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Photo by @iantehphotography | I love this scene of children gleefully jumping into the water by the beach at St. Malo. The city is a walled port in Brittany, in northwestern France, on the English Channel. I was working on a story about the historical aspects of this province. In the past, it was notorious for privateering; today the city is a major tourist destination. #stmalo #summer #swimming
Polar bears dominate the Arctic animal headlines; it’s hard for anything to escape their shadow. In this episode, @bertiegregory meets an unexpected array of smaller species that each have their own peculiar but no less entertaining strategies for surviving in this brutal environment. The tiny arctic fox might look cute, but it’s actually a killing machine. The arctic hare may be fluffy and have comical ears, but it’s both a master of camouflage and one of the fastest animals here. The snowy owl has sacrificed speed for a mightier secret weapon: silence. We find a lemming (a tiny brown rodent) running around in a blizzard, a big mistake when silent assassins are flying overhead. Although these unsung heroes are some of the few who’ve perfectly adapted to this place, the environment is changing fast. Warming temperatures are allowing enemies to move north, encroaching on these Arctic specialists. Content sponsored by Destination Canada.
Photos by Stephen Alvarez @salvarezphoto | The 36,000-year-old paintings in France's Chauvet Cave are incredible. It's not just their state of preservation, it's that they record a lost world—lions, aurochs, bison, and rhinoceros all once lived in Europe and are recorded on the cave's walls. Caves often act as time capsules, preserving what things were like in the past. In the case of Chauvet, we have an evocative record of what long-extinct animals looked like from attentive artists. There is one detail that sometimes gets overlooked about this cave. The wall is covered by scratch marks from bears (Ursus spelaeus), which hibernated in the caves and presumably left the scratch marks while stretching as they woke up. Seeing the paintings in Chauvet was a profound experience and led me to create the nonprofit @ancientartarchive. We use 3D and VR technology to share the experience of standing in front of these ancient artworks.
Photo by Saumya Khandelwal @khandelwal_saumya | Walking along the Yamuna River in India has always been an exercise in exploration. The river is among the most polluted in the country, and its water has been declared unfit for any kind of usage. And yet the river is intricately weaved with daily life, religion, and traditions. I photographed the boy on Holi, the festival of colors, along the river. Follow me on @khandelwal_saumya for more.
Photo by @michaelchristopherbrown | A glow from the world's largest lava lake mixes with moonlit clouds above the caldera of Mount Nyiragongo, an active stratovolcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Located inside Virunga National Park, Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions. Since 1882, Nyiragongo has erupted at least 34 times. The last eruption, in 2002, destroyed 15% of the nearby city of Goma (4,500 buildings), killed 147 people and left 120,000 people homeless. #congo #democraticrepublicofthecongo #drc #volcano
Photo by Matthieu Paley @paleyphoto I A community of approximately 1,200 Kyrgyz live at the end of the remote Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan’s Pamir Mountains, up at 14,000 feet (4,500 meters). Juma’s father has depleted most of his wealth–his livestock–bartering it for opium. The family has only a few yaks left, along with a horse that young Juma is especially fond of. Head over to @paleyphoto for more cultural encounters and behind the scenes stories.
Photo by @dina_litovsky | A flurry of visitors pose for photographs inside Istanbul’s 17th-century Blue Mosque. Known for its 20,000-plus glossy blue tiles, stained glass windows, massive domes, and mother-of-pearl inlays, the opulent mosque was designed by architect and poet Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa. For more images from around the world, follow me @dina_litovsky.
Photo by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz | Dallol is a volcanic spring in the Afar Depression of Ethiopia, some 150 feet below sea level. Hyperacidic water precipitates sulphur, which starts out white and gray before turning yellow and then orange as it oxidizes. It’s part of a rift zone that is slowly separating East Africa, and a rare opportunity to see tectonic activity that is usually at the bottom of the ocean. Walking out there feels like a stroll on Planet Ethiopia. To explore more of our world, follow @geosteinmetz.
Photo by Erika Larsen @erikalarsen888 // Sponsored by @chipotle // Michael Mardesen of Iowa is a veterinarian and hog farmer for A-Frame Acres, an all-natural, sustainable hog farm that has been in his family for five generations. “My whole life I wanted to be a farmer. It’s what my dad did, what my grandpa did,” Michael says. Running a small farm and having enough revenue to feed every mouth is very difficult these days. Becoming a veterinarian enabled Michael to stay in rural Iowa and continue working with his farm and the ag community. His family’s farm works with Niman Ranch, the largest farmer and rancher network in the Western Hemisphere, to be 100 percent third-party-certified under the Certified Humane®️ program. Niman Ranch’s 740 small, independent, U.S. family farmers and ranchers adhere to some of the strictest animal welfare protocols in the industry and have been in a long partnership with Chipotle. Michael says he loves that Chipotle “puts their money where their mouth is in helping aid the young farmers.” // Real food needs real farms. Real farms need real help. Learn more about how @chipotle is cultivating the future of farming by helping young farmers in the U.S.
