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Category: americas

June 9, 2014 Permalink

2014 World Cup: Goalposts around the world

All you need is a ball and something to kick it in. Around the world, goalposts are made from metal, wood, plastic, sticks, tape, or paint on a wall. Reuters photographers captured images of goalposts on every continent as the world gets ready to watch the 2014 Brazil World Cup, which opens on June 12. --Thea Breite (20 photos total)

Kathmandu, Nepal. May 31, 2014. (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)
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May 19, 2014 Permalink

The Ansel Adams Wilderness: A photographic tribute by Peter Essick

Esteemed National Geographic contributing photographer Peter Essick revisited the Ansel Adams Wilderness 75 years after Adams’s photographs made it famous, to pay tribute to Ansel Adams and the California sierra Nevada wilderness area named in his honor. These images come from his new book, ‘The Ansel Adams Wilderness.’ From the books’ introduction: “Like Adams, I am a native Californian familiar with the High Sierra, and some of my first successful photos were of this wilderness area (located between Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, and renamed for Adams following his death in 1984). For 25 years I have traveled throughout the world as a photographer for National Geographic magazine, but the High Sierra always has had a special place in my heart.” --Thea Breite (30 photos total)

Frost covers an aspen leaf on a cold October morning near Parker Lake. (Peter Essick)
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April 28, 2014 Permalink

Tornadoes kill at least 18

Tornadoes ripped through the south-central United States Monday morning. Arkansas was the hardest hit, with at least 16 people dead. The storm system produced the first fatalities of this year's U.S. tornado season. According to weather.com, severe storms and tornadoes will continue into midweek. --Thea Breite (14 photos total)

A row of lightly damages houses, top, face destroyed homes in a Vilonia, Ark., neighborhood Monday, April 28, 2014 after a tornado struck the town late Sunday, killing at least 16 people. (Danny Johnston/AP)
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April 21, 2014 Permalink

The Boston Marathon, 2014

An American runner, Meb Keflezighi, won The Boston Marathon for the first time since 1983. A year after the bombs exploded near the finish line killing three people and injuring hundreds of others, runners reclaimed the race. A record crowd of one million people, twice the usual number, watched and cheered the runners on. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya defended her title in the women’s race. --Thea Breite (29 photos total)

The scene at the Hopkinton start of the 118th Boston Marathon, Monday, April 21, 2014. (Bill Greene//The Boston Globe)
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April 3, 2014 Permalink

Earthquake off the coast of Chile

A powerful 8.2 magnitude earthquake hit the Chile coast late April 1 that caused a small tsunami. Six people died and over 900,00 residents were evacuated along the coast. Strong aftershocks shook the region for the following days, including a 7.2 magnitude quake a day later. --Leanne Burden Seidel (28 photos total)

Fishermen look to salvage any remains destroyed overnight in the port of Iquique, in northern Chile, on April 2, after a powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast. An 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit Chile late Tuesday, killing at least six people and generating tsunami waves that might ripple as far as Indonesia. (Luis Hidalgo/AFP/Getty Images
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March 11, 2014 Permalink

2014 Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race

Dallas Seavey won the Iditarod Trail Dog Race in a dramatic finish today, rallying from third place. A storm knocked out the front-runner and Seavey finished in a record-breaking pace. The race was riddled with harsh conditions due to lack of snow leading to many injuries. Dogs and mushers brave about 1000 miles of challenging Alaskan terrain and we are lucky that a few photographers have given us a glimpse of this amazing long trek. --Leanne Burden Seidel (42 photos total)

Dogs on Mike Santos' team leave the chute during the ceremonial start to the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, March 1. (Nathaniel Wilder/Reuters)
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March 3, 2014 Permalink

Washington D.C. area has yet another snow day

Snow began falling in the nation's capital early Monday, and officials warned people to stay off treacherous, icy roads a scene that has become familiar to residents in the Midwest, East and even Deep South this year. Schools were canceled, bus service was halted in places and federal government workers in the DC area were told to stay home Monday. --Thea Breite (13 photos total)

National Park Service employee Eric Tolliver shovels snow and ice at the Lincoln Memorial as snow falls in Washington, Monday, March 3, 2014. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
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February 28, 2014 Permalink

Protests in Venezuela

Protests continue more than three weeks after student-run demonstrations in Venezuela sparked deep tensions and violence. Anti and pro-government demonstrations are expanding across the divided country as they head into the holiday week marking the anniversary of former President Hugo Chavez's death. --Leanne Burden Seidel (32 photos total)

A demonstrator throws stones at riot policemen during an anti-government protest in eastern Caracas on Feb. 27. Dueling demos of pro- and anti-government protesters have been taking to the streets since February 4 in a sign of the deep polarization of this oil-rich but economically and social troubled country, where three weeks of demonstrations have left 14 people dead, posing the greatest challenge yet to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's 11-month-old government. (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 10, 2014 Permalink

The 2014 Westminster Dog Show

The 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show began on Monday, Feb. 10, taking place at both Pier 92 and 94 and at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The annual dog show, which features dogs from around the world, opened its doors to mixed-breed dogs this year. --Thea Breite (
A dog waits on the corner of 31st street and 7th avenue in New York, February 9, 2014. The 139th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show started Monday. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
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January 3, 2014 Permalink

Erupting volcanoes

Photographers in different parts of the world have been busy covering active volcanoes in recent weeks. In Indonesia, Italy, El Salvador and Japan, the craters in the earth erupted with lava, gases, or ash. --Leanne Burden Seidel (26 photos total)

People observe an eruption at the South East Crater of Mt. Etna from the monitoring station of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology at the Schiena dell'Asino, near Catania, in Sicily, southern Italy, early Dec. 30. Mt. Etna is Europe's most active volcano at 3,350 meters. (Salvatore Allegra/Associated Press)
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December 30, 2013 Permalink

Happy New Year, world

It’s time to have a little New Year’s fun. No depressing (yet important) photos of serious events from the year. Just a collection of fun, silly, unusual, picturesque and unique photos of people from different parts of the world either getting ready to celebrate 2014 or already doing so. --Thea Breite (15 photos total)

A reveler writes "2014" with sparklers in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, December 30, 2013. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)
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December 23, 2013 Permalink

December around the world

A snowstorm in the Middle East, 95 degree temperatures in Buenos Aires, flooding in Gaza, ice storms in Canada. It’s a typical December around the world. Or is it? --Thea Breite (17 photos total)

Eve Grayson, a Reindeer herder of the Cairgorm Reindeer Herd, feeds the deer on December 23, 2013 in Aviemore, Scotland. Reindeer were introduced to Scotland in 1952 by Swedish Sami Reindeer herder, Mikel Utsi. Starting with just a few reindeer, the herd has now grown in numbers over the years and is currently at about 130 by controlling the breeding. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
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November 22, 2013 Permalink

50th anniversary of the JFK assassination

Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. As the shocked nation grieved for the popular president, more inconceivable events followed. Within hours, a new president was sworn in and within days the shooter was caught and then killed by a local businessman on live TV. Nov. 22 is filled with events to mark this dark day in American history. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 34 photos total)

A rose left by family members sits on top of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy's grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 22 in Arlington, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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August 28, 2013 Permalink

Revisiting Martin Luther King's 1963 Dream speech

As people gather today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, we look at images from that event in 1963 and from tumultuous times during the civil rights movement.  King's pivotal speech addressing racism in this country was a crucial event in the history of civil rights and one that will always be remembered, not just on this milestone anniversary. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 20 photos total)

US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. waves from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to supporters on the Mall in Washington, DC, during the "March on Washington" on Aug. 28, 1963. In 1963 King spoke in front of 250,000 people, explaining his wish for better relations between black and white Americans. His words were engraved on the steps of the monument where he spoke. (AFP/Getty Images)
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May 17, 2013 Permalink

