Category: people

Celebrating World Photography Day with Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year

August 14th, 2012 Permalink

August 19, 2012, is World Photography Day. This is great opportunity to say thank you to photographers. Without photographers licensing their awesome captures as Creative Commons, we wouldn’t be able to share so many awesome works of art. Once upon a time there were not nearly so many quality images licensed under Creative Commons, but that continues to change. We wanted to celebrate World Photography Day by showcasing the Wikimedia Commons Pictures of the Year, decided at the last part of June 2012. There were all sorts of categories in this Sixth Annual Wikimedia Commons POTY Contest, so here are extremely varied subjects that were declared Picture of the Year winners. Congratulations! [31 Photos]

WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY DAY, Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 1st place: View of Lake Bondhus in Norway, and in the background of the Bondhus Glacier, part of the Folgefonna Glacier

Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2011 #1 with 143 votes in Final. A view of the lake Bondhus in Norway. In the background a view of the Bondhus Glacier as a part of the Folgefonna GlacierView of Lake Bondhus in Norway, and in the background of the Bondhus Glacier, part of the Folgefonna Glacier. Photo #1 by Alchemist-hp (

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Sensational Sand Sculptures: From Creative Castles to Adorable Dragons [47 PICS]

August 4th, 2012 Permalink

When a person builds a castle, it’s a strong fortress meant to last hundreds of years. Yet some people build temporary, fragile castles of sand. In fact, most sandcastles are not castles at all but, amazing works of sand sculpture art. This is a mixture of nature, of art, of science. Physicists theorize that even more massive sand castles could be built underwater. While that would be cool, it would be much harder for the masses to enjoy the sandy works of art by masters of sand sculpting. We really liked these and imagined what it might be like to walk along the beach, enjoying nature, but taking in giant cultural pieces of sand art at the same time. While it’s still summer hot in the USA and some “kids” will soon start school, let’s globe hop and enjoy a summer day on the beach and these sensational sand sculptures. [47 Photos]

Dragon Dwellers - Amazin' Walter and William Lloyds entry in the Tournament of Sand Sculpting Champions at Harrison Hot Springs, British Colombia

Dragon Dwellers – Amazin’ Walter and William Lloyds entry in the Tournament of Sand Sculpting Champions at Harrison Hot Springs, British Colombia, Canada. Photo #1 by © Amazin Walter

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Climbing the Extraordinary Excalibur Wall in the Netherlands [21 PICS, 2 VIDS]

July 19th, 2012 Permalink

The area around Groningen, Netherlands, has been described as “flat as a pancake” which leaves climbers with nothing to climb outdoors . . . that is until the massive climbing tower Excalibur was built. Klimcentrum Bjoeks is considered one оf the best Dutch Climbing Centers. It has a boulder area both outside and inside, as well as 18 meters (59 feet) high indoor climbing walls for route climbing. Outside Bjoeks looms the mighty Excalibur, a spectacular and curved climbing tower that is over 121 feet high (37 meters) to reach the thrilling peak. The overhang curves 36 feet out from the base and offers numerous routes up, from the slabby side, to the “steep” side that requires some thought and climbing muscle. Being adrenaline rush fans, we thought it looked pretty cool. Even if it’s not made by nature . . . climbing to the top would allow adventurers, adrenaline junkies and extreme sport participants to see for miles. It would surely feel as if you reached the summit of Dutch mountain. [21 Photos, 2 Videos]

Balloon festival Groningen -- T-Rex vs the 37 meter high Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall

Balloon festival at Groningen, Netherlands. T-Rex vs Excalibur, the 37 meter high Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall. Photo #1 by © Gerrit Stel the Netherlands

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Happy Independence Day America!

July 3rd, 2012 Permalink

Happy Birthday America! As you celebrate Independence Day, spare a thought for our troops and for their families. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday USA!

Happy Birthday USA! Photo #1 by ppalmward

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Adrenaline Junkies Cave Diving Vortex Spring [Pics, Videos]

June 28th, 2012 Permalink

Vortex Spring produces 28 million gallons of crystal clear freshwater, not saltwater, and holds at a steady year-round temperature of 68 degrees. It’s located right outside Ponce de Leon, Florida. Yet instead of the famed Fountain of Youth, the commercial dive location is famous for teaching people how to cave dive . . . and a bit infamous for all the cave divers who have died there. We had not heard of this unusual yet beautiful piece of paradise, but we hope you find it as fascinating and mysterious as we do. From professional cave divers to curious adrenaline junkies, adventurers travel far and wide to dive the Vortex. There are more than 1,600 feet of underwater passageways. At 310 feet down, there is a locked steel gate that bars the way into the cave so the inexperienced and uncertified will not risk the underwater grim reaper. Sometimes even qualified divers get lost; sometimes they dive into the Vortex but they don’t come out. [32 Photos, 5 Videos]

