53 stunning photos from The Nature Conservancy global photo con

(Pocket-lint) – Each year, the Nature Conservancy’s global photography contest receives masses of entries from photographers all around the world. Breathtaking images of our world at it’s finest. 

As the organisation’s director of photography, Bill Marr explains “TNC’s Photo Contest is a wonderful intersection for those who love nature and those who love photography. We have wonderful entries from all over the world, from beautiful Western landscapes to squirrels in a backyard in Austria. Photography is a common language for all.”

As you can imagine, the entries are fairly magnificent, over the last couple of years alone, there have been some seriously impressive images. We’ve collected some of our favourite images for your enjoyment, but there are many more to view in the past galleries

Carl H/The Nature Conservancy

Sunrise swim

Penguins in paradise. This brilliant photo shows the magnificent creatures in their natural habitat before a refreshing morning dip. The photographer tells the tale of the effort that went into taking this incredible competition entry:

“King penguins gather on beach at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island for a morning swim. Making it ashore at sunrise in South Georgia requires a bit of planning since it is really about 3 am. South Georgia is a natural paradise.”

Jeremy Stevens/The Nature Conservancy


From the ferocity of nature, to the incredible, breath-taking beauty. This image from Jeremy Stevens shows the peaceful beauty of Iceland. 

“Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall in Iceland, January 2018. The places that are hardest to get to are often the best and most peaceful.”

Hernando Alonso Rivera Cervantes/The Nature Conservancy

Pure energy and fire

This photo shows the sheer destructive force hidden beneath the surface of our humble planet. An incredibly clear night’s sky makes a magnificent backdrop for the Colima volcano in Mexico. 

“Colima volcano erupting during the night showing its strength, was taken in the Yerbabuena, Comala, Colima. Volcanic eruptions in small quantities help reduce global warming.”

Dustin Gregory/The Nature Conservancy

Cosmic Cany Cane

The folding plains of nature, the incredible curves of the landscape and a view that’s awash with colour and wonder. This brilliant photograph by Dustin Gregory shows the majesty of our world, with untouched nature on display under an incredible night’s sky. 

“Geologic wonders unfold beneath the starry skies of Valley of Fire State Park in May 2017. The immense light pollution emanating from Las Vegas illuminates the landscape making it almost appear to be daytime in the dead of night. This place had a spooky aura that night and I felt as if I was being watched, making for one of my most uneasy yet memorable nights of shooting the night sky.”

Andre Mercier/The Nature Conservancy

The end is near – second place

This lone shard of an iceberg seems to speak volumes about global warming. This photograph, perfectly titled “the end is near” was taken in Iceland by photographer Andre Mercier and chosen as the second place winner for the competition. 

“This ice could be thousands of years old, and only recently broke off the Vatnajokull Glacier at Jokulsarlon Bay in Iceland, and will soon melt into the sea…”

Camille Briottet/The Nature Conservancy

Stallions Playing – grand prize winner

This incredible image by Camille Briottet was selected as the grand prize winner this year. The photographer describes the scene unfolding before our eyes:

“Two young stallions play on the Rhône Delta in the Camarguais region of France. They are training for future fights against other stallions for reproduction rights within the herd. This image inspires me because it shows both the strength and freedom of nature. My photograph is telling the story that life is a fight! Nature is magnificent, albeit, hard and sometimes cruel; but at the same time, nature is whole and true.”

Jorge André Diehl/The Nature Conservancy

Meeting of the alligators

These alligators casually sitting around in the waters make them seem docile and beautiful too. Another simple nature photograph that shows just how different our world can be. 

“Lagoon with many alligators in the Northern Pantanal, Poconé region. Late afternoon left the scene a bluish colour.”

Stephen Dean/The Nature Conservancy

Icy Reflection

Sometimes in nature, undisturbed beauty also means perfect symmetry. This incredible image is from Iceland and once again shows the attraction of that part of the world. Photographer Stephen Dean explains:

“Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland – An iceberg in Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon that has calved from the Vatnajokull Glacier. The iceberg is perfectly reflected in the calm water of the lagoon- I particularly liked the symmetry of this particular iceberg”

Aristo Risi/The Nature Conservancy

Her Majesty

This photo by Aristo Risi shows the destructive forces of man colliding with the depths of nature. Strangely beautiful. 

“A plastic bag in its natural habitat, the ocean. Shot in Shellharbour in 2017. Plastic was once worshipped, now it destroys everything we love. Nature connects us all, we have a duty to protect her.”

Aline Fortuna/The Nature Conservancy

Floating in the dead sea

This image seems to show just how peaceful nature can be and, perhaps, just how insignificant mankind can be in the grand scheme of things. The waters of the dead sea are only slightly disturbed by a lone swimmer at the very edge.   

Photographer Aline Fortuna describes the scene:

“One of the most unique experiences of the world in the lowest point on earth. We belong to nature and not the reverse. Without nature, we do not live, but without us, it lives.”

Terra Fondriest/The Nature Conservancy

Frog hug – Third place

The third place winner shows a young girl discovering the joys of nature. The photographer’s daughter caught on camera giving a small bullfrog a gentle cuddle, like a princess trying to release her prince. 

Photographer, Terra Fondriest, said:

“Down at the mud puddles on our road, we found several young bullfrogs hopping around. Up on our hilltop, wet spots are few and far between, so our mud puddles are home to a constant flow of tadpoles, frogs and toads. My daughter loves all critters, her goal is to create a wildlife rehab centre someday. She constantly inspires me with her care towards every living thing.” 

Jesse Yang/The Nature Conservancy


The desert sands have retaken the lands previously claimed by man as sand dunes fill abandoned homes in the United Arab Emirates. This photograph looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic film but is a real-world snap of nature by Jesse Yang who said:

“The eeriness of exploring this ghost town in the United Arab Emirates went away after an hour or so of exploring. But, I still felt uneasy about entering some of these ‘homes.’ It felt like I was trespassing, so I tried being oddly respectful. The Arabian Desert obviously didn’t feel the same way, reminding me that nature will always reclaim what we abandon.”

Petar Sabol/The Nature Conservancy


This perfectly timed photograph shows the moment a Kingfisher plunges into the water to capture a light snack. Another amazing image of nature and the wonder of our world. 

Petar Sabol describes his photo in more depth:

“Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) hunting for small fish on fishpond. It was taken on November 2nd, 2014. in Croatia, near Palovec village, local fishpond. It is very important that we keep nature clean in every aspect, but especially water. Water is the essence of our lives on Earth and it gives us so much to discover. “

Patrick McDonald/The Nature Conservancy

Redwood sanctuary

Sunlight strikes through the depths of this towering forest of massive redwood trees in Northern California. These huge trees have seen years and years of growth, somehow avoiding being cut down by man in all that time. 

Photographer Patrick McDonald commented:

“A huckleberry tree sits perched beneath towering redwoods in Northern California. Only 5% of the original old-growth redwood forests remain, and they are invaluable.”

Kathleen Greeson/The Nature Conservancy

Perfect snowflake

Nature is incredible, right down to the finest most minuscule detail. We’ve often marvelled at how amazing snowflakes can be – each one different from the last, each a perfect and intricate gift from Mother Nature. 

Kathleen Greeson’s photograph was one of those highlighted as a favourite by the judges and it’s easy to see why. A perfect moment captured in a second. 

