Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Sep 29, 2020
A crush in Lavaux
The "crush season," aka the grape harvest, has arrived in these picturesque Swiss vineyards. The steeply terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region along Lake Geneva"s northern shore produce grapes for some of the best wine in the country. The vine terraces can be traced back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries controlled the area. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2007, Lavaux is the largest contiguous vineyard region in Switzerland. It"s known for producing Chasselas wine, a light, delicate white wine that"s considered the ideal pairing with Swiss raclette cheese. Visitors enjoy hiking between the vines and wine tasting at local cellars in the villages along the lakeshore. We"ll toast to that!
Sep 28, 2020
Explorer of the sea
This blue shark is swimming near the Azores, a Portuguese chain of islands about 850 miles west of mainland Portugal. The inspiration for the shark"s name comes from its back color, which can vary from a light blue to a darker shade. Its slender, tapered body is propelled through the water with agility and grace by a long tail fin that sweeps from side to side. Listed as "near threatened," blue sharks are found off the coast of every continent except for Antarctica, making them the most widely distributed of all sharks. Swift and powerful swimmers, blue sharks migrate long distances. It"s common for them to swim 1,200 to 1,700 miles or even farther, following the clockwise currents of the Gulf Stream in search of food, mates, and "just right" water temperatures.
Sep 27, 2020
Take me to the river
Today we"re recognizing World Rivers Day—a conservation event that branched off in 2005 from its source, BC Rivers Day, founded near this British Columbia river"s banks 40 years ago today. The Fraser River flows through a showcase of this Canadian province"s diverse landscape: It originates in the Rocky Mountains, carves steep valleys through central BC, and irrigates rich farmlands outside Vancouver before spilling into the sea just south of the city. The river flows gently in this stretch, as seen from the span of the Port Mann Bridge east of Vancouver, with the Golden Ears mountains in the background. Thanks to preservation efforts, the Fraser"s main stem remains completely undammed, with its drainage basin covering 25% of BC"s land area.
Sep 26, 2020
Wandering Watkins Glen
When we talk about celebrating public lands, the images that pop into our heads are generally icons of the famous national parks out West. Old Faithful, El Capitan, the Arches. Our photo for National Public Lands Day highlights the relatively unsung beauty of the more than 10,000 state parks dotting the nation from coast to coast.
Sep 25, 2020
One for the books
Today is the kickoff to the 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival, and for the first time it will be held entirely online. Nearly 120 authors, including Colson Whitehead, John Grisham, Ann Patchett, Walter Mosley, and Tomi Adeyemi, will appear on virtual stages to discuss the written word from September 25-27.
Sep 24, 2020
Till the cows come home
These stylish cows are decorated to celebrate their annual return from high Alpine pastures to the towns and villages where they spend the winter. Known as the Almabtrieb, the tradition is generally held in late September or early October throughout the Alpine regions of Europe. These cows are in the Tannheimer Tal, a valley of the Allgäu Alps in Austria, where more than 100,000 head of cattle make the seasonal migration.
Sep 23, 2020
A tree of many memories
As autumn takes hold in China, a blanket of fan-shaped golden leaves—like this one at Xuanwu Lake Park in Nanjing—becomes a familiar sight. And it"s been that way for longer than anyone can remember, thanks to a native tree with a lineage going back eons, the ginkgo.
Sep 22, 2020
Happy Hobbit Day
Today is Hobbit Day, marking the anniversary of the "Long-Expected Party," which sets in motion the "Lord of the Rings" book series. September 22 is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, the protagonists of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" respectively.
Sep 21, 2020
A gentle wind fills this sail
To mark International Day of Peace, we invite you to look closely at the colorful sail in today"s homepage photo. It"s a composite of 120 small panels painted by children from different ethnic and social backgrounds—each panel offers a message of hope for a better world. The Ship of Tolerance is part of an international outreach program created by the Kabakov Foundation that aims "to promote art as a medium for communication and cooperation between diverse cultures while nurturing the growth and development of young artists in all disciplines." Children are taught the importance of understanding others and making friends with those outside their own cultural experiences. You"re looking at an installation that was moored in Lake Zug, Switzerland.
