Bing Wallpaper Gallery
May 16, 2021
A magnificent monolith
Towering more than 650 feet, El Peñón de Guatapé (The Rock of Guatapé) is an inselberg, which is geologist-speak for a stone monolith that stands alone amid relatively flat surroundings. This huge rock is found in northwest Colombia, a region once inhabited by the Indigenous Tahamí people, who are said to have worshipped El Peñón, as many locals now call it. Probably because it"s so smooth, no one is known to have climbed the rock until 1954, when a small group of friends scaled it by wedging a series of boards into a vertical crack. It took them five days to reach the top.
May 15, 2021
Happy Astronomy Day!
No, that"s not a downpour of lightsabers—but it"s no typical night sky either. Stargazing here at Paranal Observatory, on a mountaintop in Chile"s desolate Atacama Desert, you"ll get one of the clearest possible naked-eye views of the southern skies. This "lightsaber" effect comes from the photo"s long exposure: What we"re seeing is these stars" paths as they track across the night sky due to our planet"s rotation. The dazzling colors indicate temperature, from chilly red (5,000-ish degrees Fahrenheit) to balmy blue (temps in the tens of thousands).
May 14, 2021
A misty morning in Brazil
The Amazon rainforest is big. Almost unimaginably big. To begin to grasp its immensity, consider these numbers: The Amazon rainforest covers about 2% of the world"s surface area, nearly 2.1 million square miles across South America, mostly (nearly 60%) in the country you see here, Brazil. It"s an area that accounts for over half the Earth"s remaining rainforests. The breadth of biodiversity is incomparable—nearly 16,000 different tree species, 40,000 species of other plants, 2.5 million insect species, and over 2,000 different types of birds and mammals. Incredibly, perhaps a tenth of the planet"s known species call the Amazon home, many of which have not even been identified.
May 13, 2021
Hues of Hokkaido
The Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido is known the world over as a winter wonderland. But once the snow melts, it"s not long before the northerly island becomes a summery extravaganza of color. Just outside the town of Biei in central Hokkaido"s hilly highlands, gardeners cultivate a rainbow blanket of tulips, lupine, marigolds, dahlias, and many more flowering plants. So wide is the assortment here at Shikisai no Oka (meaning "Hills of Seasonal Colors") that if you visit between April and October, you"re sure to find at least one type of flower in full bloom.
May 12, 2021
A visit to Limerick on Limerick Day
Today is Limerick Day, and what better place to celebrate this unofficial holiday than in Limerick, Ireland. The connection between the historic city and the humorous, five-line verse is unclear. Several theories have been purported, none of them definitive. But the city of Limerick has embraced its namesake poetry style and in recent years the Limerick Writers" Centre has hosted an annual competition called Bring Your Limericks to Limerick.
May 11, 2021
The Crown of the Continent
With one million acres of rugged, northwestern Montana wilderness to explore, a trip to Glacier National Park could fill up an entire summer and more. But let"s just take one day and virtually visit Grinnell Lake. A 7-mile loop trail, a relatively easy one in this mountain wilderness, takes you to the shores of the lake turned emerald green by glacial silt. Grinnell Lake—as well as Mount Grinnell and Grinnell Glacier—is named for the naturalist George Bird Grinnell. For two decades, he lobbied for federal protection of these lands, and on May 11, 1910, the "Crown of the Continent," as Grinnell dubbed the area, became the nation"s 10th national park.
May 10, 2021
An ancient sailing tradition takes to the water
During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we"re turning our attention to this vessel setting sail from Honolulu. It looks like a sailboat at sunset, accompanied by a group of rowers. But this is actually the Hōkūle"a, a replica of a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, as it departs in May 2014 for a three-year "Mālama Honua" voyage to circumnavigate the world. The Polynesian Voyaging Society, which organizes the expeditions of the Hōkūle"a, explains that "Mālama Honua" means to "care for our Island Earth." As they sail around the world, they"re discovering and sharing local and Indigenous wisdom in a bid to help overcome the world"s current challenges.
May 9, 2021
Happy Mother s Day!
To celebrate Mother"s Day, we"re in California"s Monterey Bay, where a sea otter mom gives her 3-day-old pup a place to snuggle and gives us an amazingly cute picture to boot. These incredibly photogenic animal moms shower their kids with attention, cradling them and grooming them for hours. But all that love is more than a gesture of affection, as newborn sea otter pups can"t swim. A pup is totally dependent for about six months, so mom will carry it around on her stomach like you see here. When the little one does venture into the water on its own, mom will rub the pup to fluff its coat, which causes the fur to retain air bubbles, insulating it from chilly water and causing the youngster to float like a cork.
