Big Picture: Remembering September 11th

Yesterday was Friday, September the 11th. Prior to 2001, this was just another day. Some people celebrated their birthdays on this day. Just like a good friend of ours with whom we shared a great evening and dinner last night to celebrate his birthday, on September the 11th.

As I said, before 2001 this was, for most, just another day of the 365 days we go through from one year to the next. But on that fateful day of September the 11th back in 2001 the world changed. Not just the world but the world of many people’s lives and those of the families they left behind.

It was a day I won’t forget, as many others, even though I didn’t lose anyone close to me or someone I knew. It’s amazing how a traumatic experience can go either one of two ways. You either build up a mental block about the event and never conciously recall the event or any details thereof, or you remember the details vividly, like it just happened.

I still remember I was working at home, in London, and I happened to have Sky News on  and there was a sudden panic in the news room with breaking news and it turned to footage of one of the World Trade centre towers billowing with smoke. Then there was replayed footage of a passenger airliner crashing right into one of the towers.

Without skipping a beat Boston.com’s Big Picture reminds us with striking photographs of that fateful day. Take a look and remember with me.

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, we remember and here, take a look back, and a look at the present. This year’s remembrance is emphasizing volunteerism and service, honoring the private citizens that volunteered after the attacks and encouraging the observance of the anniversary to be a day of service. Construction at Ground Zero, the site of the former twin towers, is years behind because of construction delays, design disputes and litigation involving developers, state and local officials and insurance companies. At this point, One World Trade Center (formerly the Freedom Tower), the 120-story anchor building on the site, is scheduled for a 2013 completion. (38 photos total) – source Boston.com Big Picture

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The south tower of New York's World Trade Center collapses Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Big Picture: Flights of fancy

Whenever possible, I always enjoy going to airshows to see various aircraft taking part in various exercises. It’s always a thrilling experience to see, hear and feel the aircraft zooming above and infront of you. Enjoy the collection recently released by Boston.com’s Big Picture.

Just over 100 years since the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight, flying machines are now commonplace, used for transport, freight, warfare, rescue and pleasure just for starters. Aerospace technology is still the realm of both big business and entrepreneurs – Moscow recently hosted an airshow in which contracts totaling $10 billion were signed, and Virgin Galactic is still working toward a private spaceliner business. Collected here are recent photographs of various flying machines in action or on display around the world. (40 photos total) – source Boston.com

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A MiG-35 jet performs a low pass during the MAKS-2009 international air show in Zhukovsky, Russia on August 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

Sveto Teksty aka HoryMa

Can’t seem to find too much about Sveto Teksty other than his pictures and his website, but my Russian isn’t what it used to be. Needless to say a picture is worth a thousand words, and his do just that. I can’t quite explain the style but they’re quite mesmerising. Take a look at a few samples below (you can click on each thumbnail for a bigger version) or take a look here or on his website for more. [via The Chive]

LED Graffiti

As technology advances, so does graffiti. Now instead of vandalizing public property, graffiti artists can get an LED spray can and with a friend and a camera with a long-exposure function you can take pictures like these below. Tag it, using light, instead of paint.

It’s in the shape of a spray can, with a pressure sensitive LED and a coil and magnet so that you can shake it, just like a real can, to recharge it. You can find out more here. [via Cherryflava]

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Big Picture: Hiroshima

A couple months ago Big Picture posted a number of photos remembering Tiananmen Square – this week it’s about the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of the second world war.

Tomorrow, August 6th, marks 64 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan by the United States at the end of World War II. Targeted for military reasons and for its terrain (flat for easier assessment of the aftermath), Hiroshima was home to approximately 250,000 people at the time of the bombing. The U.S. B-29 Superfortress bomber “Enola Gay” took off from Tinian Island very early on the morning of August 6th, carrying a single 4,000 kg (8,900 lb) uranium bomb codenamed “Little Boy”. At 8:15 am, Little Boy was dropped from 9,400 m (31,000 ft) above the city, freefalling for 57 seconds while a complicated series of fuse triggers looked for a target height of 600 m (2,000 ft) above the ground. At the moment of detonation, a small explosive initiated a super-critical mass in 64 kg (141 lbs) of uranium. Of that 64 kg, only .7 kg (1.5 lbs) underwent fission, and of that mass, only 600 milligrams was converted into energy – an explosive energy that seared everything within a few miles, flattened the city below with a massive shockwave, set off a raging firestorm and bathed every living thing in deadly radiation. Nearly 70,000 people are believed to have been killed immediately, with possibly another 70,000 survivors dying of injuries and radiation exposure by 1950. Today, Hiroshima houses a Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum near ground zero, promoting a hope to end the existence of all nuclear weapons. (34 photos total) – source Big Picture

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Color photograph of the ruins of central Hiroshima in autumn of 1945. (U.S. National Archives)

Big Picture: Total eclipse, of the sun!

