Photo of the Day: Best of February

Every day, we feature an image chosen from thousands around National Geographic. Here are some highlights from February.

One striking feature of this month‘s photographs is their beautiful light. Whether warm, cool, natural, or artificial, light allows these images to shine. It glistens in the eye of a friendly gecko, peeks over icebergs in Iceland, and sets the Ganges aglow in morning. For someone like me who lives in the Northern Hemisphere, these photos are a ray of sun in the midst of a dreary winter.

*****

This pet Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) that lives with Your Shot members Dariusz Kucharski and Kornelia Kucharska is a well-fed critter. Here, it pokes its head out from behind leaves in a colorful terrarium as its Warsaw-based owners drop live crickets into the enclosure.

Your Shot member Akinori Koseki was the only one on the train platform in the wee hours of the morning during this snowstorm in Fukushima, Japan. The photographer caught this train conductor checking his watch just moments before the 5:30 a.m. train was due to pull out of Aizu-Kawaguchi Station on the regional Tadami Line. Despite the heavy snowfall, the train left on time—helped in part by arriving at a station with no customers.

At the end of a four-week road trip, Your Shot member Tyler Lekki ran into some bad luck: a flat tire. He stayed the night in a local hotel in Monument Valley National Park in Utah, and his fortunes turned around when he was able to capture this sunrise shot of the park’s towering sandstone buttes after a light coating of snow.

While in western Mongolia in the summer of 2014, Your Shot member Steve Morrison captured this photo of a nomadic herder who hunts using a trained golden eagle, a centuries-old Kazakh practice. The eagles are extremely quick and can dive upon prey at speeds of more than 150 miles an hour. “I had the opportunity to spend four days camped beside the ger (yurt) belonging to Shohan and his family,” Morrison writes. “On this day, we had followed Shohan deep into the valley that extends west beyond his summer pastures, above upper Dayan Nuur near the Chinese border.”

“The place has its unique appeal,” Your Shot member Hardik Desai writes of Iceland’s Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. “Dawn happens two hours before sunrise, and the sunrise colors usually last almost 90 minutes if there are no clouds.” A day after scouting out the location, Desai drove 30 minutes to arrive at the lagoon in time to capture the sunrise, hoping for exactly this result.

A quiet morning at Dashashwamedh Ghat, the main ghat in Varanasi, India, on the banks of the Ganges River, afforded Your Shot member Raja Subramaniyan an image that could project the feel of the moment: a lone visitor “taking the holy bath.” The ghats, especially this one, are often full of pilgrims and tourists alike, but of this photo the photographer writes, “I loved the atmosphere of the Dashashwamedh Ghat on that day—beautiful sunrise with warm light, the mist effect, the arrangement of boats.”

A white tern flits through regenerating native forest on Cousine, a private island off the coast of Praslin and one of Seychelles’ ecological restoration successes. A luxury resort helps pay for the island’s conservation projects. This photograph was selected from from the March 2016 feature story “In the Seychelles, Taking Aim at Nature’s Bullies.”

While visiting Oia, on the Greek island of Santorini, Your Shot member Soroush Etemad was “mesmerized by [the] captivating beauty” of this sunset. Beneath a palette of orange and red, a large gathering of people stood on castle ruins to watch the sun go down over the Aegean Sea.

Your Shot member Marco Marcone snapped this artfully framed shot of fishermen balancing on small fishing vessels on Inle Lake in Myanmar. “I was in a boat a little bit larger than that of the fishermen in the photo,” he writes. “Honestly, they were just there for tourists … Anyway, I tried to do something new. I [hadn’t] seen anyone before [put] the camera and himself inside the fishing net!”

Janna Dotschkal is the editor of Photo of the Day, a curated look at photography from around National Geographic, including the Magazine and our photo community, Your Shot. Liane DiStefano writes the captions and titles.
See which pictures were featured in our last roundup, Photo of the Day: Best of January.

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