May 8, 2021
World Migratory Bird Day
For World Migratory Bird Day, we"re looking at a flock of black-tailed godwits in the Netherlands. These shorebirds breed in parts of Europe and Russia, and then migrate to areas in Western Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. A large percentage of the godwit population breeds in the Netherlands, which is why the country voted to make it the national bird in 2015. It"s also captured in paintings by Dutch artists Vermeer and Rembrandt, making the black-tailed godwit as "Dutch as they come," according to the Dutch newspaper Trouw.
May 7, 2021
Deep in the North Woods wetlands
To celebrate American Wetlands Month, we"re flying over Norcross Brook, which snakes through the wetlands of Maine"s North Woods near Moosehead Lake. Wetlands like these are an often underappreciated natural resource. They act as vital links between the land and our planet"s watersheds, playing a crucial role in protecting healthy ecosystems. In addition to providing indispensable habitat for the many species that call them home, wetlands filter our drinking water and cycle nutrients. They also provide a natural buffer from storms, absorb flood waters, and capture carbon from the atmosphere—all of which help to mitigate the impact of climate change.
May 6, 2021
Why you should thank a nurse today
Artist Tristan Eaton created this mural, "Now & Forever," as part of a big thank you to nurses and other medical personnel during National Nurses Week last year in New York City. At the time, the city was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and an army of nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff delivered critical care under dire conditions. Now a year later, nurses continue their vital work of providing care for the residents of New York and everywhere else. National Nurses Week is observed annually from May 6-12 to honor the crucial role that nurses play in health care—as if we needed any reminder of that after the year we"ve had. Still, we invite everyone to thank a nurse this week for their skill, professionalism, grit, and warmth. Our debt to them is deep.
May 5, 2021
The birthplace of Cinco de Mayo
The church we see on the grassy hill was built after Hernan Cortez and his Spanish army conquered Cholula one October day in 1519. The Spanish ravaged the Aztec holy city that day, murdering 10% of its population and burning down the many pyramids that dotted the area. But just underneath this church, buried for centuries, lay an ancient secret never discovered by the Spanish. It"s the largest pyramid in the world, the Great Pyramid of Cholula, so large its enormous base would span several Olympic-sized swimming pools.
May 4, 2021
Happy Star Wars Day!
Sprinting over the sands, this grey seal reminds us of Luke Skywalker"s zippy landspeeder vehicle from the first "Star Wars" flick. But unlike Luke, it"s not bound for Tosche Station to pick up some power converters—just to the sea for a fishy snack.
May 3, 2021
It s Teacher Appreciation Week
Twelve-year-old Seattle student Caroline Holt knows that teachers play a pivotal role in her life, and that"s why she created this sign for Teacher Appreciation Week and posted it outside her school. Teachers everywhere could use a sign of our appreciation, this week and every week—but perhaps especially now. Despite more than a year of staggering challenges presented by the pandemic, teachers still manage to inspire a lifelong love of learning in their students and provide a foundation for young people"s future well-being and happiness.
May 2, 2021
Happy World Laughter Day
Even though these Burchell"s zebras are probably fighting, to us it kind of looks like they are sharing a laugh. And since today is World Laughter Day, we"ve been trying to imagine what kind of joke would make a zebra laugh. Why did the lion spit out the clown? Because he tasted funny. Maybe. Anyway, World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May to remind people of the very real physical and mental health benefits of laughter. It"s no joke that laughter has a clinically proven positive effect on your well-being. And experts (yes, there are experts) agree that laughing lowers blood pressure, releases endorphins, works your abs, reduces stress hormones, and even boosts T cells that fight infection. Faking it still works, even if you"re not feeling it.
May 1, 2021
It s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
With Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month kicking off today, we"re visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco"s Golden Gate Park. Originally designed as a temporary exhibit in the 1894 World"s Fair, the gardens became a permanent fixture in the park, overseen by landscape designer Makoto Hagiwara.
Apr 30, 2021
The Spirit of Harlem by Louis Delsarte
On International Jazz Day, we"re looking at "The Spirit of Harlem," a glass mosaic mural by artist Louis Delsarte. Located near the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City"s Harlem neighborhood, it depicts, among others, jazz greats Cab Calloway and Count Basie. Originally commissioned in 2005, the mural was covered up in 2017 when a new store moved into its location. After a petition and protests, the retailer worked with Delsarte to restore the mural and add a new plaque dedicating it to the Harlem community. Delsarte, whose other works include a 125-foot-long mural at the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium in Atlanta, died in May 2020.
