Environment
 

In Yosemite National Park, California a waterfall glows red like lava annually if the weather conditions are right.

Jeremy Laurance: Others have survived such cold – but not for so long

Mr Skyllenberg's warm clothing and sleeping bag would not saved him on their own

Picture of the Day: Protesters take to the canals

In a continuing near-40-year protest against the motor boat, rowers crowded the Canal Cannaregio in Venice yesterday to claim the waters for an older form of transport.

Picture of the Day: a head for opera

Opera has long been renowned for the extravagance of its settings – but few productions can have aimed for so dramatic a backdrop as this new production in Austria. For Italian musician Umberto Giordano's Andrea Chénier, British director Keith Warner has deployed an enormous sculpted torso, complete with 15ft eyeless head. The set is still several months from completion.

Picture of the Day: Green sky at night, northern delight...

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, hangs like a fluorescent curtain over the village of Ersfjordbotn, near Tromso in northern Norway.

Picture Editor gets cut out of Derby scene

Sometimes collective will is just not enough to get a horse first past the post. With the 2,000 Guineas favourite Frankel already tucked safely away for the winter at Warren Place, it was widely expected that his stablemate, Picture Editor, would extend this season's Henry Cecil fairytale by making the journey back up the hill from his local track yesterday as market leader for the Derby. Unfortunately for the trainer's followers, the punters who backed him to 4-6 and any authors named Grimm, the colt was made to look ordinary as he finished third in the Zetland Stakes behind two rivals with few lofty pretensions.

Picture of the day: Ahead - by a head

Nanton cuts a peaceful figure as he walks around the pre-parade ring at York racecourse yesterday afternoon.

Sandown: Afsoun knocks stuffing out of Straw Bear's Champion hopes

As far as their personal rivalry goes, the score between Afsoun, winner of the Contenders Hurdle here, and Straw Bear, the runner-up, is now 3-2 in favour of the former. But that is a tiny, almost irrelevant, thumbnail. In the bigger, Champion Hurdle, picture the title of yesterday's race could be viewed as a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. The result caused barely a ripple in the market for the Cheltenham showpiece, certainly not at the sharp end. Even Afsoun's trainer, Nicky Henderson, was ambivalent about his charge's chances in the face of powerful Irish opposition.

The best art books for Christmas

Secrets of the studio

Picture of the day: Student power

Undergraduates from Emmanuel College taking part in the annual Cambridge Rag Week. Last year more than pounds 73,000 was raised for good causes

Preview: Picture Preview: `Gretta: Reflections of a Woman'

From her avant-garde work in the Seventies and Eighties to her return to first principles in the Nineties, Brazilian artist Gretta Sarfaty has always concerned herself with perceptions of the body. Sarfaty's latest series addresses the role of the nude in art history and, though earlier work will be exhibited, the new paintings focus specifically on the play of reality and image suggested by the major motif of "Reflections of a Woman", the mirror.

Greyhounds: Picture out of the frame

Some Picture's attempt to land greyhound racing's "Triple Crown" failed miserably when he trailed in last in the Irish Derby Final at Shelbourne Park, Dublin, on Saturday.

Pictures that tell more than just the story

From basketball to football, from America to Australia: the year's best photographs

PICTURE CHOICE / Duncan Grant's 1942 Portrait of Vanessa Bell at Charleston: Robert McPherson admires Duncan Grant's portrait of Vanessa Bell

'IN THE LIBRARY at Charleston farmhouse hangs Duncan Grant's 1942 Portrait of Vanessa Bell, generously lent by the Tate Gallery. At first glance, the sitter appears rather imperious and forbidding, but on closer inspection one sees a loving and intimate portrait of a sad and beautiful woman in her sixties. The pose is grand, she sits in a high-backed Victorian chair, wearing an apricot cloak lined in dusky pink. The black-shoed foot pointing downwards echoes one of Grant's favourite works of art - Gainsborough's Countess Howe at Kenwood. But unlike the cool meticulousness of the latter, here we have lashings of paint. This, after all, was a portrait of a woman whom Duncan Grant had known intimately for over 30 years. It was painted five years after the death of her elder son Julian in the Spanish Civil War and only a year after the suicide of her sister, Virginia Woolf; the tragedy is all too visible. It is hauntingly beautiful.'

Letter: Picture trail

Sir: Michael P. King's letter (9 April) about the French pictures in Russia is a little puzzling. Surely it is common knowledge that most, if not all, of these pictures were collected by Morozov and Shchukin, who were Moscow merchants? Who were the two 'St Petersburg merchants', unnamed by Mr King, to whom he attributes the ownership of 'the bulk of the collections'?
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'