Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Nov 30, 2020
A water loch-ed castle
Located on a small island where three sea lochs meet in northwestern Scotland, the current Eilean Donan Castle is just the latest incarnation of several monastic cells and Scottish clan strongholds that have occupied the tidal islet since the 7th century. The first fortified castle was built in the 13th century to defend against invading Vikings who occupied much of Scotland at the time. An iconic symbol of Scotland, from the 14th to 18th centuries the castle was mostly held by the Mackenzies and defended by the MacRaes, both storied clans of the Scottish Highlands. The castle was destroyed in 1719 by the invading British Royal Navy during the Jacobite Uprising, but was rebuilt along its earlier design in the early 20th century by Lt. Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap.
Nov 29, 2020
New Zealand s loneliest mountain
According to the legends of New Zealand"s Indigenous Māori people, the lonely Mount Taranaki wasn"t always lonely. Taranaki, the story goes, once lived among other mountains in the North Island"s center. But Taranaki feuded with the powerful volcano Tongariro over the love of the pretty peak Pīhanga. In their epic battle, the now flat-topped Tongariro lost his head but emerged victorious. The vanquished Taranaki wandered west, cutting trenches as he trudged to the shore and filling them with lovesick tears to create the region"s rivers.
Nov 27, 2020
Green is the new black
Black Friday traditionally marks the start of the holiday shopping season, but while bargain hunters scramble online this year to bag a discount or two, we"ve found a treat that money can"t buy—this view. Here on the crystalline waters of a lake in Glacier National Park, there"s no waiting in line as we take in the stunning scenery and marvel at the towering snow-capped peaks along the Continental Divide. If you prefer your adventure to take place on dry land, there are over 700 miles of trails to hike within the park—perfect for burning off those turkey and pumpkin-pie calories.
Nov 26, 2020
Happy Thanksgiving from an expert face-stuffer
The Siberian chipmunk is the only species of chipmunk found outside of North America. Its native habitat ranges from across Russia to northern China, Japan, and Korea. Though Siberian pine nuts are a favorite meal, these little rodents will eat nearly anything—seeds, fruits, insects, even small birds and lizards. Our ravenous friend here in Hokkaido, Japan, is gorging on inflorescences, or clusters of flowers. A chipmunk can stuff a surprising amount of goodies into its cheek pouches, which can stretch to three times its head size—imagine how ridiculous we"d look if our stomachs were as forgiving.
Nov 25, 2020
A dying breed of tree thrives in an American park
We"re standing on the Mall of New York City"s Central Park, in the middle of fall foliage season. When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed this quarter-mile walkway, they were inspired by Europe"s public spaces. They envisioned a "grand promenade" where people of all backgrounds, from the city"s monied elite to those of lesser status, could come together and mingle.
Nov 24, 2020
Feel the spray in Monterey
Fantasizing about warm, sandy beaches with gently lapping waves? Well, we decided you could use a shake-up—so here we are on California"s Monterey Peninsula for a glimpse at the ocean"s raw, unadulterated power. Asilomar State Beach"s mile-long coastline trail offers views like this one of seas crashing on jagged shores. Below the frothy surface swim innumerable ocean organisms protected by the massive Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest marine preserve in the contiguous United States. Behind us, a rich dune habitat supporting its own delicate flora and fauna can be explored via a boardwalk trail.
Nov 23, 2020
Autumn comes to Old Town
The medieval center of Bern, Switzerland"s capital, looks much as it did when most of these buildings were first constructed between the 12th and the 15th centuries. What"s now called Old Town was founded in 1191 on a long, narrow peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Aare River. As Bern grew over the centuries, it erected defensive walls and moats only to tear them down again with each successive wave of expansion. In their place are now broad public spaces for outdoor cafes and markets, like the Zibelemärit (Onion Market), an annual fall tradition.
Nov 22, 2020
Birds of the Drömling
Common cranes (aka Eurasian cranes) often gravitate to wet open fields, bogs, and marshes. This flock is congregating in the Drömling wetland in Germany. The most widely distributed of all the 15 species of cranes, its native range covers a wide swath of Europe and Asia, with the largest breeding populations in Russia and Scandinavia. As winter approaches, common cranes make the long journey south, often in large flocks of about 400 birds, to North Africa or parts of southern Europe and Asia in search of more civilized temperatures.