Deadly crossing

In 2012, sheriff's deputies in Brooks County found 129 bodies, around double the amount from the year before and six times the number recorded in 2010. Most of those who die succumb to the punishing heat and rough terrain that comprise the ranch lands of south Texas. Reuters photographer, Eric Thayer, traveled to Brooks County, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico to investigate the rising rates of immigrant deaths along the border there, spending time at a migrant's hostel in Mexico and with U.S. Border Patrol in Brooks County. Many migrants, after spending several weeks traveling through Mexico and past the Rio Grande, spend a few days in a "stash house," such as Casa del Migrante, in Reynosa, Mexico, and many are ignorant of the treacherous journey ahead. -- Paula Nelson ( 28 photos total)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent from the Rio Grande Valley Sector searches for a group of undocumented immigrants who crossed the Rio Grande River in Mission, Texas March 28, 2013. Brooks County has become an epicenter for illegal immigrant deaths in Texas. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)
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May 10, 2013 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2013 Photo Contest

The National Geographic Traveler Magazine photo contest, now in its 25th year, has begun. There is still plenty of time to enter. The entry deadline is Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. Entrants may submit their photographs in any or all of the four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. The magazine's photo editors showcase their favorite entries each week in galleries. You can also vote for your favorites. "The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult," says Keith Bellows, magazine editor in chief. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly edited for readability.) As always, you can take a look at some of last year's entries and winners.. -- Paula Nelson ( 40 photos total)

OUTDOOR SCENES - Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. (Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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May 3, 2013 Permalink

Daily Life: April 2013

I look forward each month to browsing the compilation of "slice of life" images from around the world. They offer us a visual break, if you will, from the tragedies, disasters, wars and violence seemingly so pervasive in our world. Through these images, we can immerse ourselves in the simplicity of everyday life. Daily Life: April 2013 takes us to North and South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Indonesia, China, Russia; and around the United States to California, Texas, Maine, Florida, Kansas, Washington state, and more. Enjoy.--- Paula Nelson ( 49 photos total)

A village boy holds a traditional handmade umbrella as he keeps watch over cattle grazing in the field on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, April 20, 2013. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)
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April 12, 2013 Permalink

Guns

Guns. That single word evokes a strong reaction, no matter what side of the debate you fall on. Certainly, the massacre of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a national tipping point, but one that seems only to have brought back into the public consciousness, a long-simmering debate. A debate for which there is no resolution at the moment. Congress is still proposing and voting, states are taking independent action. Individuals rally and protest and fight, expressing their beliefs. This post is a collection of images - supporters of gun control, those against; victims and families of victims, gun enthusiasts. -- Paula Nelson( 53 photos total)

A 9 mm bullet in a box on the counter at Duke's Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa., April 5, 2013. Gun enthusiasts fearful of new weapon controls and alarmed by rumors of government hoarding are buying bullets practically by the bushel, making it hard for stores nationwide to keep shelves stocked. (Keith Srakocic/Associated Press)
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April 8, 2013 Permalink

Most dangerous city: San Pedro Sula, Honduras

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has been given the unfortunate title of the most dangerous city in the world. The data was compiled by Citizen Council for Public Security, Justice, and Peace, a Mexican think tank focusing on crime statistics from the Western Hemisphere. The city tops the list for the second year in a row. Photographers Jorge Cabrera of Reuters and Esteban Felix of Associated Press spent time with with local police and in emergency rooms documenting the violence at the end of March 2013. They captured arresting scenes of death, fear, pain, and grief. San Pedro Sula has a homicide rate of 169 per 100,000 people. Laws allow civilians to own up to five personal guns. Arms trafficking has flooded the country with nearly 70 percent illegal firearms; 83.4 percent of homicides are by firearms, compared to 60 percent in the United States. (Information gathered from Reuters and Associated Press)- Leanne Burden Seidel(26 photos total)

Police tape cordons off a crime scene near the body of a victim in the city of San Pedro Sula on March 22, 2013. Unknown assailants killed three men and one woman in a working class neighborhood, local media reported. (Jorge Cabrera/Reuters)
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March 1, 2013 Permalink

National Archives: Searching for the Seventies

“Searching for the Seventies” takes a new look at the 1970s using remarkable color photographs taken for a Federal photography project called Project DOCUMERICA (1971-1977). Created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DOCUMERICA was born out of the decade’s environmental awakening, producing striking photographs of many of that era’s environmental problems and achievements. Drawing its inspiration from the depression era Farm Security Administration photography project, project photographers created a portrait of America in the early-and-mid-1970s. They documented small Midwestern towns, barrios in the Southwest, and coal mining communities in Appalachia. Their assignments were as varied as African American life in Chicago, urban renewal in Kansas City, commuters in Washington, DC, and migrant farm workers in Colorado. The exhibit, featuring 90 images from the project opens March 8, 2013 at the National Archives in Washington D.C. It runs through September 8, 2013. What follows is a small sampling of the collection digitized by the National Archives. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: Captions were provided.)( 30 photos total)

Children play in the yard of Ruston home, while a Tacoma smelter stack showers the area with arsenic and lead residue. Ruston, Washington, August 1972. (Gene Daniels/National Archives/Records of the Environmental Protection Agency)
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February 15, 2013 Permalink

2013 World Press Photo Contest Winners

For over 55 years, the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession and the composition of the jury is changed from year to year. The prize-winning images are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year and over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The winners themselves uphold the foundation's simple mission statement: We exist to inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism. A sampling of the winning images follows. You can browse more amazing content on World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: There will be no post on Monday in observance of the holiday.) ( 18 photos total)

World Press Photo of the Year 2012 - Paul Hansen/Sweeden/Dagens Nyheter - Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.
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February 1, 2013 Permalink

Sun City Seniors

In the United States in 1960, the average life expectancy (average for all races and sexes) was 69.7 years. In 2010, that number had increased to 78.7 years. How prescient it was for entrepreneur Del Webb, in 1959, to build Sun City, Arizona - the first active retirement community for the over-55? Webb predicted that retirees would flock to a community where they were given more than just a house with a rocking chair in which to sit and wait to die. Today's residents keep their minds and bodies active by socializing at over 120 clubs with activities such as square dancing, ceramics, roller-skating, computers, cheerleading, racquetball and yoga. There are 38,500 residents in the community with an average age 72.4 years. -- Paula Nelson ( 27 photos total)

A sign marks the boundary of Sun City, Arizona, Jan. 6, 2013. Sun City was built in 1959 by entrepreneur Del Webb as America's first active retirement community for the over-55's. Today's residents keep their minds and bodies active by socializing at over 120 clubs with activities such as square dancing, ceramics, roller skating, computers, cheerleading, racquetball and yoga. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
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January 7, 2013 Permalink

2012 National Geographic Photography Contest Winners

The winners have been named in the 2012 National Geographic Photography contest. As a leader in capturing the world through brilliant imagery, National Geographic sets the standard for photographic excellence. This year's competition brought 22,000 entries from over 150 countries, professionals and amateurs participating. Photographs were submitted in three categories: people, places and nature; and entries judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts. There was a Grand Prize winner, a winner in each category and a collection of Viewer's Choice Winners as well. Enjoy. -- Paula Nelson ( 14 photos total)

Grand Prize Winner and 1st Place/Nature: THE EXPLOSION! - The subject's name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioral shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favorably on me that day! (Photo and caption by Ashley Vincent/National Geographic Photo Contest)
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December 17, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part I

Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)

Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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December 14, 2012 Permalink

Raised Behind Bars

Five years ago, Reuters photographer Carolina Camps documented the stories found in the maternity wing of a women's prison in Los Hornos, Argentina. The prison not only housed female inmates, it was also home to 63 of their children, who were allowed to live with their mothers inside the jail until they were four years old. Now, half a decade on, Camps tracked down four of the women to see what had become of them and of their young families. -- Paula Nelson ( 30 photos total)

This combination photograph shows Valeria Cigara posing when she was pregnant with her daughter Milagros as she was serving a sentence for robbery in the Los Hornos women's prison in La Plata November 4, 2007; and Cigara hugging Milagros, now four-year-old, during a visit by Milagros to her mother's latest prison in Magdalena, where Cigara is awaiting trial for a fourth case of robbery August 19, 2012. Cigara raised Milagros in prison with her until she turned two. Argentine law allows women prisoners to raise their infant children in jail until the age of four, after which they must leave to live with family or in a state home. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)
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November 9, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: October 2012

