27 memorable National Geographic photos showing the beauty of Earth

If you love nature, you probably know the famous National Geographic magazine. This publication has become famous for its outstanding photos of nature and animals. Many photographers from around the world, both professionals and amateurs, submit their pictures to appear in the very famous magazine or on its website. But this doesn’t happen to just anyone.

Here are 27 National Geographic photos that will make you marvel at our planet.

1. A Lighthouse in Portugal

This photo was taken in Porto in January 2013 by photographer Veselin Malinov. He captured the passion of an ocean storm against this sturdy lighthouse.

2. Close-up of a human eye in Armenia 

Each iris is unique, just like a person’s fingerprints. Here’s a close-up of 16-year-old boy’s eye, photographed in Yerevan. The enlargement is incredible, as it shows his pupil that appears to be a black hole, surrounded by the stringy, brown iris. No doubt, the photographer Suren Manvelyan has a gift for exceptional photography.

3. A tardigrade photographed in Germany

Better known as a “water bear,” the tardigrade is a microscopic animal known for being able to live in extreme environments. Here’s an enlarged photo of one taken with a color microscope. The animal is in some moss. They are invertebrates with 8 legs, and they move very slowly. They can survive for years without eating any food! Photo by Eye of Science/Science Source.

4. A penguin couple in Antarctica

Marius Ilies took this shot during one of his trips to Port Lockroy, Antarctica in 2010. Everything seemed surreal in this setting: the penguins holding fins, who seem to really feel an intense love for each other, as much as the scene itself, planted in the middle of an immaculate and frozen white backdrop.

5. A Fennec fox in Morocco

Also known as the desert fox, the fennec is part of the Canidae family, and more precisely, the Vulpes genus. It is found mainly in the Sahara Desert and Northwest Africa. Its name comes from the Arabic word “fanak,” which means “fox.” Here, Francisco Mingorange was able to get a shot of a little fennec, braving the scorching heat and the hot desert winds.

6. Cherry blossoms in Nakameguro

In Tokyo, Nakameguro is the perfect spot to admire the most beautiful cherry blossoms in the city. And when you look at this shot by Giovanni Pascarella, you can’t disagree.

7. A reflection from Hungary

This majestic bird seems to admire its reflection in the water in Nagykanizsa, Hungary. Photo by Zsolt Szabo.

8. Carezza Lake, Italy

Photographer Antonio Chiumenti has completely fallen under the spell of Lake Carezza, calling it a “pearl of the Dolomites.” It is nestled between an ancient forest of grand firs and Latemar Mountain and known for its many legends and extraordinary beauty. According to the story, a nymph lives under the lake’s emerald waters. The photographer threw a pebble into the water to add more character to his photo.

9. A roaring deer in Richmond Park 

Prashant Meswani was able to capture a stag deer in Richmond Park in London, UK.

10. Mysterious camouflaged owls

These pretty little owls have exceptional plumage, allowing them to go completely unnoticed in forest trees. They dig nests in the trees and nest there during the day, to rest before the night hunt. This amazing picture was taken by Graham McGeorge.

11. A fjord in Western Norway

Norway is one of the Scandinavian countries with the most fjords. It’s mainly in Western Norway, like here in Nærøyfjorden northeast of Bergen, that we find the most beautiful and the largest ones, which are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This photo was taken by Erlend Haarberg.

12. Iguazu Falls

On the border between Brazil and Argentina, the massive Iguazu Falls are not as well-known as Niagara Falls, but they still steal the show. Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of former President Franklin Roosevelt, even said that Niagara Falls look like a common kitchen faucet compared to Iguazu Falls... And this shot by Dmitry Moiseenko, Stanislav Sedov, Sergei Semenov/AirPano, confirms her comparison.

13. Teamwork, as shown by two lions in the Serengeti

Here are Hildur and C-Boy, two Serengeti lions working together to keep order over their pride and keep young males at bay. Photo taken by Michael Nichols.

14. An owl and its dinner in Minnesota

Every winter, large gray owls migrate to Minnesota to find food. And here it seems that this owl has found something to eat, under the watchful eye of photographer Tom Samuelson.

