• February 5, 2014

Photo of the Day: Best of January

Alexa Keefe

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.

Close-up of a sea star at Pomene Estuary, Mozambique
Photograph by Peet J. van Eeden, National Geographic Your Shot

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.

Funeral ceremony, Romania
Photograph by Tiplea Remus, National Geographic Your Shot

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.

A camouflaged grey owl protects its nest in this Your Shot picture chosen for the Daily Dozen roundup of editor favorites.
Photograph by Mauro Mozzarelli, National Geographic Your Shot

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.

A black rhino and two zebras stand on Kenya's Laikipia Plains.
Photograph by Robin Moore, National Geographic Your Shot

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 waits for her husband before boarding the special train in Kamlapur Railway Station in Dhaka, Bangladesh," writes Your Shot contributor Shahnewaz Karim of this picture chosen for publication in the Spontaneous Adventure assignment. "The mehendi in her hand is still showing as the light seeps through the roof and the people 'seated' there for the journey. This pilgrimage home is to enjoy the Eid festival with family."
Photograph by Shahnewaz Karim, National Geographic Your Shot

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.

"I cannot describe the eerie feeling I had when I walked in on this scene," writes Julie Fletcher of this photo, which received an honorable mention in the Places category of the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest. "I followed a massive storm front for several hundred kilometers hoping to capture something special, but this blew my mind. The surreal milky green water is a natural phenomenon caused by electromagnetic activity from the lightning hitting the water's surface. There was no rain where I was and not much wind either, but in the distance the sky was charged and angry, subjecting its wrath [to] the graveyard of dead trees in this normally very dry lakebed. I was able to capture a series of unique images, this being one of the best."
Photograph by Julie Fletcher, honorable mention winner, 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest

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.

Determined to finish a new route, superclimber Alex Honnold dangles from an overhang on Oman's Musandam Peninsula. After pushing as far as possible on the rock, a deepwater solo climber simply lets go.
Photograph by Jimmy Chin, National Geographic

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.

Night view of Sunndalsøra, Norway, a town surrounded by spectacular mountains
Photograph by Christian Nesset, National Geographic Your Shot

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.

“On a good day in the field, a birder might see a flock of birds,” writes photographer Réka Zsimon of this photo of great egrets in the tidal area of the Danube in Hungary. The image received an honorable mention in the Nature category of the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest.
Photograph by Réka Zsimon, honorable mention winner, 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest

The ghostly blur of these egrets in flight above the rest of the flock below creates a scene of ethereal beauty. Gorgeous.

Alexa Keefe is the editor of Photo of the Day, a curated look at photography from around National Geographic. The full archive is accessible here.

There are 106 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. yashaswini
    September 20, 2015

    Awesome picks

  2. mesnan
    June 11, 2015

    Firefox Slow

  3. Akhil
    April 11, 2015


  4. Vishal
    March 13, 2015

    Superb Collection

  5. shana krishnan
    March 12, 2015

    awesome and amazing shots.I really loved this shots

  6. Gico Dayanghirang
    February 25, 2015

    I’ve been a fan of NatGeo since High School (1968-1972).

  7. Fethi boukari
    February 9, 2015

    Very best

  8. rod antipuesto
    February 6, 2015

    very amazing shots…

  9. ehsan.n
    December 24, 2014

    So beautiful

  10. pradip g.more .nashik.
    December 15, 2014

    very nice photos

    November 7, 2014

    Very Very Best and beautiful

  12. pedro fragoso camacho
    October 11, 2014

    son fotos fantasticas que nos recuerdan que vivimos realmente en el paraiso hay que cuidarlo lo mas que se pueda asta la proxima

  13. shalini
    July 31, 2014

    Awesome, just awesome!

  14. Kabir M. Ashraf Alam
    July 15, 2014

    Magnificent soothing photographs.
    Thanks National Geographic.

  15. sudheer reddy
    June 19, 2014

    great photo. the beauty of nature.

  16. Natalie Browning
    June 16, 2014

    EPIC !! These photo’s reminds one what a magnificent World we live in.

  17. dhilip
    June 14, 2014

    exposing the nature’s beauty

  18. deni
    June 13, 2014

    nature at its best

  19. mindiyantoro
    June 5, 2014

    very…very good…& perfect….

  20. Viviana Ricarte
    June 3, 2014

    Increíbles fotos…

  21. Anooj
    May 4, 2014

    really super…..

    May 3, 2014

    Just beautiful esp. the egrets – thank you

  23. Savitha Subramani
    May 2, 2014

    what a perfect play of nature – I liked the owl blend perfect in the trunk

  24. Savitha Subramani
    May 2, 2014

    Awesome – I liked the photography of the owl, what

  25. amit sharma
    April 28, 2014

    very creative and minute things these photographers have captured in their photography ,,,,,,,,,,,the great courage …………love you alllllllllll……… please …………and nic pic of alexa keefe………..

