The photos and photographers of The Towers of Whitehall

The photographers of Unsplash.com provided me with a great collection of photos for Jim Hamilton’s “The Towers of Whitehall,” a Sci Fi story set on the planet called The Globe. (If you have not read the story, you’ll want to read it first, as this post contains some spoilers.)

Let’s start with the logo for The Globe stories. I had to crop it quite a bit, which should probably be a crime. I committed it in international space, so I think I’m safe. But I do apologize to the artist. Then I added the text. Here is the original, unaltered photo in all its glory.

Orbs of the Multiverse by Daniel Olah.

Breathtaking, right?

If I understand this correctly, Daniel created this beautiful image by mixing soap and oil. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that, but I’m no artist. This piece, Orbs of the Multiverse, is from his new Soap & Oil Planet series. To my eyes, it looks exactly like a planet floating in space, and I love his title for the piece. So I chose this image to represent the beautiful, blue planet of The Globe.

Daniel is a freelance photographer. You can find his nature and landscape images at unsplash.com/@danesduet. You can also find his work at www.behance.net/danielolah and instagram.com/danesduet.

Blue Verticality

This photo represents the glittering towers of Whitehall. Photo by Possessed Photography.

The photographer who simply goes by “Possessed Photography” on unsplash.com captured this beautiful image of glass towers that they titled “Blue Verticality,” which is a great title. I shared this photo with Jim before he wrote “The Towers of Whitehall.” I’m sure it helped inspire his idea that Whitehallers generate their city’s electric power from “transparent, photo-voltaic cells” in their glass towers.

Possessed Photography’s images of robots, vehicles, technology, art, architecture, and Japan can be found at unsplash.com/@possessedphotography. Possessed Photography lives in Japan and is available for hire.

View from Above

View from a tower to a wide concrete veranda and water beyond
Photo by Mirza Babic.

When I chose this photo, I was thinking of Leonardo, “who stood at the railing of the observation deck, high atop Central Tower. . . . As the sun rose higher, Leonardo watched as a barge arrived from upstream and pulled up to the quay. Right on time, he said to himself, and left his perch to go meet the barge. Its arrival made him feel marginally better, but he was still worried.”

This image, shot by Mirza Babic of New York City, New York in the United States, may not be shot from an angle as high as the top of Whitehall’s Central Tower, but I think it does a nice job of giving us the feeling of Leonardo’s gaze down on Lake Avon from the towers of Whitehall.

The photo itself is a bit of a mystery. Mirza did not disclose where the photo was shot or reveal any other details. And the photo is titled “Sanity.” I do find the photo quite soothing. I love the wide, curving expanse of concrete. I like the stone edifice to the left with mildly arched entrances. And I love the dark-but-shining water beyond. I can see the view soothing Leonardo’s frayed nerves.

But I am intrigued by why Mirza titled it “Sanity.” Was that a reference to the lone individual captured below, the soothing combination of stone and water, or to a view from a window that meant “home”? Perhaps we’ll never know.

Mirza’s photography can be found at unsplash.com/@mirzababic and mirzababic.com.

Breakfast Stim

A mug and pot of "stim" and a handheld, electronic device
She played with her handheld game and sipped her stim. Photo by Ceyda Ciftci.

In Jim’s story, he wrote that Stephano’s mother, Lucetta, drank stim and played her handheld game during the breakfast hour. I loved that detail and wanted to include some futuristic version of a drink called “stim.” When I ran across this photo by Ceyda Ciftci, I loved it immediately. I don’t know if it truly looks futuristic or otherworldly, but it certainly looks elegant and different than the tea and coffee setups I see in offices and homes.

Ceyda shot this in Istanbul, Turkey. She titled the photo “Rinascimento,” which is apparently Italian for “Renaissance.” And that is very fitting for our stories set on The Globe, a planet whose residents are clearly very influenced by Shakespeare, his work, and Elizabethan England.

You can find more photos by Ceyda at unsplash.com/@ceydaciftci.

Cranes

Cranes working near a waterfront
Cranes over the waterfront. Photo by Elias.

This photo represented this scene: “Leonardo stood well back on the dock, watching as the crane unloaded the first of the two, giant, bell-shaped castings. Each of them was made from cast iron and took up nearly half of the drone barge that had ferried them down from the hills.”

It was tricky to find a combination of waterfront, futuristic buildings and something that might look like a Sci Fi crane. I settled for two out of three, as it turns out cranes look very similar the world over.

The photographer who simply goes by Elias on unsplash.com captured this scene of HafenCity in Hamburg, Germany. It’s a good photo, but I found by cropping carefully I could include the futuristic building in the center, the cranes and the water.

