Stunning National Geographic Photos

 

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Kirill Vselensky perches on a cornice in Moscow as Dima Balashov gets the shot. The 24-year-olds, risktakers known as rooftoppers, celebrate their feats on Instagram.

 

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As an evening storm lights up the sky near Wood River, Nebraska, about 413,000 sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the shallows of the Platte River.

 

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Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation center in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve.

 

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Tempted by the fruit of a strangler fig, a Bornean orangutan climbs 100 feet into the canopy. With males weighing as much as 200 pounds, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-dwelling animals.

 

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In Flint, Michigan, siblings Julie, Antonio, and India Abram collect their daily allowance of bottled water from Fire Station #3, their local water resource site.

 

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Russia’s Bovanenkovo natural gas field, on the Yamal Peninsula, was deemed too expensive to develop until President Vladimir Putin made it a priority.

 

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The colors of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone come from thermophiles: microbes that thrive in scalding water.

 

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Steven Donovan, flipping into a pool, took a seasonal job at Glacier National Park to sharpen his photography skills.

 

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Kirk Odom was convicted of rape after an expert testified that a hair on the victim’s nightgown matched his. He spent years in prison before DNA tests proved his innocence.

 

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In Alaska, a mother grizzly and her cubs cause a “bear jam” on Denali’s 92-mile-long Park Road, open to private vehicles only five days each summer.

 

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On a mountainside in Yosemite National Park, photographer Stephen Wilkes took 1,036 images over 26 hours to create this day-to-night composite.

 

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Dressed for Mars, space engineer Pablo de León tests a prototype space suit at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where fine soil and fans simulate conditions on the red planet.

 

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Villagers in Bagaran, Armenia, sing of cultural endurance and survival while picnicking at night beneath apricot trees—and a giant cross that shines defiantly into Turkey.

 

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These rhinos on a South African ranch have recently had their horns trimmed. Unlike elephant ivory, rhino horn grows back when cut properly. The rancher is stockpiling the horn in hopes that selling it will soon be legal.

 

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On their first migration to their summer range in southeastern Yellowstone, three-week-old calves of the Cody elk herd follow their mothers up a 4,600-foot slope.

 

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Summer attracts sunbathers—clothed and otherwise—to the grassy banks of Munich’s Schwabinger Bach. The meadows here have been popular with nudists since the 1970s.

 

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A panda keeper in China uses a stuffed leopard to train young pandas to fear their biggest wild foe. A cub’s reactions help determine if the bear is ready to survive on its own.

 

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Lounging in inches of warm water, blacktip reef sharks wait for the tide to refill the lagoon at Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll.

 

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