Collecting and editing images that document simple elements of daily life around the world is actually one of my favorite things in preparing a Big Picture post. The images have an element of universality, yet are often very unique. It's one of the many wonderful things about strong photography. We become armchair travelers, experiencing simple things in far flung locations through the imagery that is sent out from agencies around the world. In this post we visit places like China, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Nepal, India, Lisbon, Scotland, Indonesia and Signal Mountain, Tennessee. -- Paula Nelson ( 56 photos total)

A full moon rises behind a statue of a bull overlooking the former stockyard district, Oct. 29, 2012, Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie RiedelAssociated Press)
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November 2, 2012 Permalink

Hurricane Sandy: Recovery

Hurricane Sandy battered the mid-Atlantic region with powerful gusts and storm surges that cause epic flooding in the coastal communities of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving more than eight million people – including large parts of Manhattan – in the rain-soaked dark. The mammoth storm packed maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Those powerful winds, driving rain and storm surge are blamed for 98 deaths in the United States (although numbers still vary), including two small boys who were swept out of their mother’s arms. The toll of the storm is staggering, including a rampaging fire that reduced more than 100 houses to ash in Breezy Point, Queens. New Jersey took the brunt, officials estimating that the state suffered many billions of dollars in property damage. Residents began the long, slow process of recovery. – Paula Nelson ( 46 photos total)

An American flag is raised among the wreckage homes devastated by fire and the effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York, Oct. 31, 2012. The U.S. Northeast began an arduous journey back to normal after historic storm Sandy crippled transportation, knocked out power for millions and killed at least 64 people with a massive storm surge that caused epic flooding. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
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October 26, 2012 Permalink

In preparation for Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha also called Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important 3-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael) a as an act of submission to God and his son's acceptance of the sacrifice, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead. The 3 days and 2 nights of Eid al-Adha are celebrated annually on the 10th, 11th and 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and last month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Eid begins today. -- Paula Nelson ( 32 photos total)

A livestock market ahead of the sacrificial Eid al-Adha festival in Karachi, Oct. 24, 2012. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, honors Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the order of God, who according to tradition then provided a lamb in the boy's place. (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)
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October 22, 2012 Permalink

Matt Black's Mixteca

The Big Picture posted some of photographer Matt Black's images of the Mixteca in July of 2011. The pictures were part of an ongoing long-term documentary project on the region and its people. I included a link to Black's Kickstarter campaign, and Big Picture readers responded in force, helping fund another trip to the area. The pictures below are the result of that trip, and it seems only right to share them with the readers who helped make them possible. This time, Black focused on farmers dealing with the area's severe soil erosion. He writes, "Southern Mexico's Mixteca region is one of the most heavily eroded landscapes on earth: up to five meters of topsoil have been lost. In the town of Santiago Mitlatongo, soil loss triggered a geological phenomenon called "slumping." Like a slow-motion landslide, the town is sliding downhill at the rate of one meter per day, destroying homes and livelihoods as houses and farmland slip into the valley below." Interested readers can join Black in a web conference hosted by Orion Magazine tomorrow. -- Lane Turner (16 photos total)

A collapsing mountain sends rocks towards the village below. (Matt Black)
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October 19, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

It’s that time again…the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest is in full swing. The contest has reached his midpoint but there is plenty of time to enter before the November 30, 2012 deadline. Photographers of all skill levels - from professional to amateur - across the globe, submitted more than 20,000 entries from 130 countries in last year’s competition. The photographs are judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts in the field. There is a first place winner in each of three categories: People, Places and Nature, and a grand prizewinner as well. The following images are a sampling of the competition thus far – twelve images in each category. The caption information is provided and written by the individual photographer. – Paula Nelson ( 36 photos total)

NATURE’S ART (Nature) - Dried up delta of the Kimberly region, N.W. Australia. Creates the most sophisticated patterns only appreciated from above. (Photo and caption by Ted Grambeau/National Geographic Photo Contest)
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August 20, 2012 Permalink

Winners: National Geographic Traveler 2012 Photo Contest

On June 22, 2012 The Big Picture featured some (just 54) of the thousands of images that were entered in the 2012 National Geographic Traveler Magazine Photo Contest. It was a popular post with over 731 comments by viewers. The winners have been chosen. Their images follow. (The winners gallery is also available here as well as the complete contest and all its entrants here. You can see the editor's picks and can download wallpaper images for your desktop or your smartphone.) It's a wonderful visual treat from around the world. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: The captions are written by the photographer.) (11 photos total)

This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living - with touches of modernity. (Photo and caption by Cedric Houin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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August 10, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: July 2012

Each month we feature a post on the Big Picture that gives us a glimpse of daily life in the United States and in many, many countries across the world. For July, we represent a little bit of living from Malaysia, Haiti, Guatemala, UAE, Nepal, Sudan, Serbia, Cuba, China, Japan, Pakistan and India (and a few more I've probably missed.) Enjoy our look at the world. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

Chinese girls take pictures with their mobile phones outside a cinema near a bird cage decoration at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, July 29, 2012. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
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August 3, 2012 Permalink

London 2012 Olympics: One week in

The London 2012 Summer Olympics enter their second week. Eight thousand two hundred and fifty seven images flowed into our system today from Reuters, AFP, Getty and The Associated Press (and it's only mid-afternoon), yet they represent only a fraction of the visual coverage available of the summer games. Enjoy these select 56 new photographs. -- Paula Nelson (56 photos total)

Sophie van Gestel of The Netherlands digs out a ball during a beach volleyball match against Brazil, Aug. 3, 2012. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)
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July 20, 2012 Permalink

Downpour and drought

An unexpected downpour briefly drenched parts of the US this week, while most of the central and southern United States continued to experience drought conditions - expected to be the most expansive drought in a half century. In the South, 14 states are now baking in blast-furnace conditions - from Arizona, which is battling the largest wildfire in its history, to Florida, where fires have burned some 200,000 acres so far. More than 70 percent of the nine-state Midwest was in some stage of drought this week. More extreme heat and scant rains were expected in the area, suggesting the poorest crop conditions since the historic 1988 drought. The visual documentation of the breadth and depth of the current drought conditions has just begun. This is a small sampling of images, expect much more storytelling to come in the weeks ahead. -- Paula Nelson (24 photos total)

People walk through heavy rain at Times Square in New York, July 18, 2012. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
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July 6, 2012 Permalink

Daily life: June 2012

In the post that follows for the month of June, I've collected images from many places. Single images from Guatemala, Lisbon, California, Israel, Australia, Nepal and Pakistan. Small "picture groupings" from Greece (a country in the news for the challenges it faces economically), from Pakistan (attending classes at a madrasah and outside a brick factory), from China (fun in the sand and eclectic street scenes), from Spain (the Corpus Christi procession and an intimate moment on the street), from Thailand (life in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border and lessons in an Islamic school). Visual slices of life around the world. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

A Chinese couple bury their children in the sand on a manmade beach in a Beijing park, June 16, 2012. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
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June 22, 2012 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2012 Photo Contest

The 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is in full swing. The entry deadline has been extended until July 11. The four categories include: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Last year's contest drew nearly 13,000 images from all over the world. The pictures are as diverse as their authors, capturing an assortment of people, places and wildlife - everything that makes traveling so memorable, evoking a sense of delight and discovery. The following post includes a small sampling of the entrant's work, taken from the editor's picks in each of the categories. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly corrected for readability.) And for fun, take a look back at the winners from 2011 at National Geographic Traveler. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS - Marrakech Traveler: It was mid-morning and he must have wanted to ride into the light. I was shooting for the ABC TV show Born to Explore when I snapped this photo. (John Barnhardt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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June 15, 2012 Permalink

Brazil: 2012

Mario Tama, a Getty Images staff photographer since 2001 and based in New York, has covered conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan - as well as numerous humanitarian crises and natural disasters in the US and around the world, including most recently the earthquake in Haiti and the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri. He's also spent extensive time documenting Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath. Mario will be working on several feature stories in Brazil, ahead of the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Energy, his first work featured in this post. The summit aims to overcome years of deadlock over environmental concerns and marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Brazil is now the world's sixth largest economy and is set to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Mario’s' editor on the project describes him as passionate and enthusiastic about showing us pieces of a country in which he has traveled before, drawn by the people, the culture and the economics/development of the region. -- Paula Nelson (48 photos total)

