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National Geographic Life in Color Photography : Blue


Whale Shark

Photograph by Brian Skerry

The sweeping color of sea and sky, blue is a common thread in nature, seen in the cerulean of a whale shark (pictured here), the indigo of a stormy night, and the cobalt of a peacock’s feathers. Over the centuries, the hue has come to represent calm, cold, mysticism, and sadness.

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Yellowstone Wolf

Photograph by Joel Sartore

Bathed in blue light, a gray wolf peers through the misty landscape of Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. West. The animals were successfully reintroduced to the park in the mid-1990s after an absence of nearly seven decades.

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Polar Bear in Svalbard

Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins

A polar bear leaps off of sea ice near Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. Strong swimmers, polar bears have slightly webbed paws to aid in paddling.

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Azurite

Photograph by David Boyer

Some of nature’s intricate patterns are on display in this magnified view of the mineral azurite. The bright blue mineral was once used to make paints and may still be found in jewelry.

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Barracuda School

Photograph by Tim Laman

A thick, swirling school of blackfin barracuda plies the blue waters off Sipadan Island, Malaysia. The fish are formidable predators, but they sometimes gather in groups for protection against sharks higher up on the food chain.

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Snowy Grand Canyon

Photograph by Michael Nichols

Though it’s better known for shades of red, the Grand Canyon is shrouded in blue as night descends on its foggy, snow-covered walls. The canyon’s north rim is typically closed to vehicles in winter.

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Veiled Woman on Doorstep

Photograph by Steve McCurry

A veiled Nepali woman, covered head-to-toe in shades of blue, pauses to rest in a colorful doorway in one of the small Himalayan hill towns found in Nepal’s Anapurna region.

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Blue-Footed Booby

Photograph by Tim Laman

These distinctive webbed feet belong to a blue-footed booby of the Galápagos Islands. The bluer, the better: Courting males show off with a high-stepping strut—and those with brighter feet are more attractive to potential mates.

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Frosted Ferns

Photograph by Annie Griffiths Belt

Frost covers the brilliant blue leaves of lush ferns in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. The park is an isolated wilderness that’s home to more than 700 plants found nowhere else in the world.

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Garibaldi Glacier

Photograph by Richard Nowitz

The massive bulk of Garibaldi Glacier slowly spills into Garibaldi Fjord in Tierra del Fuego—the archipelago at the southern tip of South America. The aquatic endpoint of such a glacier is known as a terminus.

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Underwater Sea Ice

Photograph by Paul Nicklen

Ice, seen from below, covers the surface of the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea. The sea is found north of Alaska and Canada.

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Arctic Igloo

Photograph by Norbert Rosing

A homey-looking igloo lights up the stark landscape on a cold night in the Canadian Arctic. These temporary shelters were commonly used by indigenous peoples in the frigid North American Arctic.

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Galápagos Lagoon

Photograph by Bobby Haas

As startling as a bright-blue eye, a central lagoon peers out from Rocas Baimbridgen in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. The stark, rocky island teems with life at times—the brackish lagoon waters are favored by flamingos.

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Iranian Mosque

Photograph by Alexandra Avakian

Intricate blue tiles adorn the walls of a large Iranian mosque and mirror a clear sky that beckons the faithful to the sunny courtyard. The mosque’s many arches are a prominent feature of Islamic architecture.

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Peacock Courtship

Photograph by Anne Keiser

Unveiling the regalia that has captivated humans (and hens) for thousands of years, an Indian peacock displays his colorful train at an Australian reserve. Males may use their feathers to attract harems of several hens.

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Iceberg Penguins

Photograph by Ralph Lee Hopkins

A group of chinstrap penguins lines the edge of an iceberg adrift in Antarctic waters. Chinstraps are among the most abundant penguins, and some colonies live on floating icebergs.

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Glacier Pool

Photograph by Rich Reid

A blue pool on Root Glacier in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park reflects the bulk of towering Donoho Peak. The massive ice sheet is a popular excursion in the park.

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Blue Waterslide

Photograph by James Stanfield

Holidaymakers take the plunge and enjoy a twisting, turning trip down an Israeli waterslide. The attraction cools tourists who visit the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

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