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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