tragicsunshine tragicsunshine

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Kevin Tong  Illustrator - Austin, TX

Lately, I’ve been using the @zoetropic_app to add motion to some of my artwork. It’s so fun and gives new life to a still image I’ve spent tons of hours staring at!

The song is “Medicine” by Daughter


For December, we’re treated to the magical Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth, Jamaica. Because the area has all the right conditions, the water glows an eerie blue at night due to bioluminescent microorganisms. The microorganisms typically only glow when they’re disturbed, such as by a boat or swimming.
The Luminous Lagoon is only one of four places in the world where this phenomenon is readily observed year round and of the four, its glow is the strongest.
#jamaica #travel #falmouth #bioluminescence #luminouslagoon

November in the Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar brings us to the vacant town of Kolmanskop, in Namibia. In 1908, it was discovered that the area was rich in diamonds, which led to a town quickly forming. The founding residents were mostly German, so they constructed buildings in a trademark German architectural style within the African continent.
The town, though small, boasted all the modern amenities of its time, such as a power station, school, theatre, sport hall, casino, and hospital, equipped with the first X-ray station in the Southern Hemisphere.
Around 1928, a diminishing diamond supply and the discovery of bigger diamond deposits elsewhere led to the populace abandoning Kolmanskop. By 1954, the town was totally abandoned and as always, nature is slowly reclaiming the land. Now this ghost town in Africa is a popular tourist destination.

#kolmanskop #africa #namibia

For October in the Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar, we’re heading to Holmdel, New Jersey in the good ol US of A, to visit a large astronomical horn antenna. Horn antennas are used in radio astronomy to study cosmic emissions from outer space, such as radio waves and microwave radiation.
What makes this particular horn antenna noteworthy is that in 1965, two radio astronomers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, were using it and accidentally discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR). The pair won the Nobel Prize in physics for their monumental discovery.
The CMBR, in a nutshell, is background radiation produced by The Big Bang when our universe was exploded into existence. The CMBR consistently permeates the entire universe and does not come from celestial bodies, like stars or planets, so the best explanation is that it’s leftover energy from the birth of our universe. The discovery of CMBR is also important because it offered directly observable phenomena to cosmological science, which had been largely theoretical at that point.

#holmdel #newjersey #astronomy #cosmology #theuniverse #atlasobscura #travel #art #design #illustration

For September in the Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar, let’s have a look at the Marshall Islands in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the US military carried out over 100 nuclear blast tests on the Marshall Islands which includes the famous Bikini Atoll. By the late 1970s, there was more than 92,000 cubic meters (100,612 cubic yards) of dangerously radioactive soil that had to somehow be stored safely.
Over a period of three years, 4,000 servicemen deposited the soil from all the radiated islands into a 170 m (350 ft) wide crater from a previous nuclear explosion on Runit Island. They then covered the pit with 358 concrete panels, 46 cm (18 inch) thick, covering 30,480 sq m (100,000 sq ft), and forming a dome shaped structure called “The Cactus Dome”. The entire operation cost around $250 million in 1980, about $804 million in 2018 dollars.

Studies conducted have shown that the entire operation was ineffective at removing anything close to all the radiated soil and that the Dome itself is compromised by seawater. The islands still have high levels of radiation, but any radiation escaping into the ocean is thought to be diluted very quickly and not pose a significant risk to marine life.
#atlasobscura #travel #marshallislands #pacificocean #cactusdome #atomicbomb #nuclear #art #design #illustration

Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar:

Surf’s up for August 2019! Surfers in Brazil take the sport to a new extreme, surfing on tidal bores or “Pororoca” on the Amazon river.
The river is so big and powerful that under the right conditions once every year, it can create waves as high as 4 m (13.12 ft) that can travel for hundreds of miles upstream.
The waves are fast and strong enough that trees become uprooted and get swept along with the current, creating extreme hazards for surfers. As if that wasn’t enough, the water is home to dangerous animals like crocodiles and pirañas.

Despite the risks involved, annual surf competitions are held and many surfers take to the water!

