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Gerd Ludwig  National Geographic photographer, speaker, teacher, author of several photo books, most recently "minus 2/3" and "Sleeping Cars"

An empty music festival, cleared by heavy rain and cold temperatures. At dawn, drowning his sorrow, a lone holdout seeks solace in a bottle of liquor.
In Russia, several music festivals follow in the footsteps of the legendary, but now defunct Empty Hill Festival, which used to attract up to 40.000 visitors annually and mimicked Woodstock. One of the successors is the Byt Dobru (Good for Everybody, Be Good) festival, which is being held in different locations every year to reduce the damage and stress on the environment. This year’s festival will take place in August near the town of Balabanovo, 90 km from Moscow. Over the course of 3 days, several bands play on multiple stages in forested areas as the predominantly young visitors camp out in tents.

Generally the festival gives off a feeling of being thrown back to the hippie days, but two years ago cold temperatures and near constant rain turned the areas in front of the stages into unpleasant mud fields.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #Russia #bytdobru #musicfestival #mud

Photos and video by @michaellangephotographs. Check out the Kickstarter campaign of my dear friend and fellow photographer Michael Lange for the publication of his unique photo book about the seedy side of Los Angeles. Titled ‘LA Drive-By’, the book dives deep into an unknown Los Angeles. Shot out of the car, the photographs focus on Central and Southern Los Angeles. Drifting thousands of miles through the endless city, Michael was confronted with obscure and dark places, the unpredictability and the giant pulse of the city.
The book’s designer, renowned Dutchman Sybren Kuiper (SYB), challenges the limits of book design as we know it. Numerous fold-out pages to the left, right, top and bottom display the photographs in the book up to eight times the original page size - leaving the viewer with the impression of looking at multiple posters inside a photo book.
I don’t think a photo book like this has ever been attempted before. If you are curious, make sure to watch the video of the book design at the Michael’s Kickstarter campaign by going to @michaellangephotographs and follow the link in his bio.

@michaellangephotographs  #photobook #losangeles #LADriveBy

Halos of a mural frame the heads of two priests while they are preparing for the Holy Communion during Mass at the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow’s Kremlin. These preparations take place at the Holy Table, considered the most sacred part of any Orthodox church. It is located inside the altar behind the Iconostasis, an area only those who receive the specific blessing of the priest or Patriarch may enter - which I managed to get due to the tireless efforts of my researcher.

The Cathedral of the Assumption (or Cathedral of Dormition) is the Kremlin's oldest and most important church. The cathedral’s stone foundation was laid in 1326 but its main construction took place between 1475 and 1479.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative @natgeo #Moscow #Russia #russianorthodoxchurch #assumptioncathedral

A domesticated feral pig seemingly enjoys being examined by three young Munduruku boys in a small settlement along the Canuma river in the Brazilian Amazon.

The Munduruku live by hunting, fishing, gathering, and agriculture. Historically a people with a warrior tradition, today the wars they wage are to guarantee the integrity of their territories, threatened by pressures from the illegal gold-panning and hydroelectric projects.

@thephotosociety @natgeocreative #Brazil #pig #Munduruku #Canuma #Amazon

On July 6th many citizens of Kazakhstan flock to their  capital to celebrate the Day of Astana. The city of Astana - handpicked in the 1990s by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to be the new capital of Kazakhstan - “is brash and grandiose, and wildly attractive to young strivers seeking success” (John Lancaster). In just 25 years the place has become a futuristic city, risen from a forsaken landscape and post-Soviet rubble.  It has exploded in population and is now the country’s second largest city, home to more than 1 million people and an avant-garde architecture.
The Baiterek monument and observation tower (in the center) has become the symbol of Astana and was supposedly  sketched out by President Nazarbayev himself.  It is a modernistic representation of an old Kazakh myth, depicting the tree of life and a golden ball that symbolizes the a golden egg laid by the legendary bird, Samruk. However, some of Astana citizens jokingly call it 'Chupa Chups' because of its similarity to the popular lollipop.  @thephotosociety @natgeotravel @natgeo @natgeocreative #Astana #Kasakhstan #modern #architecture #Baiterek

The Crimea is known for its beautiful landscape and pleasant climate. At 1,234m, Ai-Petri is not the highes mountain in Crimea, but with its sparkling white limestone peak and jagged "teeth" it is certainly one of the most spectacular. Made of the weathered remains of a huge coral reef formed millions of years ago, when this area was under the sea, the limestone here is exceptionally dense - hence its longevity.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #ukraine #russia #mountain #landscape #view #Ai-Petri

At night the monument to Marshal Zhukov casts an eerie shadow onto the wall of the State Historical Museum in Moscow. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Russian term for WWII, the monument to Marshal Zhukov was officially established on May 8, 1995. Visible through the Resurrection Gates is Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square.
@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #MarshalZhukov #Moscow #StateHistoricalMuseum #Russia

At the La Gacilly-Baden Photo Festival in Austria a visitor admires of a huge photograph by Paras Chandaria, depicting a giraffe in a nature reserve outside Nairobi, Kenya.