Sep 20, 2020
Celebrating sea otters
Say hello to this mom and newborn pup in Monterey Bay, California, during Sea Otter Awareness Week. Sea otters shower their pups with attention, cradling them and grooming them for hours. But it"s more than a gesture of affection—a mom will rub her pup to fluff the pup"s coat, which causes the fur to retain air bubbles. The air insulates the pup from chilly water and sometimes causes the youngster to float like a cork. Sea otters can survive on land, but they spend most of their time in the water, sleeping above the surface and anchoring themselves with kelp—or by holding onto each other. When they get hungry, they use rocks as tools to hunt food and pry open shells—something that makes them relatively unique, as they"re one of the few animal species that can use tools.
Sep 19, 2020
Arrr, it be Talk Like a Pirate Day
These sailboats in Warnemünde, Germany, set the scene perfectly for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The holiday (yeah, we"re calling it a holiday) was first imagined in 1995 by two Oregon residents. September 19 was chosen for the annual observance since one of them had an ex-wife whose birthday fell on that day and they figured they could remember it. A few years later, seeking widespread adoption, they pitched the idea to humor columnist Dave Barry, who wrote, "Every now and then, some visionary individuals come along with a concept that is so original and so revolutionary that your immediate reaction is: "Those individuals should be on medication."" From there, it went viral, and these days, September 19 is celebrated internationally, with major brands and media personalities joining in the silliness. We"re fans, too. Just picture us typin" this here with an eye patch, peg leg, an" pocket full o" swag doubloons. Arrr!
Sep 18, 2020
Each September in Iceland brings the arrival of réttir, the annual sheep roundup. After spending spring and summer grazing in the hills and meadows of the Icelandic countryside, the nation"s many sheep—all members of a distinct breed—are brought home to their ranches to avoid the harsh winter weather. It"s not an easy task—ranchers and Icelandic sheepdogs endeavor to bring the often stubborn sheep in, and then they must sort them so they go back to their respective owners. When the sheep are all secure at their home ranches, people customarily celebrate with music, dancing, drinks, and food. In recent years, the event has attracted tourists interested in seeing this collaborative undertaking in action, but of course, even in the Icelandic countryside, social events like réttir celebrations will be a bit more subdued this year.
Sep 17, 2020
Citizenship Day and Constitution Day
Today we visit the National Archives in Washington DC, where the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are on display, to mark Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. It"s a single day with a dual purpose—commemorating the formation and signing of the Constitution, while also recognizing both naturalized citizens and those born in the US. Ordinarily, many people become naturalized citizens in group ceremonies on this day; on average, about 700,000 people become American citizens each year.
Sep 16, 2020
It s Independence Day in Mexico
In honor of today"s Independence Day holiday in Mexico, our homepage image comes from the state of Guanajuato—where the country"s battle for independence first began. The conflict started with the "Cry of Dolores," an event on September 16, 1810, when priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the church bell in the nearby town of Dolores and called for a revolt to free Mexico from Spanish control. His call to arms triggered the formation of an insurgency that marched onward to San Miguel and then to the city of Guanajuato (shown in this image). The ensuing conflict spanned more than a decade, culminating with Mexico finally breaking free from Spanish rule in 1821.
Sep 15, 2020
For Hispanic Heritage Month: Out of Many, One
This giant portrait by Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is called "Out of Many, One." It was installed on the National Mall lawn in October 2014 and remained for one month. The title not only refers to the motto of the United States (E pluribus unum, Latin for "out of many, one") but hints at how the portrait was created.
Sep 14, 2020
Tiny fliers head south
The ruby-throated hummingbird in today"s homepage image is snacking on some yellow bells in the Texas Hill Country, preparing for its long journey south for the winter. This time of year, the hummingbirds leave the northern latitudes of the eastern US and Canada, migrating to the warmer climes of Mexico and Central America. Along their route, many will cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single 500-mile flight, which can take 18-22 hours of nonstop flying at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Tiny but fierce, the ruby-throated hummingbird weighs less than a nickel. It beats its wings about 53 times a second on average, but during courtship the wingbeat rate increases to 200 times per second, the fastest of any bird.
Sep 13, 2020
Super sandy Sweet 16
We"re in the Rockies of southern Colorado to celebrate Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve"s 16th year as a full-fledged national park—though it was a national monument from 1932, and both the dunes themselves and the surrounding valley"s history are far more ancient.
