A windy boat ride in Maine, a stand of snow-dusted aspen trees in New Mexico, the muscular curve of a crocodile’s tail thrashing through the water, firecrackers painting a summer night. These are some of my favorite images from last month’s Photo of the Day. And while these photographs were taken at all different parts of the year, there is something about the mix of movement and calm, of vibrant color and monochrome, that speaks about transitions—from celebration to reflection, from movement to stillness, from summer to fall.
Photographer Michael Melford captured breathtaking landscapes for the the September 2014 National Geographic story, “50 Years of Wilderness.” What I like most about this frame of snow-covered aspens near Taos, New Mexico, are the knots in the trunks, looking like perfectly drawn eyes.
Getting this close to the raucous revelers wielding firecrackers during a Catalonian celebration of Correfoc, or “fire runs,” is not to be taken lightly.
“The shooting conditions are really dangerous for the photographer,” writes Your Shot photographer Anibal Trejo. “I had to protect myself to avoid burnings, dressing up with long sleeves, protective glasses, a hat, handkerchief, and even gloves.”
Thanks to Trejo’s intrepitude, we get to be right in the midst of the shower of sparks.
The Southern Line islands, the subject of a story in the September 2014 issue of National Geographic, are among the last wild places in the ocean. Photographer Brian Skerry brings this underwater world to light, including a school of wonderfully bright and bold Achilles tang fish.
On a bracing November afternoon in the town of Deal on England’s North Sea coast, Your Shot member Cedric Delves was one of the few people out for a walk.
“These three came from different directions, at differing speeds … Fortunately all came together: the two people deep in their thoughts, going their separate ways, but the dog at ease, even giving me a direct, open, and sort of knowing look.”
“I met this crocodile face-to-face underwater,” writes Your Shot member Mike Korostelev. “There was only my underwater camera between it and me.”
Korostelev made this shot in a biosphere reserve of the Mexican coast in the Caribbean Sea. “We lived in a fisherman’s hut that stood right on the sea on stilts. During the day we searched for crocodiles, which swam out of mangroves to hunt fish. This one was quite friendly and showed its beauty all around.”
The proximity is impressive, but what I like most is how the curve of the tail draws my eye right to the back of its head, and the row of sharp teeth. That really is beautiful.
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.