Friendly fish at Vortex Springs

When you think of Florida and diving, “freshwater” might not be your first thought. But Vortex Spring is a popular diving area for professional, experienced and even beginning divers. It offers training classes for scuba diving as well as being a top ranked spot to become certified. The water is cool, a constant 68° and does not become stagnant due to the constant flow of water that also helps keep it clear. The photographer called this ‘Larry’s pets.’ Photo #1 by © Barry Shively

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Stunning Star Trails from Space & Incredible ISS Astronaut Photography [27 Pics, 2 Vids]

June 22nd, 2012 Permalink

ISS astronauts continue to shoot spectacular images and send them back to Earth to share the stunning sights. [27 Photographs, 2 Videos]

More timelapse star trails as seen from ISS Expedition 31

This is stargazing mixed with stunning long exposure photography while orbiting the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour. These star trails from space were captured by astronaut photographer Don Pettit. This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Photo #1 by ISS Science Officer Don Pettit

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Memorial Day Tribute: Appreciating U.S. Military Personnel [43 PICS]

May 24th, 2012 Permalink

In 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, it was decided to decorate the graves of those who died in the war. Although it wasn’t yet called Memorial Day, it did begin with the idea of remembering and honoring soldiers. Americans do still visit graves and attend Memorial Day services, but over the years Memorial Day has morphed into a three day weekend of barbecues, boating and the opening of city swimming pools. We wanted to show our appreciation of the people in the military who put their lives on the line for America. Like in hug a soldier, these photos certainly don’t include everyone, but we liked them. This tribute is our way of saying thank you to our troops for all that you do and thank you to military families for the sacrifice and separation you endure. We appreciate you and Happy Memorial Day! [43 Photos]

U.S. Service members with the Texas Military Forces participate in Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series in Arlington, Texas

Happy Memorial Day! We’d like to pay a tribute to people in our military as well as kick off summer and baseball! DoD Photo #1 by Staff Sgt. Eric Wilson, U.S. Air Force

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Creepy Abandoned Haunted Hospital: Soon to House Senior Citizens [70 PICS, 5 Vids]

May 19th, 2012 Permalink

How do you tell grandma or grandpa that you love them? Certainly not by putting them in a formerly abandoned and haunted hospital! Facepalm, you’ve got to be kidding me? That is just so wrong in so many different ways! The six-story Linda Vista Community Hospital, which has been abandoned since 1991, is an infamous Hollywood favorite for filming super scary movies. It also has a notorious reputation for all kinds of paranormal phenomena. After some serious renovations, the supposedly haunted hospital will be revamped into about 100 single-bedroom ‘affordable housing’ apartments — Linda Vista Senior Apartments. Do you still dispute it’s haunted after viewing the 70 photos and 5 paranormal investigation videos as ‘proof’? Even skeptics, would you want your grandma to live anywhere within the top 5 floors of these future senior living apartments? About 42% of the U.S. population admits to believing in ghosts and the decaying and creepy hospital is a hotspot for urban explorers, paranormal investigators and the curious in Los Angeles. And then there’s all those animal sacrifices and allegedly satanic rituals which leave some people asking does the devil live inside Linda Vista Hospital?

While HDR sparked epic complaints on the illegal Six Flags tour, it is an art that we especially appreciate when it comes to enhancing extremely eerie, abandoned places . . . especially ‘haunted hospitals.’ If you’d rather see an abandoned place without HDR, here is Nara Dreamland, a derelict knock-off Disneyland in Japan. Otherwise, photographers, paranormal investigators and urban explorers take us on an urbex tour of this creepy ‘haunted’ hospital. Welcome to Linda Vista, future housing for grandpa and grandma. [70 photos and 5 paranormal investigation videos]

Ray of light in the former maternity ward, abandoned Linda Vista Community Hospital

Dear “low income” senior citizen of Los Angeles, to reward you for all your struggles in life, Hollywood’s most beloved haunted hospital filming location is being refurbished so you can live there. The creepy idea is the facepalm of the day! The 88 year old hospital has been abandoned for 21 years. It’s supposedly and “scientifically” proven to be haunted. Here you see a ray of light in the former maternity ward of abandoned and eerie Linda Vista Community Hospital. Photo #1 by Neil Kremer

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Whitewater Adrenaline Rush: Extreme Kayaking [45 Photos, 5 Videos]

