Fran’s career included a 33-year stint at the former McKeever Environmental Learning Center, along with some time working at state parks including Raccoon Creek State Park and McConnells Mill State Park.

Fran also continues to serve on the board of the Friends of Maurice K. Goddard State Park.

When he retired in 2016, Fran continued spending time outdoors. But now, Fran could invest more time studying photography, which had previously been an “on-and-off again” hobby prior to retirement.

“It was kind of a natural fit,” Fran said. “I know a lot of photographers that do weddings and things like that, but being a nature and outdoors buff, that’s what I wanted to shoot.”

However, Fran said photography still took a lot of trial and error, as he learned different aspects such as equipment, composition and lighting.

He also learned how much patience goes into photography, especially wildlife photography, since the shots are dictated by the whims of nature and the animals.

“Something I’ve learned from professional photographers is that, when people go out in the field, a lot of people up too quick,” Fran said. “I’ve done that where you give up, and as soon as you do, that’s usually when something cool happens.”

During one of many trips to Goddard three or four years ago, Fran said he saw his first river otter. Although he snapped a few photos at the time, Fran later went back to the same location and once again saw otters there.

By the time he took his award-winning photo, Fran said the otters seemed to get used to his presence instead of scattering, although Fran continued to keep his distance.

Despite the unique opportunity presented when one of the otters looked at him long enough to snap a photo, Fran said it was important to be respectful of animals when shooting them.

That’s why Fran said photographers should not only be mindful of their own safety, but also the safety of the animals by not getting too loud or too close.

Some bird species will abandon a nest if someone gets too close or disturbs a nest, while foxes may take their young from the den and try to find a new den if they feel the pups are threatened.

“Ethics is a big part of this. You’ve got to be respectful of wildlife,” Fran said.

Aside from receiving his first photography award, Fran also had a photo of an eastern bluebird published in Pennsylvania Magazine, and a landscape photograph of Goddard’s Falling Run Waterfall in Inside Pennsylvania Magazine, both in 2022.

Fran stressed though that while it was “cool” having his work recognized last year, and he may submit toward the contest in the future, he doesn’t take photos for the awards.

Since there’s no way to plan ahead the circumstances that can make for a great photo, it helps to enjoy the outdoors regardless of the photo opportunities.

“You can spend hours a day outside and not see something. That’s what makes these kinds of photos unique,” he said.

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at .

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at ddye@sharonherald.com.

Alameda Photo Of The Day







© Judy Munsen
Sunrise over Crown Harbor, Alameda, Calif.

ALAMEDA, CA — Judy Munsen called Thursday morning’s sunrise at Crown Harbor “unusual and reflective.” She was kind enough to share it with all of us. Thank you, Judy!

If you have an awesome photo of nature, breath-taking scenery, kids caught being kids, a pet doing something funny, or something unusual you happen to catch with your camera, we’d love to feature it on Patch.

We’re looking for high-resolution images that reflect the beauty and fun that is Northern California, and that show off your unique talents.

Email it to bea.karnes@patch.com.

Also See:

The article Thursday Sunrise At Crown Harbor: Alameda Photo Of The Day appeared first on Alameda Patch.

Is there life on Mars? Well, there IS a giant bear’s face


A crater that looks like a bear’s face has been captured on the surface of Mars by the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). 

For the last 16 years, the MRO has been orbiting Mars in a mission to understand the history of the red planet. Previous missions have shown that, once upon a time,  water did flow across its surface, but it’s not clear how long for or whether it was long enough to sustain life. 

• These are the best cameras for astrophotography (opens in new tab), from purpose-built astro cameras to great mirrorless and DSLR systems

While the latest image doesn’t exactly prove that life on Mars ever existed, it does show a view of the planet’s surface that hasn’t been seen before. The bear-like face is made up of a circular fracture complete with two shallow craters that resemble eyes. In the middle of the circle, a V-shaped crevice atop a lighter patch creates the outline of the bear’s nose. 

The HiRISE camera onboard the MRO can capture images that contain up to 28 gigabits of data in just 6 seconds, have a staggering swath width of 3.7 miles, and a programmable image length of up to 37 miles. The camera operates in visible wavelengths, just like the human eye, but its telescopic lens used from 186 miles away enables researchers to identify objects on the planet’s surface that are no bigger than 3 feet.

Weighing 143lbs (65kg) it’s the most expensive instrument onboard the MRO and arguably one of the most important, as it sends accurate visual representations of the surface of Mars enabling scientists to track landscapes in its landscape. 

While you won’t be able to make out the bear’s face even if you are using one of the best telescopes for astrophotography (opens in new tab), it is very common to see the red planet from Earth. However, 2023 is an ‘off’ year for one of our closest neighboring planets; from February 14 it will shine with just a third of the luster it had at the beginning of the year, so if you want to catch it shining brightly you had better do it soon!

The best lenses for astrophotography are wide angle primes or wide-angle zooms that allow you to capture the beautiful night sky

This Newfoundland man used his love of photography to cope with cancer treatment


Nfld. & Labrador·New

Eugene Howell talks about how the craft helped him through radiation therapy.

Eugene Howell talks about how the craft helped him through radiation therapy

This Newfoundland man used his love of photography to cope with cancer treatment

Dealing with a thyroid cancer diagnosis, retired teacher Eugene Howell turned to nature photography to help him deal with radiation therapy.

When Eugene Howell retired from teaching, he left Vancouver and moved home to Northern Bay, N.L., where to call the scenery “picturesque” is an understatement. 

But shortly after the move he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. 

Since then, his love for photography and nature has served as a coping mechanism during his radiation treatment.

Frames is a series celebrating photography and the people who are compelled to reach for their camera and capture moments in time.

Throughout the series, we’ll meet six photographers — all with their own approach to photography, and all of whom have captured some unbelievable photos.

In this episode of Frames, Eugene talks about using the camera for support.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Simms is an independent filmmaker and video producer for the CBC, based out of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

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