  26. Mike
    April 21, 2014

    Dear Reka Zacimon. May i ask you what technic you have been using taking this awesome picture?

  27. muguwa
    April 15, 2014

    Frankly speaking, the magical forces that I continue seeing forced me to buy a camera. Something I had not thought of at the slightest

  28. winterblossom
    April 13, 2014

    stunning and unimaginable

  29. Parth Makadiya
    April 10, 2014

    The photo is too good but chck mine


  30. bekir
    April 8, 2014

    super photos. perfect

  31. Mohona
    April 7, 2014

    Every photos are excellent, but the grey owl which try to mimic itself with the wood texture, is awesome and marvelous.

  32. Dimitrios Matsoulis
    April 6, 2014

    This is what photography is about. I am a National Geographic subscriber since 1988 and what I appreciate most is its highest photo quality and resistance to the temptation of artificial construction by software.

  33. Bob Osman
    April 3, 2014

    Fantastic photos…an excellent job by all………

  34. Sivathasani paraman
    March 29, 2014

    Very very beautiful photos, nice comments,awesome!!!

  35. Surajeet Kr Goswami
    March 27, 2014


  36. Bala
    March 22, 2014

    Very nice photography

  37. ellie
    March 21, 2014


  38. Eileen
    March 21, 2014

    To be honest I must disagree about the bride photograph. Though it is a stunning picture, the look on the woman’s face is in my view not that of anticipation or beauty, but of sadness and even slight fear. Not every wedding is wanted and not every marriage is anticipated as happy. I find the look on her face quite disturbing. But it is a beautiful picture, no doubt about that.

  39. Rui Bark
    March 19, 2014

    I thought I was an amateur photographer…

  40. Leo Ju
    March 18, 2014

    Marvellous and inspiring!

  41. Sonia
    March 17, 2014


  42. S Jackson
    March 14, 2014

    Makes me want to grab a camera and head for the outdoors. What beauty!

  43. Chelse
    March 11, 2014

    Beautiful pics, captured in all their beauty regarless of of the contingency of our creator~the all mighty.

  44. rumun
    March 11, 2014

    Am totally spell bound with the beauty of nature.

  45. Betsy Plummer
    March 11, 2014

    The photo of the egrets in flight is fabulous. Thank you for bring this to me.

  46. Ravi singh
    March 9, 2014

    This is a very good collection of photos …. I loved all of it.. Thank you guys for posting..

  47. jaime salazar
    March 7, 2014


  48. Denis Efimov
    March 6, 2014

    Very impressed with the picture of Australian lake. It’s eerie and uncanny.

  49. Mary L. Bullock
    March 5, 2014

    How lucky we are to see in color and shape – and to be able to share.

  50. Sheila Pekkola
    March 3, 2014

    Beautiful views of nature, just as unique as each individuals thoughts about them

  51. Leonard lister
    March 3, 2014

    Great photos,all of them to have a passion like this is incredible, there awesome.Has any of the been taken with a Leica?

  52. George Sweeney
    March 1, 2014

    It seems to me that great photos are only diminished by tedious explanations.

  53. Sue Gilliland
    March 1, 2014

    Beautiful photographs that effectively shed new perspective of our world.

  54. Jishubhai
    February 25, 2014


  55. nicole ronick
    February 24, 2014

    mother nature rules.

  56. Wendy KIFUN-Stevens
    February 23, 2014

    Amazing photography of such wonderful places around the world . Inspiring !

  57. George Sweeney
    February 23, 2014

    I’m surprised you did not identify the rock climber in the photo of his bare-handed feat. Alex Honnold perhaps?

    February 21, 2014

    Thank you for generously sharing these beautiful photos. I love them! You definitely bring the world closer to me.

  59. Obomanu T. John
    February 21, 2014

    The pictures are cute wonderful. I love it

  60. Jean-Pierre
    February 20, 2014

    Lake Menindee, you are Beautiful !!!!

  61. priyanka vasava
    February 18, 2014

    all are amazing pictures, collection is awesome, i like it

  62. siraj hussain
    February 18, 2014

    Amazing Photos

  63. padhu g
    February 14, 2014

    just not photos,its a art.

  64. Muaaz Uddin Usmani
    February 13, 2014

    speech less …. Work ,Mind Blowing

  65. mahadev.murgodi
    February 13, 2014

    Excellent! Beyond words!!

  66. J. Jacoby
    February 12, 2014

    Great photos our young fam fave is of the dragon looking over the pier.

  67. Clipping Path Android
    February 12, 2014

    Very nice photos

  68. Burcu Basar
    February 12, 2014

    amazing selection of photos.