“A perfect snowflake rests in my daughter’s hair during a snow shower at our home on Signal Mountain, TN. Completely fascinating to see all of the different individual flakes falling in our yard.”

Jonathan Ross/The Nature Conservancy

Pink Flamingos in Celestun

A much warmer image from Mexico shows Flamingos knee-deep in the waters, blissfully unaware of the photographer snapping this brilliant image. 

Roberto Moccini Formiga/The Nature Conservancy

The hunter

Outside of the winners, there are many other incredible shots worth marvelling at. This image shows just how fierce nature can be. A school of fish dash for freedom as a large white shark strikes in the waters of Guadalupe Island, Mexico.

Kyle Helmond/The Nature Conservancy

Super blue blood moon

Over the rises of the Yosemite Valley, a supermoon hangs in the sky for all to see. We like how the mountain tops appear to be reaching up towards the moon in this photo. Another beautiful example of all the brilliant photos submitted to the contest. 

Dene Miles/The Nature Conservancy

The breakfast club

In 2017, Dene Miles took this photo in the early hours of the morning at Olympic National Park. He notes there was a momentary pause for breakfast as the nearby wildlife were perfectly backdropped by mountain tops and a superb misty cloud cover. 

Jessica Kirste/The Nature Conservancy

Mallard in Flight

In 2019, Jessica Kirste snapped this image of a female Mallard in flight across Rahway River in New Jersey. The photo is almost too perfect with a wonderful framing of out-of-focus beech trees in the background. Those trees had orange leaves at the time too, perfectly complimenting the bird and resulting in this awesome image. 

Gabriel Altamriano/The Nature Conservancy

First steps

Incredible views from the coast of the Mexican city of Tuxpan, Veracruz as a small, newly emerged baby turtle takes its first steps on the untouched sands. 

Erik Ruiz/The Nature Conservancy

Ice World

A chilly view of some intriguing ice formations. The way this ice has frozen almost looks faked or computer-generated. Yet it was an image Erik Ruiz captured in 2019. 

David Glatz/The Nature Conservancy

Polar bear out for a stroll

A magnificent view of an equally magnificent creature out for a stroll in Alaska. David Glatz took this photo in 2019, as the sunset over Kaktovik and a Polar Bear wandered by. 

Reid Woodward/The Nature Conservancy

Milky Way Rising

This is one of the most interesting views we’ve seen of the Milky Way. The attention is drawn by both the stars and the bright light breaking out of the abandoned barn. Man-made structure and nature captured together in a brilliant way. 

Mitch Walters/The Nature Conservancy

A perfect pair of owls

Mitch Walters struck photography gold when taking photos in the Carrizo Plain National Monument as these birds briefly appeared to provide the perfectly framed nature image. 

“Sometimes the bird photography Gods smile upon you. While photographing Painted Rock, located in the Carrizo Plain National Monument, CA, USA, a pair of Barn Owls miraculously landed right next to each other in mirror-like fashion. I snapped a few photos before they quickly took off, one of the most amazing encounters I’ve had while photographing.”

Riccardo Marchegiani/The Nature Conservancy


Another striking wildlife view captured at the top of a mountain range. This time in Ethiopia:

“The photo shows a Gelada monkey and its son, on the edge of a cliff of the Semien Mountains, in Ethiopia. This picture represents the maternal instinct typical in nature, among all the species; and the protective behavior of every living being towards its offspring. To take this picture I went to the Semien Mountains, in Ethiopia, a beautiful place characterized by these high peaks and the unspoiled.”

Robert Ross/The Nature Conservancy

Giraffe Crossing

This is one of the oldest photos in our list, dating back to 2012. It was taken in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania and shows a line of Giraffes crossing the Rufiji River. What we like though, is the way they’re doing it together, in an orderly fashion, treading carefully across the waters.  

Dikye Ariani/The Nature Conservancy

My big meal

Sometimes nature can be a harsh mistress, but everyone has to eat. Including this scaley chap who’s eating up his lunch. 

Claire Ryser/The Nature Conservancy

Taking Flight

We love Claire Ryser’s photo of a dolphin in flight. This mammal should not be in the sky, yet here it is, briefly defying gravity in the most majestic of ways. 

The photographer notes that the dolphin is actually trying to remove a Remora. These are also known as suckerfish, a type of sea creature that spends its life attached to other marine mammals. They’ve been known to grapple onto whales, turtles, sharks and even scuba divers. They feed off host’s faeces and enjoy free travel but nothing else. 

BERNT ØSTHUS/The Nature Conservancy

The Wolf

A chilly view of the home for this Nordic Wolf who has appeared majestically in the frame:

“A Nordic Wolf, captured as it gets closer to a bait in the Eastern Part of Finland. These amazing animals are heavily decimated by hunting.”

Leah Horstman/The Nature Conservancy

50 Shades of Fall

In April 2019, Leah Horstman was in Patagonia, South America capturing this magnificent view of a sunset over an incredible backdrop.

Monte Fitz Roy can be seen in the background with a mix of incredible clouds, colourful trees and the wonderful lights of the sunset.  

Jannicko Kelk/The Nature Conservancy

Green Jewels

A beautiful green photo of a dangerous creature and a menace to those who visit the area. These snakes are known to bit anyone who’s unfortunate enough to be nearby. The results of a bite are nasty too – leading to spontaneous bleeding from the mouth, nose and eyes as well as issues with coagulation of blood. Miserable but still a staggering photo. 

“Amazonian palm viper (Bothrops bilineatus) from Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. Unfortunately, these gorgeous snakes are responsible for many snake bites throughout the Amazon Basin. They normally sit on low branches. Subsequently, most bites occur on the arms, face and hands!”

Jannicko Kelk/The Nature Conservancy

Prince of Thorns

Jannicko Kelk took this photo at the start of 2019 in Western Australia. A fantastic close-up image of a lizard that’s native to Australia and has a name to match:

“Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) from Laverton, Western Australia taken on the 20/01/2019. These strange animals can be found in the central sandy deserts of Australia. They can collect water from the morning dew. As moisture touches the spines, they are redirected to the mouth.”

Andrew Hunter/The Nature Conservancy

Got him

This Grizzly bear looks like he’s been caught red-handed, doing something naughty.

Fishing at the edge of Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, this chap was nice enough to (accidentally) pose for the camera and in a wonderful way too. An excellent photo and a marvellous submission to the 2019 competition. 

Janne Kahila/The Nature Conservancy

The Dome

We doubt many people could pull off a selfie this grand. Unless you happen to be an astronaut or an absolute madman, your self-portraits are probably pretty average. They’re certainly not like this:

“This is a self-portrait taken from 640m tall iconic mountain peak Segla. We started the hike with low clouds and zero visibility but ended up seeing the midnight sun from one of the greatest locations in Northern Norway. This is a massive panorama of 8 vertical images- and the image is 100% real.”

Bruce Moffat/The Nature Conservancy

Sundew and blue damselfly

Bruce Moffat snapped this brilliant image of a blue damselfly in action in 2019. The result is a beautiful close-up image of nature in action. 

“This spring while drifting in a canoe on Maple Lake, BC I ended up beside a floating log that supported a colony of round leafed sundew plants. These are particularly interesting plants given their carnivorous behavior. Here a Blue Damselfly has found out the hard way the sticky clear drops are a key part of the trap and digestive system.”

