Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Jul 5, 2021
How green is my valley
Cabo Verde ("Green Cape") celebrates its independence today. Located about 350 miles off the western coast of Africa, the country consists of 10 volcanic islands. We"re looking at the Serra da Malagueta mountain range in the northern part of the island of Santiago, which is protected as a national park. At nearly 3,500 feet, it"s the highest point of northern Santiago and offers views of nearby Fogo and Maio islands, as well as diverse plants and wildlife.
Jul 4, 2021
Happy Independence Day!
All across the United States on July 4, we come together as a nation to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In it, the Second Continental Congress put Great Britain on notice that the 13 American colonies were no longer subject to its laws and instead had formed a new country, the United States of America. Declaration signers, recognizing the importance of the moment and the message, anticipated that generations later we would remember and celebrate "from one end of this continent to the other." The celebration we"re looking at here is in San Francisco, where crowds traditionally gather at various spots along the waterfront area to take in the annual fireworks display over the bay.
Jul 3, 2021
Diving into the underwater nirvana
Indonesia"s Wakatobi National Park protects one of the most diverse underwater environments in the world. Around 400 species of coral are found in these pristine waters, and they"re home to a staggering variety of marine life, including dolphins, whales, turtles, and hundreds of species of fish. The park was established in 2002, preserving more than 5,000 square miles, most of which is covered by coral reefs. In fact, the barrier reef here is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef and is so full of life that famed oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau is said to have called it an "underwater nirvana." Many others have followed in Cousteau"s wake, and Wakatobi has become a preeminent destination for diving and snorkeling.
Jul 2, 2021
A meerkat stands alone
Meerkats, also called suricates, are members of the mongoose family native to the southern African plains. They live in mobs (yes, that"s what a group of meerkats is called) of 20 to 50 animals that work together and share extensive networks of underground burrows. Our friend today, photographed in Namibia, appears to be on sentry duty, which is when a meerkat stands lookout for predators as the rest of the group forages for food, such as insects, small reptiles, and other delicacies. A sentry shift usually lasts about an hour, after which another meerkat takes over and the now-relieved sentry gets to focus on filling its belly.
Jul 1, 2021
For Canada Day, we"re peering up at "Passage migratoire" ("Migratory Passage"), an art installation of hanging woven canoes in Old Québec City. It was part of the 2016 edition of Passages Insolites (Unusual Passages), an annual public art exhibition in the historic Petit-Champlain and Saint-Roch districts of the city. The canoe has long been associated with Canada"s national history, linked with early explorers, fur traders, Indigenous peoples, and colonists who ventured out into the wilderness of the great north. The artist behind this installation, Giorgia Volpe, was inspired by "the idea of migration and its influence on the formation of our society and our territory." Canada welcomes on average about 200,000 immigrants each year, many of whom will become Canadian citizens. The migrations continue…
Jun 30, 2021
An impactful day
We"ll be the ones to drop the news on you: It"s Asteroid Day! Today you"re invited to explore a realm of science usually encountered only through white-knuckle action flicks: asteroid impact avoidance, or the study of what the heck we do if we spot a big chunk of space junk hurtling right at Earth. That"s right, don"t worry: People somewhere are coming up with plans for this.
Jun 29, 2021
An island hopper s paradise
Welcome to sunny and sultry Seychelles, a tropical island nation just south of the equator in the Indian Ocean, roughly 900 miles off the eastern coast of Africa. The gorgeous beach you see here is Anse Source d"Argent on the island of La Digue, one of 115 islands that make up this tropical republic. Anse Source d"Argent has long been a favorite of photographers, who are drawn to its contoured, dark granite boulders, pristine white sand, and turquoise-colored water. Beachcombers and sun worshippers also flock to the Seychelles because of their consistently great weather—daily high temperatures almost always stay within a comfortable range of between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.
Jun 28, 2021
A medieval celebration in the Mediterranean
That mighty fortress at the top of the hill is called the Cittadella—it"s a medieval fortified city at the geographical center of the island of Gozo. Gozo is the second-largest island in the Maltese archipelago (after the island of Malta itself), and despite all appearances it"s the less densely populated of the two.