Federal highway BR-222, June 9, 2012 in Para state, Brazil. Highway construction through Amazonian rainforest has led to accelerated rates of deforestation. Although deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is down 80 percent since 2004, environmentalists fear recent changes to the Forest Code will lead to further destruction. Around 20 percent of the rainforest has already been destroyed. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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May 25, 2012 Permalink

Finding community in America's Appalachian region

Getty Images photographer, Mario Tama, spent time in and around Owsley County, Kentucky documenting the life and times of some of it's 5,000 residents. The 2010 U.S. Census listed Owsley County as having the lowest median household income in the country outside of Puerto Rico, with 41.5% of residents living below the poverty line. Familial and community bonds run deep, with a populace that shares a collective historical and cultural legacy uncommon in most parts of the country. The community struggles with a lack of jobs due to the decline in coal, tobacco and lumber industries. It's just a glimpse into their lives, but one we wanted to share. -- Paula Nelson (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.) (46 photos total)

Craig and Cora Adams, married nine years, outside their trailer in Owsley County, April 20, 2012, in Booneville, Kentucky. Daniel Boone once camped in the Appalachian mountain hamlet of Owsley County which remains mostly populated by descendants of settlers to this day. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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May 21, 2012 Permalink

Ring of Fire Eclipse: 2012

A rare annular eclipse - a ring of sunlight as the new moon, passing between Earth and sun, blocks most, but not all, of the sun's disc. It is striking to see. Differing from a total solar eclipse, the moon in an annular eclipse appears too small to cover the sun completely, leaving a ring of fire effect around the moon. The eclipse cast its shallow path crossing the West from west Texas to Oregon then arcing across the northern Pacific Ocean to Tokyo, Japan. (Thanks to all Big Picture viewers for sending us your images of the eclipse.) -- Paula Nelson (49 photos total)

A partial solar eclipse as seen during sunrise in the coastal town of Gumaca, Quezon province, southeast of Manila, May 21, 2012. Thousands turned their eyes to the sky on both sides of the Pacific to gaze excitedly as an eclipse occluded the sun at dawn in Asia and at dusk in the western United States. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, but is too far from the Earth to block it out completely, leaving a "ring of fire" visible. (Ted Aljibeted Aljibe/AFP/GettyImages)
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May 18, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: May 2012

Thousands of images are supplied by multiple wire services to newspapers across the country each day. Many of those images depict ordinary scenes of life in different countries around the world. There are three picture editors that contribute to the Big Picture blog, each of them seeing the world in a little bit of a different way. Their backgrounds, their experiences, their interests - all very disparate. Each of them given the same resources (the visual wire) to edit from, each choosing very different ways to tell a story. The following photographs are my choices of those images for the month of May (and a few from late April) illustrating daily life around the world. -- Paula Nelson (53 photos total)

Adam Ortiz, a fourth-grader at Fairview Elementary, stops traffic while classmates and parents cross Washington at North 11th Street in Klamath Falls, Ore. as part of Walk to School Days, something the school has participated in every Friday in May for three years, May 11. 2012. (Andrew Mariman/The Herald and News)
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April 13, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: March 2012

In early April, in an attempt to accelerate the transition of military responsibility to the Afghan government, the US agreed to hand control of special operations missions to Afghan forces, including night raids, relegating American troops to a supporting role. This deal cleared the way for the two countries to move ahead with an agreement that would establish the shape of American support to Afghanistan after the 2014 troop withdrawal deadline. Domestic support for the war (in the US) has dropped sharply. We look back at March in the troubled country. -- Paula Nelson (37 photos total)

Young Afghan women use an umbrella to shield themselves from the sun in Kabul, April 5, 2012. The position of women in Afghanistan has improved dramatically since the fall of the Taliban, with the number of girls in education soaring. But as the Americans and the Afghan government have pursued peace efforts with the Taliban, women are increasingly concerned that gains in their rights may be compromised in a bid to end the costly and deadly war. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
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April 6, 2012 Permalink

Titanic at 100 years

The sinking of the RMS Titanic caused the deaths of 1,517 of its 2,229 passengers and crew (official numbers vary slightly) in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. The 712 survivors were taken aboard the RMS Carpathia. Few disasters have had such resonance and far-reaching effects on the fabric of society as the sinking of the Titanic. It affected attitudes toward social injustice, altered the way the North Atlantic passenger trade was conducted, changed the regulations for numbers of lifeboats carried aboard passenger vessels and created an International Ice Patrol (where commercial ships crossing the North Atlantic still, today, radio in their positions and ice sightings). The 1985 discovery of the Titanic wreck on the ocean floor marked a turning point for public awareness of the ocean and for the development of new areas of science and technology. April 15, 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. It has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, films, exhibits and memorials. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

The British passenger liner RMS Titanic leaves from Southampton, England on her maiden voyage, April 10, 1912. Titanic called at Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland before heading westward toward New York. Four days into the crossing, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m., 375 miles south of Newfoundland. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean.(Frank O. Braynard Collection)
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March 21, 2012 Permalink

Signs of Spring: 2012

Seemingly strange weather patterns continue to break high and low temperature records. The same patterns spawned an early tornado season in the midwestern United States and brought late season snowstorms to the west. Record snow falls and frigid temperatures characterized a particularly difficult winter across Europe with many deaths attributed to the conditions. Signs of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere (which began officially with the Vernal Equinox - March 20 - when the hours of day are approximately equal to the hours of night) like trees blossoming and flowers blooming, the shedding of winter coats and the desire of anyone -who has spent an all too long winter season indoors - to venture outside to soak up the sun. -- Paula Nelson (45 photos total)

Cherry blossoms of the Japanese Yoshino variety bloom along the Tidal Basin, March 19, 2012, in Washington, DC, with the Jefferson Memorial to the rear. This season celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees from Japan to Washington, DC. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
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March 14, 2012 Permalink

Afghanistan: February 2012

Angry protests broke out and shock rippled through Afghanistan on February 21 when accounts surfaced that NATO personnel at Bagram Air Base had burned a number of Korans and were preparing to burn more. A NATO spokesman said the books were inadvertently sent for incineration after being gathered at a detention facility for suspected insurgents. The incident brought nearly a week of strong anti-American demonstrations in which 30 people, including American troops were killed and many others wounded. Despite President Obama's letter of apology to President Hamid Karzai, the violence escalated. Two American soldiers were shot dead inside the Interior Ministry building in Kabul on Feb. 25. On Feb. 27, two suicide attackers detonated a car bomb at the entrance to a NATO air base in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing as revenge for the burning of the Korans. While the violence raged, Afghan civilians faced harsher than usual winter weather and cold temperatures in which more than 40 people, mostly children, have frozen to death. -- Paula Nelson (48 photos total)

Afghan demonstrators show copies of the Koran allegedly set alight by US soldiers, during a protest against Koran desecration at the gate of Bagram airbase, Feb. 21, 2012 at Bagram, north of Kabul. The copies of the burned Korans and Islamic religious texts were obtained by Afghan workers contracted to work inside Bagram air base, and presented to demonstrators gathered outside the military installation.(Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
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March 5, 2012 Permalink

Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest: 50 Finalists

The Smithsonian magazine's 9th annual photo contest finalists have been chosen. The contest attracted over 14 thousand photographers from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Fifty finalists from 67,059 images were selected by Smithsonian editors. Those editors will also choose the Grand Prize Winner and the winners in each of the five categories which include The Natural World, Americana, People, Travel and Altered Images. Photos were selected based on technical quality, clarity and composition, a flair for the unexpected and the ability to capture a picture-perfect moment. (Smithsonian invites everyone to select an additional "Readers' Choice" winner by voting through March for their favorite image on line.) -- Paula Nelson (25 photos total)

BEHIND THE BLUE Lilongwe, Malawi, May 2011 (Paolo Patruno/Bologna, Italy)
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March 1, 2012 Permalink