#surfing #amazon #brazil #atlasobscura #travel #art #design #illustration

Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar:

For July, we’re checking out India, home to many stepwells, but none as famous, large, and as old as Chand Baori, near Jaipur. Built over 1200 years ago by King Chanda, ruler of the Nikumbh dynasty, this impressive structure was dedicated to Hashat Mata, the goddess of joy and happiness.
The Chand Baori is 13 stories high with 3,500 steps leading 30 m (100 ft) down into a pool of water used for bathing, cooling off, and religious practices. The area around the Chand Baori and most stepwells is extremely hot arid, so the stepwells were built to ensure the presence of water even during a drought.
Eagle eyed fans of film may recall this awe inspiring architectural wonder was used in films like The Fall and The Dark Knight Rises.
#atlasobscura #travel #india #stepwells #art #illustration #design

Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar:

June’s location is the world famous “Cave Of Swallows” or “Sótano de las Golondrinas”, an open air pit cave in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. With a free fall drop of 370 m (1,214 ft) from the top to the cave floor, it’s the largest known cave shaft in the entire world. The massive cavern is deep enough to fit two Statues of Liberty stacked on top of each other, the Eiffel Tower, or most skyscrapers.

Although named the Cave of Swallows, the vast majority of the thousands of birds residing in the cave walls are white collared swifts and green parakeets. Every morning, the birds fly in orderly concentric circles, gradually gaining altitude until they reach the mouth of the cave, at which point they come spilling out in every direction.

Recently, the cave has become a favorite spot for extreme sports like vertical caving and BASE jumping. At one point a hot air balloon was even flown into the cave!

#atlasobscura #travel #mexico #caveofswallows #art #illustration #design

Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar:

For May, this location was one of my favorites to draw. Tahirojima is a Japanese island, better known as “Cat Island”, due to the massive cat population. The tiny island is only 3.14 sq km (1.21 sq mi) with a population of 100 people, mostly fisherman, but the cats outnumber humans 6 to 1. There’s even a cat shrine to memorialize a cat that was accidentally killed by fishing net.
The cats were introduced to the island in the 1800s during the late Edo Period of Japan to protect the valuable silkworms from rodents. Since that time, that small group of cats has grown into the massive population we see today. Cats bring a steady stream of tourism and the locals enjoy the presence of the cats and view them as a sign of good fortune.

I really had a lot of fun drawing this one and would like to thank everyone for submitting kitty pics for me to use. I couldn’t use everyone’s kitties, but if I did use your cat photo, I will be contacting you via email in a few weeks to send you a thank you gift for letting me use a picture of your cat!

#atlasobscura #travel #illustration #art #catisland

Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar:

April takes us to the Greek Island of Chios, where a rocket war between two rival parishes has been going on every Easter for hundreds of years. The two churches, Angios Marcos and Panaghia Ereithiani, used to use real cannons to try to hit each others’ bell towers, but since 1889, fireworks rockets have been used instead. The rivalry is considered to be varying degrees of friendly.

It’s quite a sight to behold. As many as 80,000 rockets from both sides criss-cross the sky, filling the air with smoke and sulphur, creating fires and property damage. After the rockets cease, the churches each declare themselves the winner and agree to settle the score next year, continuing the war. It’s speculated that the tremendous amount of tourism the Rocket War brings to the island is why this tradition has survived so long, despite the potential danger involved

#atlasobscura #calendar #travel #greece #chios #rouketopolemos #rocketwar #art #illustration #design

March in my 2019 Atlas Obscura Calendar shoots us over to Hồ Thuỷ Tiên Water Park, five miles outside the nearest town, Hương Thủy, within Vietnam’s dense jungles. Opened while only partially completed in 2004, the water park enjoyed a few years of happy visitors, then closed only a few years later. In its heyday, it featured water slides, numerous statues, and aquariums full of sharks, rays, fish, and crocodiles. After its closure, the park was abandoned and remains to this day, gathering decay, algae, vandalism, and wildlife. Cows now happily graze open the vegetation that readily overtook the crumbling ruins. In addition to the park, the live crocodiles were also abandoned and survived, choosing to inhabit the park as wild animals instead of as attractions. While the water park was considered a multimillion dollar failure, its current post apocalyptic ruinous charm attracts many eager visitors!

#atlasobscura #travel #calendar #vietnam #hothuytien #waterparks #illustration #art #design

Atlas Obscura 2019 Travel Calendar:

February takes us to the Catatumbo River in Venezuela where a truly awesome weather phenomenon happens. For as much as 160 days per year, the area is bombarded by intense and frequent lightning. The lightning strikes occur about 10 hours per day and can flash thousands of times per hour. English explorers reported the intense lightning as early as the mid 1500s and the ominous glow, visible for hundreds of miles, was used as a guiding beacon by colonial sailors.
Potent air masses created by the local geography are thought to be responsible for this awe inspiring anomaly.
#atlasobscura #calendar #travel #venezuela #art #illustration #design #lightning

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