Bing Wallpaper Gallery
Aug 21, 2020
It"s peak lobster season in Maine, and colorful wooden buoys like these are marking lobster traps (or "pots") along the state"s coastline. Each lobsterman or woman has a unique color and pattern to their buoys, and designs are frequently passed down through generations. When not being put to use, lobster buoys are often hung from the sides of barns and sheds—they"re an iconic sight in coastal Maine.
Aug 20, 2020
Up in the Highlands
There"s a good chance the occupants of that car you can see in this photo, winding along a remote highway in the Highlands of Iceland, won"t encounter any other visitors to this desolate region. Accessible only during the summertime, roads across the Icelandic Highlands pass through mostly uninhabited volcanic desert. Frequent volcanic activity in the area creates a porous topsoil full of chemical compounds that aren"t conducive to plant growth. Besides, much of the rainfall is quickly absorbed so plant life only appears alongside glacial rivers. Despite this seemingly unwelcoming environment, adventurous travelers come to the Highlands every summer to see firsthand an ecosystem so unearthly that NASA conducted training missions here for some of its Apollo astronauts.
Aug 19, 2020
A lot of work goes into taking great photos, as this emperor penguin can attest. The best photographers find the right location, have mastery over their equipment, and ensure they"re ready when the magic happens. Of course, it helps to recognize a chance at an unusual shot, like when curious emperor penguins in Antarctica invite themselves to your shoot.
Aug 18, 2020
Women s suffrage at 100
Today marks 100 years since women won the constitutional right to vote in the United States, and we"re in Nashville, Tennessee, to celebrate five monumental figures in the women"s suffrage movement. Why Nashville? Because it was Tennessee"s capital that became the final battlefront in the long fight for the Nineteenth Amendment. On August 18, 1920, the state legislature faced a choice: Should Tennessee become the 36th and deciding state to ratify the amendment, securing its place in the Constitution? The stakes were high as eight states had already rejected the measure—but thanks to some unexpected "aye" votes from known opposers (one representative switched his vote at the urging of his mother), ratification won out.
Aug 17, 2020
A giant relic in Java
This photo shows the quiet, mist-shrouded wilderness surrounding the Buddhist temple known as Borobudur. The site is among the most-visited attractions on the island of Java, with devout practitioners making pilgrimages to the holy site and curious tourists coming to see the grandeur of the structure. With 504 Buddha statues and 2,672 sculpted relief panels, Borobudur is the world"s largest Buddhist temple. It was likely constructed in the 9th century and abandoned in the 14th as much of the Indonesian population converted from Buddhism and Hinduism to Islam.
Aug 16, 2020
Here s looking at you
This bright-eyed burrowing owl is emerging from its burrow just in time to enjoy the sunset here in Northern California. And yes, you read that right—it’s a burrowing owl. Unlike most owls, burrowing owls nest and roost underground, often in tunnels abandoned by ground squirrels or prairie dogs. It"s one of many traits that make the pint-sized species unique among owls. Burrowing owls live in grasslands, deserts, or other open dry areas with low vegetation. When threatened, they retreat to their burrows and are known to frighten off predators by mimicking the rattling and hissing sounds of a rattlesnake. And while most other owls sleep during the daytime, burrowing owls are often active in the daylight hours. It"s as if they didn"t finish proper owl training.
Aug 15, 2020
Celebrating the Acadians
In honor of Canada"s National Acadian Day, we"re on the shores of New Brunswick as the ocean recedes to reveal the Bay of Fundy"s massive intertidal zone. The tide is a big deal at the bay—more than five times bigger than in most places. Typical tides around the world have a range of 3 to 6 feet, but these waters drop as far as 50 feet from high to low tide.
Aug 14, 2020
In the Navajo Nation for Code Talkers Day
This expansive and iconic view, as seen from Hunts Mesa in the Navajo Nation, is none other than Monument Valley, also known as the Valley of the Rocks when translated from the Navajo language (Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii). The red sandstone formations are synonymous with the American Southwest and have stunned moviegoers for nearly a century. The largest of American Indian territories, Navajo Nation covers more than 27,000 square miles and reaches into portions of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.
