When people ask me what makes a Photo of the Day—a curated look at photography around National Geographic—my answer is simple: I have to want to spend time with the picture, and whether full of complex detail or exquisitely simple, it has to stand on its own. The photos I choose are meant to be a glimpse of our world in a moment in time, some captured as a result of meticulous planning and research on assignment for National Geographic magazine, others happy finds from keen eyes tuned to daily life and travels from our Your Shot community. The photographers behind the lens represent a wide range of skill levels, from professional to aspirational, but each has a visual story to tell. Below are a selection of reader favorites from the month of January.—Alexa Keefe
The above photo by Your Shot contributor Ken Dyball captures flamingos flying over Kenya’s Lake Logipi. While seeing the flock from this height is impressive, what I enjoy more is the blending of shapes and textures—the sharp form of the birds just above the surface, the ripples on the water, the edges of the shore, the reflection of the clouds—a scene that is at once static and in flux.
Looking at this underwater gem, I feel as if I could as easily be looking at the surface of a volcanic landscape, rather than a sea star. The texture and color are amazing.
The composition and perspective work together very well in this photograph of a funeral ceremony in Romania. I like how the delicate flowers so neatly placed on the tombstones mirror the crowd of people, the specks of color echoed in the clothes of the mourners.
Owls are naturally photogenic but I like finding examples where the composition and mood make the difference between something I’ve seen before and something that catches my eye anew. The grumpy expression of this nesting Great Grey owl peering out of the tree hollow makes the shot for me.
The low-angled perspective creates a visual illusion of scale that makes me do a double-take, but what I like most is how this accentuates the beautiful line of the rhino—an immovable hulk among the grasses of Kenya’s Laikipia Plains.
A newlywed bride in her bright orange kurta, frozen in a shaft of light on a train platform in Dhaka, Bangladesh, evokes a feeling of embarking on a new adventure, being on the precipice of a new life. It is a moment of anticipation and beauty.
The dramatic colors of water and sky aside, the barren landscape of Lake Menindee in New South Wales, Australia, makes a perfect setting for an electrical storm. The branches of the trees mirror the jagged bolts of lightning—and give the impression they have been through this before.
The chiseled body of the climber clinging barehanded to the rock creates an arresting visual tension in this photograph from the February 2014 National Geographic story “Impossible Rock.” Knowing there is water below should he lose his grip is comforting but makes the moment no less vivid.
I love seeing the pulse of life cozily tucked away between the sleeping mountains of Sunndalsøra, Norway. Energy and serenity come together here in a pleasing way.
The ghostly blur of these egrets in flight above the rest of the flock below creates a scene of ethereal beauty. Gorgeous.