Nov 21, 2020
Headed to the High Country
Sometimes the transition from fall to winter is an abrupt one—as demonstrated by these pristine, colorful leaves seemingly frozen in time. The cold might convince you we"re enjoying a customary leaf-peeping tour of frigid New England—but we"re hundreds of miles farther south.
Nov 20, 2020
Atop the Needle of Chamonix
With these dramatic clouds, the shardlike pinnacles of the Aiguille du Midi (Needle of Midday) resemble the spires of a ruined Alpine cathedral. This is just one of the many spectacular peaks of the Mont Blanc massif, the storied Alps range in eastern France that stretches across the border into Italy and Switzerland. It was here in France"s Chamonix valley that mountaineering became a sport in the mid-1700s. This dramatic peak was first summited in 1818, a feat that helped to popularize mountain climbing throughout Europe.
Nov 19, 2020
That bill s just not going to fit
Today we"re visiting Costa Rica, where this magnificent chestnut-mandibled toucan is fashioning a nest in the cavity of a tree. It can be hard to find a suitable space for this, the largest toucan in Costa Rica, so mating pairs will often use an abandoned woodpecker"s nest or find a large hole in a decaying part of a tree. This one seems perfectly formfitting.
Nov 18, 2020
An aviation celebration
The airborne craft you"re seeing aren"t models—they"re real airplanes hung in a hangar at the Smithsonian"s Udvar-Hazy Center, a National Air and Space Museum branch located next to Dulles International Airport. These retired craft are suspended in the company of notable flying machines from every era, like a Blackbird stealth fighter, a Concorde jet, and the space shuttle Discovery.
Nov 17, 2020
Take a hike near Lovers Lane
For those of you who love getting outside, you"re in luck! Today is Take a Hike Day, an activity the American Hiking Society says will make you happier as you enjoy the great outdoors. And what better way to take a hike than a walk near Lovers" Lane in San Francisco"s Presidio? The sinuous trail we see in today"s photo is called "Wood Line" and was designed by the environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy. By using felled eucalyptus trees, Goldsworthy intended this land art to eventually biodegrade and fade back into the forest floor. It"s one of four of his works within this national park that once served as a US military outpost.
Nov 16, 2020
A temple, preserved
The temples at Abu Simbel, commissioned by Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II around 1264 BCE, would not be around for us to photograph if it weren"t for the efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A couple centuries after the Abu Simbel temples were completed, Ramesses" empire had collapsed and the sands of the Nubian region of North Africa began to consume them. European explorers "discovered" Abu Simbel in the early 1800s, leading to massive efforts to excavate and preserve the ruins of the great pharaoh"s monument to himself.
Nov 15, 2020
What’s blooming in New Zealand?
Lupines—or "lupins" as they"re generally called here in New Zealand—usually hit peak bloom around mid-to-late November in the Mackenzie region of the South Island. This image shows the burst of color along the shores of Lake Tekapo, famed for its annual lupin blooms. The colorful carpets of purples, pinks, blues, and whites along waterways and roads look stunning, drawing tourists to the area, and locals appreciate the economic benefits that come with these visitors. But lupins hail from North America, and in New Zealand, they"re considered invasive species that crowd out native flora, ruining the habitat for birds like the wrybill, banded dotterel, and other species that live along the waterside.
Nov 14, 2020
Decorating for Diwali
During Diwali, the five-day festival of lights, vibrant patterns of all shapes and sizes are created on the floor out of materials such as colored rice, sand, and flower petals. The charming Indian folk art, called rangoli, is usually made near the entrance of a home to welcome guests and deities, and is said to bring good luck on special occasions. Celebrations might be a bit different this year, but buildings will still be brightened by these decorative drawings, twinkling lights, and small oil lamps, known as diyas.
Nov 13, 2020
Once upon a midafternoon dreary…
To the superstitiously inclined, this flock of ravens—pictured battling a snowstorm in Finland—is nothing short of a bad omen, while to others it"s just a bunch of beaks. Likewise, today is just another flip of the calendar to some, while Friday the 13th consigns others to a day of dread—or at least one of relative inactivity to avoid potential mishaps.