Jordan Robins/The Nature Conservancy

The Reef Wanderer

A few of the photos from the Nature Conservancy global photo contests include images of endangered species. Animals who are the last of their kind and are at risk of being wiped out. Usually because of our own destructive influence on the world around us. 

Here, Jordan Robins captured such an image, a photo of a Green Sea Turtle swimming carefree through the waters of the Great Barrier Reef in 2018. 

Jordan Robins/The Nature Conservancy

White Spotted Jellyfish Sunset

This photo was taken in Jervis Bay Australia at the start of 2019 and shows a white-spotted jellyfish, aka Phyllorhiza punctate. These weird-looking jellyfish aren’t actually dangerous to humans, unlike other jellyfish off Australian shore. They feed off plankton while seemingly effortlessly drifting along with the current. 

Marian Herz/The Nature Conservancy

Impending Doom

A wonderful sight of nature with a parent trying to teach its young chick to get used to the water while also feeding it at the same time. Also a magnificent image taken just before the poor feathered creatures were knocked by the waves.

“We were on the beach in the Falklands in 2019, waiting for the Gentoo Penguins to come ashore. This one adult was being chased by its chick for food. The parent kept running in the water, to get the chick used to it. Finally it fed the chick – right in the path of a large wave. The chick did get some food, but also went for a swim under the crashing wave.”

Massimo Giorgetta/The Nature Conservancy

American crocodile backlight

There’s a lot of teeth to this image from 2017 as an American Crocodile is seen just below the surface of the waters of Gardens of the Queen, in Cuba. 

Somehow he seems to be happy to be photographed, but we don’t think we’d wasn’t to be anywhere nearby. 

SIGNE FOGELQVIST/The Nature Conservancy

Little house

This simple yet beautiful image is one of the most interesting on the list thanks to its humble creation. While many of the photos are from staggering locations around the world, this one was taken in a garden. 

Signe Fogelqvist proving that amazing images of nature can be taken anywhere:

“I’ve come to learn that you don’t need the most extravagant locations to find inspiration for photography, just go out in your garden and look for your little local life.”

Alex Kydd/The Nature Conservancy

Australian Sea Lion

This photo was taken Jurien Bay, Western Australia in 2019. At first glance, it could easily be mistaken for a dog having a dip, but it’s actually an Australian Sea Lion. 

Jeffrey Munoz/The Nature Conservancy

Almost there!

This photo by Jeffrey Munoz shows an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle coming out of the waters ready to build a nest on the coast of Costa Rica. They don’t look very happy about it. 

Steven Valinski/The Nature Conservancy

Silence in the swamp

Almost camouflaged by the murkiness on the waters’ surface, this frog is enjoying a little bit of light on the swamps of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. 

Tina Antrobus/The Nature Conservancy

The Huntress

Another nature photo that demonstrates the survival of the fittest with a small rabbit who wasn’t quite swift enough to get away from this red fox. 

With a successful hunt complete, the mother fox returns to her den with the prize. 

Mary Hulett/The Nature Conservancy

African Sunset

Taken in the middle of a Safari, this wonderful photo by Mary Hulett shows a majestic king of the jungle resting on a termite mound. A calm and serene view. 

Jeffrey Munoz/The Nature Conservancy

Thirsty night

Another sight that many of us won’t ever get to see in the flesh. A Long Tongue Bat captured feeding from a Balsa Wood Flower in there rainforest of Costa Rica. 

Scott Suriano/The Nature Conservancy

Shake It Off

Chilly weather can’t be much fun to live in, but it sure results in some interesting, curious and beautiful photographs. Here, a Barred Owl is shaking off the snow stuck in its feathers. 

Jorgen Hog/The Nature Conservancy

Afternoon Rest

In Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas, two colourful ducks were caught on camera by Jorgen Hog resting on a log. Peaceful, yet curious creatures with an eye on the camera.

Adam Brice/The Nature Conservancy

Gathering Storm

One thing the photos from the Nature Conservancy global photo contests show is that lizards are extremely photogenic. 

Here a netted dragon (Ctenophorus nuchalis) eyes up the camera while an angry storm gathers in the skies above. 

Stanley Aryanto/The Nature Conservancy


On the shores of Tasmania, Stanley Aryanto snapped this photo of incredible bioluminescence – marine life giving off a wonderful glow while washing about on the surface. 

ANDY RAUPP/The Nature Conservancy

Snowy bluebird

We enjoy seeing thjese images of magnificent creatures backdropped by the wonders of nature. This image and several others like it on this list are proof that even the smallest creature can be fantastic. 

“This is a photo of an eastern bluebird I took this past fall. We had an early snowstorm one day and I came across a small group of bluebirds and was able to capture this photo”

GLENN OSTLE/The Nature Conservancy

Clownfish and Anemone

Nemo? Is that you? 

“We were photographing in the Maldives in May 2019, when we came across this very small anemone, only about 4″ across. While setting up for the shot, a very small clown fish suddenly poked his head out from the anemone.”

Writing by Adrian Willings.

Activist hedge fund advises Intel to outsource CPU manufacturing

Activist hedge fund advises Intel to outsource CPU manufacturing

Andrew Cunningham

Activist hedge fund Third Point has taken a stake of nearly $1 billion in Intel and called on the chipmaker to consider shedding its manufacturing operations, throwing a core part of its strategy into question.

The firm with $15 billion in assets run by Daniel Loeb made a number of demands in a letter sent to Intel’s chairman Omar Ishrak on Tuesday and seen by the Financial Times.

In the letter, Mr Loeb said that Intel was “once the gold standard for innovative microprocessor manufacturing” but had fallen behind manufacturing competitors in East Asia such as TSMC and Samsung.

His intervention comes as Intel faces a critical decision over its future as a leading-edge manufacturer of semiconductors—a position it has held for decades, and the source of its dominance in the PC era.

Bob Swan, its chief executive, has indicated that he will decide early next year whether Intel should outsource a significant part of its most advanced manufacturing, or even get out of leading-edge production altogether, after a series of slips.

The company in July revealed it had hit a new hurdle in trying to move to the next generation of manufacturing technology, where the features on chips are reduced to a width of only 7 nanometres.

That compounded a series of missteps that helped cement the lead seized by TSMC, the Taiwanese chip company that manufacturers semiconductors on behalf of many of the world’s biggest chip designers, including Nvidia, Qualcomm and AMD.

Intel has lost some $60 billion in market value over the past year, Mr Loeb pointed out, as he took aim at the chipmaker’s corporate governance.

“We cannot fathom how the boards who presided over Intel’s decline could have permitted management to fritter away the company’s leading market position while simultaneously rewarding them handsomely with extravagant compensation packages,” Mr Loeb wrote.

The hedge fund said it was particularly concerned at the loss of talent at Intel, saying the company had lost many of its best chip designers while the ones that remained “are becoming increasingly demoralized.”

Mr Loeb said Intel should hire investment advisers to determine whether the company should both design and manufacture chips as well as consider divesting failed acquisitions, though the letter did not point to any specific examples.

“Intel welcomes input from all investors regarding enhanced shareholder value,” the company said in a statement. “In that spirit, we look forward to engaging with Third Point on their ideas towards that goal.”

Ending its efforts to physically make the most advanced semiconductors would mark a turning point in Intel’s fortunes, while also leaving the US without a top chip manufacturer.

