Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Jul 9, 2022
Few places in Europe offer the opportunity to take in the Milky Way like the Dolomites. Far from cities and light pollution, and thousands of feet above sea level, the Dolomites offer a stunning, vibrant night sky above sheer, jagged peaks that cut the dark. Also known as the "Pale Mountains," the Dolomites are named for the sedimentary carbonate rock called dolomite that was first identified in this range.
Jul 8, 2022
Trojan War-era rest stop? Local legend has it that this striking and historic location in southern Crete was a stopover on Odysseus" long return to Ithaca. Whatever credence you give to Homeric tales of island hopping, there"s no denying the appeal of the palm-lined Preveli Gorge or the enchanting beach it pours out to. Preveli Beach, just out of the frame of this image, was a favorite spot for hippie travelers in the "60s and "70s and remains an idyllic tourist destination today.
Jul 7, 2022
Heceta Head Light, Florence, Oregon
Heceta Head Light is perched 205 feet above the Pacific Ocean on Oregon"s central coast. The headland is named for Spanish Basque explorer Don Bruno de Heceta, who led a secret expedition in 1775 to bolster Spain"s claim to the Pacific Coast of North America. Having sailed from Mexico, by the time the voyage reached these shores, the crew was ravaged by scurvy and Heceta made the call to turn back—but not before he became the first to map and record a written description of the mouth of the Columbia River as well as this rocky 1,000-foot-high headland that would eventually bear his name. By the 19th century, seafarers making their way up and down the coast made the call for a lighthouse to guide their way. Construction of the 56-foot-tall lighthouse was complicated by the steep bluffs and remote location, but the first light beam pierced through the darkness on March 30, 1894.
Jul 6, 2022
This affectionate pair of Atlantic puffins know a thing or two about the restorative pleasures of kissing, which we are celebrating today on International Kissing Day. Started in the United Kingdom, the holiday went global about 20 years ago as a yearly reminder that kissing isn"t reserved just for greetings or social formalities. Puffins engage in an endearing form of courtship behavior seen here called billing, in which they playfully tap each other"s beaks by swinging their heads from side to side.
Jul 5, 2022
Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe
Tucked into a tiny bay of a grand alpine lake is this granite bump called Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe. The massive lake lies in the Sierra Nevada at an altitude of 6,225 feet, straddling the state line between California to the west and Nevada to the east with near perfect symmetry. Fannette Island is in Emerald Bay, on the California side of Tahoe"s southwest shore. A narrow inlet, seen here at the top center of this image, connects Emerald Bay to the rest of the lake, whose natural beauty draws visitors in all seasons of the year.
Jul 4, 2022
Americans will spend this day in a myriad of ways, likely with others and likely outdoors. Many will be at carnivals and picnics, watching parades and listening to concerts. It"s all in honor of the moment that the people of 13 far-flung colonies collectively declared they would become a united and independent nation, free of the rule of Great Britain and its monarch King George III across the Atlantic Ocean. For millions of Americans, Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, will end with the launching of fireworks over towns and cities, including the nation"s capital of Washington, DC, shown here with the White House and the Washington Monument illuminated.
Jul 3, 2022
Dog days of summer
Other than our pet dogs, no other canine species has succeeded more at living among humans than the fox. This is despite the fact that people have hunted foxes for sport and for their highly coveted fur, and generally regarded them as pests and nemeses. No matter how we feel about them, foxes seem to have earned our respect. Of all the animals that are arguably clever and crafty, the word we use is "outfoxed," not "outcrowed," or "outbeared," or "outraccooned."
Jul 2, 2022
Congratulations! It"s Halfway Day, the midpoint of the year. We"ve lived through 182 days of 2022, and today is the first of 182 days left—we"re halfway there. It"s up to us whether we see this as a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty day… But the past is gone, so we"re all for making the most of the remainder of the year.
Jul 1, 2022
Tour de France
Presiding over City Hall Square on the Richshuset building in Copenhagen, "The Weather Girls" sculpture will help launch this year"s Tour de France. The race will see riders in Stage 1 today cycling past iconic landmarks of the Danish capital like Tivoli Gardens and the Little Mermaid statue. From here, the racers will ride through other parts of Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, and of course France before ending with the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 24.