Nov 12, 2020
Paddle out onto Connery Pond in the Adirondacks of upstate New York and you may be treated to this mist-shrouded peekaboo tease from Whiteface Mountain. We"re near the town of Lake Placid, known to many as the two-time home of the Winter Olympic Games, in 1932 and again in 1980. The Alpine skiing events in 1980 were held right on the slopes of Whiteface Mountain.
Nov 11, 2020
Honoring our veterans
Today is Veterans Day, the day we set aside to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. There are roughly 18 million living veterans in the US, including nearly 2.25 million who served during the Korean War. June 25 of this year marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, when North Korean troops invaded South Korea. While 21 nations contributed forces to the United Nations" defense of South Korea, 90% of the troops who served in the Korean theater were from the United States.
Nov 10, 2020
Baddest of the badlands
Heading west on Interstate 90, peek out the driver"s side when you"re about three-quarters of the way across South Dakota. It"s the first clue you"ve entered the Wild West: the expansive, layered landscape of Badlands National Park. It"s enjoyed government protection since 1939, first as a national monument and more completely after it was upgraded to national park status on this day in 1978. The park protects 244,000 acres of dramatically eroded bedrock replete with fossil beds—as well as the nation"s largest mixed-grass prairie, hosting bison, prairie dogs, and endangered black-footed ferrets.
Nov 9, 2020
Autumn in Piedmont
This beautiful fall scene is in the Langhe area of Piedmont, one of the great wine regions in Italy. More specifically, we"re looking at the hills of Barolo, a town famous for its locally produced wine of the same name, made from Nebbiolo grapes. In addition to wine, Piedmont is known for its truffles, which are harvested this time of year. Piedmont chocolate is also highly prized. Bicerin, a popular coffee-chocolate drink from the city of Turin (which hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics), has been around since the 18th century. The piemontesi, as locals are called, know how to eat and drink. Salute!
Nov 8, 2020
Languid life on the Lakes
Surrounded by forested mountains ("fells") and lush, rolling farmlands, the lake known as Derwentwater is one of more than 30 bodies of water in North West England"s Lake District. Rounder and broader in shape than its fingerlike brethren, Derwentwater is home to several small isles like this one—though the classical estate built here is an unusual interruption of this mostly natural tableau.
Nov 7, 2020
National Bison Day
If ever there was an animal that deserved some recognition, it"s the bison. Since 2012, National Bison Day has been observed on the first Saturday of November to acknowledge the animal"s cultural, historical, and economic significance—as well as its remarkable comeback. Bison were once plentiful in North America. Tens of millions strong until the mid-1800s, they roamed in great herds, helping to diversify and maintain the prairie habitat. They"ve also played several important roles in Native American cultures. Indigenous peoples have used every part of the bison for food, utensils, and clothing—and they pay tribute to the giant beasts in religious rituals.
Nov 6, 2020
Life in the slow lane
In observance of Manatee Awareness Month, we"re swimming through clear, aquifer-fed spring waters in Florida with two friendly "sea cows." Generally solitary animals, manatees are also known to be curious and will approach boats. That"s why Florida enforces special speed zones for watercraft, particularly as the manatees are on the move to warmer areas to spend the winter. While manatees have no known natural predators, they remain a vulnerable species due to loss of habitat and collisions with boats. These two have arrived in Three Sisters Springs, a natural freshwater spring system in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge on the west coast of the Florida Peninsula. The refuge protects critical habitat for the hundreds of manatees that migrate here each winter.
Nov 5, 2020
A medieval Moorish gem
Originally founded as the capital of a small Moorish kingdom in the 10th century, Albarracín remains one of the most perfectly preserved medieval towns in Spain. The town"s narrow, winding streets, centuries-old architecture, and dramatic defensive walls were all constructed with the pink-hued gypsum found throughout the region. Aside from its historical charms, Albarracín is also a popular destination for rock climbers who come to scale the red boulders and cliff faces outside the village"s fortress walls.