25 Most Breathtaking National Geographic Photographs

Posted by on December 3, 2012

First published in 1888, the National Geographic Magazine has been dazzling the world with its amazing images for over a hundred years. Although photography and technology has changed a lot since then the depth, power, and intensity of National Geographic photography has remained the same. From the oil fields of Saudi Arabia to the Chicago skyline these are the 25 most breathtaking National Geographic Photographs.


Saudi Arabia Dunes

Photo – RezaThe Shaybah oil fields burn in the background turning the sky a deep purple as a man dances on a nearby dune. Saudi Arabia controls roughly 25 percent of the world’s oil reserves.


Horse Scratching

Photo – Michael Christopher BrownThis horse rolls over and starts scratching its back on the ground as soon as it is freed of its saddle. The photograph was taken in the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area of the Canadian Rockies where hunters are willing to pay tour guides good money for a shot at the big game.


King Penguins in Moonlight

Photo – Stefano UnterthinerEvery year during moonrise king penguins will gather on Possession Island to puff their chests and belt out cries as they look for partners. Not long afterwards they will pair up and join the crowd as breeding season kicks off.


Dragon Dance

Photo – Jodi CobbThese dragon dancers put on a show for Double Ten Day, the annual Taiwanese festival celebrating the fall of China’s last dynasty. The performance consists of men fighting against a dragon while surrounded by clouds of purple smoke.


North Dakota Wind Farm

Photo – Sarah LeenThis wind turbines generates energy in a wheat field near Edgeley, North Dakota. Turbines work by converting kinetic energy from the wind into other forms of energy (mechanical, thermal) with almost no negative impact on the environment.


Chicago City Lights

Photo – Jim RichardsonBeneath layers of clouds Chicago lights up the night. A vast majority of the glow comes from street lamps, primarily Victoria style lamps that are excellent when it comes to creating an atmosphere but not very good at harnessing the brightness of modern bulbs.


Group of Siberian Reindeer

Photo – Dean CongerA group of reindeer move through the Siberian snow near Oymyakon in the USSR as they are herded by young girl back towards her family tent.


Camels Crossing the Sahara

Photo – Chris JohnsTaken from above, here you can see a group of camels crossing the salt flats of Lake Assal in Djibouti. At 512 feet below sea level this is one of the lowest places on Earth.


Gray Whale

Photo – Christopher SwannCaught surfacing in the warm water of the coast of Baja California you can see the whale’s baleen plates that it uses to filter food.


Lightning Striking the Statue of Liberty

Photo – Jay FineWith the New Jersey shoreline in the background the Statue of Liberty is lit up by a lightning strike. Although this bolt didn’t directly strike Lady Liberty it is estimated that she does get hit a couple times a year.


The Stone Walls of Isla Guañape Norte

Photo – Tomas MonitaThe stone walls of Guañape Norte keep bird droppings, also known as guano, from falling into the ocean. This allows farmers to harvest them by hand and use the guano for fertilizer. In this picture you see a worker returning bones and feathers that were sifted out.


Where East Meets West

Photo – Bruno MorandiWearing traditional dress this teenager shoots a basketball at a makeshift rim near Batsumber village on the Mongolian steppe. Little courts like the one you see here are springing up in rural villages around the country as the games starts to catch on with the younger generation.


Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Photo – Zhang DaweiEvery year in the capital of China’s northernmost province one of the largest ice and snow festivals in the world is held. The colorful monuments showcasing palaces, pagodas, and sculptures will stand for nearly a month in the cold Siberian air.


Military Exercises

Jung Yeon-JeDuring a military exercise near the Korean demilitarized zone a South Korean tank, slightly camouflaged with tree branches, fires smoke shells while passing man made dirt mounds.


Harvest Mouse in a Wheat Field

Photo – J. L. Klein and M. L. HubertOn a bright sunny morning in eastern France, this harvest mouse is caught balancing precariously in an Alsace wheat field. As the smallest rodent in Europe they use their tail as a third appendage and build nests that slightly resemble those of a bird.