Tornadoes Rip Through the Midwest and South

Weather predictions for possible tornadoes from a new storm system today threaten the Midwest and South, and have recent victims nervous about what the day might hold. The first powerful storm system tore through parts of the Midwest and South earlier this week, killing 13 people from Kansas to Kentucky, leaving pockets of devastation across several states and marking the acceleration of another deadly (and early) tornado season. Tornadoes and powerful winds tore off roofs, leveled homes and businesses, tossed mobile homes, downed power lines and injured more than 150 people. The damage was most significant in Harrisburg, a small town in southern Illinois where blocks of houses and businesses were reduced to rubble. -- Paula Nelson(25 photos total)

St. Joseph's Catholic Church in ruins, March 1, 2012, in Ridgway, Ill. A pre-dawn twister flattened entire blocks of homes as violent storms ravaged the Midwest and South. (Seth Perlman/Associated Press)
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February 24, 2012 Permalink

One billion slum dwellers

One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I've included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum - where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi's population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai. -- Paula Nelson (55 photos total)

Cambodian lawmaker Mu Sochuo, from the opposition Sam Rainsy party, pleads with riot policemen to stop a forced eviction of villagers at a slum village in the centre of Phnom Penh, Jan. 4, 2012. Cambodian lawmakers from the opposition Sam Rainsy party visited the village after authorities forcefully evicted villagers from the Borei Keila community in the capital. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 17, 2012 Permalink

A glimpse of fashion week 2012

The models descended on the city, along with photographers, stylists, makeup artists, celebrities, editors and of course, fashion groupies during New York fashion week. During the week, more than 300 designers presented their fall 2012 collections to journalists, buyers and the occasional celebrity at Lincoln Center, Milk Studios and other venues. In this post, we take a look behind the scenes, get a glimpse of the runway and end it with a bit of whimsy. -- Paula Nelson (EDITOR'S NOTE: There will not be a Big Picture post on Monday, February 20 due to the President's Day holiday.)(42 photos total)

Makeup is applied backstage before the Rebecca Taylor Fall/Winter 2012 show during New York Fashion Week, Feb. 10, 2012. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
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February 10, 2012 Permalink

2012 World Press Photo Contest Winners

By the numbers: 5, 247 Photographers, 124 Nationalities, 101, 254 pictures. Three hundred and fifty images by 57 photographers of 24 nationalities were awarded prizes in nine categories. To view the entire collection of winning images from the 55th World Press Photo Contest: 2012 World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (16 photos total)

2012 World Press Photo of the Year: A woman holds a wounded relative during protests against President Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
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January 13, 2012 Permalink

Dakar rally 2012

Traversing over 8000 miles through Argentina, Chile, and Peru, the Dakar rally pits drivers and riders against each other and against extreme terrain. The 14-stage race attracts competitors from over 50 countries to race 465 vehicles - motorcycles, quad bikes, cars, and trucks - through deserts, rivers, and mountains. The race has seen its share of tragedy over the years, and the 2012 edition is no different, with Argentine motorcycle rider Jorge Boero dying after a crash near the end of the very first stage, and two spectators dying when their ultralight aircraft crashed. Begun on January 1st, the race concludes Saturday in Lima, Peru. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

Marc Coma races his KTM in the 10th stage of the 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica, Chile on January 11, 2012. (Jerome Prevost/Associatied Press/Pool)
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December 23, 2011 Permalink

The Year in Pictures: Part III

In this post, featuring images from the last quarter of 2011, we remember a tumultuous year of change across the globe, the capture of Khadafi, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the passing of Apple icon Steve Jobs, fire, famine, flood and protests. A memorable year, indeed. -- Paula Nelson -- Please see part 1 and part 2 from earlier. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Monday, December 26, due to the Christmas Holiday ) (51 photos total)

A defaced portrait of fugitive Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli on Sept. 1, 2011 as the fallen strongman vowed again not to surrender in a message broadcast on the 42nd anniversary of the coup which brought him to power. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
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December 2, 2011 Permalink

World AIDS Day - 2011

World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV (as of 2007), making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Yet today, there is serious talk about the "end" of this global epidemic. There are now 6.6 million people on life-saving AIDS medicine, but still too many are being infected. New research proves that early antiretroviral treatment will slash the rate of new HIV cases by up to 60 percent. This is described as the tipping point that so many have tirelessly tried to reach. -- Paula Nelson (30 photos total)

Indian school children form a red ribbon, the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV, in Ahmadabad, India, Dec. 1, 2011. World AIDS Day is marked across the world on Dec. 1. (Ajit Solanki/Associated Press)
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November 18, 2011 Permalink

National Geographic Photo Contest 2011

There's still time! The deadline for entries for this year's National Geographic Photo Contest is November 30. Photographers of all skill levels (last year more than 16,000 images submitted by photographers from 130 countries) enter photographs in three categories: Nature, People and Places. The photographs are judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts. There is one first place winner in each category and a grand prize winner as well. The following is a selection of 54 entries from each of the 3 categories. The caption information is provided and written by the individual photographer. -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)

LONE TREE YELLOWSTONE: A solitary tree surviving another harsh winter in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Photo and caption by Anita Erdmann/Nature/National Geographic Photo Contest)
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November 15, 2011 Permalink

Dangerous work: "The Mine" in Guatemala City

In Guatemala City, a place called "The Mine" can deliver both a means of survival and a grisly death. Every day, dozens of residents salvage a living by scouring the massive dump for scrap metal. Facing the threat of mudslides, collapses, and disease, they can potentially earn twice the daily minimum wage. Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd documented their efforts. -- Lloyd Young (EDITOR'S NOTE: Our apologies, but due to an illness on our staff, we were unable to post a Big Picture on Monday.) (25 photos total)

A man covers himself from the rain on a mound of garbage at the bottom of one of the biggest trash dumps in the city, known as "The Mine," in Guatemala City. Hundreds of informal workers descend daily into the mounds of the landfill and the rushing waters that come from a storm tunnel and a sewer at the bottom of a gorge to search for scrap metal to sell. This activity known locally as "mining" is extremely dangerous due to mud slides and collapses, but earns many of them about 150 quetzals ($20 dollars) a day, nearly twice the minimum daily wage. (Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press)
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November 11, 2011 Permalink

Feeding 7 billion and our fragile environment

According to projections by the United Nations, the world population has reached 7 billion and continues to grow rapidly.  While more people are living longer and healthier lives, gaps are widening between the rich and the poor in some nations and tens of millions of people are vulnerable to food and water shortages.  There is, of course, the issue of the impact of that sheer number on the environment, including pollution, waste disposal, use of natural resources and food production.  This post focuses on wheat and the effect of our numbers on the environment.  Wheat is the most important cereal in the world and along with rice and corn accounts for about 73 percent of all cereal production.  It isn't surprising that 7 billion people have a lasting impact on our world's natural resources and the environment in which we live. -- Paula Nelson (36 photos total)

One of the world's breadbaskets lies in the prairies of Canada. This stalk, near Lethbridge, Alberta, helps form the foundation for the most important food product in the world: cereal grains. (Todd Korol/Reuters)
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October 28, 2011 Permalink

World Population: 7 Billion

On October 31, 2011, the United Nations is expected to announce a projected world population figure of 7 billion. This global milestone presents both an opportunity and a challenge for the planet. While more people are living longer and healthier lives, says the U.N., gaps between rich and poor are widening and more people than ever are vulnerable to food insecurity and water shortages. Because censuses are infrequent and incomplete, no one knows the precise date that we will hit the 7 billion mark - the Census Bureau puts it somewhere next March. In the last 50 years, humanity has more than doubled. What could the next decade mean for our numbers and the planet? In this post, we focus on births, but we'll be back with population-related content including it's affect on the environment and our food supply. -- Paula Nelson (47 photos total)

A baby, minutes after he was born inside the pediatric unit at hospital Escuela in Tegucigalpa, Oct. 21, 2011. According to Honduras' health authorities, about 220,000 babies are born in Honduras each year. The cost of having a baby delivered at the public hospital is $10. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)
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October 21, 2011 Permalink