Mr Loeb called its difficulties a “critical concern” that could have broader implications on America’s national security if the US was forced to rely on companies located in “geopolitically unstable” regions to “power everything from PCs to data centers to critical infrastructure and more.”

Intel shares rose more than 5 percent on news of Mr Loeb’s letter, which was first reported by Reuters.

Apple reportedly drags its feet when dealing with chronic China labor law offenders

A new report sheds some light on how Apple deals with companies that slack on enforcing labor laws in China, alleging that if corrective actions will impact Apple’s bottom line, they are slow to materialize — or may not happen at all.

Apple and Suyin

The report by The Information leads off with the saga of cable and port manufacturer Suyin. In 2013, Apple demanded that it stop using underage labor to manufacture HDMI and USB ports. The company reportedly agreed to do so, but an audit by Apple three months later found more underage workers in the factories.

Apple stopped giving Suyin new business at that point. However, the report also alleges that it took three more years for Apple to completely cut ties with the company. An unnamed former employee told The Information that the long time it took Apple to cut ties with the company was because of a lack of sourcing of quality parts and products from other companies at the time.

Apple and iPhone glass manufacturer Biel Crystal

The report also cites Apple’s dealings with smartphone glass manufacturer Biel Crystal. The saga with Biel also goes back to 2013, when an activist group accused Biel of labor violations and safety issues.

Apple investigated, and found issues with the company’s practices. Specifically, mechanical and chemical hazards existed were compounded by a weak safety and health culture in the company.

At the time, Apple issued a 90-day timeline for compliance. According to “an ex-Apple employee with direct knowledge of Biel’s supplier responsibility record” cited in the report, Biel hadn’t completed many of the tasks after a year had elapsed — and Apple continued sourcing iPhone glass from the company.

Fearing a loss of business, Biel took some steps that Apple demanded. Following another watchdog report, Apple again audited conditions at the plant, finding only slight improvements to working conditions.

When confronted, Biel executives reportedly told Apple that investments in better working conditions were only made to attempt to get more business from Apple, and further improvements weren’t worth the investment. That business was lost to Lens Technology.

On Tuesday, a report claimed that Lens Technology had used forced labor to manufacture iPhone glass. An Apple spokesperson denied that report, declaring that Lens Technology “has not received any labor transfers of Uighur workers from Xinjiang.” The spokesperson added that the company has a “zero tolerance” policy for forced labor.

Apple still sources glass from Biel.

Other issues cited

The report also brings up other labor abuses by Apple suppliers. Even after a reform of student labor use in 2012, reports continued to pop up. The report claims that Apple stepped back from demands about the banning of student labor after Foxconn objected, and it also notes that Quanta has refused Apple’s request to reduce reliance on temporary workers.

The report again cites unnamed “three former team members and a former senior Apple manager familiar with the company’s operations in China” claiming that Apple never removed any supplier for repeated law violations, because requiring suppliers to comply or cutting suppliers out completely would have created additional costs for Apple, and potentially delayed product releases.

Supply chain audits are only so complete

Lens Technology, like Biel, supplies nearly the entire tech industry with glass. Apple has no exclusive technology suppliers, and its main suppliers Foxconn, Wistron, and others, manufacture electronics and components for every tech company, including Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, Dell, and others. This leads to a massive supply chain, with millions of laborers, and thousands of assembly lines.

Part of the issue, according to The Information, is that Apple’s supply chain alone is so massive, even the 50,000 interviews that Apple cited in its latest responsibility report is a minute fraction of the entire effort. The report estimates that there are between 1.4 million and 1.8 million workers in China associated with Apple’s supply chain.

A great deal of the audits and assessments that Apple demands are performed by self-assessments. Apple’s procurement employees, who visit factories more often than supplier responsibility audit teams, are tasked with keeping an eye on things, and point out problems.

This is compounded by friction between the supplier responsibility team and procurement employees, according to former Apple employees that were “senior managers involved in the company’s supply chain” cited by The Information.

“On your performance reviews, you were supposed to report how much money you helped Apple save,” one former longtime Apple procurement employee said in the report. “You couldn’t report that you saved Apple from a PR black eye.”

Aurora Mobile Enters into Partnership with New Energy Vehicle provider Dongfeng Motor to Strengthen AI-based Smart Mobility Services Nasdaq:JG

SHENZHEN, China, Dec. 31, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Aurora Mobile Limited (NASDAQ: JG) (“Aurora Mobile” or the “Company”), a leading mobile developer service provider in China, today announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with new energy vehicle provider Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited (“Dongfeng Motor”), to help DFGO, a comprehensive one-stop mobility service platform of Dongfeng Motor, to improve operational and service efficiency and optimize user experience in smart mobility.

As a part of Dongfeng Motor’s strategic transformation, DFGO is committed to becoming a leading service provider of smart mobility solutions to deeply and perfectly embed mobility services into smart city development. Currently, DFGO covers various services including online car-hailing, premium car hailing, timeshare car leasing, taxi-hailing, used-car transaction services and electric vehicle charging. Going forward, DFGO will continue to upgrade its products and technologies to actively participate in smart city development including connecting its platform with urban transportation systems and providing comprehensive city-wide mobility solutions by expanding its service coverage to bike sharing, bus services, hitch riding and intercity vehicle services.

Through the partnership, Aurora Mobile will use its artificial intelligent (AI)- empowered targeted push notification services and machine learning-based powerful operational analysis capabilities to help DFGO gain comprehensive insights into user needs, improve user experience by providing users with safe, convenient, pleasant and smart mobility services, and ultimately maximize customer value. Both parties are confident that this cooperation will lead to more growth opportunities in the smart mobility sector going forward. This is the fourth major win for Aurora Mobile in the new energy vehicle/mobility sector after the global leading new energy vehicle manufacturer, WM Motor and Niu Technologies. This demonstrates the leading and dominant position Aurora Mobile commands in serving the new energy vehicle/mobility sector.

Aurora Mobile is a leading mobile development service provider in China. In almost a decade, Aurora Mobile has focused on mobile developers’ needs and launched a series of products to help developers improve operational efficiency, drive business growth and monetization. As of September 2020, Aurora Mobile had provided software development kits to over 1.65 million APPs. Recently, Aurora Mobile launched a Unification Messages System (“JG UMS”), which has integrated seven major messaging channels, including mobile Apps, WeChat official accounts, WeChat mini-programs, Short Message Service, emails, Fuwu Alipay and DingTalk, and enables businesses to reach targeted customers more efficiently through one integrated messaging platform.

About Aurora Mobile Limited

Founded in 2011, Aurora Mobile is a leading mobile developer service provider in China. Aurora Mobile is committed to providing efficient and stable push notification, one-click verification, and APP traffic monetization services to help developers improve operational efficiency, grow and monetize. Meanwhile, Aurora Mobile’s vertical applications have expanded to market intelligence, financial risk management, and location-based intelligence, empowering various industries to improve productivity and optimize decision-making.

