Rare 1907 photos advertising the Southern Pacific Railroad show West Coast in color


Click to enlarge

❝ Check out these rare photos to follow the “road of a thousand wonders,” along the California coast on the Southern Pacific Railroad.

❝ The…images from 1907 start in Los Angeles, and work their way up to Oregon. There are over a hundred stops along the way, including Ojai, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and many of California’s missions, including San Juan Bautista. The trip also includes Carmel-By-The-Sea, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, including images of the city’s resurrection from the 1906 earthquake.

❝ The images are from Sunset Magazine, shot for the Passenger Department of the Southern Pacific Company. The pictures of the West were meant to stimulate interest in the Rail Highway along the Pacific, joining California and Oregon, passing the spectacular Shasta, over the Siskiyous, to the Columbia River in Oregon.

Each image, which is in the style of a vintage postcard, is captioned as seen in the publication.

My kind of history. I love period photography. Still have my Italian grandfather’s wooden Eastman camera.

Put this article together with tales from the period, a legitimate contribution to our knowledge of where part of our American civilization comes from.

Photos of a war crime in progress


Click to enlarge — Ezz Al-Zanoun/Getty Images

A boy stands at a funeral ceremony held for Palestinian Abu Jamei, who died after an Israeli aircraft hit his house in Khan Yunis, Gaza

“You can’t have occupation and human rights.”

That’s what public intellectual and essayist Christopher Hitchens had to say about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, one of the most contentious components of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This conflict came to a head once again last summer, when Israel launched a seven-week military campaign in the Gaza Strip region of Palestine that resulted in about 2,200 deaths — 1,500 of them civilian.

This campaign is just the latest in a long line of fighting in Gaza — and beyond, so much so that the United Nations just reported that within five years, Gaza could be uninhabitable.

Click this link to see more of the story, more photos.

Beautiful photos taken by the Mars Rovers over the last 10 years

IDL TIFF file
Click to enlargeNASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University

Ten years ago, when the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission, engineers expected them to each last 90 Martian days, about three months of Earth time. Spirit lasted a remarkable six years before getting stuck in soft sand, and ultimately losing radio contact with its minders on Earth.

Compared to Opportunity, though, Spirit was a flash in the pan. Hundreds of millions of miles away in the bitter Martian cold, Opportunity has kept on ticking—exploring new areas, taking scientific measurements and capturing beautiful photos—this entire time.

As part of a new exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum, “Spirit and Opportunity: 10 Years Roving Across Mars,” John Grant and other scientists involved with the mission have curated 50 of the most scientifically significant and visually stunning photos taken by the rovers over the years from a collection of several hundred thousand images.

Here are a few of those photos.

The dramatic moment a family fleeing Australia’s wildfires shelter in the water to escape flames


Tammy Holmes, her grandchildren, a neighbor’s child, take refuge as a wildfire rages nearby


A building burns onshore near the jetty where the family sheltered

Tammy’s husband Tim took the photos with his iPhone -sending them to the children’s mother who hadn’t been able to get back to the family – he wanted to show her they were together and surviving OK.

Solid decision. The town – Dunalley, Tasmania – was destroyed in the fire. The important part as ever is that they all survived.

50 Years of the European Southern Observatory in Chile


Picture: ESO / Rex Features

This spectacular image of the large spiral galaxy NGC 1232 was obtained on September 21, 1998, during a period of good observing conditions. It is based on three exposures in ultra-violet, blue and red light, respectively. The colours of the different regions are well visible : the central areas contain older stars of reddish colour, while the spiral arms are populated by young, blue stars and many star-forming regions.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) was created in 1962. In this gallery, we look at some of the most spectacular deep space images captured by ESO’s telescopes in northern Chile. These include the New Technology Telescope (NTT), the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

I love this stuff. We have one of the darkest places in New Mexico up on Galisteo Mesa and it’s a stunner to go up there with someone who owns a telescope. Cripes, even being up there with decent binoculars or a camera with a good zoom lens is rewarding.

Satellite images show urban and rural expansion of society

Satellite images show how the march of progress has altered the face of the earth in just a few decades. The images were all taken by a fleet of Earth-observing satellites that form part of the ‘Landsat’ program, which celebrates its 40th anniversary on 23 July.

A 1987 satellite image of the Wadi As-Sirhan Basin in Saudi Arabia shows largely desert; however, by 2012 most of the region has been developed into farmland, with green pivot irrigation circles dotting the barren landscape.

It ain’t Kansas, yet. But, surely looks like eastern New Mexico.

Ansel Adams glass negatives from garage sale = $200 million

Rick Norsigian’s hobby of picking through piles of unwanted items at garage sales in search of antiques has paid off for the Fresno, California, painter.

Two small boxes he bought 10 years ago for $45 — negotiated down from $70 — are now estimated to be worth at least $200 million, according to a Beverly Hills art appraiser.

Those boxes contained 65 glass negatives created by famed nature photographer Ansel Adams in the early period of his career. Experts believed the negatives were destroyed in a 1937 darkroom fire that destroyed 5,000 plates…

The photographs apparently were taken between 1919 and the early 1930s, well before Adams — who is known as the father of American photography — became nationally recognized in the 1940s, David Streets said…

Photography expert Patrick Alt, who helped confirm the authenticity of the negatives, suspects Adams carried them to use in a photography class he was teaching in Pasadena, California, in the early 1940s…

While most of the negatives appear never to have been printed, several are nearly identical to well-known Adams prints, the experts said…

“I have sent people to prison for the rest of their lives for far less evidence than I have seen in this case,” said evidence and burden of proof expert Manny Medrano, who was hired by Norsigian to help authenticate them. “In my view, those photographs were done by Ansel Adams.”
Norsigian, who has spent the last decade trying to prove the worth of his discovery, is now ready to cash in — by selling original prints of the photographs to museums and collectors.

RTFA. Interesting tale in several chapters: discovery of the negatives at a garage sale; why had they ended up in storage in the first place; Norsigian appears to have been casual about validating the negatives until about 6 months ago; how they were authenticated.

Our grocery trips to town on the weekend are occasionally punctuated by my question: “Oh, look. A garage sale. Want to stop and look around?”

The answer is always “No”. I hope I haven’t missed something.

Dutch thugs caught by Google street view camera car


Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Dutch twin brothers who mugged a teenager in the northern town of Groningen were arrested after being caught on camera by a car gathering images for Google’s online photo map service, police said.

The pair stole the 14-year-old boy’s mobile phone and 165 euros in cash last September.

The picture was taken just a moment before the crime,” a police spokesman said.

In March, the victim recognized himself and the two robbers while surfing Google Maps, which has a “Street View” feature allowing users to see images of buildings. The images are usually taken by a camera mounted on a car.

After an investigation by the police, one of the 24-year-old twins confessed to robbing the boy.

Har!