Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Jun 10, 2021
A Portuguese fort takes a star turn
Perched on a strategic hillside, high above the hot, dry plains of eastern Portugal, the Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort has been called a masterpiece of 18th-century military architecture. The thick walls that surround the fortress are shaped in a star pattern, with pentagonal bastions jutting out from the curtain wall at the corners. We"re looking at one of those bastions coming to a point in the lower center of our image.
Jun 9, 2021
Ring of fire
No, this isn"t some kind of early promo for "Halo Infinite." Today"s homepage image shows an annular solar eclipse captured in New Mexico in 2012. ("Annular" is just a fancy word for doughnut-shaped.) It"s not unlike the eclipse some northerly parts of the world will enjoy tomorrow.
Jun 8, 2021
A day for our oceans
To celebrate World Oceans Day, we"re swimming through a shoal of jack fish just off the coast of Baja, California, in Cabo Pulmo National Park. This Mexican marine park in the Sea of Cortez is home to the northernmost and oldest coral reef on the west coast of North America, estimated to be about 20,000 years old. Jacks are clearly plentiful here, but divers and snorkelers in Cabo Pulmo can also come across many other species of fish and marine mammals, including several varieties of sharks, whales, dolphins, tortoises, and manta rays.
Jun 7, 2021
Dressed to impress
This time of year, from late spring to summer, male adult indigo buntings take it up a notch and turn a brilliant deep blue. They fly to a high perch—like our cheerful fellow atop a sunflower—and sing from morning to night to try to catch the attention of females. Indigo buntings are members of the "blue" clade (subgroup) of the cardinal family. During breeding season, you"ll find the small, seed-loving songbirds in brushy habitats in pastures, along roadways, and at the edges of forests throughout eastern and central North America, from southern Canada down to Florida. But you"ll have to keep a sharp eye out for the plain brown females, who are usually tending to their young deep in the thicket.
Jun 6, 2021
On this shore, history was made
As the sun sets on a beach in Normandy, France, what appear to be working barges and boats offshore are actually the remnants of a Mulberry harbour, one of the temporary portable harbors created by the Allies during World War II. Their story began 77 years ago today, on D-Day, when the first of the Allied troops touched down on the Nazi-occupied beaches at Normandy. After the Allies successfully held the beachheads, the Mulberries were towed into place so the artificial harbors could provide the port facilities necessary to offload the thousands of men and vehicles, and tons of supplies necessary to sustain the effort to drive the Germans out of France.
Jun 5, 2021
Bird s-eye view on World Environment Day
For World Environment Day today we"re in northeastern Costa Rica, a nature lover"s paradise. The UN established World Environment Day in 1974 to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It begins with research, which is exactly what happens in this pristine corner of the planet. The misty canopy of forest pictured here is part of La Selva Biological Station, an internationally renowned center for tropical forest research that"s associated with universities and research institutions in the United States, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.
Jun 4, 2021
Islands that turned the tide
Pictured here are Eastern Island and Spit Island, the two smallest of the three islands in the Midway Atoll, located about 3,200 miles west of San Francisco and 2,500 miles east of Tokyo. The atoll was formed as a shield volcano roughly 28 million years ago. Over the millennia, the volcanic island subsided under the sea but the coral reef encircling it has maintained itself and protected the atoll"s three, low-lying islands (Sand Island, not shown in our photo, is the third).
Jun 3, 2021
Get on your bike and ride
In honor of the UN"s World Bicycle Day, we"re at Triglav National Park in Slovenia, with a bird"s-eye view of riders crossing this dubious-looking wooden suspension bridge over the blue glacial water of the river called Soča. Protecting some of the most magnificent mountain landscapes of the Julian Alps, Triglav is the country"s only national park, but it"s a stunner. Running along Slovenia"s northwestern border with Italy, Triglav was first protected as a "conservation park" in 1924, then made a national park in 1981. The park gets its name from the mountain at its heart, Triglav, long considered a symbol of Slovenia and of Slovene identity.