Until September 30th, photographers from all over the world show fascinating work in 35 outdoor exhibitions focusing on geography and the environment. Roughly 2000 photographs in total are displayed in an open air gallery of 2.5 miles length, transforming the gardens, alleyways and squares of the city of Baden into a picture city.

The festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo marks the beginning of a pan-European collaboration between the French photo festival @lagacillyphoto, the Austrian photographer and publisher Lois Lammerhuber and the city of Baden. In 2004, Jacques Rocher set up a photo festival in his birthplace of La Gacilly, Brittany. From his conviction that it is our duty to search for humanistic and sustainable concepts for dealing with nature and living together in peace, he has shaped the festival into an event combining photojournalism, documentary and artistic photography with social relevance. From now on - with a time delay of one year - the exhibitions will travel from La Gacilly, France to Baden, Austria.

@thephotosociety @paraschamdaria #Baden #Austria #photofestival #LaGacillyBadenPhoto

An alien landscape in Southern California. The mixture of extreme salinity, a high concentration of nutrients from agricultural run offs, algae pigmentation and pollutants turn the water in areas that were once part of the Salton Sea bright orange.  A victim of geography and hard-ball politics, the Salton Sea is California’s largest, most troubled lake. It lies 227 feet below sea level with no outlets and very thirsty neighbors, including a billion dollar farm economy in the bone-dry Imperial Valley, more than 100 golf courses in the adjacent Coachella Valley.

With two feeder rivers and no outlet, the water level depends on evaporation, which in return increases the Salton Sea’s salinity. Now a concern is looming. Already 30% saltier than the Pacific Ocean, the salinity in the Salton Sea is expected to further increase, potentially killing all of its life and turning it into a biologically dead sea.
Over the last 15 years I have made numerous trips to the Salton Sea, photographing for @natgeo, German Geo, for personal projects, and teaching photo workshops on location there.

@thephotosociety  @natgeocreative @natgeo #SaltonSea #California #environment

From the shores of Southern California’s troubled Salton Sea.

As farmers let their fields go fallow in order to sell water to nearby towns, there is now limited agricultural runoff feeding into California's distressed Salton Sea. This decrease in the water supply was exacerbated by last year’s extreme drought conditions in California, leading to serious concerns about the lake's increasing salinity.
The seashore has receded significantly. The fish in the Salton Sea have been nearly wiped out due to oxygen-depleted waters. Massive fish die-offs struck for years with an estimate of 7 million (!!!) fish dying on a single hot day in August of 1999. Then the shoreline was littered with millions of dead fish which eventually rotted away.

Today the white shore of the Salton Sea is made up of a mixture dead barnacles, pulverized fish bones and some real sand.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #SaltonSea #California #environment #barnacles

An alien landscape in Southern California. The mixture of extreme salinity, a high concentration of nutrients from agricultural run offs, algae pigmentation and pollutants turn the water in areas that were once part of the Salton Sea into a bright orange color.
A victim of geography and hard-ball politics, the Salton Sea is California’s largest, most troubled lake. It lies 227 feet below sea level with no outlets and very thirsty neighbors, including a billion dollar farm economy in the bone-dry Imperial Valley, more than 100 golf courses in the adjacent Coachella Valley, and salt laden wetlands hosting a menagerie of wildlife in growing crisis.

With two feeder rivers and no outlet, the water level depends on evaporation, which in return increases the Salton Sea’s salinity. Now a concern is looming. Already 30% saltier than the Pacific Ocean, the salinity in the Salton Sea is expected to further increase, potentially killing all of its life and turning it into a biologically dead sea.

Over the last 15 years I have made numerous trips to the Salton Sea, photographing for @natgeo, German Geo, for personal projects, and teaching photo workshops on location there.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #SaltonSea #California #environment

The city of Astana - handpicked in the 1990s by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to be the new capital of Kazakhstan - “is brash and grandiose, and wildly attractive to young strivers seeking success” (John Lancaster). In just 25 years the place has become a futuristic city, risen from a forsaken landscape and post-Soviet rubble.  It has exploded in population and is now the country’s second largest city, home to more than 1 million people and an avant-garde architecture.
Baiterek monument and observation tower (in the far center) has become the symbol of Astana and was supposedly  sketched out by President Nazarbayev himself.  It is a modernistic representation of an old Kazakh myth, depicting the tree of life and a golden ball that symbolizes the a golden egg laid by the legendary bird, Samruk. However, some of Astana citizens jokingly call it 'Chupa Chups' because of its similarity to the popular lollipop. And the two golden towers housing governmental offices are often referred to as the Golden Beer Cans.

@thephotosociety @natgeo @natgeocreative #Astana #Kasakhstan #modern #architecture

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