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 from our Your Shot community. The photographers behind the lens represent a wide range of skill levels, from professional to aspirational, but each has a visual story to tell. Below are a selection of reader favorites from the month of March.
Fishermen with nets silhouetted against the sky could be seen as something of a cliché. But the layering, the texture of the worn net, and the moment captured above by Your Shot photographer Ly Hoang Long along the banks of the Cua Dai river in Vietnam make this a personal favorite of mine.
Colors—and layers of color—are a visual treat in this photograph of Laguna Colorada in Bolivia. The sprinkling of flamingos and the ripples of the water are the details that make this image come together.
The silhouetted shapes in varying shades of gray lend a delicate quality to this photograph of a hammerhead shark swimming among fish in the Galápagos, almost giving the feeling of looking through layers of printed silk. The choice to present this scene in black and white is what makes the photograph sing.
This moment has all of the makings of a monster movie—a steely-eyed predator coming out of the depths to swoop up its prey. And I will admit, the drama of seeing this Atlantic bluefin tuna in action is what first took my breath away. Reading about Brian Skerry’s experience swimming with these giants of the sea, however, my interest deepened as I came to understand what magnificent creatures these are.
More snow. Or as those of us who are in D.C. for cherry blossom season might imagine—a flurry of petals. For me though, the storybook quality of the boatman oaring up to this small shop in the backwaters of Dal Lake in India trumps seasonal fatigue.
Your Shot photographer Jeff Oftedahl was on a guided tour of Pyongyang, North Korea, when he took this shot from the top of a monument overlooking Kim Il Sung Square. Of the scene, Oftedahl says, “Everything is built to be impressive and to position the leadership over the people, and the people walking under the illuminated photographs really emphasized this point. I zoomed in to fill the frame with the square, showing how tiny the people truly are in comparison.” My thoughts exactly.
This bat is cute. Covered in pollen this bat is even cuter. This is not, however, what photographer Merlin Tuttle was concerned with when he set out to show the symbiotic relationship between this nectar-seeking bat and the flower of the blue mahoe tree. Using a portable studio, Tuttle brings one more example of nature’s intelligence to our eyes.
Your Shot photographer Tariq Sawyer was spending time with Kazakh nomads in Mongolia when he captured this shot of a sheepherder taking his flock out in an early spring blizzard. What could well have been an unfinished snap as the action rushed by was instead a well-framed moment. Seeing the fully completed thought—the flock, the shepherd, and the mountains beyond—we are able to rush out with them.
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.