Jun 30, 2022
Today is Asteroid Day, and it"s a reminder that as our planet follows its path around the sun, it encounters a lot of stuff. Science tells us that every day, Earth"s atmosphere is hit with roughly 100 tons of dust and particles the size of a grain of sand. And every year, at least 30 small asteroids enter the atmosphere, only to burn up before touching the ground. NASA says it"s pretty much guaranteed that at least one of them will be about the size of a car. As time progresses, the likelihood increases that even larger celestial rocks will hit the ground and cause significant damage.
Jun 29, 2022
International Day of the Tropics
Only in the tropics do forests grow in salt water. Take this forest of mangrove trees in Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand, one of the largest and best-preserved mangrove forests in the country. Adapted to thrive in coastal marshes and swamps, mangroves can filter salt water and withstand strong coastal storms. Virtually all mangrove forests and all species of mangrove grow only in the tropical regions of the world. They are protectors of the coastlines, acting as a buffer against storms and floods.
Jun 28, 2022
Tafilalet oasis in Morocco
Today we"ve arrived at the walls of a kasbah in Tafilalet, home to the largest oasis in Morocco. Meaning "jug" in the language of the ancient Amazigh people (aka Berbers), Tafilalet was named for the pottery jars they filled with water from underground springs. After the first permanent settlement of the region, Sijilmassa, was founded in 757 CE, Tafilalet became a stopping point for caravans traveling from the Niger River to Tangier on the northern tip of Morocco and the gateway to Europe.
Jun 27, 2022
Lavender fields on the Valensole Plateau in Provence, France
We"re sorry. The scratch "n" sniff option was not ready in time for this photo, so you"ll have to imagine the intoxicating fragrance wafting over you... Today we"re in the lavender fields that carpet the Valensole Plateau in Provence, France. A rolling 300 square miles of flowers color the landscape as far as the eye can see. Vincent van Gogh spent time here, and featured lavender in some of his paintings. June is the start of the lavender season, and though it runs till August, peak viewing (and smelling) time varies a little with fluctuations in temperature and rainfall. There are lovely villages that you can meander while visiting the lavender fields, stopping for a pastry or crunchy-soft baguette at an outdoor cafe.
Jun 26, 2022
We"re commemorating Pride Weekend, a time when the focus turns to the LGBTQI+ community and a celebration of gay rights. The first pride parades took to the streets in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in June 1970, in remembrance of the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village, New York City, the previous year. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police dragged staff and patrons from the Stonewall Inn bar, a gay venue, sparking six days of protests. Now pride parades and events are celebrated each June in most parts of the world—New York City"s is still one of the largest pride celebrations. In 1999, President Bill Clinton gave Pride Month national recognition by declaring June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month."
Jun 25, 2022
Brown bears, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Summer up north belongs to the bears. When the sun reigns, so do the brown bears of Alaska—like this mother and cub in Katmai National Park and Preserve, about 260 miles southwest of Anchorage. Also known as grizzly bears in Alaska, the brown bears pack a year of living into the summer months, foraging, feasting, frolicking, fighting, and mating under skies of nearly perpetual daylight.
Jun 24, 2022
Cenote near Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
Like a giant block of Swiss cheese, Mexico"s Yucatán Peninsula is riddled with holes called cenotes. Cenotes form when subterranean limestone dissolves, allowing underground water to penetrate. The rock above may cave in, forming a sinkhole that reveals the cool, often crystal-clear water. Other cenotes may remain below the surface, hidden and often unexplored. Cenotes vary in size from very small to several dozen yards across, and recent discoveries have shown that some cenotes lead to a series of underground cave systems that can span several miles in length.
Jun 23, 2022
Stari Most in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
For 427 years the Mostar Bridge stood strong, despite the belief that its original mortar was composed of egg whites. Truth is, not much is known about the 16th-century construction of this bridge in what is now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. All that remains in historical records are memories and legends and the name of the bridge"s builder, Mimar Hayruddin. He was charged by Suleiman the Magnificent to build an unprecedentedly wide arch, and threatened with death if the structure failed. Hayruddin is said to have been so unsure of his creation that he made funeral preparations before the scaffolding was removed.
Jun 22, 2022
World Rainforest Day
Perhaps no other place on Earth plays a more crucial role in sustaining life as we know it than the Amazon rainforest, the largest in the world. The Amazon spans nine countries in South America including Ecuador, where this pristine ecoregion is protected by the Yasuní National Park, shown here. Today is set aside as World Rainforest Day, to remember the vital role of this and other rainforests and to champion efforts to protect them. The world"s rainforests are under threat like never before from deforestation driven by agriculture and cattle ranching. Some studies indicate that humans have degraded or destroyed more than half of the world"s rainforests. Fewer trees means warmer temperatures, which increases the risk of drought and wildfire and compounds the damage of deforestation.