You can learn more about Elias’s photography at unsplash.com/@eelias.

Slider Park

Slider Park in Whitehall
“Dozens of young people were riding their hoverboards up and down, over and under, and all around the contoured course.” Photo by Mika Baumeister.

Mika Baumeister shot this overhead view of the skate park Peitruss in Luxembourg from a nearby bridge. It’s a great geometric photo, and you can see the fascinating geometric shapes created by the park’s designers and builders.

Mika hails from Bonn, Germany and is available for hire. Mika is building a German Unsplash community and shows interest in interacting on the front page. You can see more of Mika’s work at unsplash.com/@mbaumi.

Graffito

Kid at the skate park. Photo by @cbyoung.

Clark Young shot this amazing graffito at a skate park. He titled the photo “Kid at the Skate Park,” which I love for its simplicity. Clark does not share any more information, so I don’t even know what country it’s shot in.

I already had one great photo to represent the slider park in Whitehall where Portia and Stephano secretly meet to plan their escape. But when I saw this beautiful, golden “Globe” graffito, I could not resist. So, to the tag artist “Globe,” I love this throwie. I salute you and I thank you.

See more of Clark’s landscape and architecture photos at unsplash/@cbyoung.

Jetty

They met at the jetty. Photo by Casey Horner.

I love this beautiful night shot of a lighted dock by Casey Horner. I could look at it for hours. Technically, it fits the definition of jetty, which is where Stephano and Portia meet to stow away on the drone barge. I’m not sure if this is the type of jetty Jim imagined, but I’m a sucker for a starry sky.

Casey titled this photo “Long Walk Off a Short Pier.” It was shot in Waimea in the United States. Casey hails from Manteca, California in the United States. You can view more of Casey’s work at unsplash.com/@mischievous_penguins.

The photos and photographers of Shadow of the Dunes

The photographers of Unsplash.com provided me with a great collection of photos for Shanel Wilson’s “Shadow of the Dunes,” a Sci Fi story set on the planet called The Globe. (If you have not read the story, you’ll want to read it first, as this post contains some spoilers.)

Let’s start with the logo for The Globe stories. I had to crop it quite a bit, which should probably be a crime. I committed it in international space, so I think I’m safe. But I do apologize to the artist. Then I added the text. Here is the original, unaltered photo in all its glory.

Orbs of the Multiverse by Daniel Olah.

Breathtaking, right?

If I understand this correctly, Daniel created this beautiful image by mixing soap and oil. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that, but I’m no artist. This piece, Orbs of the Multiverse, is from his new Soap & Oil Planet series. To my eyes, it looks exactly like a planet floating in space, and I love his title for the piece. So I chose this image to represent the beautiful, blue planet of The Globe.

Daniel is a freelance photographer. You can find his nature and landscape images at unsplash.com/@danesduet. You can also find his work at www.behance.net/danielolah and instagram.com/danesduet.

Blue Dunes

This photo represents the desert surrounding the city of Westminster. Photo by Jeremy Bishop.

Jeremy Bishop captured this impossibly blue shot of dunes at Pismo Beach along the Central Coast of California in the United States. Here’s how Jeremy describes getting the shot:

“I caught last light just after sunset during the blue hour. [Only] during the right season or during a full moon does the whole place light up with a bluish and purple glow.”

Jeremy writes that he loves “supporting and inspiring creatives around the world.” So we thank him for supporting Shanel’s beautiful story with this image and supporting The Globe Folio series of Sci Fi stories by helping us represent the desert city of Westminster.

Jeremy also writes on his unsplash.com profile the following:

“My passion is the ocean and water photography, and I am striving to make an impact to save our Oceans and our Reefs!” You can support Jeremy financially at https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/JeremyBishopPhoto and he is available for hire.

You can see more of Jeremy’s travel, adventure, and surf photos at unsplash.com/@jeremybishop and at jeremybishopphotography.com.

Kaleidoscope

Emilia lived comfortably amidst beautiful glassworks. Photo by Lydia Williams.

This photo represented Emilia’s room, which author Shanel Wilson described in this way: “Emilia moved through a kaleidoscope of colors; light refracting through each crystalline gem, flower and creature that decorated her bedroom.”

Photographer Lydia Williams captured this beautiful image of Dale Chihuly glasswork in Tacoma, Washington in the United States. The world-renowned glass artist Chihuly, who has glass art installations around the world, is a native of Tacoma. The Tacoma Art Museum has a permanent exhibit of Chihuly glass. I don’t know if Lydia shot this gorgeous, color-soaked photo at the museum or some other installation of Chihuly glass in Tacoma.

