Book Review

Winfried Koeppelle

Regenwald. Der grüne Planet (Rain Forest/Foret Humide).
Trilingual calendar (German/English/French),
60 x 50 cm.
Palazzi, 2010,
Price: 39.80 EUR (incl. donation of 3 EUR to the Deutsche Umwelthilfe).

Sahara, photographed by Helfried Weyer.
Trilingual panorama calendar (German/English/French) with perpetual calendar and magnetic pin.
Individually numbered (Limited Special Edition),
100 x 50 cm.
Palazzi, 2010,
Price: 98.00 EUR

Nature Fine Art / Black & White
photographed by Josef Hoflehner
Bilingual calendar (German/English),
50 x 70 cm.
Palazzi, 2010,
Price: 44.80 EUR

Nature 2011,
photographed by Helmut Hirler.
Bilingual calendar (German/English),
34 x 100 cm.
DuMont, 2010,
Price: 39.95 EUR

Naturtafeln 2011
50 x 70 cm.
DuMont, 2010,
Price: 24.95 EUR

photographed by Betty Schöner.
Bilingual calendar (German/English),
70 x 50 cm.
Heye KV&V, 2010,
Price: 34.00 EUR

photographed by Jill Greenberg (German),
50 x 70 cm.
Heye KV∓V, 2010,
Price: 34.00 EUR

Calendar review and competition
Brighten up your Lab!

When the pipetting gets tough in November, it’s time to put colour onto your lab’s walls. If your workgroup’s budget is exhausted and there’s no money left for paint, however, simply take part in the Lab Times calendar competition. Answer three questions correctly and stand the chance of winning a great calendar.

It’s not just the hummingbird that hovers in front of an ornithophilous flower when drinking nectar. Take a closer look at the 60 x 50 cm picture and you will discover the hummingbird’s tiny flying colleague, hovering directly above the rapidly flapping bird – a nameless insect that also seeks the sweet liquid inside the red lobster-claws of the (Heliconia spec.) flowers depicted.

The flight scene described (and pictured below) was shot in Ecuador by the Swiss photographer Rolf Nussbaumer. Nussbaumer has focussed on shooting birds, mammals and flowers with his camera since he was 17, and, just like the other sheets of this splendid Regenwald (Rain Forest) 2011 calendar, the photo is an eye-catcher with some hidden details. On the April sheet, we can admire a couple of Knobbed Hornbills (Aceros cassidix) – bizarre-looking birds with strangely-shaped yellow bills and bare blue throats; October shows a lazy brown spider monkey (genus Ateles), resting for the afternoon on the branch of a tree in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest; and in December, a group of Rio Negro river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) are soaking their spectator.

Doomed to extinction?

Kozo-Polyansky in later life

Rain forests not only house more than half of all species on Earth (the majority of them still undiscovered); they play many roles as freshwater reservoirs and for the global climate. In addition, the green boscage is often called the “world’s largest pharmacy”, because of the huge number of pharmaceutically useful compounds that have already been discovered as well as the number of those still hidden under its canopy of leaves. As every Lab Times reader knows, this biological treasure is threatened by rapid deforestation. Almost 20 years ago, Harvard University researcher and twofold Pulitzer Prize winner, Edward O. Wilson, estimated that 50,000 rain forest species a year are doomed to extinction, with the consequence that a quarter of all species on Earth could be exterminated by 2030. Indeed, we are on track to fulfilling Wilson’s nightmare vision.

Of course, the Regenwald calendar alone won’t be able to save the rain forests, even if it is, as all Palazzi calendars now are, carbon-neutral and printed with biodegradable inks on environmentally-correct “FSC mixed sources” paper. But if you buy one, you will at least slow down the rain forests’ destruction a little, by donating €3 out of its purchase price of €40 to the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (a non-profit organisation that campaigns for environmental protection).

And even if you don’t give a damn about rain forest protection, the colourful twelve-pager will still look nice on the wall of your lab.

Desert in your home

Those of us who have some loose cash left at the end of the year might be interested in a few other beautiful calendars. The 100 x 50 cm Sahara mega carpet, for example, will cover a half square metre of your living room’s wall and make a wonderful talking point. For €98, you get twelve breathtaking panoramas of the world’s largest hot desert, most of them showing impressive sand dunes and dune fields with or without nomads, as well as an individually numbered, limited special edition wall decoration with perpetual calendar and magnetic pin.

For less than half the money, the Nature Fine Art calendar, photographed by the Austrian Josef Hoflehner, calms the stressed scientist with magnificent black-and-white photos. With extremely long exposure times, the “Nature Photographer of the Year 2007” has frozen, for example, Niagara falls on the January sheet and giant bamboo blades from Japan on the May sheet in 50 x 70 cm dimensions.

Dreamlike infrared photography

Also in black-and-white comes another impressive art calendar, Nature 2011, photographed using infrared techniques by the German Helmut Hirler. Using a film that is sensitive to infrared light, combined with a filter that lets infrared light pass through, one gets black-and-white images with a dreamlike and snowy appearance, known as the “Wood Effect”. Hirler, who emigrated to New Zealand a few years ago, has transferred to paper such different motifs as statue-like stalagmites in Valle de la Luna, Argentina; a lonesome snow-covered meadow in December near Bachhaupten, Germany; olive trees in the Tuscany, Italy; and the 40 meter Tower Fall in the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, USA. Each is a masterpiece.

Going beyond paddlers

There are plenty of alternatives for those who are interested in more biological themes. For example the Naturtafeln 2011 calendar (available only in German) that shows six of those classical natural history plates depicting birds, fish, mushrooms and poisonous plants that we remember from our schooldays.

Or the fascinating Seamore calendar, shot by the Dresden-based freelance photographer Betty Schöner. This collection of gaudy pictures shows the foreign world hidden in the knee-deep water of your holiday beach: Sea urchins, octopus arms, purple snails, starfish and a snakelock anemone’s magnificence (Anemonia viridis) in close up. Offering impressing colours, filigree details and good print quality at a fair price, this calendar’s appeal goes beyond paddlers.

Apes alike

The American photographer Jill Greenberg is mainly known for her artfully alienated portraits that repeatedly evoke fierce public protests. In her End Times series, for example, she pictured stylised hyper-real closeups of crying children and was promptly labelled as the next Michael Jackson and Adolf Hitler by disgusted do-gooders. Greenberg’s Affentheater (“monkey theatre”) photos should arouse less uproar but rather thoughtfulness. On twelve sheets, our closest relatives – orangutan, macaque, chimpanzee, gibbon, mandrill and so on – are portrayed in impressive and “humanoid” 50 x 70 cm close-ups that evoke peculiar reflections in the (human) spectator’s mind.

How do I get a free calendar?

Six Lab Times readers have the opportunity to win one of the 2011 calendars reviewed above. The Palazzi publishing house has provided three copies of Regenwald / Rain Forest, two copies of Nature Fine Art and, as a main prize, one copy of Sahara. All you have to do is to answer the three questions in the blue box below and send the solutions to the adress indicated. Good luck!

Letzte Änderungen: 29.07.2013