Jun 2, 2021
The dry days of winter in Etosha
During the dry winter months from May to October, scattered waterholes sustain wildlife in the grasslands of Etosha National Park in Namibia. Large numbers of animals, such as elephants, giraffes, zebras, and our springboks here gather for a drink—making this among the best times of year to view wildlife. A medium-sized antelope, springboks are native to the dry savannahs of southern Africa where they once migrated in large numbers. Today, springbok herds live mainly on game preserves and protected areas like the 8,600 square miles within the Etosha boundaries.
Jun 1, 2021
Pretty poetic for a pit
Taking a bird"s-eye view along the coast of Italy"s bootheel, you"ll spot many coves and caves like this one, the Grotta della Poesia. In English that"s Poetry"s Cave, a sea-flooded sinkhole so named for the ancient poets who—legend has it—were charmed by a beautiful princess who often came here for a dip.
May 31, 2021
Here we honor the women who ve served
For this Memorial Day, we"re paying our respects at the Military Women"s Memorial, at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Since the American Revolution, more than 3 million women have served the nation in a military capacity, and this memorial is dedicated to them, honoring their courage, patriotism, and leadership. Opened in 1997, it"s the only major national memorial to honor all the women who have defended the United States in, or with, the armed services. And it"s more than just a memorial. It"s also an education center, with thousands of photographs, documents, textiles, artifacts, and other materials representing all eras and services of American women"s military history.
May 30, 2021
Who s hiding in the kelp?
This California sea lion is peeking out from a kelp forest near the Channel Islands of California. Although this species is named for the Golden State, the California sea lion"s range stretches all along the western coast of North America, from central Mexico up to Southeast Alaska. They tend to live in shallow coastal areas, dining on squid, anchovies, mackerel, and more. Highly social and intelligent, California sea lions often congregate in large—and loud—colonies on beaches and rocky shores to breed and have their pups.
May 29, 2021
A path into history
When it comes to tourist destinations, the Wuhou Temple in the city of Chengdu, China, must be among the world"s oldest. It"s been attracting visitors for nearly 1,800 years and remains one of the most popular attractions in all of China. Located in Sichuan province, this temple complex was constructed to honor two principal members of the Shu Han state (221-263) of China"s early Three Kingdoms period. And although the founder of Shu Han, Liu Bei, is honored with his own temple and shrine here, the real headliner is one of China"s most important historical figures, Zhuge Liang, who is remembered as a great wit, scholar, astronomer, statesman, and military strategist. In fact, the name Wuhou itself derives from the Chinese title "Marquis of Wu," which was an honorary title given to Zhuge Liang.
May 28, 2021
Freeloaders of the avian world
Ever felt like some folks are just born jerks? Birds can relate. Take for example the uninvited speckly-white visitor to this robin"s nest: That smaller egg belongs to a baby cowbird whose mother sneakily laid it among the blue robin eggs when no one was looking. Once the baby birds all hatch, the cowbird will grow much faster and larger than its robin "siblings," soon becoming an only chick by muscling them right out of the nest. And if mama robin ejects the cowbird egg before it hatches, the cowbird mom may take notice and chuck the remaining robin eggs from the nest out of spite.
May 27, 2021
Listening to the sea
Two enormous horns like those of old-fashioned gramophones are pointed toward the North Sea along this stretch of the Belgian coast. At the end of one of the horns, a bronze figure of a woman sits on a bench, seemingly listening to the distant sounds of the sea, while the other horn invites a visitor to do the same. The woman"s antiquated clothing, the outsized bolts on the horns, and the fluted Victrola-like design all echo the Belle Époque style once prevalent here on the Flemish coast. (Click on the above image to see more detailed views.)
May 26, 2021
Behold the blood moon
We"ve heard the phrase "many moons," but never took it this literally. We"re looking at 28 merged photos of our one and only moon over Utah"s Monument Valley: 26 snapshots of its partial phases, plus two layered exposures of the eclipsing moon at center.
