Photo of the Day: Best of June

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

Campy, sublime, playful, dazzling, graceful. Each moment chosen as a Photo of the Day is a story unto itself. The fun of the monthly round-up comes with seeing visual echoes which you otherwise might not—shapes, tones, and moods coming together to tell a new tale. Here is a selection of images from June that speak to me. Which ones would you choose?

This ten-inch-long juvenile goliath grouper photographed in the Florida Keys for the July 2014 issue of National Geographic may spend five years among mangroves, relatively safe from predators, before venturing out to the reefs. The species’ survival depends on mangrove forests, which are contending with coastal development.

Your Shot contributor Cheryl Bezuidenhout captures this photo at RoozenGaarde in Washington State. “It was the last weekend of the Skagit County Tulip Festival, which [the gardens] hold every April,” she writes. “It was a rainy morning when my family and I arrived, but the rain held off as we made our way around the gardens. These tulips were unusual in that all the others in the garden were upright, perfectly formed, and vividly colorful, while these seemed to be sulky and past their best, drooping and heavy from the rain. The original photo is of pink tulips, but I converted it to black and white. I felt the lighting and moodiness of the flowers to be the most important message of the image.”

In this picture from the July 2014 issue of National Geographic, a girl tends goats in the mountains near Shiikh in the Somaliland region of Somalia. Though big farms make headlines—a subject explored as part of our Future of Food series—small farmers still produce most of the food in Africa. Both are crucial for the continent to be able to feed its own growing population—much less the rest of the world.

A cygnet peers out from its mother’s wing at a local pond in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. According to Your Shot member John Halvorson, the adult swans arrived in February, during an unusually bad winter. “I followed them daily through the mating cycle and the nest building,” he says. “When we had a brutal series of ice storms and there was little for them to eat I took them cracked corn. I became a trusted friend, so when the chicks hatched I was allowed to sit close by and photograph the adults and the newly hatched chicks. I stop by frequently to check on them. Of six eggs, four hatched, and today only two survive. They are beautiful birds.”

The sun sets over the mountaintops in Xingping, China, in this photo by Your Shot member James Bian. “Guilin and the Li River are famous for their beautiful landscape,” he writes. “Visiting this area [has been] my dream. Before the trip, I selected a couple of locations to photograph sunrise and sunset, and Laozhai mountain was one of them. On a clear afternoon, I hiked to the peak an hour before sunset on a trail built and maintained by a Japanese gentleman (which saves a lot of energy for photographers). The view was overwhelming, with the Li River making a 180-degree turn right under my feet. I spent most of my time focusing on a wide-angle view until I realized that leaving the river out and just zooming in on the peaks and sun was a much better composition.”

“We were driving around the Savute plains in northern Botswana, searching for a group of lions that had killed a very young female impala a few minutes before,” writes Your Shot member Chris Schmid. “After [we’d been] observing the lions, a group of impalas got my attention. A young male was jumping around just a few meters away from the lions that had just killed one of its kind. The contrast between life and death made this moment unique. The other impalas were observing the lions, but this young male didn’t care one bit about them. He was just enjoying being alive.”

“I’ve always been fascinated by the magic of fireflies in the Sele Valley of southern Italy, where I live,” says Massimo Gugliucciello, a member of our Your Shot community. “There are many during the months of May and June, a [sign] of a healthy habitat.”

Alexa Keefe is the editor of Photo of the Day, a curated look at photography around National Geographic. The full archive is accessible here.

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