April 7th, 2012 Permalink

There are many types of kayaking which can include paddling down gently moving water, but these kayakers are into demanding, dangerous whitewater. If trapping your legs into the cockpit and kayaking over insanely treacherous whitewater river rapids is not enough of an extreme adventure sport, then how about going over a waterfall in a kayak? Professional kayakers drop hundreds of feet going over falls. Extreme sports photographers captured these whitewater kayakers river running, rolling, creeking, playboating and during other extreme kayaking. We’re not quite sure if these kayakers are on drugs . . . or need to be. Or maybe all these adrenaline junkies need is the natural drug, an adrenaline rush? [45 Photos & 5 Videos]

A rocky kayak ride Great Falls Park just outside Washington DC

At Great Falls, near McLean, Virginia, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it plunges over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. It’s considered so dangerous, that ironically the National Park Service warns, “Swimming, wading, and entering the river in any manner are prohibited year round. Dangerous currents, rocks, and rapids make the river extremely hazardous.” Here’s an adrenaline junkie running a rocky kayak ride at Great Falls Park. Photo #1 by O Palsson

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44 Fantastic Photos of Beautiful Cherry Blossom & Kite Festival in DC

March 29th, 2012 Permalink

Ah beautiful cherry blossoms, kites and love is in the Spring air. It’s that time again for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. It would be a great time to see DC since there is also a Blossom Kite Festival, previously called the Smithsonian Kite Festival. An estimated 1 million people will come to witness the events while the cherry blossoms are blooming. With the cost of gas astronomical, here are 44 fantastic photos, a tour for those of you who won’t be able to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival and Blossom Kite Festival this weekend. [44 Photos]

Cherry Blossom Festival time -- Squirrel nibbling on cherry blossoms

Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.: A squirrel nibbling on cherry blossoms. The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., commemorates the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Ozaki of Tokyo City to DC. Photo #1 by © Fumiko Yarita via National Geographic Wallpaper

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Romantic Architecture? 15 Castles Built for Love

February 12th, 2012 Permalink

Love is the most powerful force that exists. In the throes of love, your feet are nowhere close to the ground but floating in the clouds. Love has inspired all types of art, poems, novels, plays, music and paintings. After Cupid shoots an arrow through the heart, some people are so inspired as to erect architecture. We’re not talking about building a Love Shack, but of big-scale and divinely romantic architecture such as castles built for love. Margaret Anderson once said, “In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” Castles built by love seem like both. There are many examples of architecture built for love, but to celebrate Valentine’s Day we wanted to hone in on castles love built. While this amazing architecture seems like something out of a fairy tale, and a wonderfully romantic way to say I Will Always Love You, not all end with happily ever after. The irony is that almost all of these grand displays of love ended in tragedy. [15 Castles presented in 83 Photos]

Aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River - Castles Built for Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you are a bah-humbug type of person on this holiday of romance, then perhaps you can at least appreciate all this architecture that was constructed for love? As many of us can appreciate beautiful castles, perhaps even saying “I love it” there are some castles that are divinely romantic since they were built by love and to honor love. This is an aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, near Alexandria Bay, New York. George Boldt had this five-acre castle estate built out of love for his wife. He planned to give his wife Boldt Castle on Valentine’s Day 1905. As you will see in many of these castles built for love, there is a reoccurring theme of tragedy striking at the heart of love. Photo #1 by Teresa Mitchell / Howcheng

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Welcome Year of the Dragon: 2012 Chinese Lunar New Year [36 PICS]

January 23rd, 2012 Permalink

A dragon — the most powerful and revered of the Chinese zodiac signs — is just what the world needs while Mayan predictions for 2012 are all gloom and doom. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon and the Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, kicks off with parades filled with dancing lions and dragons. The parades start on Lunar New Year’s Day and continue for the next fifteen days until the festivities end with the Lantern Festival. Some dragons are as long as 100 meters and require 50 people dancing in sync. The Dragon is regarded as a sacred creature, symbolising power, courage, righteousness and dignity. The Dragon Dance originated in China during the Han Dynasty (180-230AD) and every Chinese New Year parade ends with a mighty and colorful Dragon Dance. The Dragon is the only animal of the Chinese zodiac year that is not real; it is all powerful, breathes fire, can travel on land, fly in the sky, or dive and swim in the water. Dragons bring good luck. Welcome Year of the Dragon! [36 Photos]

Dragon dance, Chinese Lunar New Year -- 2012 Year of the Dragon

The Chinese Lunar New Year kicks off and 2012 Year of the Dragon is celebrated with a Dragon dance. Dragons are believed to bring good luck to people, and people born in the Year of the Dragon are supposed to have qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility, wisdom and auspiciousness. Photo #1 by Anonymous via Open Walls

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