  69. Naveenlall padmanabhan
    February 12, 2014

    Best photos I’ve ever seen…

  70. Mohammad
    February 12, 2014

    very nice pictures and a suite with this amazing website..thank you guys

  71. Bhavesh Shah
    February 11, 2014

    awesome pictures . . each and every pictures are awesome . . . !!!

  72. DUANG
    February 11, 2014

    Great !

  73. Ben
    February 11, 2014

    Bangaldeshi bride “frozen in a shaft of light” ~ I can see why you got the job. Enjoying your work Alexa.

  74. Victor E. Escoto
    February 11, 2014

    Beautiful. Thankyou very much.

  75. Marion
    February 11, 2014

    I would never have been able to describe WHY I love these photos, but you nailed it on each one. That made for a learning experience, as well as studying these fascinating pictures. I have a question on the explanation of the technique to capture the flight of the egrets. (I’m new to photography) When a long exposure is used, how long are we talking?

  76. Erick Machuca
    February 10, 2014

    Awesome Pictures!

  77. Shirley Merrick
    February 10, 2014

    absolutely beautiful! After a tough day at work these images are such a stunning and calming respite

  78. chayanika
    February 8, 2014

    they are all amazing.. especially The Egrets..heavenly!!

  79. Reita Thami
    February 8, 2014

    Inspiring shots… Thanks

  80. Khan
    February 7, 2014

    Plastic bags adorning an acacia in the desert is the ultimate proof of our sheer disregard for our planet. I wonder whether there are pests in this universe any worse than the human race. Disgusting.

  81. Khan
    February 7, 2014

    Ranganayakulu is correct. The henna dyed hands indicate the lady is either going to or returning from a ceremony or a festival, most likely the later, as signified by the crowd pensively and patiently waiting for the train to start. Each face tells a story of great expectations. Millions travel to and from the big city during Eid holidays in my part of the world.

  82. Daniel Martin
    February 7, 2014

    This is a very good collection of photographs… I love them all! Thank you for posting ♫

  83. Jayachandran Sudhakaran
    February 7, 2014

    Absolutely amazing. I loved those pics and hats off to each and every photographer for these wonders

  84. Ahmad Safi
    February 7, 2014

    Nat Geo photographs are always soothing and lovely to look at. Thanks.
    Ahmad Safi

  85. shivam
    February 7, 2014

    every time is inspiring me to how the capture the phot

  86. Yongming Wang
    February 7, 2014

    Very nice photos. Excellent comments.

  87. Anzil
    February 7, 2014


  88. Maria de Fátima Silva
    February 6, 2014

    Fotos superrrr

  89. Jim Richardson
    February 6, 2014

    It is really amazing to see the quality of work being done all over the world. It raises the bar for all of us.

  90. Robin Keith
    February 6, 2014

    Great photographs!

  91. Marcela
    February 6, 2014

    Magistrales todas las fotos!
    Mi favorita, quizá por algún tipo de identificación es la de la estudiante en India. La luz, la composición, el momento… me parece conmovedora! Felicitaciones a todos los artistas!

  92. Asiah
    February 6, 2014

    Awesome photos. The photos on nature reminds me of God’s wonderful creations.

  93. mabruroh
    February 6, 2014

    thats amazing photo. the picture always make me good effects.

  94. jessu
    February 6, 2014

    I wanna learn more, on how to create photos like these…

  95. Mohammad Farhan
    February 5, 2014

    Looking to these great photos making me live the moment flying to all these wanderful sites !! Thanks to all photographers .

  96. Christy Gauthier
    February 5, 2014

    So inspiring…I wish I could travel this amazing planet and photograph life as I see it.

  97. loga
    February 5, 2014

    Each one of the photos are very awesome. Amazing things exists everywhere, but recording them is a great thing. very beautiful. Congratulations.

  98. Roberta Foginthemorning
    February 5, 2014

    Beautiful! Great photography!.

  99. Soo Man Heng
    February 5, 2014

    Really nice photos.

  100. Marithel O. Castro
    February 5, 2014

    I wish I can take pictures like these. Nevertheless, I enjoy looking at photos with great meaning and composition. Takes me there, really. Love it. Thank you great photographers.

  101. Ranganayakulu
    February 5, 2014

    Bangaldeshi bride is not wearing sari. She is wearing kurta/panjabi dress.

    • Alexa Keefe
      February 7, 2014


      Thank you for your comment. I have updated the post to reflect your keen observation.

  102. amnah
    February 5, 2014


  103. esau gilberto mercado castillo
    February 5, 2014

    Hermosas fotos.

  104. julia cart
    February 5, 2014

    while all are amazing in this powerful collection, each one exists in its own world, each one offers a surprise. what a visual treat!

    February 5, 2014


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