Aug 13, 2020
Life in the slow lane
The first humans to settle in this area of what is now southern Italy took up residence in natural caves along the walls of the ravine formed by the Gravina River. Beginning around 9,000 years ago and continuing into the 20th century, the caves were further carved and expanded by these human occupants into an elaborate settlement. It"s now called the Sassi di Matera, a pair of districts in the city of Matera, Italy.
Aug 12, 2020
King of the dinosaurs
No other dinosaur has quite the notoriety of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The species gained widespread popularity in 1905, when a New York Times article hailed it as "the king of all kings in the domain of animal life," and the "absolute warlord of the earth." The so-called "tyrant lizard" has been a star ever since, regularly appearing in film, TV, literature, and—for some of us—nightmares.
Aug 11, 2020
Sea fireflies at the seashore
Sea fireflies may glow like the fireflies that send out backyard beacons at night, but that"s about where the similarities end between the two species. Scientists call the bioluminescent crustaceans washing over these rocks Vargula hilgendorfii, and here in Japan they"re commonly known as umi-hotaru. They"re visible at night in the shallow sea waters and beaches of Japan, although other species of the genus Vargula can be seen glowing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and off the California coast.
Aug 10, 2020
Kings of the Kalahari
We"re celebrating World Lion Day with these two lion cubs in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana. The young cats may be cute and cuddly now, but they"ll soon grow up to be one of the most powerful and majestic animals in the world. The predominant predator in the region, Kalahari lions cover vast territories spanning harsh shrublands and desert. As prey becomes scarcer, Kalahari lions travel in smaller prides and often cover longer distances in search of their next meal. As of 2015, lions were listed as vulnerable and placed on the World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species. World Lion Day supports and promotes organizations and conservation efforts that address the dwindling wild lion population.
Aug 9, 2020
A peek at an explosive peak
We"re looking at Lassen Peak, a volcano also known as Mount Lassen, and its reflection in Manzanita Lake. This stunning scene can be found in Northern California"s Lassen Volcanic National Park, which was established on this day in 1916. The volcano erupted between 1914 and 1917 (with some activity as late as 1921), but these days the surrounding area is a calm destination of trails, lakes, and stark lava beds. One of the least visited parks, Lassen was the first national park in California to fully reopen after being closed for COVID-19, although it implemented some restrictions to park services and facilities. The park also includes acres of mud pots, hot springs, steam vents, and fumaroles to remind you of the heat that"s below you, including Boiling Springs Lake—one of the largest boiling lakes in the world at over 500 feet wide.
Aug 8, 2020
It s ∞ Day!
Gustave Flaubert wrote that "an infinity of passion can be contained in one minute." So, if you have boundless passion for contemplating the immeasurable, a full day should offer plenty of time. August 8 (8/8) is Infinity Day since the numeral 8 looks like a tilted ∞, the common symbol for infinity first popularized in 17th-century math books. But the concept of infinity itself represents an idea much older, inherent in the countless spiritual traditions that revere eternal gods or outline endless life cycles.
Aug 7, 2020
A whale of a hug
This time of year, humpback whales make their annual trip to the warm waters of the South Pacific to mate. Today"s image finds us swimming alongside a humpback mother and her young calf near the Polynesian island chain of Tonga. There are six main humpback populations in the southern Pacific, and this pair is part of the one that"s often called the "Tongan Tribe." The humpbacks of the Tongan Tribe return each year from their feeding grounds off Antarctica—a journey of more than 4,000 miles. Through November, the cows will stay in this region while their newborn calves grow strong enough to make the trek back to the cold Antarctic waters where their main food source—the small crustacean called krill—is abundant.
Aug 6, 2020
Space-age style by the sea
This pod-like structure near the seaside resort of Binz, on the Pomeranian coast of northeast Germany, provides a snapshot into a different era, delivered by the architect Ulrich Müther. Originally a lifeguard tower, it was constructed in 1968 in a style known as shell architecture using an innovative thin, poured-concrete material. Müther designed and built roughly 70 buildings in this manner, many of them here on the island of Rügen, where he lived. His work is regarded as some of the most outstanding examples of architecture in the region.