Simply stunning! [via Big Picture]

Earlier today, the moon passed directly in front of the sun, causing a total solar eclipse that crossed nearly half the Earth – through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. Today’s was the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting as much as 6 minutes and 39 seconds in a few areas. Despite cloudy skies in many of the populated areas in the path, millions of people gathered outside to gaze up and view this rare event. Collected here are a few images of the eclipse, and those people who came out to watch. (33 photos total)

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Much of the sun's corona becomes visible as the moon passes between the sun and the earth during a total solar eclipse, seen above Varanasi, India, Wednesday, July 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Big Picture: Remembering Tiananmen

When this picture was taken I was a junior in high school and I remember seeing it in the news. 20 years on and thousands of people are still remembering. Big Picture celebrates the 20th anniversary of what happened at Tiananmen Square with a collection of photos from then and now.

June 4th, 2009, marked the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on student protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Beginning in April of 1989, thousands of students and other citizens started gathering in groups large and small, protesting many issues, centered on a desire for freedom and democratic reform. By mid-May of 1989, hundreds of thousands of protesters occupied the square, staging hunger strikes, and asking for dialogue. Chinese authorities responded with a declaration of martial law, and sent soldiers and tanks from the People’s Liberation Army, preparing to disperse the crowds. Late on June 3rd, 1989, the tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the square, killing and wounding many, mostly civilians – estimates vary widely, from several hundred to several thousand dead. The first 17 photos below were taken in 1989, the rest are from this year, as people remember the events, the ideals, and the fallout from that fateful day. (32 photos total)

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In this June 5, 1989 file photo, a Chinese protestor blocks a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Blvd. June 5, 1989 in front of the Beijing Hotel. The man was shortly pulled away and the tanks continued on their way. (AP Photo/Jeff Widener)

Tilt-Shift AIR Application

TiltShiftGeneratorToolbarEarlier this year I posted about the Tilt-Shift Maker website which allowed you to create your own tilt-shift photographs online.

Adam, from Lifehacker, has just reviewed another website with an Adobe AIR application you can use online or (like I did) download it to your machine and create your own tilt-shift photographs offline. 

It’s a powerful yet simple application with an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly create those tilt-shifted photographs without needing to spend thousands of dollars on a real tilt-shift lense for your camera.

Simply click the Open button and load one of your favourite photographs, click the point on the photograph you wish to focus on (a crosshair will appear on the photo) and adjust the settings accordingly and you’ll see the adjustments in realtime. When you’re don’e simply click the Save button to save your tilt-shifted photograph. [via Lifehacker]

Big Picture: Jason Hawkes Man-made structures from above

Boston.com’s Big Picture has featured Jason Hawkes’ photos a number of times before and I’ve re-posted those here and here. Today they’re featuring another sample of 26 photos he took while flying over various locations in a helicopter. Click through to enjoy the rest. 

Photographer Jason Hawkes returns to The Big Picture once more, this time venturing away from London (seen previously here and here). Recently, Hawkes has been carrying his Nikon D3 aboard helicopters around the world, hanging out the doorway and capturing landscapes – most somehow affected by humans – below. Today, he has shared with us 26 more of his favorite photos from above France, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, the UK and more – with links to Google maps where available. (26 photos total) – source Boston.com

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Big Picture: Earth Day

While we were caught up with our own issues surrounding the South African Elections we (meaning I) forgot that it was Earth Day also on the 22nd of April – but the rest of the world and Boston.com’s Big Picture didn’t.

Today is Earth Day, a day set aside for awarenesss and appreciation of the Earth’s environment, and our roles within it – this year marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. As a way to help appreciate and observe our environment, I’ve collected 40 images below, each a glimpse into some aspect of the world around us, how it affects and sustains us, and how we affect it. Happy Earth Day everyone. (40 photos total) – source Boston.com

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This view of Earth, featuring North, Central and South America was taken by the NASA probe called Messenger, while conducting a fly-by of our planet in order to pick up a gravity-assist boost on its way toward Mercury. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)