Safe Harbor Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “confident” and similar statements. Among other things, the Business Outlook and quotations from management in this announcement, as well as Aurora Mobile’s strategic and operational plans, contain forward-looking statements. Aurora Mobile may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in its annual report to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including but not limited to statements about Aurora Mobile’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, including but not limited to the following: Aurora Mobile’s strategies; Aurora Mobile’s future business development, financial condition and results of operations; Aurora Mobile’s ability to attract and retain customers; its ability to develop and effectively market data solutions, and penetrate the existing market for developer services; its ability to transition to the new advertising-driven SaaS-model; its ability maintain or enhance its brand; the competition with current or future competitors; its ability to continue to gain access to mobile data in the future; the laws and regulations relating to data privacy and protection; general economic and business conditions globally and in China and assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information provided in this press release and in the attachments is as of the date of the press release, and Aurora Mobile undertakes no duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law.

For general inquiry, please contact:

Aurora Mobile Limited
E-mail: [email protected]

In China
Mr. Eric Yuan
Phone: +86-10-5900-1548
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Awesome high-speed photography that’s bound to astound

(Pocket-lint) – High-speed photography involves using the right equipment to capture fast-moving objects, people and things in a way that’s not otherwise possible. It’s often used for sports photography and other events that involve fast-moving moments, but some photographers put it to other uses too. 

Some of the coolest photographs we’ve seen involve some high-speed photo trickery to capture moments that would otherwise be missed. Things exploding in a variety of different ways seem to be the perfect subject matter and we’ve found a number of brilliant ones for you to enjoy. 

Jack Long

Liquid flowers

As you can imagine, a great deal of planning and preparation went into these images. Jack Long used coloured water manipulated in just the right ways to create the illusion of flowers in bloom, the leaves of plants and even pots they’re growing in. The high-speed photography results in some impressive imagery that’s a tribute to all the effort this artist must have put in. 

Warren Keelan

Waves crashing

In photos similar to those you might see of surfers plummeting through waves, this collection of images includes some pretty spectacular high-speed images from the seaside.

Waves crashing and breaking, curling and washing in all their magnificent glory. Photographer Warren Keelan knows how to capture the ocean at just the right moment. 

Peter Schafrick

Paint soaked tools and toys

A lot of Peter Schafrick’s work generally involves commercial and product photography, but this artist is particularly multi-talented. Some of his high-speed photography includes work like this – where paint of varying colours has been applied to tools, toys and other objects before being spun with centrifugal force.

The results are colourful swirls of paint spinning out in every direction, a fantastic view and a brilliant example of what’s possible with this sort of photography. 

Fabian Oefner

Exploding paint balloons

Some more brilliant photography work by Fabian Oefner involves paint covered balloons being exploded with a pin. These balloons were covered in multiple layers of acrylic paint leading to colourful results once they finally burst.

Thanks to snaps captured in milliseconds, we get to enjoy the full colourful glory of the paint bursting forth from the surface of the balloon. Another cracking high-speed photography example and a highlight of a talented artist. 

Fabian Oefner

Coke Can explosions

With the use of some high-speed photography equipment, a perfect studio setup and some cans of Coca-Cola, photographer Fabian Oefner created this high-speed gallery.

The cans you can see exploding are captured just as the pellet from an air gun pierces the surface and smashes through the other side. The resulting spray is pretty magnificent and so are the images. 

Martin Klimas

Exploding figurines

These photos are quite possibly the most satisfying on our list. They’re also captured in clever ways too. The porcelain figurines are dropped from a height of three metres to their untimely death on the surface below. The sound of the shattering porcelain sets off the shutter to snap the photo and these are the results. 

It might be a tad destructive, but we’re big fans of Martin Klimas’ work

Rachel Samanyi

A glass in a field

A brilliant summer’s day shot of a glass in a field captured by Rachel Samanyi. A simple image with brilliant results. 

Joe Dyer

Mushroom cloud milk

Liquid is a common theme in these high-speed photos and often with terrific outcomes. We rarely get to see the results of something as simple as a droplet hitting a liquid surface and these snaps capture every tiny detail of the moment that would otherwise pass in the blink of an eye. This photo by Joe Dyer sees the results in the form of a milk mushroom cloud. 


Exploding egg

It’s an explosion! This image is the result of an egg being shot with an air rifle. The splattering of egg liquids from within almost gives the appearance of a double-yolker.

This photographer has experimented with high-speed photography a fair bit and created some incredible images for all to enjoy on their Flickr page. 

Rhi Ph0tography

Peppers and water

This simple, yet pleasing image, is part of a series of high-speed photos of peppers breaking the surface of the water. The bubbles of the resulting impact and splash are seen in their full majesty thanks to this quick snap. 

WannaBEEfarmer Jeff

Duck shot

This unfortunate rubber duckie was seemingly sacrificed in order to capture this simple shot at high-speed. We’re big fans of this image for how understated it is. Where most of the other photos on this list feature big and bold results, the destruction of the duck is far less noticeable, yet you can see the travel of the shot as it passes through his head. 


Brilliant bulbs

We’re a fan of high-speed destruction. This simple image of a bulb being broken by an air pellet is oddly satisfying and easy on the eye. Though we’re glad we don’t have to clear up the resulting mess. 

Joe Dyer

Balls in a glass

Joe Dyer worked some high-speed photography magic with this image of clear water pearls being dropped into a Martini glass. The balls appear to defy gravity while also catching the light in brilliant ways. A fantastic image with brilliant results. 


Writing by Adrian Willings.

Working from home at 25MHz: You could do worse than a Quadra 700 (even in 2020)

Be a shame if anything happened to those dinosaur paddock gates, so it's a good thing Sam Jackson can monitor this situation with his Quadra 700.
Enlarge / Be a shame if anything happened to those dinosaur paddock gates, so it’s a good thing Sam Jackson can monitor this situation with his Quadra 700.

The crop of personal computers available in the last decade of the 20th century were markedly faster, more capable, and more connected than their primitive ancestors. Clock speeds and transistor counts were rapidly increasing, and the decreasing cost of memory and storage was opening up new avenues for the personal computer to evolve from an expensive desk accessory into a tool for multimedia and professional graphics design.

In 1991, the Intel i486DX was one of the hottest processors on the market—literally. It was one of the first that all but required a heatsink, and a cooling fan was a good option for processors with higher clockspeeds. But for Apple, the PowerPC architecture was still below the horizon, leaving just one choice for high-performance Macintosh computers in the early ’90s: the Motorola 68040 microprocessor.

What a beast. The ‘040 was a substantial upgrade over the ‘030 that had previously been used by Apple. It featured 1.2 million transistors, over four times as many as its predecessor. This processor increased the L1 cache size by a factor of eight to 4096 bytes, and it was the first 68k processor to have an on-board floating-point unit (FPU). While not without its drawbacks, the ‘040 processor was an obvious candidate for Apple’s next line of premium workstations at the time. And this line would become known as “Quadra,” starting with the Quadra 700 and 900 models in late 1991.

While the floor-standing tower Quadra 900 was the crème de la crème regarding overall performance and upgradability, its physical size and price tag were a barrier to entry for some. Its desktop-size brother, known as the Quadra 700, was arguably the more impressive of the two computers anyway. After all, it was the Quadra 700 that featured in Apple’s Quadra television commercial and went on to appear prominently in a certain Spielberg dinosaur-action blockbuster.

Both computers were marketed toward professionals looking for a home- or office-based workstation-class computer, ideal for scientific, business, and design applications.

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and today the Quadra 700 is one of the most sought-after vintage Macintosh computers. Part of this may be due to that supporting role next to Jeff Goldblum, but there are other reasons, too.