15. The Northern Lights and waterfalls in Iceland 

Photographing a landscape isn’t as easy as you might imagine. In fact, it took 3 years to get this surreal shot. The Northern Lights seem aligned with the waterfall, illuminating this unique setting. Thanks to Hordur Finnbogason for his patience and perseverance.

16. A Parson Russell Terrier in Arizona

Related to the Jack Russell Terrier, the Parson is a coarse-haired hunting dog. It also makes a great playmate for kids, and its intelligence makes it a truly exceptional dog. Here, Lulu just took a dip in her masters’ pool in Phoenix, Arizona, to fetch a hoop. For the photographer Seth Casteel to get such a great shot, he had to be familiar with the dog, as well as have perfect timing! The dog’s aquatic performance – and several trials – helped him get this perfect photo.

17. An invasive family of badgers in Finland

Thanks to a tunnel they dug under the fireplace, this family of badgers managed to get into the kitchen of this abandoned house. Photographer Kai Fagerström took 4 years to photograph these little intruders. He finally succeeded by taking some drastic measures: he stood on a ladder for hours, with his camera on a window ledge. He was able to take the picture using a remote control shutter, because badgers are very skittish animals!

18. World record for the world's largest raft of kayaks and canoes

This race takes place on Fourth Lake in the Adirondacks of New York. Seen from above, it looks like an abstract painting or colored grains of rice, but it's actually 1,902 kayaks, trying to break the world record for the biggest raft. To do this, the rules are strict: the structure must be one unit and float for at least 30 seconds, while only being held together by hands. This bird’s eye view was taken by Nancie Battaglia.

19. Red Pandas at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska

Two red pandas, who are twins and barely 3 months old huddle together. They were born at the Lincoln Children's Zoo. This species is quite rare, and Joel Sartore photographed them as part of his project, Photo Ark, in which he searched for rare species.

20. Ice diamond in Iceland

Here’s a magnificent chunk of ice weighing more than 800 pounds, glowing in the moonlight. The ice washed up in a lagoon formed by a receding glacier. James Balog, the photographer, really liked how the light struck it, while remembering the tragedy that is now the fate of Earth’s glaciers.

21. Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand

These trees look like guardians on Lake Wakapitu, on New Zealand’s South Island. Brad Grove took this shot early in the morning, taking advantage of the frigid cold as the sun rose to warm up this unreal landscape.

22. A unique landscape in Latvia

Mihails Ignats took this picture in Lievörde, Latvia. Just a country road and three trees break the monotony of snow in this winter landscape.

23. Pyramid of Chichén Itzá in Mexico

Reaching more than 90 feet tall, this pyramid is one of the remains of the great city of Chichén Itzá, an ancient Mayan city located between Valladolid and Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula. Built around the 9th century, the city was once very powerful, and its pyramid was probably built in relation to four sinkholes and the movements of the sun. Today it’s a very popular tourist destination. This photo was taken by Paul Nicklen. 

24. Mountains in Chile

Photographer Richard Duerksen took this shot near Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The rising sun makes the mountain walls look golden.

25. A giraffe in Tanzania 

Peter Stanley was able to capture this wonderful encounter with a giraffe. And it wasn’t planned at all! In fact, he was just sitting in the grass to photograph a sunset in the savannah. Suddenly, he felt a presence behind him and when he turned around, he saw this beautiful giraffe who slowly approached him. He then lifted his camera and the giraffe stopped moving, as if to pose for the photo. So thanks to a simple sunset, the photographer not only made an unexpected encounter, but also managed to capture a unique shot.

26. A giant spillway 

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Industrial buildings often offer amazing shots. Every city has at least one construction site or a defunct factory. While keeping safety in mind, it’s possible to get some incredible photographs, like here, where the photographer took a photo while rappelling down a giant spillway.

27. A "rock" of manta rays 


Florian Schulz is the photographer of this unbelievable picture. These are thousands of manta rays, gathered in the ocean. They are often found this way for several reasons: mating, hunting, migrating, or just being together. This is a unique shot, because this phenomenon is rarely seen.