Aug 5, 2020
Aw shucks, It s Oyster Day
It may look like we"ve led you into a squishy green minefield, but don"t worry, these clustered oysters will only explode with flavor. In honor of Oyster Day, August 5 of each year, we"re getting a glimpse of just one method of oyster mariculture, or farming in open seawater. The briny bivalves may be grown on beds, rods, racks, or—in this case—ropes, but the basic process is simple: Growing surfaces are "seeded" with whole or ground oyster shells before oyster larvae are introduced. The shells attract the larvae, which attach themselves and soon grow into a new layer of mature oysters. Humans have been doing this at least since the days of ancient Rome, but wild-picked oysters have been an important food source to many cultures since prehistory.
Aug 4, 2020
Into the woods
Catching a glimpse of a deer makes the world go suddenly quiet. One clumsy move, even a gasp, could send these two white-tailed deer, with a flash of their namesake tails, deeper into the woods. But if you live between southern Canada and South America, chances are good you"ll get another opportunity to see these native deer. They live throughout the United States, save for parts of the Far West, and thrive in a variety of habitats—forests, grasslands, even city suburbs. This doe and fawn were photographed in Wisconsin, a state that picked this locally abundant and economically important ruminant as its state wildlife animal back in 1957. So, why isn"t Wisconsin called "The White-Tailed Deer State"? Take the quiz to find out.
Aug 3, 2020
The monsoon arrives in the desert
Lightning strikes are common during the summer monsoon in southwestern US states and northwestern Mexico. In Arizona and New Mexico, powerful thunderstorms roll in most every afternoon from early July until mid-September. Here, in the Sonoran Desert north of Tucson, Arizona, severe weather over saguaro cactus makes for a dramatic scene.
Aug 2, 2020
Isola Bella translates from Italian to English as "Beautiful Island." We"re not going to argue with that. It certainly stands out even amid the rest of picturesque Lake Maggiore in Italy"s northwestern Piedmont region. For years, the only human habitation on the island was a small fishing village. The village is still there, but in 1632, Carlo III, an Italian royal, commissioned the construction of a large palazzo (palace) on the island. The ostentatious palace includes a model Italian garden. Both are now major tourist attractions. Visitors to Stresa, the nearby town on the mainland, can book passage to Isola Bella and the other Borromean Islands for day trips or overnight stays…and our list of future travel destinations grows ever longer.
Aug 1, 2020
Where fire meets water
"Keep your distance" might be the mantra for 2020, but here at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the 50th state"s "Big Island," it"s always been good advice. Especially so for the passengers on this tour boat as they witness a red-hot lava flow hitting the chilly ocean with a tremendous explosion of steam.
Jul 31, 2020
The Big Blue of the Sierra
High in the Sierra Nevada, straddling the border between Nevada and California, you"ll find the largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe—sometimes called Big Blue. Seventy-two miles in circumference, with an average depth of 1,000 feet, it has the sixth-largest volume of any lake in the US—only the Great Lakes are larger. For at least 6,000 years, the territory of the Washoe people centered around Lake Tahoe, but the arrival of non-native people in the 19th century led to a series of armed conflicts and eventual loss of land to farms and townships.
Jul 30, 2020
International Day of Friendship
Who better to embody the spirit of International Friendship Day than these two buddies of different species? Here in Zimbabwe"s Mana Pools National Park, the hamerkop, a wading bird, catches a ride from a hippo into deeper waters, where it can access fish and insects it otherwise couldn"t reach.
Jul 29, 2020
Góða ólavsøku, from the Faroes!
The festival known as Ólavsøka spans several days, but officially July 29 is the big day of merrymaking in the Faroe Islands. What exactly are the Faroese people celebrating? Technically, they"re observing the death of Saint Olaf. The Norwegian King Olaf II is said to have died in battle on this day in 1030. A century later, he was sainted by the Catholic Church.
Jul 28, 2020
Over the boardwalk
In this shallow stretch of Shark Bay in Western Australia, a natural record of Earth"s history lies just below the water"s surface. Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve protects our planet"s biggest collections of stromatolites—small sedimentary rock towers built up over the centuries. Each layer captures fossils of the many microorganisms that populate our oceans. Some of the stromatolites in Hamelin Pool contain fossil specimens that are 3 billion years old. When you"re strolling down the boardwalk of Hamelin Pool, you"re walking over an unparalleled collection of biological history. The view of the Indian Ocean"s not bad either.