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Ansel Adams circa 1950
Ansel Adams circa 1950
J. Malcolm Greany, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

An Astronomer Solves a 70-Year-Old Ansel Adams Mystery

Ansel Adams circa 1950
Ansel Adams circa 1950
J. Malcolm Greany, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Ansel Adams was a genius with a camera, but he wasn’t so great about taking notes. The famous 20th century landscape photographer did not keep careful records of the dates he took his photos, leading to some debate over the origin period of certain images, including Denali and Wonder Lake (below), taken in Denali National Park in Alaska sometime in the late 1940s.

A black-and-white photo of Denali as seen from across Wonder Lake
Denali and Wonder Lake
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

To settle a debate about when the photograph (known as Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake until the mountain's name was officially changed in 2015) was taken, Texas State University astronomer Donald Olson looked to the sky, using astronomical hints to determine the exact date, time, and location it was shot. Olson—who has solved other cultural mysteries related to topics such as Edvard Munch's paintings and Chaucer's writing using the night sky—writes about the process in his new book, Further Adventures of the Celestial Sleuth.

Adams did take some technical notes during his photography shoots, writing down the exposure time, film type, filters, and other settings used to capture the image, but he wasn’t as meticulous about the more mundane parts of the shoot, like the date. However, during his research, Olson found that another photo, Moon and Denali, was taken the night before the image in question. Because that one featured the moon, he could use it to calculate the date of both images—once he figured out where Moon and Denali was taken.

The moon hangs in the sky over Denali in a black-and-white photo
Moon and Denali
Collection Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

To do so, Olson used topographical features such as cirques, hollowed landforms carved by glaciers, that were visible in Moon and Denali to identify several areas of the park where Adams may have been working. He and his student, Ava Pope, wrote a computer program to calculate the view from each possible location along the park road Adams drove along during his trip, eventually determining the coordinates of the location where the photographer shot Moon and Denali.

He could then estimate, using the position of the waxing gibbous moon in the photo, the exact time —8:28 p.m. on July 14, 1948—that Moon and Denali was taken. Denali and Wonder Lake would have been taken the next morning, and Olson was able to calculate from the shadows along the mountain where the sun would have been in the sky, and thus, when the photo was taken.

The answer? Exactly 3:42 a.m. Central Alaska Standard Time on July 15, 1948.

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Ansel Adams circa 1950
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
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fun
There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.

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Ansel Adams circa 1950
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Design
Graphic Design Series Shows Which Fonts Your Favorite Logos Use

Unless you’re a dedicated design geek, you probably can’t recognize the fonts used in the logos of some of the most recognizable companies in the world—even if you see them every day. Enter graphic designer Emanuele Abrate, whose latest project, Logofonts, illuminates the favorite fonts of the brands you see every day.

As we spotted on Adweek, Logofonts takes a logo—like, for instance, Spotify’s—and replaces the company’s name with the font in which it's written. Some fonts, like Spotify’s Gotham, might be familiar, while others you may never have heard of. Nike’s and Red Bull’s Futura is so commonplace in signage in logos that it’s the subject of an entire book called Never Use Futura. (Other companies that use it include Absolut Vodka and Domino’s Pizza, and many more.) But you most likely aren’t familiar with Twitter’s Pico or Netflix’s Bebas Neue.

Abrate is a managing partner at grafigata, an Italian blog and online academy focused on graphic design. In his work as a freelance designer, he focuses on logo design and brand identities, so it wasn’t hard for him to track down exactly which fonts each brand uses.

“When I see a logo, I wonder how it was conceived, how it was designed, what kind of character was used and why,” Abrate tells Mental Floss. The Logofonts project came from “trying to understand which fonts they use or which fonts have been modified (or redesigned) to get to the final result.”

The Nike logo reads 'Futura.'

The Twitter logo reads 'Pico.'

The Red Bull Logo reads 'Futura BQ.'

The Netflix logo reads 'Bebas Neue.'

You can check out the rest of the Logofonts project and Abrate’s other work on his Behance or Facebook pages, and on his Instagram.

[h/t Adweek]

All images courtesy Emanuele Abrate

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