Most Liked Instagram Photos of 2016

Glacial lakes, osprey nests, and lightning strikes—see 15 of @NatGeo's most popular photos.

How do we curate the feed of raw nature, worldly wonder, and global adventure that 64 million people follow on the National Geographic Instagram account? We don't. All we do is share our password with a hundred of our favorite photographers and encourage them to post often (but not too often)—and somehow, it works.

Photography can't be easily described up in statistics and numbers, but we can say that 2016 was our most successful year yet. We gained 24 million followers, logged 26.1 million comments, and totaled 3.3 billion likes. We put a collection of Instagram images in a book, @NatGeo, that we published this year, and continued to grow our issue-area accounts, including @NatGeoTravel and @NatGeoAdventure. Altogether, this reach allows us to share National Geographic's original mission—to explore the world and all that's in it—with more people, in more places, every day.

Here are our 15 most-liked Instagram images from 2016. All received over a million likes, crowdsourcing their way to the top. We have high standards for our photos. We're glad to know our readers do, too.