Apr 28, 2021
Coming home to roost
From North America to Western Europe, northern gannets live all along the North Atlantic coasts. These large birds spend most of their lives at sea, following schools of sardines, herring, and other small fish that they feed on. During breeding and hatching season, northern gannets often return to the same colony locations year after year, where thousands of birds may gather to nest and rear their young. This group is busily collecting nesting material on Great Saltee Island, the larger of the two Saltee Islands, about 3 miles off the coast of southern Ireland. Both Great and Little Saltee are largely unoccupied, well, unless you count all the birds.
Apr 27, 2021
Design for Each and All
Happy International Design Day! It"s been said the best designs are the ones you never notice, but this giant yellow polka-dotted pumpkin on Japan"s Naoshima Island is kind of hard to miss. The sculpture is the work of Yayoi Kusama, an avant-garde artist active since the 1950s and known for crafting outlandish, repeating patterns in bright colors. Polka dots and pumpkins are her most famous motifs, showing up not only on her sculptures but in her paintings, performance pieces, and films.
Apr 26, 2021
Cheese! We ll go somewhere where there s cheese!
Ahh, the pastoral countryside of the Yorkshire Dales in Northern England. Dewy mornings, grazing farm animals, hand-built dry stone walls, and…cheese? Well, if you"re a fan of the beloved British claymation series "Wallace & Gromit," you may have first heard of this area of the Dales, Wensleydale, because of its local cheese. In fact, the animated duo"s notorious affinity for the local curd—which Wallace likes because producers thought saying it makes his face look "nice and toothy"—became so widespread that it helped the Wensleydale cheesemakers stave off bankruptcy.
Apr 25, 2021
One giant leap for penguins
These Adélie penguins are jumping for joy because it"s World Penguin Day. Or maybe they"re just looking for a snack as they dive off this iceberg. Native to the land and surrounding waters of Antarctica, Adélie penguins migrate to their coastal breeding grounds in late October or November. They can dive as deep as 575 feet, and swim as far as 185 miles round trip to find krill, fish, and squid.
Apr 24, 2021
A garden of prickly delights
To celebrate the final weekend of National Park Week, we"re at Joshua Tree National Park in southeastern California, about a three-hour drive from Los Angeles. This 1,235-square-mile stretch of land where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts converge was declared a national monument in 1936, then was redesignated a national park in 1994. That status protects a wide variety of plant and animal life, including the eponymous Joshua tree, which can be found growing mostly in the hills on the Mojave side of the park.
Apr 23, 2021
A house of grand scale(s)
We"re looking at the rooftop of Casa Batlló, a six-story building in the center of Barcelona topped with colorful "scales." What brings us here? Well, here in the Catalonia region of Spain, and in several other locales from England to Ethiopia, it"s the feast of Saint George. You know George (or Jordi, as the Catalans call him): He"s the knight who, legend holds, saved a much-loved princess by defeating a fierce dragon. It"s said the tower jutting from the casa"s tiled roof represents George"s lance thrust into the monster"s scaly back.
Apr 22, 2021
Gazing down on planet Earth
It"s Earth Day today and we are high above the blue marble looking down on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi. Those small, blocky shapes are towns, fields, and pastures, and the teal green is the mighty Mississippi River. Anyone who has flown in the window seat of an airplane and gazed down at Earth below might wonder why the colors in this image look so unreal. That"s because they are. This image was taken in 2013 by Landsat 7, a NASA satellite that uses thermal infrared sensors to help scientists better distinguish flora, fauna, water, and manmade objects. For almost 50 years, NASA has been using satellite imagery to understand how climate change and population growth are affecting our fragile planet. These satellites help NASA see where deforestation and wildfires are happening, where glaciers are melting, and how rising waters are encroaching on cities.
Apr 21, 2021
Exploring the Pearl of the Atlantic
We"re taking in a view of the island of Madeira, by far the largest island in the Madeira archipelago, which sits 320 miles off the coast of Morocco in the North Atlantic. Known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic," Madeira is part of an autonomous region of Portugal. It boasts a diverse forest ecosystem, endemic flora and fauna, and the largest living stand of laurel trees in the world. It"s a great place to hike, too. Trails run alongside irrigation channels, called levadas, that move water all over the island. Walks range from easy strolls in the countryside to precarious hikes along mountain ridges or into remote parts of the forests. Afterward, the calorie-depleted can dig into a local delicacy like peixe espada com banana (fried local fish with banana) and sip on Madeira wine. Saúde!