National Geographic photographers cover every corner of the earth and provide some of the most striking images ever snapped.
Djibouti—Stamped into parched desert territory near the Somali border, patches of artificial grass provide tiny oases for teeing off at Golf Club de la Douda. Annual rainfall in the African republic averages around just six inches.
Italy—Sawtooth peaks in the Dolomites, part of the eastern Alps, give way to a bucolic field—a resting spot for hikers and, at times, grazing cattle. The towering pinnacles of Grosse Fermeda (front) and Sass Rigais (rear) rise more than 9,000 feet.
United States—A dead athel tree, bathed in moonlight in a long night exposure, attests to former fertility on what is now a salt pan at the edge of the Salton Sea. Salinity at the California lake, 231 feet below sea level, is some 50 percent greater than the Pacific Ocean’s.
United States—On Fourth Lake in New York’s Adirondacks, a crush of 1,902 canoes and kayaks attempts to break a “largest raft” world record. Rules dictate that the megastructure float freely for at least 30 seconds, held together only by hands.
Greenland—Snow-covered ice saturated with winter twilight sets the stage for recreational soccer in the village of Aappilattoq. Athletic moves in bundles of warm clothing can prove more challenging than maneuvering on the frozen surface.
South Korea—Rings of smoke pierce the air during a military exercise near the Demilitarized Zone. The South Korean tank, loosely camouflaged with tree branches, fires smoke shells amid man-made mounds of dirt.
Uganda—On a lodge terrace in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a photographer’s butter and roll prove irresistible to the local lunchtime crowd. East Africa is home to many species of weaverbirds, known for their skill in building nests.
Afghanistan—On drought-pocked earth near Marjah, in the restive Helmand Province, a lone shepherd leads his sheep through a mud wall’s gap. Scenes of pastoral grace persist in this agriculturally intensive country, despite strife, insecurity, and dire food shortages.
Spain—At the Feria del Caballo festival in Jerez de la Frontera, an assistant to a rejoneador, or horseback bullfighter, stands in the arena wings with mules used to remove felled bulls. The mules are festooned in traditional Spanish colors.
Thailand—Stretching across a temple plaza, seemingly into the infinite, thousands of robed monks are ordained at a ceremony on the Buddhist holy day of Magha Puja. The holiday celebrates a key sermon and a gathering of monks during Buddha’s lifetime.