Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Photograph by Patrick di Fruscia
Building clouds and a setting sun reflect on a sandy beach on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. The Pacific offers tranquil beauty and good surfing, just two of many reasons why this stable Central American country has become a favorite destination.
Moss-Covered Truck, Michigan
Photograph by Jason Rydquist, My Shot
It’s hard to imagine this 1940s Chevrolet pickup moving down the road. Showcasing the ephemeral truth of automobiles, the earth has overtaken it.
Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic Visions of Earth
A fire supervisor surveys the scene in Seeley Lake, Montana, from the relative safety of a truck. Wildfire flames jumped the road and engulfed trees, creating this apocalyptic landscape.
Photograph by Olivier Grunewald
A camera’s long nighttime exposure reveals the red glow of lava spilling from Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania’s Rift Valley. The volcano’s lava, which appears brown to the naked eye, has the consistency of olive oil.
Beach Mouse, Florida
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Visions of Earth
An endangered Choctawhatchee beach mouse, Peromyscus polionotus allophrys, has good reason to appear shy. The nocturnal herbivore faces the ongoing threat of development of the sand dune ecosystem it inhabits.
Photograph by Meta Penca
Mimmi the brown bear shows her flair for flexibility during an afternoon stretch at the Ähtäri Zoo. Despite intense summer heat, the lively resident lifted paws for minutes at a time in poses she learned from her mother.
Salt Cones, Bolivia
Photograph by George Steinmetz, National Geographic
Salt from the world’s largest salt plain in Salar de Uyuni waits for transport to surrounding Andean villages. It’s one of Earth’s flattest places; relief varies by less than 16 inches across some 4,000 square miles.
Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic
See dusk in the Dampier Strait through a half-submerged lens and glimpse two distinct worlds. Under a cloud-slung sky, fishermen work on wooden boats. Beneath a mirror-calm surface, waters flash with baitfish.
Frog and Crocodile, South Africa
Photograph by Jonathan Blair, National Geographic
A year-old Nile crocodile attempts to snap up a frog in the St. Lucia Estuary. Part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which UNESCO named a World Heritage site in 1999, the protected area is Africa’s largest estuarine system.
Photograph by Bulent Erel, My Shot
A nearly translucent green gem of a grasshopper climbs on a flower petal. North American grasshoppers range in size from the minuscule to the largest, which can measure three inches long.
Honeycomb Coral, Indonesia
Photograph by Mark Pickford
In waters off the Raja Ampat Islands, a honeycomb coral glows green. The archipelago is a hot spot of coral diversity—some 75 percent of all known coral species can be found there.
Bird Hunter, Pakistan
Photograph by Randy Olson, National Geographic
A bird hunter sports a heron decoy in the Indus River. The ancient Indus civilization, which reached its height some 3,000 years ago, commanded an area the size of Texas that reached from the Arabian Sea to the Himalayan foothills.
Five Flower Lake, China
Photograph by Michael Yamashita, National Geographic
Verdant trees reflect in the morning waters of Five Flower Lake, colored by mineral deposits and aquatic plant life. Five Flower is one of 118 lakes in Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, which came under Chinese protection in 1978.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Photograph by George Steinmetz, National Geographic
An airplane casts a shadow over the red waters of Lake Natron in Tanzania, part of the East African Rift Valley. The water’s red hue is due to algae that live on salts spewed from nearby volcanoes. The East African Rift Valley system begins in northern Syria and extends across East Africa into Mozambique.
Photograph by Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic
Decken’s sifakas appear right at home in their karst home in western Madagascar. These lemurs live among the unusual pinnacles of the Tsingy de Bemaraha, which started to form 1.8 million years ago as groundwater dissolved and shaped the porous limestone.
Photograph by Maxim Shatrov, My Shot
Visions of Earth showcases the beauty, majesty, and wonder of the world around us and pays tribute to the photographers who capture its essence. In this gallery, see a selection of stunning scenes from the new National Geographic book, and decorate your desktop with your favorite images.
Here, in Dubai, natural and man-made electricity illuminate the night. As jagged needles of lightning darn an overcast sky, the sail-shaped, 1,053-foot-tall (321-meter) Burj Al Arab hotel glows green on the edge of the Persian Gulf.
Cave of Crystals, Mexico
Photograph by Carsten Peter, National Geographic
An explorer is no match for the gigantic crystals in Mexico’s Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals. In 2000, two brothers drilling for lead and silver in a remote part of northern Mexico discovered the underground crystal incubator. The largest of the crystals started to grow some 600,000 years ago.
Woman With Parasol, Australia
Photograph by Helen Dittrich, My Shot
An orange paper parasol silhouettes a woman’s curves. In ancient Egypt, China, India, and Mesopotamia, umbrellas protected important people from the sun.