Sukkot: A celebration

Sukkot, or Feast of Tabernacles, is a Biblical holiday celebrated in late September to late October. The holiday lasts seven days. The Sukkah is a walled structure covered with plant material - built for the celebration - and is intended to be a reminiscence of the type of dwelling in which the Israelites stayed during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the Sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog (four species). The four species include the lulav (a ripe green, closed frond from a date palm tree), the hadass (boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree), the aravah (branches with leaves from the willow tree) and the etrog (the fruit of a citron tree.) -- Paula Nelson (29 photos total)

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish child walks over palm fronds to be used to build a Sukkah hut, in Jerusalem's religious Mea Shearim neighborhood, Oct. 6, 2011. The palm branches are used as the roof of a temporary house called a "Sukkah" which is built and lived in during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot. (Bernat Armangue/Associated Press)
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September 30, 2011 Permalink

Global protests

There are many forms of protest, many ways to express an objection to particular events, situations, policies, and even people.  Protests can also take many forms - from individual statements to mass demonstrations - both peaceful and violent. In the last 30 days, there have been numerous protests across the globe in many countries.  The following post is a collection of only some of those protests, but the images convey a gamut of emotions as citizens stand up for their political, economic, religious and lifestyle rights.  -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

As protesters sleep in Zuccotti Park, N.Y. police officers receive instructions. A group of activists calling themselves Occupy Wall Street targeted the Financial District for more than a week of demonstrations in late September. The group said they sought to bring attention to corporate malfeasance, social inequality, and the yawning gap in income between America's rich and poor. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
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September 19, 2011 Permalink

Student protests in Chile

The ongoing student demonstrations in Chile began as a protest over the costs, profits, and fairness of higher education there. They have since attracted other segments of Chilean society venting frustration over wages, health care, and other issues. Uniting the protesters is common dissatisfaction with hugely unpopular President Sebastian Pinera and social inequality. Workers joined a 48-hour general strike in August which, like many demonstrations during the course of the protests, was met with police using tear gas and water cannons on the participants. With changes in the education system still unsettled, the student protests are likely to continue. Chileans yesterday celebrated their national independence day. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)

Students are hit by water cannons during a rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Santiago July 28, 2011. (Carlos Vera/Reuters)
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September 12, 2011 Permalink

Ground Zero: September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2011

One of the most indelible memories in the collective psyche of Americans - and the world - comes from the images of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on the United States, September 11, 2001. Yesterday, Americans and the world collectively remembered those who lost their lives in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania ten years after that unforgettable day. This post (edited by Leanne Burden) shows the transformation, of what became known as Ground Zero, over the last ten years. A memorial rises from the ashes of that day on September 11, 2011. -- Paula Nelson (41 photos total)

Photos by Space Imaging’s IKONOS satellite showing the World Trade Center complex in Manhattan, New York, collected on June 30, 2001 showing the 110-stories twin towers; on September 15, 2001 showing the remains of the 1,350-foot (411.48-meter) twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the debris and dust that have settled in Ground Zero, four days after the terrorist attacks; and June 8, 2002, showing the progress in the reclamation of Ground Zero where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. AFP/Space Imaging
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June 27, 2011 Permalink

People of Clouds

In the Mixteca, one of the most impoverished regions in Mexico, migration to the United States has arrived like a storm. In a place so insular that pre-columbian languages like Mixteco, Trique, and Asmuzgos are still spoken more widely than Spanish, and where cars, electricity and indoor plumbing are recent introductions, if they exist at all, northern migration has emptied communities and transformed the lives of those left behind. Some villages have lost as much as 80% of their population to the north and have become little more than ghost towns, home to just a handful of old men, women and the left-behind children of migrants.

In San Miguel Cuevas -- or Nuyuco, Face of the Mountain, in Mixteco -- just 500 people out of 3000 remain. Its streets are largely empty, its fields stand deserted, its century-old way of life lies in shambles as families dissolve to the north, rending the social fabric of this traditional agrarian society. Old women raise grandchildren left behind by their mothers, teenage girls do the work of absent fathers, and old men sit alone, abandoned by their children. "I only think about dying," one 70 year old said, "my only worry is how my funeral will be."

Photographer Matt Black first photographed the mixteca in 2000. He has since made 12 trips to the region, and plans more. To contribute to the project, visit his Kickstarter project site. -- Lane Turner (32 photos total)


Fog settles on the deserted streets of San Miguel Cuevas, a Mixtec village in the highlands of Oaxaca. Over 80% of its population has emigrated to the United States, leaving it little more than a ghost town. (Matt Black)

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June 9, 2011 Permalink

Arizona wildfire rages on

A vast wildfire, measuring half the size of the state of Rhode Island and described as the second worst fire in Arizona history, continues to surge across eastern Arizona. The fire has jumped past firefighter's containment lines to reach the edges of residential areas, prompting more evacuation orders. Winds carrying burning embers continue to ignite smaller fires, causing new concerns about the prospect of extinguishing the 13-day-old fire. The Wallow Fire has destroyed approximately 337,000 acres and threatens main electrical lines that supply power as far away as west Texas. Thousands have evacuated. Paula Nelson (35 photos total)

Smoke from the Wallow Fire covers highway 60 in Springerville, Arizona. Several mountain communities have emptied in advance of the fire, and a utility that supplies power to customers in southern New Mexico and west Texas issued warnings of possible power interruptions due to the fire's spread, June 9, 2011. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)
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May 27, 2011 Permalink

Obama: Six days, four nations

US President Barack Obama began a six-day, four-nation tour (Ireland, England, France, and Poland) May 22, 2011. His 24-hour visit to Ireland included dropping by rural Moneygall, where his great-great-great-grandfather Fulmouth Kearney lived before immigrating to the United States in 1850. The second stop on Mr. Obama’s itinerary? London, for a visit with the Queen, where he was honored with a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace and gave an address to both houses of Parliament. Mr. Obama’s next stop: a meeting of the Group of 8 world powers in Deauville, France. The leaders discussed how the West could help Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab states in political transition. On the last stop: Mr. Obama visited Poland. Last year he was forced to cancel (to attend the funeral of Poland's president) when the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano restricted air space and travel. Ironically, a new volcanic eruption forced alterations of his itinerary again this year. -- Paula Nelson (Editor's note: We will not post on May 30, 2011, Memorial Day. See you again on June 1.) (55 photos total)

US President Barack Obama is greeted by a well wisher in College Green, May 23, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. Obama visited Ireland for one day. Earlier he met with Irish President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Enda Kenny, and visited his ancestral home in Moneygall, County Offaly. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
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April 29, 2011 Permalink

The Royal Wedding

Under cool, gray skies billions watched from outside Westminster Abbey and on television worldwide as 1900 invited guests inside witnessed as Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton were married in one of the largest events in London in decades. A little over an hour after they arrived at the Abbey to be married, the couple emerged on a red carpet and onto the streets to a peal of bells and into a horse-drawn carriage, heading toward Buckingham Palace. The prince had married what the British call a commoner; now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (titles granted by Queen Elizabeth II). The couple stepped out onto a balcony a short time later to greet the enormous crowd along the Mall - a tradition at royal weddings. They kissed for the first time in public as a married couple as a cheer went up from the crowd. -- Paula Nelson (36 photos total)

Catherine (Kate) Middleton arrives at Westminster Abbey before her marriage to Britain's Prince William in central London. (Toby Melville/Reuters)
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April 20, 2011 Permalink

Cuba looks back - and forward

Cuba this week concluded two events, one looking back, and one - ostensibly - looking forward. The 50-year anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion was observed with parades and speeches. Victory in the three-day war against a covert US operation to overthrow Fidel Castro, the then-new leader of revolutionary Cuba, is celebrated every year. But 50 years on, a stagnant economy and calls for political reform from a younger generation were an undercurrent during the first party congress in 14 years. What real change will come, and when, remains to be seen. Collected here are some archival images, scenes from the congress and political process, and daily life on the island. -- Lane Turner (31 photos total)