Photos by Corey Arnold @arni_coraldo | A few years back, I was invited by wildlife biologist Wes Larson to follow his team as they studied the behavior of black bears, in order to help mitigate potential conflicts between bears and humans in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. But on this day, I was not prepared to come face-to-face with a 350-pound bear waking from hibernation 70 feet deep into a mysterious and claustrophobic sandstone tunnel. You can find my account of the story and how it all ended in the December issue of the magazine in “Through the Lens: Don’t Wake the Bear,” or click the link in my bio @arni_coraldo to read the story online. Flip through the carousel to see outtakes from the scene. In other news, tomorrow I’m heading to Chicago, where I'll spend a couple weeks photographing urban coyotes for an upcoming feature in the magazine. While I am partnering with local coyote experts, I would very much welcome any tips from Chicagoans in locating real-time and consistent sightings of coyotes in the city's most urban settings. Specifically, I’m looking for behavior that is happening now and not in the past, as coyotes normally have quite an extended range of territory. If you find me poking around your backyard at dawn with a huge lens, please say hello! You can reach me via direct message on my personal account only at @arni_coraldo. I will do my best to respond to any useful tips, and I hugely appreciate your help with this little citizen science call out. #natgeo #bear #hibernation #blackbear #wildlifebiology
Video by @paulnicklen | This is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen underwater, filmed on expedition with @SeaLegacy last year. The veil that separates the ocean from the air is as thin as a dream, and to swim with sperm whales is to feel as though you've fallen into one. These gentle leviathans have thrived in complex family units off the Dominican coast for generations, probably for millions of years. Sperm whales hold the record for largest predator, largest brain, and loudest animal on earth—capable of making noise louder than a rock concert! Scientists have only just begun to understand these massive marine mammals. Follow me @PaulNicklen for more videos that showcase the beauty of the natural world and for updates from my next trip to the Dominica to swim with the sperm whales. #Whales #Science #Ocean #TurningTheTide
Photo by @babaktafreshi | A few weeks ago on the shoreline near Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand, the Milky Way’s galactic core was sinking to the ocean as I was warming my hands by a bonfire left by fishermen. The brightest point reflecting on the water is Jupiter, set against a dark nebula known as the Pipe, which also forms a celestial Kiwi, the national bird. The little red cloud in the galactic band is Lagoon Nebula, 4,100 light years away. Organized by the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand, I traveled around the country for a dozen public talks on photography and the values of preserving the natural night environment of our planet. Learn more @babaktafreshi. #saveournightsky #twanight #astrophotography #stargazing #kiwi
Photo by @williamodaniels | Russia, 2015. This is the train station in Tynda, a rare Siberian town and main hub of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) railway line, which traverses Siberia and the Russian Far East. Its population, originally mainly from the west of the U.S.S.R. (Belarus and Ukraine, over 3,000 miles away), decreased significantly since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I traveled twice on the BAM line on assignment for the magazine in 2013, but I was so struck by this place that I decided to get back on my own two years later, to visit other parts of the line. Follow me on @williamodaniels for more human stories around the world.
Video by @lucalocatelliphoto | In a lava field in Iceland, this sci-fi looking landscape is home to a high-tech greenhouse that produces barley for cosmetics. Despite the arid landscape, the greenhouse uses geothermal heat and energy and water from a volcanic source below ground. Iceland is one of the most nature-oriented countries in the world, and with scarce resources, new solutions like this greenhouse are developed to try to make more with less. I’ve always been passionate about the relationship among people, technology, and the environment. Sometimes, like in this case, reality goes beyond my imagination. My work as a photographer revolves around exploring this transitional time, where resource management is of paramount importance for humanity. Follow me @lucalocatelliphoto to see more stories on our environment and the solutions we are adopting for a more sustainable living. #iceland #greenhouse #transition #sustainability #lucalocatelliphoto
Photo by @katieorlinsky | A young girl perches on the bones of a bowhead whale at the site of the annual whaling feast in the Inupiat village of Point Hope, Alaska. Point Hope is the longest continually inhabited community in North America. For the people there, nothing is more important than the bowhead whale.