Sep 12, 2020
A city, a cliff, a canyon…and cheese
Gazing down the lush Alzou river valley at the vertically-oriented village of Rocamadour, you won"t be surprised some regard the medieval French town as a holy site: Its beauty alone is mystical. The gorges of southwestern France are home to numerous striking historic hamlets built along and atop their steep edges. But Rocamadour is special as a stop for thousands of pilgrims on the Way of Saint James, a UNESCO-recognized traditional route through France and Spain that still draws journeyers both pious and secular. The town"s cliff-top sanctuary and the black-painted Madonna statue within have been purported to have healing powers. If you"re drawn to more earthly sources of good health, though, Rocamadour also lends its name to a delicious, locally crafted goat cheese.
Sep 11, 2020
In honor of those we ve lost
Today we"re featuring the view from the Empty Sky memorial in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River, to where the World Trade Center"s Twin Towers once stood in New York City"s lower Manhattan. The Empty Sky memorial honors the 749 people from New Jersey who were killed on September 11, 2001. Their names are etched on two massive steel walls that form a tunnel directing the visitor"s gaze to one of the sites of the deadliest terrorist attack in history. The name Empty Sky comes directly from a song by New Jersey"s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, about the "empty sky" where the Twin Towers once stood before they were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.
Sep 10, 2020
Hidden beauty in Thailand
One of Thailand"s best-kept secrets, Huay Mae Khamin waterfall can be found in the forests of Khuean Srinagarindra National Park. The waterfall is especially picturesque this time of year, when the changing leaves provide a backdrop for the bright green water. Its flow originating in the mountains to the east of the national park, the waterfall stretches more than a mile, spilling over seven different levels before joining the Khwae Yai River below. It generally has water all year round, but in 2017, during the dry season, the river feeding the falls dried out completely for the first time, and the park was closed to visitors until the rainy season. Though the journey to this peaceful retreat might be long, it"s found a place on our ever-growing list of future travel destinations.
Sep 9, 2020
Where the bearded reedling sings
Feeling a hint of fall in the air? This bearded reedling could be, but a drop in temperature isn"t a signal for it to fly on to warmer destinations. These songbirds belong to a resident species, which means most stay put in the marshes, from England to eastern Asia, where they thrive. Their diet changes with the seasons: In the summer, they dine on reed aphids, while during the colder months, reed seeds sustain them. This guy—and we know he"s a male due the distinctive black "mustache" stretching down his face—is perching in the Elmley National Nature Reserve in Kent, one of the largest bird reserves in England.
Sep 8, 2020
Victory Day in Valletta
Today we"re visiting Valletta, the capital of Malta, where the Maltese people are celebrating Victory Day. The national holiday commemorates the end of three historic sieges made on the Maltese archipelago—the Great Siege of Malta, which took place in 1565; the Siege of Valletta by the French, which ended in 1800; and the Siege of Malta during the Second World War by German and Italian forces. The WWII Siege of Malta ended in 1942, after nearly two and a half years of devastating air attacks. King George VI of the United Kingdom, which then ruled the island, awarded Malta the George Cross "for the heroism and devotion of its people" during the great siege. The George Cross was incorporated into the flag of Malta in 1943 and remains there today.
Sep 7, 2020
Take a break! It s Labor Day!
On this Labor Day, we"re paying homage to hard work, no matter what form it takes. In this case, a worker is applying a fresh coat of paint to the Hammering Man, a symbol of laborers everywhere. Hammering Man is a series of sculptures in varying sizes that depict a man with a motorized arm swinging a hammer in a slow, steady motion. American artist Jonathan Borofsky says he created the sculptures as tribute to working-class men and women around the world, and with that in mind, Hammering Man is our Labor Day hero.
Sep 6, 2020
Summer winds down in the Hamptons
As summer unofficially wraps up, we"re looking at Reedy Island, an islet that sits in Moneyboque Bay, across from Westhampton Beach on Long Island, New York. The Hamptons is a collection of villages and hamlets with plenty of sandy beachfront that have long been a popular upscale summer destination for New Yorkers looking to escape the city. This year, that migration started early, as city dwellers headed east in the spring in search of space to social distance. In summer, the beaches, of course, are the main attraction, but the area is also known for dining and nightlife (complete with celebrity spotting), wineries, and family-owned farms and farm stands. And the end of summer isn"t all bad news, at least for the local economy. As temperatures cool and crowds (usually) thin out, the farms shift gears to apple cider and pumpkins, and by November, the harvesting of Peconic Bay scallops begins.
Sep 5, 2020
Don"t get distracted by the awesome top half of today"s photo. The postcard appeal of Idaho"s Sawtooth Range is undeniable, but our focus today is on the humble structure at the bottom.