Lydia’s photos of urban, historic and “ghost” images can be found at unsplash.com/@ghostly_vancouver_tours.

Iris

A piece of home hidden away in her trunk. Photo by Pawel Czerwinski.

I chose this crisp photo of an iris to represent the glass Mary’s Iris that Emilia had made in memory of her mother. “It was the first complete piece she made on her own. She sourced the purple manganese herself and crafted each of its petals, replicating an iris from her mother’s simple, desert garden.”

In “Shadow of the Dunes,” the iris is formed from glass. It is based on the Mary’s iris, which grows in the deserts of Israel and Egypt. And, like Emilia’s eyes, the Mary’s iris is violet. However, I could not find an image of a glass iris, much less a glass Mary’s iris.

But Pawel Czerwinski certainly captures the beauty and elegance of the iris in this beautiful photo. Pawel writes that this photo was taken in honor of the remake of Dario Argento’s movie “Suspiria.” “I can’t wait. And if you’ve seen the movie, you know the reference,” Pawel writes.

Pawel’s images can be found at unsplash.com/@pawel_czerwinski, www.instagram.com/pmcze, and pmcze.redbubble.com.

Night Dunes

Darkness was hemming in around them . . . . Photo by Mike Yukhtenko.

Mike Yukhtenko shot this haunting dune ridge in the Arabian Desert in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Mike is a designer, researcher, and entrepreneur. You can learn more about Mike and his work at www.maicle.co.uk. You can also see more of his work at instagram.com/ya.maicle and at unsplash.com/@yamaicle.

Shooting star over dune

Photo by Massimiliano Morosinotto.

Massimiliano Morosinotto shot this great night sky with a shooting star over the Maspalomas Dunes on the south coast of the island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. I just used it for a photo to add atmosphere, but if you want, you can imagine the shooting star is the “streaks of purple [that] blazed across the sky.”

You can find more of Massimiliano’s nature, travel, car, and bike images at instagram.com/therawhunter and unsplash.com/@therawhunter. He is also on Twitter @therawhunter.

The photos and photographers of Pillars of Smoke

The photographers of Unsplash.com provided me with a great collection of photos for Frasier Armitage’s “Pillars of Smoke,” a Sci Fi story set on the planet called The Globe.

Let’s start with the logo for The Globe stories. I had to crop it quite a bit, which should probably be a crime. I committed it in international space, so I think I’m safe. But I do apologize to the artist. Then I added the text. Here is the original, unaltered photo in all its glory.

Orbs of the Multiverse by Daniel Olah.

Breathtaking, right?

If I understand this correctly, Daniel created this beautiful image by mixing soap and oil. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that, but I’m no artist. This piece, Orbs of the Multiverse, is from his new Soap & Oil Planet series. To my eyes, it looks exactly like a planet floating in space, and I love his title for the piece. So I chose this image to represent the beautiful, blue planet of The Globe.

Daniel is a freelance photographer. You can find his nature and landscape images at unsplash.com/@danesduet. You can also find his work at www.behance.net/danielolah and instagram.com/danesduet.

Blue Mountain Folds

Mist rising between blue mountain ridges
This photo represents the mountains of Belmont, the northernmost city on The Globe. Photo by Sebastian Bjune.

Paul Gilmore took this dreamy photo of misty, blue mountains in the Brandenburg Alps in Austria. He titled it “Blue Mountain Folds,” showing he can take a great photo and also turn a phrase.

Paul is a visual designer by day and a content creator by night. A true Renaissance man, he creates photography, film, and music content. Paul was born and bred in Greece but lives in Austria.

Molten Lake

Bodies piled out, past the molten lake. Its liquid fire flowed from the Pillars of Belmont where a pneumatic kiln smelted ore in a river of purified iron. Photo by Ian Stauffer.

I chose this photo to represent the molten lake inside the mountain where Lorenzo and his family live. But this is actually a photo of a Hawaiian volcano taken by Ian Stauffer.

Here’s how Ian described the experience of capturing this photo in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park:

“After exploring much of the Big Island, visiting the volcano was the last thing on my bucket list. Even while we were still several miles away we began to see the glow of the volcano and when we reached the opening our minds were blown.”

Ian is an adventure photographer. You can follow him here: instagram.com/ianjamesstauffer.

Silhouette of Mountains

“There is more to the world than smoke and mist, father.” Photo by Thomas Tixtaaz.

