Photograph by Biswajit Patra, National Geographic Your Shot
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What Makes This a Photo of the Day? The word that comes to mind when viewing this photograph is grace. The robed figures of the women and the willowy stalks of the plants create a visually harmonious scene. The woman paused on the left, face illuminated by the sun, underscores the soft beauty of the frame

Photograph by Biswajit Patra, National Geographic Your Shot

Photo of the Day: Best of November

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

When people ask me what makes a Photo of the Day—a curated look at photography around National Geographic—my answer is simple: I have to want to spend time with the picture, and whether full of complex detail or exquisitely simple, it has to stand on its own. The photos I choose are meant to be a glimpse of our world in a moment in time, some captured as a result of meticulous planning and research on assignment for National Geographic magazine, others happy finds from keen eyes tuned to daily life and travels. The photographers behind the lens represent a wide range of skill levels, from professional to aspirational, but each has a visual story to tell.

During the month of November, I featured photographs from our Your Shot community, a group of photographers who come from 196 different countries around the globe. With over a million photographs and counting, they represent as diverse a group as the scenes they capture. Below are a selection of reader favorites from this month’s round-up.

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Swans, Slovakia

What Makes This a Photo of the Day? I love the slightly off-kilter composition here, with the cluster of birds near the bottom of the frame. This gives a sense of movement and allows the eye to take in the peripheral elements—the ripples of the water and the sprinkling of ducks. Photograph by Norbert Nemes, National Geographic Your Shot

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Skeleton, St. Lawrence River, Quebec City

What Makes This a Photo of the Day? This photograph has the elements of many shoreline shots I have seen—the waves made smooth by the long exposure time, the glistening sand—but the skeleton lends an unexpected and welcome twist. Photograph by Stephen Clough, National Geographic Your Shot

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Cherry Blossoms. Nakameguro, Tokyo

What Makes This a Photo of the Day? Beautiful simply by being, cherry blossoms are an easy get (and I fall for them every time). What is not so easy is making a shot that is unique. I like that my eye is first caught by, and then travels past, the spray of blossoms, continuing along the light-refracted river to the tiny people on the footbridge at the end. Photograph by Giovanni Pascarella, National Geographic Your Shot

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