The 700 is one of the few vintage Apple computers to use tantalum capacitors on the logic board, rather than electrolytic. The latter capacitors inevitably leak electrolytic fluid, causing electrical instability and corroding traces on the logic board. Tantalum capacitors have no electrolytic to leak and are not prone to failure.

Other quality-of-life improvements over its peers include the Quadra’s dedicated video RAM (VRAM), which is coupled tightly with the processor. A direct access to the frame buffer significantly improves video performance on the Quadra over other models like the IIsi. Memory expansion capacity was also improved, with the 700 supporting up to a total of 68MB of RAM. This amount was not possible at launch, as the SIMMs that supported this memory density would take several more months to be developed. VRAM could be upgraded to as much as 2MB.

I know all this because I remain a hopeless computer tinkerer who happened to come across a Quadra 700 around the start of 2020. Unlike my road test of the IIsi for Ars back in 2018, the Quadra 700 presented a tantalizing opportunity to really push the limits of early ’90s desktop computing. Could this decades-old workhorse hold a candle to the multi-core behemoths of the 2020s? The IIsi turned out to be surprisingly capable; what about the Quadra 700 with its top-shelf early ’90s specs?

Project Quadra 2020 (or, how I spend my time during a pandemic)

The 700 was sold to me in working condition, but otherwise “as is.” There were a few items that could require immediate attention, not least being the floppy drive. Sticky, hairy, dirty—these were all common symptoms for Apple floppy drives with their doorless design even then. Over the years, this design decision naturally allowed all manner of dust and grime to build up. A full restoration of the drive would have to wait for another day, though, as I had plenty of spare drives to use in the meantime.

Half assembled, I confirmed that the Quadra powered up just fine. Apple recommends not running the 700 for longer than 20 minutes with the case off, otherwise the passively cooled 68040 processor melts down. Not the best design, but it works fine with the case shut.

Vintage Macs usually require a full teardown and capacitor replacement before they can be safely powered up. The aforementioned electrolytic fluid and underperforming capacitors can cause all sorts of electrical havoc if a thorough cleaning and capacitor replacement isn’t performed. With the tantalum capacitors on the logic board, the only real concern left was the power supply. A good dusting with compressed air blew out most of the large chunks of dust. The larger capacitors inside the power supply will need replacing eventually, too.

At this point, we had a working system with a modest amount of RAM and VRAM, a decently sized hard drive, and three empty expansion slots. As far as restorations go, everything went very smoothly. With no leaking capacitors or failing lithium batteries to deal with, the Quadra was in tip-top shape. This would be more than adequate for playing a few rounds of Bolo.

I think we can do better, however.

2020 in review – the AppleInsider stories you liked the most

AppleInsider readers have consumed thousands upon thousands of news stories and posts over the course of 2020, and some were more read than others. Here are the five stories that you read the most from the last 12 months.

5 – Amazon says users don’t own content bought on Prime Video

The fifth most-read story on AppleInsider dealt with a lawsuit where Amazon was accused of false advertising and unfair competition due to the way it handled purchases of content hosted on its streaming service.

In short, a customer could buy content from Amazon to view on Prime, but then Amazon could remove access later. Therefore, Amazon was accused of “secretly” reserving the right to end consumers’ access to Prime content.

Amazon's video app offers access to all of its Prime Instant Video content.

Amazon argued that the plaintiff, Amanda Caudel, didn’t suffer any injury due to its terms of service, as she had continued to buy content through the service since filing the lawsuit. Amazon argued that the agreements weren’t for the purchase of content but for a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time,” terms presented each time content was purchased.

The lawsuit is ongoing, with the next significant activity expected to take place in late January.

It is likely the story caught the attention of readers who are entrenched with the idea of owning physical media at a time when many people have instead embraced streaming. With discs, the content can’t be easily taken away from you because its manufacturer declined to pay to continue a license for a longer period of time.

Meanwhile, consumers who buy content for streaming face the prospect of losing access down the line for various reasons, but chiefly time-limited licensing agreements.

The temporal nature of streaming makes the industry extremely useful and accessible to customers but has that genuine potential to take away a cherished piece of content without warning.

4 – Entire ‘iPhone 12’ & ‘iPhone 12 Pro’ lineup specs detailed

Leaks and rumors surrounding Apple’s next-generation iPhones are almost always a popular topic, and 2020 was no exception. This year involved a wide variety of leaks about the iPhone 12 range. With a relatively high level of accuracy, especially when you consider this article dates back to May 11.

The iPhone 12 (left), and iPhone 12 Pro (right)

The iPhone 12 (left), and iPhone 12 Pro (right)

Many of the claims in the post turned out to be quite accurate, such as the display sizes, the use of OLED across the board, the use of aluminum on the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 versus stainless steel on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the use of LiDAR on the Pro models.

By this time in the year, most of the rumors and speculation were along the same lines and pretty much solidified everyone’s expectations for what they were going to see in the October special event.

Arguably, the only thing not nailed down properly at that time was Apple electing to call the smallest model the iPhone 12 mini. Early guesses got the Pro, and Pro Max suffixes right, but instead considered the smaller non-Pro model to be the main iPhone 12, accompanied by a larger iPhone 12 “Max.”

Considering rumors for the “iPhone 13” are already circulating. Given the relatively early accuracy of rumors and leaks for the iPhone 12, it remains to be seen if the same feat could be achieved in 2021 or even brought further forward.

3 – Apple sued for ‘$2 priceless trillion’ following 2018 iPhone repair

Lawsuits are known to be dry and dull, albeit sometimes quite important to report on. However, like the rest of the world, sometimes a left-field filing can emerge that begs to be reported on.

The absurd valuations that went into the headline's creation.

The absurd valuations that went into the headline’s creation.

That was the case for a June filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by Raevon Terrell Parker, with claims of an Apple Store repair of an iPhone 7 gone awry in October 2018. However, rather than being a problem that couldn’t be fixed, the complaint alleged that Apple kept the iPhone because it was “the first phone to have new features,” and handed him a replacement.

These so-called “new features” included the ability to “bypass certain start-up load screen options, and the ability to “communicate with other devices faster and more accurately. Parker also demanded compensation for the “discovery of the Group FaceTime feature,” with the claimed theft supposedly aiding Apple with the “creation of iOS 12.”

The lawsuit was a re-attempt by Parker to sue Apple over the incident, which featured some interesting valuations.

The valuation of items Parker demanded included an iPhone 7 at $1 trillion, iOS 12 at $1 trillion, and Parker’s mentality at “priceless,” all summed up as “$2 priceless trillion USD” He also wanted $900 for the rental of the iPhone 7 by Apple, which brought the total to $2 trillion and $900 USD and a priceless item.”

The later lawsuit demanded $1 trillion “due to hospitalizations, travel, distress, humiliation, embarrassment, [and] defamation of character.” In a seeming moment of self-awareness, Parker also suggested, “I don’t think that the plaintiff can be compensated for being labeled crazy.”

According to filings from July, it seems that the courts didn’t look too kindly, with it dismissed without prejudice but with the added note “it is hereby certified that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith.”

Some stories on AppleInsider are popular because they strike a chord with people. Others because they detail major events in Apple’s existence. This story’s presence on the list shows there’s still room for the unusual and the absurd. The story that people will read and smirk at because it’s so left-field that no-one would rationally go down that route.

And yet, someone did, making this story the third most-read item on AppleInsider in 2020.

