Best of Photo of the Day 2016

Every day, we feature an image chosen from thousands submitted to our photo community, Your Shot. Here are 20 favorites from this year.

Each Photo of the Day we publish is meant to inspire wonder and curiosity, to bring a unique corner of the world into focus, present a new take on the familiar, or celebrate simple beauty. And in addition to telling a visual story, we often introduce the photographer who captured the stunning shot—and reveal the effort behind it.

The best photos from this year are saturated with an intent and gravity that stay with you. The outstretched hands of a brickyard worker, the regal pose of an African lion—these are images that linger in the memory long beyond their daily moment.

Since this past October, Photo of the Day has been completely powered by Your Shot, National Geographic’s photo community. To celebrate, Your Shot launched an assignment that asked photographers for their best photos and the stories behind them, and some of these will become future Photos of the Day.

So enjoy these highlights from the past year, and check back daily to see inspiring new shots—one of them could be your own!