Cuban soldiers march during a military parade in Havana's Revolution Square April 16. Cuba readied for a Communist Party congress about its future with a tribute to the past, staging a military parade for the 50th anniversaries of the U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion. (Desmond Boylan/Reuters)
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April 8, 2011 Permalink

Mexico's drug war

Mass graves. Dismembered corpses. Entire towns besieged. Macabre visions grow in depravity as the drug war in Mexico drags on. Since President Felipe Calderon began using the army to contain the violence four years ago, rival gangs have escalated their turf battles over smuggling routes, and 35,000 lives have been lost, half of those in just the three northern states of Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and Sinaloa. The drug criminals have expanded their shadow by intimidating police forces, using kidnapping and extortion, trafficking migrants, and even pirating oil from Mexico's national oil company, Pemex. Of course, calling this issue "Mexico's drug war" is inadequate. Much of the drug product is destined for the United States, and by some estimates, over $20 billion flows south annually to pay for it. Guns made in the U.S. cross the border as well. The last 16 pictures in this entry were made by Nadav Neuhaus, who was gracious enough to share them with us. Neuhaus spent two years visiting Mexico documenting the drug war. You can see more of his work by clicking on the link below. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)

Students and activists gather during a protest against Mexico's drug violence in Mexico City February 17. (Jorge Dan Lopez/Reuters)
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March 25, 2011 Permalink

Dog Sledding season - coming to a close

The well-known Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, held in Alaska, welcomed its first native Alaskan champion since 1976. Begun in 1973, the grueling race - through blizzards, whiteout conditions, sub-zero temperatures, gale-force winds - covers 1,150 miles in nine to fifteen days from Willow to Nome, Alaska. There are many other sled dog races in locations around the world, including races in Norway, British Columbia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, Minsk, and through the Alps of France and Switzerland. The following images are a collection from those races. -- Paula Nelson (42 photos total)

A dog rests during the 1000 km (621 miles) long Finnmarkslopet, the world's northernmost sled dog race, in Finnmark county, northern Norway, March 14, 2011. (Tore Meek/Scanpix/Reuters)
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February 16, 2011 Permalink

New York Fashion Week: Behind the scenes

The first New York Fashion Week in 1943 (then called Press Week) was the world's first organized fashion week. It was designed to attract attention away from French fashion during World War II, when industry insiders were unable to travel to Paris to see the fashion shows. As fashion has evolved, so has the New York event, now branded Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and held in February and September each year. It's one of four major fashion weeks held around the world, along with London, Paris, and Milan. Each year, the 232,000 attendees at the two New York Fashion Weeks account for more than $466 million in direct visitor spending and contribute to $1.6 billion in annual tax revenue to the city's fashion industry. More than $40 million annually is spent on meals at local restaurants; nearly $30 million on taxis, Town Cars, and public transportation; and an additional $56 million at area hotels. This is a look behind the scenes, behind the fashion. -- Paula Nelson (Editor's Note: Monday, February 21, is President's Day. We'll return with Wednesday's post.) (36 photos total)

A model prepares backstage at the Rebecca Minkoff Fall 2011 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion week at The Theatre at Lincoln Center, in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for IMG)
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February 11, 2011 Permalink

World Press Photo: winners

On the morning of February 11, 2011, the international jury of the 54th World Press Photo Contest named a photo by South African photographer Jodi Bieber, World Press Photo of the Year 2010. The image is a portrait of Bibi Aisha, disfigured as punishment for fleeing her husband's house, taken in Kabul, Afghanistan. Over 5,691 photographers entered 108,059 images in the 2011 World Press Photo Contest and after the two-week judging period, 56 were named winners in nine categories. It is a prestigious contest and an honor to be named a winner. The following post shares 23 of those winning images. For more on the contest, including a time-lapse video of the jury room being set up, to hear the jury chairs discuss the images that were named winners, and to learn more about the competition, World Press Photo -- Paula Nelson (23 photos total)

Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the United States. World Press Photo of the Year 2010, Jodi Bieber, South Africa, Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery for Time magazine.
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January 28, 2011 Permalink

Challenger disaster: remembered

On January 28, 1986, at 11:38 a.m., EST, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The entire crew of seven was lost in the explosion 73 seconds into the launch. Today, on the 25th anniversary of this national tragedy, we honor in memory the brave crew who gave their lives for the exploration of space. Sharon Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire social studies teacher, was NASA's choice for the first teacher in space. Because McAuliffe was our local astronaut, she is featured heavily in this post, but we honor all seven on the anniversary of a nation's great loss. -- Paula Nelson (34 photos total)

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger. From left: Ellison Onizuka, Mike Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Dick Scobee, Greg Jarvis, Ron McNair and Judith Resnik. (NASA/1986)
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November 29, 2010 Permalink

Rio's drug war

A small war took place last week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Brazilian forces and hundreds of drug traffickers holed up in the shantytown complex dubbed Complexo do Alemão. After recent efforts by officials to pacify Rio's drug and gang-related violence ahead of the upcoming the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics Games, drug gangs struck out last week - attacking police stations and staging mass robberies. After days of preparation, Brazilian security forces launched a raid in the Complexo do Alemão, where between 500 and 600 drug traffickers were holed up. At least 42 people were killed in the violence last week, with security forces taking control of many neighborhoods. A relatively low number of arrests were made, and authorities warn of further conflict as continue to flush out more suspects in Rio's maze of favelas. (40 photos total)

Alleged drug traffickers who did not want to identify themselves, pose for a photo as they stand on a street at a slum in western Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Nov. 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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October 29, 2010 Permalink

Argentina bids farewell to a president

Nestor Kirchner, president of Argentina from 2003 to 2007, and husband to current president Cristina Fernandez, died of a heart attack on Wednesday, October 27th, at the age of 60. Kirchner was widely expected to run for a second term in a presidential election next October. Today, thousands of Argentinians filed past a flag-draped coffin to pay their respects to the former President, then lined the capital's rain-slicked streets for a glimpse of his hearse as it passed by. Kirchner's remains will be flown to the southern region of Patagonia, where he was born, for burial. Collected here are recent images from Argentina as it bids farewell. (22 photos total)

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (center) sits next to the coffin of her husband, former Argentine President (2003-2007) Nestor Kirchner, during his wake at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 28, 2010. Thousands of Argentinians, joined by Latin American leaders, paid homage Thursday to ex-president Nestor Kirchner, the powerful husband the current president Cristina Fernandez, who died suddenly of a heart attack on October 27. (AFP/Getty Images)
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October 13, 2010 Permalink

Rescued from a Chilean mine

Over two months have passed since the August 5th collapse of the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, when 33 miners were trapped 700 meters (2,300 ft) below ground. The men were kept alive over that time by supplies delivered through narrow holes drilled down to them, and kept hope through video conferences with family - until last night, when the first of the 33 miners was successfully lifted to the surface in a specially-designed rescue capsule. Friends and relatives, many of whom had camped nearby for months, slowly let their cautious optimism become joy as they were reunited with their loved ones. As of this writing, at 9:30 pm, Eastern time, all of the 33 men have now made it safely to the surface. (49 photos total)

Chilean miner Osman Araya (right) is welcomed by his wife Angelica as he comes out of the Fenix capsule after been brought to the surface on October 13, 2010 following a 10-week ordeal in the collapsed San Jose mine, near Copiapo, 800 km north of Santiago, Chile. Araya was the sixth from the 33 trapped miners to be lifted from underground. (HUGO INFANTE/AFP/Getty Images)
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September 17, 2010 Permalink

Mexico's Bicentennial

This week, Mexico commemorated the 200th anniversary of the beginning of its War of Independence. In September of 1810, a Mexican priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla uttered a call to arms against the Spanish, later known as the Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores"). Soon after began a series of battles with the Spanish that would build into a war that lasted over a decade, eventually resulting in independence. This bicentennial year, tens of thousands of Mexicans thronged the streets of Mexico City to celebrate. The celebrations took place under a somewhat subdued light though, amid the violence of a brutal nationwide drug war and vocal criticism of government spending on the lavish ceremonies. Collected here are photos of this week's celebration of 200 years of Mexican independence. (42 photos total)