2 – Apple about to release seven iPads, eight ‘Apple Watch Series 6’ models

The entirety of 2020 was a year that was weird for many different reasons, and it gave Apple license to go down the route of holding multiple product events instead of one main iPhone event. The fall saw three events over three months, and of course, the search for rumors and information ahead of each presentation revealed many different details.

iPads and Apple Watch models Apple launched in an event a few weeks after the report was published.

iPads and Apple Watch models Apple launched in an event a few weeks after the report was published.

A few weeks ahead of the first “Time Flies” event, one of the most significant sources of upcoming product launches offered hints about Apple’s event. The Eurasian Economic Commission’s regulatory database listed SKUs that seemed to be for new iPads and the Apple Watch and became the second most-read article for 2020.

Generally, such regulatory filings are made before it could be released. Still, even though it wasn’t a guarantee that Apple would show off the products, it was a relatively reliable indicator of inbound product launches.

The sheer quantity of SKUs for each may have been the driving factor for this story. Given that this was also a time when a plastic Apple Watch was being rumored, it certainly fueled the prospect that Apple would show one-off during the event.

1 – How to customize your Home Screen on iOS 14

When people buy an iPhone, many want it to be their specific and unique telecommunications device. This need for a custom experience has led to the growth of the case market and countless designs of wallpapers being made available to download, ready to be used as the background for your iPhone’s screen.

Widgets made it much easier to customize your iPhone's display.

Widgets made it much easier to customize your iPhone’s display.

With iOS 14, Apple enhanced iOS to include widgets, which allowed for more information to be shown on the screen, and far more possibilities to customize the appearance beyond which app goes where. Add in the power of Shortcuts to create custom icons for apps, and you have considerably more options available for customization than ever before.

Naturally, AppleInsider created a guide explaining how to get started on your own design.

Why did this post get popular enough to become the most-read on the site? It’s probably down to the post-iOS 14 launch period and social media, with many deciding to create highly-customized home screens that were shared on Facebook and Twitter.

When people see something cool about something they own and haven’t tried out before, people will want to dabble with it, especially if it is easy to do. Some of these people may also share their designs, perpetuating the cycle for a while longer.

How big did the fad get? Big enough for one designer to make $100,000 in just six days by selling icons.

Global Mobile Application Development Platform Market 2020 Top Industry Players – IBM, Microstragety, Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Kony, Appcelerator

Technological & General Limitations Summary from developers when using Mobile  Application Development Platforms | Blog by WeblineGlobal

The latest market study titled Global Mobile Application Development Platform Market 2020 by Company, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2025 combines market essential details, definitions, categorization, professional market study, and analysis of significant features. The report understands that it is extremely essential to know where you currently stand in the market. The report provides an overview and structure of the market where the worldwide market’s vital regional market demands are studied. The research offers data related to market competitors and recognized players for the forecast period from 2020 to 2025. This report is segmented by, trends, latest analytics, top players, application usage, and various important geographical dividends. Various Mobile Application Development Platform market characteristics such as limitations, the future aspects of each section, and growth drivers have been covered in the report.

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Key players of the market mentioned in the report are: IBM, Microstragety, Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Kony, Appcelerator, Verivo Software

This report segments the global market based on type: Cloud, On-Premise

Based on the application, the global market is categorized as follows: Financial Services, Medical, Retail, Media, Government, Communication, Public Utilities, Other

The report gives crucial information on chief competitors and market participants who make a relevant market-specific judgment to remain at the top of the growth curve. This report offers a historical summary of the global Mobile Application Development Platform market trends, growth, revenue, capacity, value structure, and key driver’s analysis. The document contains info like company profiles, product image, and specification, capacity, production, price, cost, revenue. The report primarily enlists the basic details of the industry based on the fundamental overview of market chain structure and describes industry surroundings, the development of the market through upstream & downstream, manufacturing cost structure, plans, and development.

The geographical segmentation of the report consists of North America (United States, Canada and Mexico), Europe (Germany, France, UK, Russia and Italy), Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, Korea, India and Southeast Asia), South America (Brazil, Argentina, etc.), Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa)

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10 epic images from the Northern Lights Photographer of the Yea

(Pocket-lint) – Each year, travel photography blog Capture the Atlas puts together an annual Northern Lights Photographer of the Year competition. This year, the competition has had entries from around the world from the US, Russia, Finland, Australia, Antarctica and more. 

With 25 photographers, 18 different nationalities and a multitude of images to choose from, selecting the winner was no doubt tough. The Northern Lights aren’t easy to photograph either. They’re best shot between September and April in the Northern Hemisphere and from March and September in the Southern Hemisphere and you need a dark sky without light pollution too. 

We’re collecting some of the winners for your enjoyment. 

Sergey Korolev

Heavenly Dance

This image was snapped by Sergey Korolev at the Kola Peninsula in Russia by the coast of the Barents Sea. The combination of incredible light show in the sky and mist-like waters at the coast’s edge result in a staggering view. 

Sergey Korolev explained that the image is actually the result of two photos combined into one – a quick exposure to capture the lights and a long one for the rocks. 

Ben Maze

The Hunts Reward

Another incredible view of a colourful night’s sky, this time from Tasmania, Australia. 

Ben Maze, the photographer explains it best:

“Captured in this image is a trifecta of astronomical phenomena that made for some of the best astrophotography conditions one can witness in Australia, namely, the setting Milky Way galactic core, zodiacal light, and of course, the elusive Aurora Australis. On top of this, a sparkling display of oceanic bioluminescence adorned the crashing waves, adding the cherry on top to what was already a breathtaking experience. “

The colours of this one are most unusual when compared with the usual photos with a green hue that you’d see from these night-time shots. 

Roksolyana Hilevych

Dragon Eggs

This photo is almost other-worldly with an amazing icey view and broken areas where the ice has seemingly shattered. 

Roksolyana Hilevych created this shot with images taken in the Lofoten Islands in Norway and crafted them together by focus-stacking three photos for the perfect image.

“I found this unknown place on the Lofoten Islands as I was moving around the Gimsoya Islands. That night was very cold, with temperatures reaching -20º C. It was probably one of the best shows of watching and photographing the Northern Lights I’ve ever experienced, because in a place like this, it’s not easy to find something new with such a magical foreground and the kp5/kp6 Northern Lights dancing all night long.”

Benjamin Eberhardt

Antarctic Night

From the freezing zone of Antarctica comes another incredible photo, with a colourful aurora over the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the South Pole. 

It’s actually part of a long-term time-lapse that Benjamin Eberhardt was crafting at the time, which is a tricky thing to pull off in the ultra-low temps:

“…to achieve 24h-long time-lapse shots, you need some creativity to heat and insulate your equipment in order to keep it running, and even rotating, in temperatures ranging down to -80ºC (-112 ºF). In my case, this was a learning curve over multiple months, with a lot of trial and error and frostbite. On the upside, once you have tackled all the challenges, you have plenty of reasons to be proud of your shots.”

Agnieszka Mrowka


In September 2020, Agnieszka Mrowka took this image on the Northern Lights in Jökulsárlón, Iceland.

Calm weather, a bright moon and a wonderful view of the glaciers around the lagoon resulted in one of the most impressive images you’re likely to see of this region. 

