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At the end of each year, National Geographic rounds up its best photos – and here we will take a look at 20 of them.

Every day throughout the year, National Geographic releases a Photo of the Day – some classic, others quirky, but they always select

an image with a story to tell. In their pick for 20 of the best photos, this year, they selected photographs with the most shares, likes and comments from the social sphere.


1. Cracking the Surface, Lake Baikal

Photographer Alexey Trofimov, captured quite an unusual picture of the ice, here. He writes that the ‘ice on Lake Baikal is a very interesting phenomenon.’

2. The Village, Hungary

This photograph was taken by Gabor Dvornik, who lives half a mile from The Village, which is set on a natural reserve in Sz‘dliget Hungary. While the air in this place is special every season, it is especially rare to have a nice, mist day. ‘It was utterly ghostly and very moody out there’ he writes.

3. When Penguins Attack, Antarctica

Captured with a GoPro on Antarctica’s sea ice. The photographer, Clinton Berry had studied the movements of the penguins for weeks. The day that this shot was taken, there were over 60 penguins and Berry says that there was a bit of luck involved too.

4. Against the Wind, Canada

In this shot, photographed by Domnic Roy, a snowy owl appears to be fighting against the elements during extreme weather conditions near Quebec City, Canada.

5. Something’s Fishy, British Colombia Coast, Canada

Photographed by Ian McAllister using an underwater housing, this shot captures an intimate portrait of a wolf wading through the inter-tidal zone on the British Colombia coast in Canada. The wolf took a break from eating herring roe to investigate the photographer’s half-submerged camera.

6. Who’s There?

While taking this photo, Cezary Wyszynski imagined this mouse thinking ‘Who was knocking at my door?’ Probably the Cat!!!

7. Falls in Autumn, Plitivice Lakes National Park, Croatia

This is the country’s oldest and largest National Park, which boasts 16 terraced lakes, formed by natural travertine dams that change color throughout the day. This photo was taken by Vedrana Tafra.

8. Bioluminous Larak, Iran

This shot was taken along the shore of Larak, Iran – an island in the Persian Gulf. ‘The magical lights of the Plankton enchanted me so that I snapped the shot,’ Pooyan Shadpoor says.

9. Mother of the Forest, Madagascar

The boabab trees on Madagascar are 800 years old. They are home to snakes, bats, bush babies, bees and at times, humans. The trees are an important source of water – once can store up to 4,000 litres of water in its trunk. This photo was taken by Marsel Van OOsten.

10. Fox Found, Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

Gran Paradiso National Park, was once a royal hunting retreat. Here, a red fox lies in wait, camouflaged by the autumn woods. This photo was captured by Stefano Unterthiner.

11. Dancing with the Moon, Iceland

The vivid beams of light are a result of collisions between charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere and gaseous particles in Earth’s atmosphere. This shot was captured by Andrew George.

12. Winter White, Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy

Another great shot taken at Italy’s Gran Paradiso National Park by Stefano Unterthiner. Among the wildlife inhabiting this pare are ibex, chamois, red foxes and ermines (pictured here).

13. Big Baby, Tonga

This young humpback whale was captured in the waters off Tonga. Karim Iliya writes that she ‘could not help but wave and smile at the newborn whale almost three times my length’ Curiosity got the better of it and emerging from under its mother’s fin, it swam toward me, approaching less than 30 centimetres (11 inches)

14. Bird Feeders, China

Abderazak Tissoukai was near Xingping in China’s Guanxi region when he took this shot – a cormorant fisherman at sunset. ‘Xingping is definitely one of the most beautiful places in China, with its scenic karst landscapes, and it traditional and genuine people,’ he writes.

15. Kit Friendly,Estonia

This kit fox appears to be weighing the presence of Kalmer Lehepuu’s camera lens. He writes that ‘on one beautiful evening, the mother went to get food and left the kits on their own.’ Lehepuu then snuck closer to observe them.

16. Shining Through, Apostle Islands, National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

This shot, taken by Ernie Vater, captures the setting sun shining the rough ice on the shore of a frozen Lake Superior. Part of the beauty of this place is its silence. Vater writes ‘you hear nothing except for the occasional creaking of the ice’.

17. Yellow Jellies, Rock Islands of Palau

These golden jellyfish are harmless to humans, they spend much of their time following the sun as it moves across the sky. Sunlight for these jellyfish is essential. Captured by Ciemon Frank Caballes.

18. All the Fish in the Sea, Cabo Pulmo

‘This is what our oceans should look like’, Jeff Hester, who captured this shot says. But Cabo Pulmo, a marine park off Mexico’s Baja California, hadn’t always been this way.

19. Imperial Blossoms, Japan

These weeping cherry tree blooms, were captured on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan. They typically bloom in late March and early April. This photo was taken by Yukio Miki.

20. Hull-o, Caribbean Island of Bonaire

This photo shows a diver gazing at Hilma Hooker, a cargo ship purposely sunk off the Caribbean island of Bonaire –

a popular destination for scuba divers. This ship was sunk after about 11 tonnes of Mary J was found hidden in it.