Thomas Tixtaaz took this photo, which he titled “Silhouette of Mountains Covered by Fogs.” It perfectly represents the mix of natural fogs and smoke from Belmont’s coal and iron operations.

Thomas’s photos of animals, mountains and the outdoors can be found at unsplash.com/@tixtaaz and at redbubble.com/fr/people/tixtaaz.

Fiery Kiln

“The world is a kiln. It forges us in its flames.”
Photo by Viviane Okubo.

I could not find very many photographs of kilns, so I’m very grateful that Viviane Okubo, a Brazilian amateur photographer, captured this great, fiery shot of a kiln in Brumadinho, Brazil.

Viviane’s animal, mountain, and urban photos can be found at unsplash.com/@vivianeokubo. You can also learn more about her at vivianeokubo.com.

Misty Mountain Layers

Mist blanketed everything, yet his eyes had never been clearer. Photo by Jackson Hendry.

Jackson Hendry of Salt Lake City captured this great photo from the summit of the Pfeifferhorn in the United States. Here is how Jackson explains how he captured the shot:

“It had been a busy wildfire season and recent burns created a stunning view of mountain layers at the summit of the Pfeifferhorn. The hike includes scrambling the ridge seen in the lower right to gain the summit.”

This photo provided the perfect misty, smoky mountain-feel of Belmont. I also love Jackson’s work and this is the second time I’ve used one of his photos on this website. In fact, his photo of a starry sky over Lost Lake represented Lake Avon in my February Contest story “The Secret War.” It was the featured photo.

Jackson’s interests include beach images, outdoor photography, adventure, star images, and astronomy. His work can be found at unsplash.com/@actionjackson801.

The photos and photographers of The Secret War

The photographers of Unsplash.com provided me with a great collection of photos for my February Contest story: “The Secret War.”

Let’s start with the main image for story. The only alterations I made to this photo were to crop it to fit and add the text. Here is the original, unaltered photo in all its glory.

Lake Avon

This photo represents the south side of Lake Avon across from the city of Whitehall. Photo by Jackson Hendry (unsplash.com/@actionjackson801).

Jackson Hendry of Salt Lake City took this photo. It’s actually a photo of Lost Lake in the United States. Here is how Jackson describes how he captured this gorgeous sky:

“Spent the whole night in absolute silence at Lost Lake in the Uinta mountains watching the Milky Way roll across the horizon. This was taken just after the sun had gone down and the sky was still slightly blue.”

Jackson’s interests include beach images, outdoor photography, adventure, star images, and astronomy.

Floating in the vacuum of space

Image: A wake ripples across dark water with dark, evergreens in the background
The hover glided so smoothly and silently over the water, she felt almost as if she were floating in the vacuum of space. Photo by Steve Halama (unsplash.com/@steve3p_0).

Steve Halama captured this beautiful, textured image of waves across Lake McDonald in the United States. He loves capturing images of nature, adventure, travel and Hawaii. You can also find him on Instagram at @Steve3p_0.

Trees along the Elizabeth River

Trees along the Elizabeth River.
Photo by Michael Aleo.

I did not title this image for the story. I just used it to add nighttime ambiance for Juliet’s nighttime trip down the Elizabeth River. Although the photos for “The Secret War” were taken all across the United States, I believe I achieved uniformity in selecting nighttime shots of water and evergreens.

Michael Aleo captured this beautiful blue sky over the trees at Red Rock Lake in the United States. Michael is a photographer, designer, and technologist. He loves taking landscapes, nature, and candid shots. He has photographed five continents, a dozen national parks, President Obama, Kris Kristofferson, and a million dogs. Michael hails from the Washington, D.C./Maryland area. You can learn more about him here: michaelaleo.com.

Sandy Beach

Even though she was used to traveling in darkness to see Romeo, her waking dream almost blinded her to her next landmark–a sandy beach. Photo by Yusuf Evli.

Yusuf Evli took this great vertical shot of the night sky with all its variations of blue and maybe some touches of purple. The photo shows a beach, and so it served perfectly for Juliet’s landing along the Elizabeth River. But it’s certainly the sky that caught my eye in this beautiful photo. But if you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for a starry sky.

Yusuf is a creative director from Düsseldorf, Germany. On Unsplash, Yusuf has interior, nature, landscape, and “wanderlust” images. You can learn more about him at yusufevli.com.

The Trees of the Forest of Arden

The black hover slid silently beneath the trees of the Forest of Arden. Photo by Gabrielle Mustapich (unsplash.com/@gmustapich).