Kim Jenssen

Finland at night

Nestled in the cold forests of Ruka, Finland, where temperatures were down to minus 36 degrees C, Kim Jenssen managed to snap this image of the Northern Lights dancing in the sky above. 

After spending hours waiting, they were finally giving up and heading home just before this happened:

“On the trail down, I saw something on my left side and told my friend to stop and wait. Suddenly, the aurora started to “dance”, and all I had to do was to jump in the snow, get my camera ready, and shoot! There was no planning or time to focus on composition. After 5 minutes, the Northern Lights disappeared, but it was a night with a happy ending.”

Dennis Hellwig

Lofoten ice lights

Another breathtaking image from the Lofoten Islands. This time with incredibly thick icicles framing the outside of the image and adding an interesting highlight to the Northern Lights.

Photographer Dennis Hellwig had to be patient to get this one as the lights from passing cars were apparently ruining the shot:

“Another challenge was the light pollution from passing cars (it was only 8 p.m. and there were still a lot of people on the road) and other photographers with their headlights on. But in the end, everything went well and I got my picture.”

Ole Salomonsen

Spring fireworks

This photo was actually taken in 2019, in April, which is the end of the aurora season in the Arctic. Finally, the patience paid off:

“I have been chasing the Northern Lights for 10+ years now, and I know that they are quite unpredictable. However, some of my best Aurora captures have indeed resulted from unexpected events or uncertain forecasts.”

“That night was one of those when the forecast was uncertain, but I decided to go out to this fantastic location called “Ersfjordbotn”, which is a 20-min drive from the City of Tromsø, and I was so glad that I did it. A magnificent display took place over my head after one hour of waiting. I shot many different images, but this one stretching all over the sky with me standing on the rock in the foreground shows very well how amazing and large the auroras can be.”

The Aurora Borealis, for me, is a wonder of the world. It is the most magnificent celestial and astronomical observation we can make with our eyes. Although most Northern Lights move slowly, or appear static, if you are lucky like I was that night, you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“I think that everyone should put “chasing the Northern Lights” on their bucket list. It is definitely something you should witness and experience with your own eyes.”

Iurie Belegurschi

Symphony of the lights

This photo by Iurie Belegurschi is another story of good fortune. After waiting for ages for the Northern Lights to appear at Thingvellir National Park, Iceland, they gave up. But when the car got stuck on the way home the dancing Northern Lights finally made an appearance. 

Mohad Almehanna

When a dream became a reality

Mohad Almehanna put maximum effort into this shot, taking the time to plan it out and find the perfect spot for an awesome composition in Yukon, Canada.

Despite all the planning, difficult weather and low temperatures made the actual photography tricky. The end result was worth the effort though:

“The day I took this photo, the weather was extremely difficult; the temperature was 20 degrees below zero and the strong wind didn’t make the situation any easier. I had a certain vision of the photo I wanted, and because of the extreme weather, I had to build the photo in stages. Taking many shots in different stages of the Aroura rising gave me a good chance to get the final photo here. The overwhelming feeling of seeing the spectacular phenomenon for the first time and racing against time and cold to get the photo was such a thrill that I want to experience again.”

Writing by Adrian Willings.

CD Projekt Red investors sue company over Cyberpunk 2077 debacle

People are complaining about situations like this in <em>Cyberpunk 2077</em>.
Enlarge / People are complaining about situations like this in Cyberpunk 2077.

On its release day, Cyberpunk 2077 immediately pivoted from one of the holiday season’s most hotly anticipated new games to one of this year’s biggest debacles, as bugs both comical and game-breaking proved to be so prolific on consoles that Sony even delisted the title entirely from its digital storefront for the time being. Developer and publisher CD Projekt Red has had its hands full for the last few weeks juggling broad mockery and unhappy customers, and now there’s a new woe on their pile: shareholder suits.

Two different law firms announced last week they were filing suit against CD Projekt, alleging the company violated securities law by misleading investors (and everyone else) about the state of Cyberpunk 2077 and whether it would be playable on current-generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and XBox One.

Statements CD Projekt Red made about Cyberpunk throughout 2020 were “materially false and misleading,” the complaint (PDF) alleges, because the company failed to mention that the game “was virtually unplayable on the current-generation Xbox or Playstation systems due to an enormous number of bugs.”

Those bugs were not widely known prior to the game’s release, because the company did not make console copies of the game available for review. Every outlet that had a pre-release copy of Cyberpunk (including Ars) played it on PC. CD Projekt after release apologized for not making the console version available “and, in consequence, not allowing you to make a more informed decision about your purchase.”

The suit cites the many release delays the game faced, first from April 2020 to September 2020, then from September to November, and eventually from November to December. Each time the studio announced a delay, executives promised publicly that the game was totally on track but just needed a little more polish and kicked off a period of sustained crunch to make it happen.

In the wake of the game’s release, however, CDPR joint-CEO Adam Kiciński admitted that the company focused too hard on that thrice-delayed deadline instead of the actual issues with the game.

“We underestimated the scale and complexity of the issues, we ignored the signals about the need for additional time to refine the game on the base last-gen consoles,” Kiciński said in a conference call.

“We were updating the game on last-gen consoles until the very last minute, and we thought we’d make it in time,” joint-CEO Marcin Iwiński said in the same call. “Unfortunately, this resulted in giving it to reviewers just one day before the release, which was definitely too late, and the media didn’t get the chance to review it properly. That was not intended; we were just fixing the game until the very last moment.”

CD Projekt Red said in a filing over the weekend it would defend itself “vigorously” against the shareholders’ claims.

Meeting expectations

Given the ongoing debacle of the Cyberpunk 2077 launch, an investor suit seemed all but inevitable. This kind of legal action is incredibly common anytime a company takes a major PR hit.

Under US law, publicly traded companies have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders. Basically, officers of a corporation have a legal obligation to act in the company’s, and its investors’, best interest. Shareholders and corporate officers have a tendency to interpret this as a legal duty to maximize the company’s profits, although that is not exactly what the law says.

The December peak in CDPR's stock price came on Dec. 4. Outlets (<a href="https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/12/a-week-spent-in-cyberpunk-2077s-beautiful-messy-urban-future/">including Ars</a>) began publishing reviews on Dec. 7 (the first drop), the game was released on Dec. 10 (the middle of the big downward slope), and Sony <a href="https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/12/sony-delists-playstation-version-of-cyberpunk-2077-begins-full-refund-program/">delisted</a> the game on Dec. 17 (the tiny little peaklet right before the second drop).<br />
Enlarge / The December peak in CDPR’s stock price came on Dec. 4. Outlets (including Ars) began publishing reviews on Dec. 7 (the first drop), the game was released on Dec. 10 (the middle of the big downward slope), and Sony delisted the game on Dec. 17 (the tiny little peaklet right before the second drop).

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The argument in this kind of shareholder suit basically says: The company did something it should not have—lied about something, downplayed a risk, made a colossal error in judgement, and so on—and as a result, harmed the company’s public image and, in turn, harmed investors.

Pinterest shareholders, for example, filed a suit against that company earlier this month claiming the board failed its fiduciary duty as allegations of rampant race- and gender-based discrimination inside the company were hurting its image with its largely-female user base. Google settled a similar shareholder suit in September, over its handling of harassment claims inside the company. And back in April, Zoom investors sued the overnight videoconference sensation, arguing that the company should have known its product was not up to spec before the pandemic hit.