Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wildfires in western US

The western United States continues to battle a ferocious wildfire season that has seen record-breaking fires in several states. The worst of the blazes is the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado, blamed for two deaths, for forcing 35,000 residents to evacuate, and for the destruction of at lest 346 homes. The area around Colorado Springs has been declared a federal disaster area after the most destructive fire in state history. Wildfires have also destroyed property and forced evacuations in California, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. [Editors' note: There will be no Big Picture on the Wednesday, July 4 holiday.]

The Waldo Canyon fire burns an entire neighborhood near the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colo. on June 26, 2012. Colorado endured nearly a week of 100-plus-degree days and low humidity, sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state and punishing conditions for firefighters. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Associated Press)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Extraordinary Microscope Photographs

The Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition winners are currently on display at the New York Hall of Science. This competition, in its ninth year, is a dynamic international photo competition which honors the world's most extraordinary microscope images and videos of biological subjects. The Olympus BioScapes exhibit will be on display through August 31st. You can see the winners and many honorable mentions on the Olympus Bioscapes web site.

FIRST PLACE - Specimen: Rotifer Floscularia ringens feeding. Its rapidly beating cilia (hair-like structures) bring water-containing food to the rotifer. Technique: Differential interference contrast microscopy. (Charles Krebs/Issaquah, Washington, USA)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Euro 2012 Soccer Championship, Part 2: The action

It’s been an action-packed tournament, to soccer fans’ delight, with more than two dozen matches played in Poland and the Ukraine during the European 2012 Soccer Championship. It’s down to four teams from the sixteen that qualified, and the final match will be played July 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Ukrainian forward Andriy Voronin (right) vies with Swedish defender Andreas Granqvist during the Euro 2012 championships soccer match between Ukraine and Sweden on June 11 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Ukraine won 2-1. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, July 16, 2012

LGBT Pride events

Events celebrating and protesting LGBT rights took place in many parts of the world in the last several months. Pride parades were met with violence or intimidation in Russia, Georgia, and Albania while other places saw wild street parties. Three million people celebrated on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, often considered the biggest Pride event in the world. Activists in Uganda and Chile sought to change laws, while in the United States Barack Obama became the first American president to endorse same-sex marriage. Gathered here are pictures from events related to gay rights issues, LGBT Pride celebrations, and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Mark Wilson carries a rainbow flag during San Francisco's 42nd annual gay pride parade on June 24, 2012. Organizers said more than 200 floats, vehicles and groups of marchers took part in the parade. (Noah Berger/Associated Press)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2012 Photo Contest

The 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is in full swing. The entry deadline has been extended until July 11. The four categories include: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Last year's contest drew nearly 13,000 images from all over the world. The pictures are as diverse as their authors, capturing an assortment of people, places and wildlife - everything that makes traveling so memorable, evoking a sense of delight and discovery. The following post includes a small sampling of the entrant's work, taken from the editor's picks in each of the categories. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly corrected for readability.) And for fun, take a look back at the winners from 2011 at National Geographic Traveler.

SPONTANEOUS MOMENTS - Marrakech Traveler: It was mid-morning and he must have wanted to ride into the light. I was shooting for the ABC TV show Born to Explore when I snapped this photo. (John Barnhardt/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

World Refugee Day 2012

Today marks World Refugee Day, which the United Nations uses to raise awareness of the plight of the estimated 42 million displaced people worldwide. A UN report released this week showed that 800,000 people were forced to flee across borders last year

A Myanmar ethnic Rohingya child preparing for a midday prayer on April 23 inside a community school in Klang, a port town 30 kilometres west of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is observing World Refugee Day along with other countries of the world, there are over 98,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia. (Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Euro 2012 Soccer Championship, part one: The fans

Some happy, some sad, at times cheering or even fighting, fans of soccer are absorbed in the European 2012 Soccer Championship. Sixteen nations made it to the final tournament being held in Poland and the Ukraine with the final match to be played on July 1 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

A soccer fan soaks up the atmospshere ahead of the Euro 2012 soccer championship group D match between Ukraine and Sweden at The Olympic Stadium on June 11 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)