What We Loved This Week, May 22 – 28

Surprisingly beautiful insect photography, Japan’s gorgeously bizarre costumery, charming vintage summer photos, Yellowstone’s rainbow hot spring, and Hong Kong’s tiny cage homes.

Rainbow Hot Spring Aerial

Charles O’Rear/Corbis via Smithsonian

Gorgeous Photos Of Yellowstone’s Famous Rainbow Hot Spring

Rainbow Hot Spring

Solent News/Splash News/Corbis via Smithsonian

Ferdinand Hayden, the man who named Yellowstone’s incredible Grand Prismatic Spring (“Rainbow Hot Springs”) once wrote:

Nothing ever conceived by human art could equal the peculiar vividness and delicacy of color of these remarkable prismatic springs. Life becomes a privilege and a blessing after one has seen and thoroughly felt these incomparable types of nature’s cunning skill.

And what exactly accounts for nature’s cunning skill; what makes these springs so colorful? Massive amounts of several kinds of heat-loving bacteria that interact with sunlight in various ways.

See and learn more at Smithsonian.

Hot Spring Yellowstone

JIM URQUHART/Reuters/Corbis via Smithsonian

God And Demons Come To Life In These Bizarre Japanese Costumes

Saotome Miyagi Prefecture

Charles Fréger/National Geographic

Drawing inspiration from Japanese folklore, and the spirit beings — yokai — who inhabit these traditional stories, photographer Charles Fréger evokes a surreal, and sometimes scary fantasy world in this new series of portraits.

Fréger traveled to remote temples to capture the costumes seen in these photos, handmade by the people who still celebrate these ancient customs.

He hopes the project will shed light on the traditions that bring communities together, and reveal that place where the human and spirit worlds meet.

See more at National Geographic.

Akaoni Kyoto Prefecture

Charles Fréger/National Geographic

Namahage Akita Prefecture

Charles Fréger/National Geographic

Insect Portraits That Are Made From More Than 8,000 Images

Ground Beetle_china

Ground Beetle. Levon Biss/Smithsonian

Levon Biss, known for his breathtaking portraits, has now captured every hair and dimple on insects’ vibrant bodies.

Biss used a microscope lens mounted to his camera, which allowed him to magnify the insects up to ten times their normal size and see their smallest details.

Taking one photo of one small area at a time, he eventually pieced together the fine details to create one large composited image of the whole insect. Thousands of photos go into the final product.

See more at Smithsonian.

Orchid Cuckoo Bee

Orchid Cuckoo Bee. Levon Biss/Smithsonian

Jewel Longhorned Beetle

Jewel Longhorned Beetle. Levon Biss/Smithsonian

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