May 25, 2021
An improbable tribute for Towel Day
"Space," Douglas Adams observed in his comic sci-fi novel "The Hitchhiker"s Guide to the Galaxy," "is big. Really big. You just won"t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you might think it"s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that"s just peanuts to space." So, in his fictional universe, Adams invented the Infinite Improbability Drive as a way to cross its vast distances in a nothingth of a second. And, in one memorable passage, to convert two approaching nuclear missiles into a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale. Thus, today"s image of the Earth"s largest toothed whale is our tribute to Adams on the 20th annual celebration of Towel Day (it"s surprisingly difficult to find a really great image of a bowl of petunias).
May 24, 2021
A bridge comes full circle
If residents of Aarhus, Denmark"s second-largest city, feel like they"re going around in circles, then it might have something to do with this wooden walkway. The Infinite Bridge, or "Den Uendelige Bro" to locals, is about 200 feet in diameter. It forms a perfect circle overlapping the sand and sea, offering sweeping views across Aarhus Bay and along the tree-lined beach. Designed by Danish architects Niels Povlsgaard and Johan Gjødes, it was originally constructed as a temporary display in 2015 for the city"s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. But the never-ending pier proved so popular, the city now opens the bridge to circular meandering each spring and summer.
May 23, 2021
A palace for the public
May 23, 2021 marks the 110th anniversary of the opening of the New York Public Library"s Main Branch (now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building). Back just before the turn of the 20th century, a group of New York City business leaders decided that if their hometown was ever going to compete with Paris and London as a center of urban culture, it needed a great library.
May 22, 2021
Blue paradise on the Costa Brava
On Spain"s Costa Brava, about 65 miles north of Barcelona, lies a perfectly preserved medieval town just beyond the enceinte (stone wall) you see curving up the hillside. While La Vila Vella (The Old Town) traces its origins to the 12th century, it still melds beautifully with the more modern, larger city of Tossa de Mar.
May 21, 2021
Whoopin it up!
For Endangered Species Day, celebrated annually on the third Friday of May, we"re featuring the whooping crane, one of only two crane species found in North America. Once seen throughout midwestern North America, whooping cranes were driven perilously close to extinction by the early 1940s, with fewer than two dozen birds in the wild. Thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers have now risen to more than 600. While that"s good news, this limited recovery is still fragile, and these incredible creatures remain imperiled, particularly by the loss of their wetland habitat.
May 20, 2021
Happy Bee Day to you
If flowers are the starring cast of nature"s big spring show, then bees are the crew. Honey bees are always buzzing in the background, pollinating not only our photogenic petaled friends, but also food crops that make up a third of humans" diet. But when seen in front of the camera, they"re hardly bee-listers: Today"s pollen-coated photo subject was certainly ready for her close-up.
May 19, 2021
A path lain with petals
Pisgah National Forest, in western North Carolina, is primarily a hardwood forest boasting 500,000 acres of mountainous peaks and cascading waterfalls that attract hikers, anglers, mountain bikers, and more. But from mid-May to mid-June, the crowds flock here to hike trails that lead to incredible views: acres of native Catawba rhododendrons in full blossom.
May 18, 2021
International Museum Day
On International Museum Day, we"re looking at the Centre Pompidou Málaga in Spain, an offshoot of the modern art museum in Paris. This location was introduced in 2015 as a pop-up branch—a temporary, underground space for exhibitions and multi-disciplinary experiences as well as workshops dedicated to younger audiences. Originally scheduled for a five-year run, it was extended until 2025. The piece we see here, "El Cubo," created by French artist Daniel Buren, is the only part of the museum that"s visible above ground. The glass cube functions as a multicolored skylight, its panels projecting tinted light into the subterranean museum"s courtyard below.
May 17, 2021
Happy Syttende Mai!
If you have Norwegian roots, May 17, aka Syttende Mai, is a day to celebrate. On this day in 1814 the constitution of Norway was signed, declaring Norway an independent kingdom. Today we honor this stunning country by looking out over the town of Ålesund, nestled amid mountains and fjords in the western part of the country. This seaport stretches across several islands linked by bridges and is known for its charming art nouveau architecture. In ordinary years, Ålesund draws hordes of tourists and serves as a gateway for visitors to explore the bird island of Runde as well as Geirangerfjord, considered one of Norway"s most beautiful fjords.