Members of the military wearing traditional clothing, take part in a rehearsal ahead of Mexico's bicentennial Independence parade in Mexico City on Friday, Sept. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
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May 26, 2010 Permalink

Argentina's Bicentennial

Two hundred years ago, in Buenos Aires (then capital of a Spanish colony), a week-long series of revolutionary events took place, known as the Revolucion de Mayo, which set in motion events that led to Argentina's eventual declaration of independence from Spain in 1816. This week, millions of Argentinians, their neighbors and foreign dignitaries gathered in Buenos Aires to celebrate their bicentennial with lavish parades festivals and performances. Collected here are recent scenes from Argentina as its citizens commemorate 200 years of eventful history. (30 photos total)

A soldier sings during a parade in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday May 22, 2010. The parade is part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the May revolution, that opened the road to the independence of Argentina from Spain in 1816. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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March 5, 2010 Permalink

NYC and Las Vegas from above, at night

Photographer Jason Hawkes, a frequent contributor to the Big Picture blog, returns today, sharing with us some of his latest images of American cities seen from above at night - New York City and Las Vegas, both cities that undergo significant transformations after the sun goes down. From Hawkes: "The images of New York were shot on Nikons latest camera, the D3S, using three gyro stabilizing mounts and flown using twin star helicopters. (Eurocopter AS355). We flew from heights of just over 500 ft up to 2,500-ft with no doors on, it was very very cold. The images of Las Vegas were shot for a separate project, using a range of helicopters from a Robinson 44 to Eurocopter AS355". Be sure to see Hawkes' earlier entries here (1, 2, 3), and check out his newly-released book "London at Night". A book of his New York at night photos is due for publication in the Autumn. Captions provided by the photographer. (20 photos total)

One Worldwide Plaza, Eighth Avenue. (© Jason Hawkes)
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November 11, 2009 Permalink

Scenes from Havana

Havana, the capital city of the island nation of Cuba is home to nearly 4 million people - 20% of the entire population of Cuba. On November 16th the city will celebrate its 490th anniversary, being founded by the Spanish in 1519. Havana is also the seat of the state-run economy, one that has been faltering more and more in recent years. President Raul Castro has even gone so far as to warn Cubans that their socialist system must change - and to invite (limited) criticism of the state. Cuba's economic woes are compounded by the 50-year-old trade embargo imposed by the United States, a practice recently condemned (again) by the United Nations with a vote of 187-3. Collected here are recent photos from in and around Havana, Cuba. (35 photos total)

A man walks along Havana's seafront boulevard "El Malecon" July 31, 2009. (REUTERS/Desmond Boylan)
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July 3, 2009 Permalink

The Honduran coup d'etat

Earlier this year, the unpopular president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, introduced a referendum as a first step toward drafting a new constitution. Opposition to the referendum was strong, with the Honduran Congress, Supreme Court and military all declaring it illegal. Zelaya fired the head of the military for not providing support for the referendum - but was thwarted by the Supreme Court, who deemed the firing illegal, and reinstated General Romeo Velasquez to his post. On Sunday, June 28th, the Honduran Army, under orders from the Supreme Court, stormed the presidential residence, arrested president Zelaya and put him on a plane to Costa Rica, then took possession of the residence. The head of Congress, Roberto Micheletti, then assumed the role of Interim President of Honduras. Internally split, Hondurans have taken to the streets both in support of Zelaya and in opposition to his return. International reactions have been unanimously negative, the action condemned as a coup by the UN, the Organization of American States, the U.S. and every other country in Latin America. Efforts are underway now to resolve the issue, with great international pressure on Honduras. (35 photos total)

Supporters of ousted Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya clash with soldiers near the presidential residency Tegucigalpa, Monday, June 29. 2009. Police fired tear gas to hold back thousands of Hondurans outside the occupied presidential residency as world leaders from Barack Obama to Hugo Chavez appealed to Honduras to reverse a coup that ousted the president. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
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March 25, 2009 Permalink

Mexico's drug war

In December of 2006, Mexico's new President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels, reversing earlier government passiveness. Since then, the government has made some gains, but at a heavy price - gun battles, assasinations, kidnappings, fights between rival cartels, and reprisals have resulted in over 9,500 deaths since December 2006 - over 5,300 killed last year alone. President Barack Obama recently announced extra agents were being deployed to the border and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Mexico today to pursue a broad diplomatic agenda - overshadowed now by spiraling drug violence and fears of greater cross-border spillover. Officials on both sides of the border are committed to stopping the violence, and stemming the flow of drugs heading north and guns and cash heading south. (34 photos total)

Seized ammunition is shown during a presentation of suspected members of the Pacifico drug cartel in Mexico city's airport on March 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)
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February 4, 2009 Permalink

Bolivia and its new constitution

On January 25th, Bolivia held a referendum to adopt a new national constitution, one that dramatically shifts the country, reversing discriminatory practices and granting many rights and self-determination to the 36 indigenous nations within Bolivia. After a lengthy count, officials announced that the referendum passed with over 60% of the vote. Much political and legal work remains to implement the changes, but soon most of the country's natural resources will be state-owned, land ownership will be capped at 12,000 acres, and Morales will be able to run for a second term. Challenges still lie ahead, as Bolivia remains South America's poorest country, and - after recently expelling all agents the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency - it has lost preferred trade status with the United States. President Evo Morales welcomed the constitutional win by saying "Here begins the new Bolivia", claiming the changes would work to "decolonize" Bolivia. (29 photos total)

A Bolivian Wiphala indigenous flag (this one representing the Qulla Suyu region of the Inca Empire) is held high during a protest march towards La Paz, Bolivia on October 20, 2008. Thousands of supporters of President Evo Morales marched toward La Paz to pressure congressmen to pass a law for a referendum vote to approve a new constitution. (REUTERS/Daniel Caballero)
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August 27, 2008 Permalink

Scenes from Rio de Janeiro

A recent large-scale project by the photographer named JR has focused attention on women - relatives of victims of violence - by displaying their large portraits in one of Rio de Janeiro's hardest hit neighborhoods. Though Rio is blessed with natural beauty and climate, it still struggles with large disparities between rich and poor, and many of the six million residents reside in hillside slums called favelas. Here are some views of Rio de Janeiro over the past few months. (15 photos total)

View of the facade of some houses at the "Morro da Providencia" favela, one of the most violent of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, taken on August 20, 2008. The French photographer identified as JR is launching a project called "Women Are Heroes", through which the photographs of women, relatives of the victims of clashes between the police and drug traffickers, were placed in the facades of the houses. This project already took place in Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Liberia, and will be taken to India, Cambodia, Laos and Morocco after Brazil. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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May 30, 2008 Permalink

Uncontacted Tribe Photographed in Brazil

Members of an unknown Amazon Basin tribe and their dwellings are seen during a flight over the Brazilian state of Acre along the border with Peru in these May, 2008 photos distributed by Survival International. Survival International estimates that there are over 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, and says that uncontacted tribes in the region are under increasing threat from illegal logging over the border in Peru. (7 photos total)

REUTERS/Gleison Miranda-FUNAI/Handout
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May 21, 2008 Permalink

Indigenous Brazilians Protest Dam

Indigenous natives from several tribes near Brazil's Xingu River attended and protested a gathering set up to debate the impact of a proposed hydroelectric dam. Mobs of Indians surrounded Brazilian Eletrobras engineer Paulo Fernando Rezende minutes after he gave a presentation. Rezende emerged shirtless, with a deep, bloody gash on his shoulder, but said "I'm OK, I'm OK," as colleagues rushed him to a car.

It was not immediately clear whether Rezende was intentionally slashed or received the cut inadvertently when he was surrounded and pushed to the floor. Police said they were still investigating and no one was in custody.

Tensions were running high at the meeting, where about 1,000 Amazon Indians met with activists to protest the proposed dam on the Xingu River. Environmentalists warn it could destroy the traditional fishing grounds of Indians living nearby and displace as many as 15,000 people. (12 photos total)


Brazilian Indians ride a bus in Altamira, Brazil, Wednesday, May 21, 2008. Amazon Indians and activists continue to protest a proposed hydroelectric dam on the nearby Xingu River. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

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