Jun 21, 2022
What more atmospheric place to celebrate today"s summer solstice than ancient Glastonbury in Somerset, England? Spend the longest day of the year exploring the town, which is swaddled in myth and history. Pagans and Christians alike have worshipped here through the ages, and both groups still do today. Glastonbury Tor is the striking hill on the horizon, and the lonely tower is the last vestige of the 14th-century church of St Michael, which was built to replace a wooden church toppled by an earthquake in 1275.
Jun 20, 2022
We spread our wings and fly into Pollinator Week with these exquisite Old World swallowtail butterflies who are enjoying a sip of nectar. The gorgeous swallowtail is welcome in any garden, both for its beauty and its ability to pass pollen from flower to flower. Far less desired are swallowtails in their caterpillar form, which can take a toll on ornamental plants or citrus crops. There are more than 550 swallowtail butterfly species, and their name comes from the forked appearance of their hindwings, which can be seen when the butterfly is resting with its wings spread.
Jun 19, 2022
Father s Day
Happy Father"s Day! To celebrate, we"re venturing into a tropical forest in Queensland, Australia, to visit one of nature"s most protective fathers, the southern cassowary, the largest of three species of this flightless bird. The cassowary has earned the title of the "world"s most dangerous bird" because of its sharp, dagger-like claws and aggressive behavior. Cassowaries, like this doting father and his chicks, are notorious for attacking and sometimes killing domestic animals and even humans. In the wild, adult birds are so belligerent that they have no natural predators. Their young, however, need some protection. That"s when dad steps in.
Jun 18, 2022
International Surfing Day
Of all the tricks humans have taught themselves, few delight and impress more than surfing. A sport, a pastime, an art, a philosophy of life, surfing is as close to magic as a person can perform on the untamed ocean. Today, the sport of wave riding gets its well-earned due with International Surfing Day, a time each year to honor the sport, the lifestyle of surfing, and the ocean itself, whose good health is vital to the sport and so much else. Surfers have a special connection to the ocean and the waves it produces. A surfable wave is shaped by countless variables: The winds hundreds or thousands of miles away that produced the energy to set the swells in motion, and then the reef or point of land or underwater boulder upon which a swell will break into a perfectly shaped wave. Wind and timing are everything, and devoted surfers know the weather and the shore intimately.
Jun 17, 2022
Grand Teton National Park
These arrowleaf balsamroot wildflowers, commonly known as Oregon sunflowers, have a grand view of the Grand Tetons from the valley below the towering range. The region"s harsh weather means that only the hardiest of wildflowers can survive, and the bright yellow arrowleaves fit the bill. The plants are drought-tolerant, impervious to winter, tenacious against trampling, and even fire-resistant, with a taproot that regenerates leaves and flowers after the top has burned.
Jun 16, 2022
Seonam Temple, South Korea
The Seonam Temple, or Seonamsa, in Jogyesan Provincial Park, South Korea, is famed for expressing calm serenity. Just downstream, Buddhist monks built this gently arched bridge by hand centuries ago. Stones around the base record the names of visitors for posterity. Called the Seungseon Bridge ("the Ascending Immortals"), it"s fitting to approach the temple itself on foot, at one with nature. The site is hidden away in ancient trees, with tranquil ponds and streams, gentle hiking trails, and gorgeous pagodas. The temple still ekes out its day in the traditional way, with mellow bells and meditation. The monks also cultivate wild tea plants and are happy to share the benefits of the harvest. You are at peace as soon as you arrive at Seonamsa, and there"s little to distract you from the present moment.
Jun 15, 2022
Nature Photography Day
If you"re celebrating Nature Photography Day today, then Great Smoky Mountains National Park would be an excellent place to snap your own shots of sylvan splendor like this one. That"s because you"d have two reasons to celebrate—the park turns 88 today. These misty peaks and valleys along the border between Tennessee and North Carolina were established as a national park on this day in 1934. All these years later, it may not be the most famous national park in the US, but it is by far the most popular. With more than 14 million visitors per year, it draws more people than the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite combined.