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Design & Nature Reimagined: Showcasing nature

A few years ago I read a book about Alexander von Humboldt, called The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. Von Humboldt was the one of the first researchers who studied what we now call ecology, and someone that many of the first ecologists, like Charles Darwin, looked up to.

His approach to nature matches mine, and I found his work fascinating.

In addition to finding wonder and curiosity in the interconnectedness of nature, he was diligent about collecting works from artists, writers, scientists, and travelers that detailed the nature they saw around them.

He ultimately compiled and released Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe. He had plans for 8 volumes but died mid-way through the 5th.

When I see all the modern ways we're able to create and share our explorations of nature, it makes me think of Alexander von Humboldt. In a way, we're creating our own Cosmos in front of us and each of us can be collectors, artists, and creators.

I've been especially interested in how photography connects us with nature in new ways; showing us glimpses of the world that we haven't seen before or maybe just missed.

Close Up Photographer of the Year highlights photography across nature, from wildlife to fungus to insects to microbes.

A black and white photograph of a bird taken from inside a fallen tree. The bird is mid flight surrounded by the bare branches of the tree canopy.

Overall winner of the year in the Animal category

Green, yellow, and translucent microbes float just beneath the surface of the water.

A microscopic view of microbes in water.

Xavi Bou takes time lapse photographs of birds in flight, visualizing the scientific and mesmerizing beauty of a bird in flight. This photo in particular is fascinating to me. Thank you to @Kairo_Anatomika for showcasing this artist!

A long exposure of birds flying across light blue water against a pinkish yellow sky. The wings of the bird blend together creating a wave pattern while the bird's body creates a long straight line.

A time lapse of birds flying that captures the pattern of their wing movements.

And a few of my own photos that personally make me feel connected with nature. All of these are what I consider "small photos". They are pictures of small things that we walk by every day that we just don't notice. But when we stop and look there's a lot of beauty packed in to these very small spaces.

Small white and beige mushrooms are shiny with raindrops. They sit on a mossy log against a dark forest backdrop.

A cluster of small white mushrooms that I found on a fallen log during a rainy walk.

A red lava rock sitting on dark soil surrounded by moss. Bright green moss and yellow green Cladonia grow all over the rock.

Moss and Cladonia lichens cover a porous rock.

These tiny white and light pink mushrooms fan out from a piece of mulch, surrounded by browning pine needles. Next to the mushrooms is a bright yellow maple leaf.

Some tiny white and pink mushrooms on a piece of decomposing wood.

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