Photo by @simonnorfolkstudio and Klaus Thymann I With climate change standing as one of the most pressing issues facing our future, photography is increasingly used as a catalyst to instigate change. Last year I visited Switzerland with Klaus Thymann of @projectpressure to photograph the Rhône Glacier, which is disappearing at an alarming rate. There is a small shop that carves an ice grotto into the glacier and charges tourists to experience the interior of the blue ice, so it has been worth their money to attempt to slow the glacier’s retreat. They have invested heavily in a special thermal blanket that has kept about 25 meters (82 feet, in depth) of ice from disappearing, keeping the grotto intact. However, after a few harsh winters on the mountain, the blanket is starting to disintegrate. And unfortunately the method is not scaleable: we cannot do this to all the world’s ice; the gesture is as forlorn and doomed as the glacier itself. So with heavy lament, this glacier, which has existed for millennia, will disappear within the lifetime of children born today. For more on this project follow @simonnorfolkstudio #glaciers #rhoneglacier #Switzerland #climatechange #globalwarming @projectpressure
Photos by @nicholesobecki | For this National Geographic investigation writer @rachelfobar and I were invited to Pienika, one of South Africa’s controversial lion breeding farms that also offers sport hunts. In April, the National Council for Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) inspectors visited here and found lions being held in filthy, overcrowded enclosures, and at least four of the cubs unable to walk—a situation NSPCA’s senior inspector called “soul destroying.” We returned to see if conditions had improved, but three days after our visit, in a follow-up inspection, the NSPCA found about 20 young lion and tiger carcasses in a freezer in a staff member’s home, a lion cub in a walk-in freezer, and, hidden in a shed, two live cubs also suffering from a neurological condition caused by malnutrition. Conservationists say the situation at Pienika Farm is not an isolated incident, and animals are likely languishing in poor conditions around the country every day, fueled by South Africa’s thriving captive lion industry. Lions in the wild have disappeared from 94 percent of their historic range in Africa, and are listed as vulnerable to extinction. Follow me @nicholesobecki for updates, outtakes, and more. Story link in my bio. #lion #southafrica #fallenpride
Photo by @stevewinterphoto | Staff scramble to control a white tiger during a photo session with Kody Antle at the South Carolina cub-petting venue called Myrtle Beach Safari. Kody provides much of the venue’s advertising, posing in photos and videos with tigers and other animals on Instagram and other social media. We investigated the animal welfare, wildlife trade, and conservation concerns of the U.S.'s captive tiger industry for the December #natgeomagazine, produced with writer @sharonguynup. #tigers (This caption has been updated to provide more information about the Nat Geo investigation into the captive tiger industry.)
Photo by @irablockphoto | Early morning fog in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. This region in northern Thailand is inhabited by Hmong hill tribe people. Opium production was the major crop years ago, but farmers here now grow many crops, including rice, coffee, and mangoes. The change from opium production was facilitated by the Royal Project of Thailand. #followme @irablockphoto to see more images from our planet. #thailand #opium #hmong #irablock
Photo by @acacia.johnson | Juani Volker, a polar expedition guide from South Africa, takes in the blooming snow algae at Port Charcot, Antarctica. Juani has spent nine years working as an expedition guide in the polar regions. She is one of the many remarkable women I've photographed as part of an ongoing project about women working in Antarctica, a traditionally masculine realm where more and more women are now working in leadership roles. "I love being a woman working in a man's world," she says. "It challenges [men] but it also brings humor, delight, and a nice balance to working in an extreme environment, especially for extended amounts of time. For me, as a woman, the secret is not to try to compete or try to prove to men how equal I am, but more to accept our differences and unique strengths and form a unified team who has each other's backs." Follow me @acacia.johnson for more stories from Antarctica and beyond. #antarctica #womeninantarctica #polar
Photo by Trevor Frost @tbfrost | If you look closely, you can see two dark brown dots on each of the heads of this two-headed copperhead. Those dark brown dots are called pineal eyes, described by researchers as primitive third eyes with only one function: to detect day or night. To see more photographs of snakes, including this one, head over to @tbfrost
Photo by @CirilJazbec // Sponsored by @salesforce // I have covered climate change stories from the rising sea levels of Kiribati to Greenland’s ice melt. I felt it was time to look for stories that emphasize our resilience and share solutions that inspire. I came across a brilliant local grassroots innovation, ice stupas, which solved a water problem for the mountain communities in Ladakh, India. These artificial mini-glaciers store winter meltwater and slowly release it for the growing season in early spring, when water is needed most. The people in Ladakh had always suffered from droughts, but the situation became more dire with the glacier retreat in recent decades. // According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere, most glaciers in the world are shrinking—and their loss may be irreversible. In the lead-up to COP25, the next UN meeting on #climateaction, @unfoundation encourages you to spotlight solutions to climate change using the hashtag #EyeOnClimate.
Photo by @gabrielegalimbertiphoto and Juri De Luca | Fossils of long-extinct creatures aren’t just for museums. Today there’re in homes and business, as wealthy collectors indulge a controversial hobby. Jutting like spikes, teeth protrude from the five-foot-long lower jaw of a new species of tylosaur displayed at the Edgemont, South Dakota, home of Frank Garcia (at left) and his wife, Debby. The couple found the marine reptile fossil in 2016—first its tail, then its skull—not far from where they live. The skull is the most complete ever found. Garcia doesn’t have a degree in paleontology, but he has spent much of his life uncovering fossils. In 1979 he landed a contract with the Smithsonian Institution to dig for fossils in Florida. “For 10 years they paid me to go around looking for fossils,” he says. During his career, Garcia discovered tens of thousands of specimens that are now at museums and universities in the United States. #dinosaur #fossil #extinct #dinosaurs
Photo by @amivitale | Children clean the school while waiting for their teacher to arrive, in a village in Guinea-Bissau. Because of a devastating conflict, Guinea-Bissau continues to recover from the civil conflict of 1999. Most children, especially in rural areas, don't have access to an education—and girls face even more obstacles in a conservative society that prevents them from attending school. In the past few years, though, there have been substantial changes, and at least some of the girls have opportunities to attend school. @alexiafoundation @rippleeffectimages @thephotosociety #girls #guineabissau #africa #education