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  • May 2, 2016

Photo of the Day: Best of April

Photography can show us reality in a wonderful way. But sometimes, reality is more beautiful than we can even imagine. One of the best words to describe this month’s Photo of the Day images is surreal. A delicate waterfall in Mauritius, a regal lion on the Serengeti, and a painterly aerial of a watershed in Iceland all make us believe that dreams are real.

*****

Picture of a white pelican in Bern, Switzerland
Prim Pelican
Photograph by Marco Schaffner, National Geographic Your Shot

This white pelican casts a demure, sidelong glance in the direction of Your Shot member Marco Schaffner’s lens. The ungainly bird is not known for its beauty, but with its average nine-foot wingspan, it is graceful in flight. White pelicans soar and glide, rather than flap their wings, making it easier for them to travel often long distances to catch enough fish to feed their chicks.

Picture of women covered in colorful dust during the Holi festival in Vrindavan, India
The Color of Peace
Photograph by Tatiana Sharapova, National Geographic Your Shot

During Holi, the Hindu festival of color, in Vrindavan, India, two elderly women sit serenely, blanketed in the brightly colored powders that are tossed about during the celebrations. Social codes are often relaxed during the festival. “About 5,000 widows live in Vrindavan,” says Your Shot member Tatiana Sharapova. “The society [has slowly changed] its position toward widows, and a couple years ago, they were allowed to [participate in] Holi.”

Picture of a lion standing on a rock in Serengeti National Park
Pride and Power
Photograph by Bjorn Persson, National Geographic Your Shot

To Your Shot member Bjorn Persson, the majestic pose struck by this lion in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park recalls a scene in a well-known movie. “When I saw this big male appearing on the top of the rock,” says Persson, “I immediately connected it to the The Lion King scene, and I also felt it was one of the best photo opportunities I had ever had. The composition, the light, the background, and everything came together in what is probably my best picture ever. The pride and power of these magnificent creatures really shine through in its pose and expression.”

Picture of a watershed from above in Iceland
A Watershed Moment
Photograph by Daniel Beltrá

Water in Iceland’s Ölfusá River flows around sandbars toward the Atlantic Ocean. The Ölfusá is Iceland’s largest river, and its watershed drains 2,355 square miles (or one-seventh of Iceland). According to a study by the University of Arizona, parts of Iceland are rising as much as 1.3 inches a year as its ice cap melts away. See more pictures of climate change from above on Proof.

Picture of a swallowtail butterfly on a birch tree in Minnesota
Springing Back to Life
Photograph by Jim Brandenburg

Over 93 days in 2014, National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg shot springtime images in his home state of Minnesota. This image of a swallowtail butterfly on a birch tree was captured on day 84 of his project.

Picture of sand dunes in Namibia reaching the sea
High Sand and High Seas
Photograph by Julian Walter, National Geographic Your Shot

Namibia, on Africa’s southwest coast, is a large country with a harsh landscape. The towering and constantly shifting dunes of the Namib Desert, shown here in this aerial photo submitted by Your Shot member Julian Walter, run right to the Atlantic Ocean and can reach up to a thousand feet high.

Picture of a hiker in the Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam
A Jungle Down There
Photograph by Matthias Hauser, National Geographic Your Shot

A hiker is dwarfed by the massive proportions of Hang Son Doong, the largest cave in the world, located in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. It is more than two miles long and, at some places, more than 600 feet high. Where the ceiling has collapsed, allowing sunlight to spill in, vegetation grows heartily.

Picture of a seaweed blenny, Brazil
Blenny Blind
Photograph by Dan Lublinski, National Geographic Your Shot

A seaweed blenny—a small and usually bottom-dwelling fish recognizable by the branchlike cirri above its eyes—watches from the safety of its hiding spot. This underwater image was taken off the coast of Brazil and submitted by Your Shot community member Dan Lublinski.

Picture of a snowy landscape at night in Lapland, Finland
“A Magical Night”
Photograph by Satu Juvonen, National Geographic Your Shot

In Finland, a scattering of trees draped in heavy snow crosses the landscape, and the northern lights toss ribbons of color across the sky. This image was shared by Your Shot member Satu Javonen, who writes, “[It was] a magical night in Lapland.”


Janna Dotschkal is the editor of Photo of the Day, a curated look at photography from around National Geographic, including the magazine and our photo community, Your Shot. Liane DiStefano writes the captions and titles.

See which pictures were featured in our last roundup, Photo of the Day: Best of March.

There are 14 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Candace Miller
    August 15, 2016

    The power of the photographer to capture the immense scope of our planet makes me grateful for their efforts to share it with the rest of us.

  2. Hannah McKay
    August 3, 2016

    Your pictures blow my mind. I don’t how a picture could be so far way and yet look so amazing, I always thought that pictures had to be close up to look that mesmerizing!! Your by far one of absolute favorite photographers 😉

  3. Sierra
    July 13, 2016

    These are amazing photos. I feel as if I’m transported to those places as I look at the photos. They are detailed and beautiful, and really capture the moment.

  4. Fredricks
    June 16, 2016

    The image used above is not in Mauritus, that is sipi falls in Mbale district East of Kampala ,Uganda but not on an island in the Indian ocean.Thank you

  5. marymargaret kujawa
    June 11, 2016

    awesome creator we have to create these magnificent wonders

  6. H.Kim
    June 8, 2016

    Breathtaking arts…

  7. Ella Hales
    May 19, 2016

    They inspire us all to reach for the stars. My journey has just begun, when I look at these stunning photos I will aim my sights higher. Thankyou.

  8. Vasantha K.
    May 15, 2016

    The glory and majesty of nature in all her pristine grandeur !

  9. ali ak
    May 13, 2016

    Great Photos

  10. Miguel Ángel Campillo
    May 4, 2016

    Fotos bellisimas

  11. Kevin L. De Leon
    May 4, 2016

    Awesome Shots

  12. anilkumar
    May 4, 2016

    Nature at its best

  13. Sharon K. Nolan
    May 3, 2016

    All these photos deserve recognition. I’d be hard pressed to select a favorite.

  14. Alba Lucia Allen
    May 3, 2016

    BEAUTIFUL EVERYONE OF THEM

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