Jun 27, 2021
Bathing in the light of Pride
In June 2020, Lincoln Center, New York City"s premier arts complex, lit its iconic plaza and fountain in the colors of the rainbow for the first time. It was as a tribute during Pride Month to Pride celebrations and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the LGBTQI+ rights movement. The theme of this year"s NYC Pride celebrations is "The Fight Continues," in recognition of the advancements that have been made over the last 51 years and to highlight the ongoing struggle for equality.
Jun 26, 2021
Spectacular views below!
When residents of the bustling metropolis of Beijing, China, need a break from their daily grind, many will head about 45 miles north of the city to take in the sights at the Shilinxia Scenic Area. Meaning "Gorge of Stone Forest," Shilinxia is a protected 7.5-mile gorge characterized by waterfalls, green forests, and steep slopes. Since 2016, it"s also featured an amazing main attraction—one of the world"s largest glass sightseeing platforms.
Jun 25, 2021
Birds and bees, and why they re so important
As Pollinator Week kicks off today, we"re in Colombia witnessing what appears to be a faceoff between two pollinators. On one side, you have the bee, which takes the title as the best-known pollinator. But birds—like this lovely empress brilliant hummingbird—are excellent pollinators as well. And so are bats, beetles, and other critters that can also move pollen from plant to plant to aid pollination, giving us fruits, seeds, and the next generation of plants. So shall we call this a draw, fellas?
Jun 24, 2021
The call of the wild in Alaska
Most visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska come with a checklist for the "big five" mammals that live here: grizzly bears, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, and caribou like this small group walking along a ridge. These are barren-ground caribou, a migratory subspecies of caribou found across the Arctic band of North America to western Greenland. Barren-ground caribou migrate in large herds, some traveling over 600 miles one way between their summer and winter ranges. But the Denali herd, which numbers around 1,700 animals today, generally stays on the park"s 6 million acres. For good reason, too—it"s the only large herd that isn"t hunted.
Jun 23, 2021
Light show in the forest
You might be crashing the biggest party in Japan"s least populous region. Each summer, fireflies turn this forest in rural Tottori prefecture into their own glitzy nightclub. There"s no telling which fireflies are the males in this shot, but be assured they"ll spend mating season trying to flicker their way into the females" hearts.
Jun 22, 2021
Land of the midnight sun
Here we are in the land of the midnight sun, just after the summer solstice. These days of seemingly endless sunlight are especially dramatic here at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall on the south coast of Iceland. The famous waterfall is less than a two-hour drive from Reykjavik, Iceland"s capital city. Intrepid explorers, hopefully kitted out in good traction shoes and raincoats, can explore the walkways behind and surrounding the raging walls of water.
Jun 21, 2021
The tallest animal in the world on the longest day of the year
Happy summer! Today marks the first full day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Today also happens to be World Giraffe Day, so we"ve picked this Rothschild"s giraffe dining on tree leaves in Kenya"s Lake Nakuru National Park to honor both occasions.
Jun 20, 2021
Happy Father s Day
These bald eagles look like they"re enjoying some family time on Father"s Day. But today is extra special for them, because it"s also American Eagle Day, a celebration that commemorates the date in 1782 when the bird was added to the Great Seal of the United States, effectively becoming a national symbol. With an olive branch in its right talons and a bundle of 13 arrows in its left (representing the 13 original states in the Union), the eagle is said to represent a strong desire for peace, but readiness for conflict. You"ll recognize the Great Seal of the United States from its appearance on passports, flags, official documents, and American currency.
Jun 19, 2021
Surf s up—Down Under
It"s International Surfing Day! Here in the US we may be welcoming summer tomorrow, but these Aussie surfers are saying g"day to the rad waves of winter (which started for them on June 1). Though peak surf season is autumn (that is, our spring) here in the Gold Coast area of Queensland, these tropical beaches offer world-class breaks all year long.
Jun 18, 2021
A city of bridges
We"re in the heart of Switzerland looking down on the compact city of Lucerne, in a charming waterfront setting along the shores of its namesake lake and the River Reuss. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains just out of frame, Lucerne lies in the German-speaking part of central Switzerland and is divided into two parts linked by a series of bridges. The most famous of these bridges—the centerpiece and symbol of Lucerne—is the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), a covered wooden footbridge that you can see spanning diagonally across the Reuss in our photo. The building rising from the river alongside the footbridge is a medieval water tower, which has been used as a prison, torture chamber, local archive, and treasury.
