Bing Wallpaper Gallery
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.
Nov 4, 2020
Caribou on the move
Each fall a quarter-million caribou come together to form the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, a group that makes an epic migration through northwest Alaska. The caribou move south from their calving grounds in the Utukok River Uplands to their winter range on the Seward Peninsula. Fall is also the time when scientists attach radio collars to members of the herd, to track their location and health, and to gain information that will help conserve the species. When spring arrives, the caribou will complete the trip again in reverse, covering a total of 2,000 miles each year, give or take.
Nov 3, 2020
It"s Election Day, so if you"re eligible to vote but haven"t already voted, stop reading this and go cast your ballot. In 1845, Congress decided that general elections of federal public officials would be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Why a Tuesday? In the 1800s, most citizens worked as farmers and lived far from their polling places, so they needed a day or two to travel. Many Americans went to church on Sunday, and Wednesday was their day at the market. So, Tuesday was the most practical.
Nov 2, 2020
Waiting for winter
These polar bears seem to be just as happy as we are to visit Torngat Mountains National Park today. Located in Canada at the tip of the Labrador Peninsula and bordering the Labrador Sea, the park is accessible only by boat, charter plane, or helicopter. The name "Torngat" comes from the Inuktitut word "Tongait," meaning "place of spirits." The Inuit have lived here for centuries and still fish and hunt across the wide tundra valleys where these polar bears roam. This time of year, polar bears are waiting for the sea ice to form so they can venture out onto the Labrador Sea to hunt for seals.
Nov 1, 2020
Native American Heritage Month
Here in the Volcanic Tablelands near Bishop, California, is Sky Rock, a set of ancient petroglyphs that face the heavens. The volcanic rock formations of this area have made it a premier rock-climbing destination. But long before sport climbers flocked here, it was (and still is) home to the Paiute-Shoshone peoples, who are thought to have created these petroglyphs and many others throughout the tablelands.
Oct 31, 2020
Twas a night just like tonight…
In the late 18th century, a wealthy landowner built an estate in County Antrim in what is now Northern Ireland. To make a scenic but imposing entryway, he had 150 beech trees planted on either side of the road (90 trees survive). The trees grew to form the Dark Hedges—an arboreal tunnel leading up to the property. In the right conditions—say a gloomy autumn night with the moonlight casting shadows through the tree canopy—this road can be a little spooky.
Oct 30, 2020
Who s there? The largest owl in the world
To get us in the Halloween mood, we"re offering a seldom-seen sight—the Blakiston"s fish owl. Considered the largest of all living owls—about the size of a fire hydrant with a 6-foot wingspan—it"s among the rarest of owls, too. Experts estimate only a few thousand of these elusive birds remain, scattered in pockets of dense old-growth forests in northern Japan, the Russian Far East, northeastern China, and potentially North Korea.
Oct 29, 2020
Let s get lost
Welcome to Mazezilla! This 11-acre corn maze in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania boasts a unique design each fall. Don"t worry, if you take a wrong turn, you won"t be lost forever. "Corn helpers" are scattered throughout the maze to help confused maze-goers find their way again, and "tower people" keep a watchful eye over them. This year, visitors to the maze are asked to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart, and take other precautions, but organizers are still promising a "spooktacular 2020."
Oct 28, 2020
A grotesque scene
"Goofy" might be a better descriptor, but these seabird statues lining an outer wall of an Ecuadorian cathedral are called "grotesques"—the architectural term for a statue ornamenting the side of a building. But hang on…don"t we call those "gargoyles"? Not exactly. Gargoyles are simply grotesques that boast a specific, practical feature: spouts that convey water from rain gutters away from the building.
Oct 27, 2020
A bridge of Madison County
Framed here for the season by fall foliage, the Cambron Covered Bridge is located along a nature trail in Madison County, *Alabama*—not Iowa, which is the setting of the bestselling romance novel "The Bridges of Madison County." It"s believed there were once about 14,000 covered bridges in the US, but fewer than 900 or so remain today, a quarter of which can be found in Pennsylvania. But Alabama has covered-bridge bragging rights, too. The state has 11 historic covered bridges. Built in 1974, the Cambron Covered Bridge doesn"t make the official "historic" list, but it does offer hikers a peaceful passageway with great views of Sky Lake.
Oct 26, 2020
Corfe gets creepy
Spying the crooked silhouette of Corfe Castle above the rolling, foggy hills of Dorset, England, you might not guess at the ruin"s former palatial beauty—you"ll more likely sense its long history of intrigue, and maybe feel a chill down your spine.
Oct 25, 2020
A most sincere pumpkin patch
Ah, the perennial pumpkin patch. You might think the round orange gourds in today"s photo are vegetables, but botanists say pumpkins are actually the fruit of pumpkin vines. They"re considered fruit because pumpkins contain seeds and grow from the same part of the plant that produces flowers. And now, as Halloween nears, pumpkins are ripe for picking and carving into spooky jack-o"-lanterns.
Oct 24, 2020
75 years of the United Nations
We"re looking at the New York City skyline with the UN"s headquarters in the middle for United Nations Day, marking the anniversary of the date when the UN Charter entered into force. This year is a milestone 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which replaced the League of Nations as the world"s largest and most powerful intergovernmental organization. To mark the occasion, the UN launched its UN75 global dialogue initiative in January, and discussions have taken place around the world in settings ranging from classrooms to the UN General Assembly. COVID-19 has made some of these events a logistical challenge, but it"s also highlighted the need for countries to work together to face global issues. The UN website allows anyone to participate, with tool kits for dialogue, issues briefs, and other resources.