A marvel of ants
October 21, 2010 6:51 AM   Subscribe

An image of leafcutter ants at work in the Costa Rican rainforest has scooped top prize in the 2010 Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (via The Guardian). The winners are on display now at London’s Natural History Museum. Online gallery. Previously on MeFi.
posted by londonmark (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is it just me or are the ants cutting a Mandelbrot set out of the leaf on the top right of the frame?
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:00 AM on October 21, 2010


I love ants! I could watch them work for hours, they're just something very hypnotizing and beautiful about their actions.
posted by nomadicink at 7:03 AM on October 21, 2010


Thanks, ants. Thants.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:16 AM on October 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is it just me or are the ants cutting a Mandelbrot set out of the leaf on the top right of the frame?

Dang! Them some smart aints!

Seriously, I think they are just programmed to bite, cut, turn, bite, cut, turn... until a chunk falls out that is roughly circular with a radius of one ant length.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:19 AM on October 21, 2010


Hang on, I recognize those ants from the local ant park.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:20 AM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


That Croatian waterfall looks like something out of a fantasy. My goodness.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:33 AM on October 21, 2010


That ant photo is a hell of a thing. Fantastic.
posted by notsnot at 7:38 AM on October 21, 2010


Seriously? The ant sare interesting, but the photograph itself has too little composition to appeal. There is no place to rest the eye, no clear story, nothing but a sense of confusion and 'what's going on here?' They could have chosen better.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:38 AM on October 21, 2010


The ant photo reminds me of a Wayang play. Really cool.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 AM on October 21, 2010


> There is no place to rest the eye, no clear story, nothing but a sense of confusion and 'what's going on here?'

I don't know, that kind of captures the essence of ant activity. Continuous motion, no individuation, only propagation and survival.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:51 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


The picture feels like a disney montage.

Ants are beyond awesome! I'm happy our little buddies who cover the entire earth along with us get some spotlight.

Also very interesting but sad (watch the video to find out why): a 50 square meter ant colony.
posted by BurN_ at 7:58 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is no place to rest the eye, no clear story, nothing but a sense of confusion and 'what's going on here?'

My eye rests on the black part in the upper right. I noticed that shape is the cut out part of the leaf, then they're cutting out more pieces and then that some parts are already being carried away. The beautiful green texture of the leaf is being slowly devoured by the "black" ants.

Great photo.
posted by nomadicink at 8:34 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


if you like how they cut their leaves, check out the colonies they build
posted by kakarott999 at 8:47 AM on October 21, 2010


I call bullshit, those are TRAINED ANTS
posted by hermitosis at 9:43 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Going down the list of "good composition qualities" produces uniformly boring compositions. Most wildlife/nature photography is really only un-boring because of the documentary nature of it. This has both he documentary nature, and the tension of the odd composition resolving in a kind of gravitational way (as opposed to the usual liner, leading-the-eye way) to the hole in the leaf, and once you get there there's a moment of dissonance ads the colors of the ants overhanging the edge seems to invert. I like it.

What I DON'T like are the worthless resolutions that these kinds of things always throw us! I want new wallpaper, damn you!
posted by cmoj at 11:03 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Googling for more of Bence Máté's work, I came upon this page which has a striking image of a hummingbird and a snake, but two other eye-popping nature images
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Leafcutter ants are the coolest. I used to live in Costa Rica and never tired of watching them.
posted by Sassenach at 2:51 PM on October 21, 2010


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