Jun 17, 2021
Just another day in paradise
It takes some effort to reach the stunning Nā Pali Coast on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Located on the island"s northwest side and stretching about 16 miles, Nā Pali isn"t accessible by car. You have to hike in, fly in by helicopter, or come at it from the sea by boat. In the summer, when the waves are calm, you can explore the rugged coast by kayak, but you"ll need a solid supply of muscle power for the sometimes-grueling paddle. If you seek a gentler approach—and if COVID restrictions allow—book a boat trip to explore the interiors of the sea caves that dot the shore. Today, we"re looking down on the Bright Eye sea cave, one of several caves on the Nā Pali Coast that lost their ceilings to the pounding of the sea.
Jun 16, 2021
Put your flippers in the air…
…it"s World Sea Turtle Day! The gentle giant seen here doing the wave was snapped mid-dive, headed to the seafloor near the Great Barrier Reef to munch some marine grass. The green sea turtle is among the larger of the seven sea turtle species, with some individuals reaching 5 feet in length and weighing 700 pounds. They live throughout the world"s subtropical waters, and like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances for food. Despite all that traveling, they return to hatch their eggs on the same select nesting beaches where they were born.
Jun 15, 2021
Are you older than this lake?
If you were born before summer 1991, the answer is yes. Sorry if you already felt a bit long in the tooth, but it"s true: Until 30 years ago, Lake Pinatubo was just a rumble in Mount Pinatubo"s magma-filled belly. It was a calamitous eruption on June 15, 1991—one of the 20th century"s most powerful—that blew off Pinatubo"s original summit and formed a vast crater, which gradually filled with water as greenery reclaimed the summit.
Jun 14, 2021
A Flag Day tradition
Because it"s Flag Day in the US, we"re at the site of what"s believed to be the largest free-flying US flag in the land. It"s crowning the George Washington Bridge connecting Manhattan with Fort Lee, New Jersey. For those crossing the Hudson today, Old Glory will be on full display on the New Jersey tower, at least between the hours of 7 AM and 1:15 PM, after which New York Port Authority workers will reel the 60-by-90-foot, 450-pound nylon flag back into the tube where it"s housed, suspended hundreds of feet above the busy crossing. The flag is set to come out again on July 4, and if you can"t catch it then, you"ll still have a chance to see this enormous flag a few more times this year, as it is scheduled to fly again on Labor Day, September 11, and Veteran"s Day.
Jun 13, 2021
Bear watching in the Finnish forest
If you go out to the woods today in parts of Finland, you might get a big surprise. That"s because about 2,000 brown bears can be found freely roaming the taiga—or boreal forest—which covers most of the country, making this rugged wilderness in northern Europe the perfect place to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. And bear watching is a popular pastime in Finland. The bear-watching season begins in April—when the first bears emerge from hibernation in a white blanket of snow—and lasts until fall. Summer nights are the best time to spot the bears, even under the golden glow of the midnight sun for those who venture north of the Arctic Circle. Many observe the creatures from the safety of a "hide," a purpose-built wooden cabin offering visitors a close-up view of a real teddy bear"s picnic.
Jun 12, 2021
In Texas, even the riverbend is big
We"re celebrating the 77th birthday of Big Bend National Park, the place the National Park Service calls "one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States." To get here, you have to be committed. This rugged terrain, which covers almost a million acres, is one of the most remote spots in the country—it"s hours from the nearest towns or the closest airport, making it one of the least-visited national parks in the country. Those who do make the effort to get to Big Bend are rewarded with an undeveloped natural beauty, and silence, two things that seem to be in short supply these days.
Jun 11, 2021
An island in the Highlands
Here in the Scottish Highlands, there"s something about the rugged environs of Glen Etive that has tickled the imaginations of both ancient and modern storytellers. A glen is a long, narrow valley and this one is especially beautiful. It has strange footnotes in both Irish and Scottish folklore. The name itself translates to "little fierce one" and was given in honor of Etive, the Gaelic goddess long associated with Loch Etive.