Fantastic Colors and Sublime Glory along Japanese Autumn Trails

With winter fast approaching, we'd like to linger a bit more among the few available signs of autumn. As it happens, the trees are still "aglow" in Japan.

"The Autumn Color" photography competition was organized among Japanese bloggers on Yahoo Japan (homepage of this contest here). During the months of October and November, they gathered thousands of pictures, of which these are only a few examples. Witness the supernatural beauty of Japanese landscape and the sublime quality of "Autumn in Japan."





























Japanese blog sources: 1, 2, 3
Magical Amazon Kingdom
Some photos were also taken in Equador. Click to enlarge.

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 Photography, Cameras

Travel, 
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Travel,
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Travel,
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Travel,
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Travel,
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Travel, Photography, Cameras

Travel, Photography, Cameras

Travel, Photography, Cameras

Travel, Photography, Cameras

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Travel,
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Images from Prikola.net
Not sure who the actual photographers are. If you have any info, let me know.

The cute eyes of this caterpillar are fake. The actual ones are much smaller, located lower.
Travel, Photography, Cameras
Travel,
 Photography, Cameras
photo byInge Fauskanger

Another beautiful bug from Equador:
Travel, Photography, Cameras
photo byWanze
Other planets may have aliens, but we have this...

It's not pretty to look at, but Namibia's plant Welwitschia Mirabilis can truly claim to be one of a kind. There really is nothing like it.

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design
(images credit: Friedrich A. Llohmuller)

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design
(images via)

Welwitschia plant consists of only two leaves and a sturdy stem with roots. That's all! Two leaves continue to grow until they resemble the shaggy mane of some sci-fi alien. The stem thickens, rather than gains in height , and can grow to be almost 2 meters high and 8 meters wide. Their estimated lifespan is 400 to 1500 years.

Flowers, Plants, Design
(image credit: Botanik-Fotos.de, photo by Karlheinz Knoch)

Flowers, Plants, Design
(image credit: Peter v. Sengbusch)

Flowers, Plants, Design
(image credit: Botanik-Fotos.de)

The sexes are separate, i.e. male plants and female plants.
Male & Female Cones:
Flowers, Plants, DesignFlowers, Plants, Design

Female plant at beginning of reproductive season. Craterlike apical part of trunk about 17 cm wide. (Drawn by M.Steyn):

Flowers, Plants, Design

Let's see the close-up of its growing stages. It all starts with two leaves:
(Photos by Karlheinz Knoch)

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

seeds:
Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design
(images credit: Botanik-Fotos.de, photo by Karlheinz Knoch)

Welwitschia is thought to be a relic from the Jurassic period when such plants (called "gymnosperms") dominated the world's flora. Its ancestor got trapped in an arid environment, and all its close relatives long since disappeared.

The plant is said to be very tasty either raw or baked in hot ashes, and this is how it got its other name, onyanga, which means onion of the desert.
Also some like to wear its unique shape as a jewelry:

Flowers, Plants, Design

Namibia's Desert is home to other strange growths

French photographer Christophe Courteau captures the esoteric beauty of the desert and its sparse inhabitants:

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Flowers, Plants, Design

Desert Edelweis:
Flowers, Plants, Design

Sources and further reading: Platz Africa, Peter v. Sengbusch
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