Gabrielle Mustapich of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada captured this starry sky in Bowron Lake Provincial Park in Canada. Even though the lake is not visible in this shot, it is very fitting for our story that it was shot close to the water. Here is how Gabrielle describes capturing this beautiful image:

“This was shot on the last night of a five-day portage in the BC Cariboo. The chill of autumn made the star-scape as brilliant as ever.”

Gabrielle is inspired by the Pacific West Coast. Her interests include nature, portrait, candid, landscape and “adventure” images. You can find her work at fortyninenorthcreative.com.

The Photos of the November Contest and their Photographers

The photographers of Unsplash.com provided me with a great collection of photos for the red, rocky desert and the lush, green canyon in my November Contest story: “A Forest of Blue Eyes.”

[Warning: This post contains spoilers. I recommend you read the story first and then enjoy the art below in its full glory.]

Let’s start with the main image for the contest story page. I actually altered this photo from the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area by adding some red tint. Here’s the original beauty by Olenka Kotyk.

Red desert rocks in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Photo by Olenka Kotyk (unsplash.com/@olenka_kotyk).

I actually used the photo twice. It’s the background behind the story title and the main image for the entire page. I used it again to set the mood as Shim is shuffling down the canyon trail thinking about how he got lost in the red desert.

Toadstools

Formation of red rock with precariously balanced tower of rock
The Toadstools Trailhead at Grand Staircase Escalante near Kanab, Utah, USA. Photo by
Joshua Sukoff (unsplash.com/@joshuas).

Joshua Sukoff captured this great shot in an area of Utah that would be perfect as the setting for the red rock-covered planet where Shim’s family lands. According to grandcanyontrust.org, this hike is a “south-facing route with little to no shade.” They recommend bringing “plenty of water and sunscreen.”

Here’s a great explanation of how these toadstool-looking rock structures form, as provided by grandcanyontrust.org:

“The trail climbs to the top of a knoll, where it opens into a landscape of hoodoos, alcoves, and balanced rocks. These ‘toadstools,’ or hoodoos, form because Dakota Sandstone boulders perch atop pedestals of softer Entrada Sandstone. As the Entrada erodes away, the harder Dakota forms a cap, and leaves a rock column sheltered from water and wind.”

Here’s where I used it in the story.

Desert Texture

Close-up detail of rough rock textures
Close-up photo of a brown cliff at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Photo by John Schnobrich (unsplash.com/@johnschno).

Natural Rock Formations

Natural rock arch
The Delicate Arch at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, USA. Photo by Mike van den Bos (unsplash.com/@mike_van_den_bos).

Mike van den Bos captured this great shot of the Delicate Arch, which arguably is the world’s most famous natural stone arch. It also makes a perfect example of “formations of brittle, crumbly, red rock” that give Shim the spooks.

Storm Brewing

Dark storm clouds hang over rocky  desert ridges.
Photo of storm brewing over Behind the Reef Trail near Green River, USA. Photo by Patrick Hendry (unsplash.com/@worldsbetweenlines).

This is the original photo in all its correct-color glory by Patrick Hendry. On my story page, I added a red screen to give the effect of the red sandstorm that caught Shim in the ridges.

Lush Canyon

View into a canyon with rock walls rising on either side and vegetation on the canyon floor.
Titled: Geological Beauty. Angel’s Landing in USA. Photo by Fineas Anton (unsplash.com/@fineas_anton).

Here’s where I used the canyon photo and the two photos that follow to suggest a lush, green canyon.

Large green leaves with sunlight filtering through green through the leaves
Indoor plants by Martin Knize (unsplash.com/@martz90).
Large, wide green leaves standing vertically
Large, green leaves stretching up vertically. Photo by Kaori P. (unsplash.com/@archival_ink).

Blue Eyes

Woman with blue eyes peering between green leaves
Photo of blue-eyed woman peering between green leaves. Photo by Alex Iby (unsplash.com/@alexiby).

In my first draft of “A Forest of Blue Eyes,” I described the blue eyes of the girl that Shim followed as “entirely blue even where the whites should be.” I was imagining a human, but a human so distantly related from us that she looked a bit alien. But I don’t want to influence contestants. They may decide the “girl” is a woman or something not human at all.

But when I found this photo by Alex Iby, I knew I had to use it in the ending of my part of the story. So I revised the story and just described the girl’s eyes and the other eyes in the forest as “blue” so the narrative and the photo would not contradict each other. But the photos are just there to entertain readers. Contestants may take the photos as inspiration or ignore them completely.

By the way, I believe Iby titled this photo “Awaken.” It was taken at the Boston Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.