From the summit of Machu Picchu to the open spaces of Mongolia, National Geographic has assembled a selection of the most amazing places from around the globe.
Garrison Savannah, Barbados
Photographer Susan Seubert writes: ‘While I was on assignment in Barbados, a hotel owner suggested I get up at 3am to watch the Turf Club horses being bathed in the ocean at sunrise. I drove in the pitch black to the waterfront – there, a parade of groomsmen and their thoroughbreds gradually emerged from the dark street, past the glow of a single streetlamp, and into the ocean. As the sun started to reveal the beautiful blue water, the gorgeous horses, and the Bajan men bathing alongside these incredible animals, everything fell into place.’
Photograph: Susan Seubert/National Geographic
Machu Picchu, Peru
A llama’s-eye view of the legendary Inca settlement at Machu Picchu, isolated high in the Peruvian Andes.
Photograph: Jim Turner/National Geographic
Photographer Pete McBride writes: ‘I visited Guanajuato to do a story about Josefa Ortiz Dominguez, a Mexican heroine – and possible distant relative – who helped start the revolution against the Spanish in 1810. This was a key location on the Ruta de la Independencia – the main path of fighting that led to Mexico’s independence. I shot the image at the overlook of this historic, festive town at dusk on the evening of 1 November, Day of the Dead, symbolic timing when chasing the ghosts of my family history.’
Photograph: Peter Mcbride/National Geographic
Bora Bora, French Polynesia Pahia and Otemanu
A barrier reef protects the shallow turquoise lagoon surrounding the Pacific islands of Bora Bora, where the extinct volcanic peak of Mount Otemanu juts into the sky.
Photograph: Frans Lanting/National Geographic
Saunders Island, Falkland Islands
Photographer Jay Dickman writes: ‘This particular afternoon on Saunders Island was quite beautiful, with the lowering sun providing a warm light that washed the wildlife and landscape. As I watched, cycles of waves pounding the shoreline would reveal groups of penguins making their transition from the surf of the South Atlantic Ocean to the sandy shore. This set of southern rockhopper penguins looked to me to be a perfectly formed brigade (in proper ranks, it seemed), marching to their terra firma nests.’
Photograph: Jay Dickman/National Geographic
Mount Washington, New Hampshire
The weather station at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory has recorded wind gusts and arctic temperatures since 1932.
Photograph: Mike Theiss/National Geographic
Photographer Ira Block writes: ‘The weather had been changing constantly in Mongolia’s southern Gobi, not far from the border with China. After a storm passed, a rainbow appeared, then a second one. The gers (yurts) added scale and depth to my composition, but when I saw the rider on horseback I knew this was my chance to add motion to my photo. I waited until they were between the rainbows and started shooting as fast as I could to capture the moment, the light, the rainbows, and the stormy sky.’
Photograph: Ira Block/National Geographic
Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia
Sossusvlei is home to the largest sand dunes in the world, shaped by the wind. High levels of iron in the sand create its distinctive glowing hue.
Photographer Amy Toensing writes: ‘I’m not a huge fan of photographing performances, but I have to say this one blew me away visually. There were around 400 performers gathered from 10 different Chinese ethnic groups, and many times, as in this image, it appeared they were all onstage together, dancing, singing, and playing instruments. The show takes place at about 10,000 feet (3,048m), with the 18,360ft (5,596m) Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (Yulongxue Shan) as a stunning backdrop.’