Sharks, including whitetip reef sharks, circle coral in the new Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve. Sala traveled there with other scientists as part of the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project.
Thanks in part to Sala’s expedition, along with the Pitcairn Islands and the Pew Charitable Trusts, the British government in March 2015 established the world’s largest contiguous marine reserve, encompassing some 322,000 square miles.
Sala’s account of the expedition appears in the new National Geographic book Pristine Seas: Journeys to the Ocean’s Last Wild Places. There is a history of child sexual abuse on this island and the case was settled with a slap on the wrist in 1996.
A green turtle glides over a wasteland of dead coral near Kanton island in the central Pacific.
A halfspotted hawkfish (Paracirrhites hemistictus) rests near a reef at Nikumaroro island damaged by ocean warming in the central Pacific. A shy and elusive fish, a Napoleon wrasse at Orona island is a good omen for the marine reserve.
A four-saddle grouper in the Kanton island lagoon passes over the candy-pink coralline algae on which new coral will grow.
A bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus) shadows a longface emperor (Lethrinus Olivaceus) off Nikumaroro, one of eight small islands in the chain known as the Phoenix Islands, which is part of the nation of Kiribati.
Frigatebird chicks await circling adults on Rawaki, one of 33 islands in the sprawling nation of Kiribati. A green turtle (Chelonia mydas) swims through a school of striped surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus) near Orona island in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), which was named a World Heritage site last year. David Obura, a marine scientist with CORDIO, an Indian Ocean conservation organization, measures new growth on table coral (Acropora hyacinthus) in the lagoon on Kanton island, where reefs were devastated by a rare episode of extreme ocean warming. Even without counting the vast open ocean and largely unexplored deep-sea regions in the reserve, the Phoenix Island Protected Area shelters more than 800 fish, bird, and coral species, including 120 species of hard corals, such as this leafy formation at Enderbury Island. A pair of emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) shimmers in the waters off Kanton island. Hovering briefly over the photographer, feet tucked up beneath its belly, a frigatebird comes in for a landing on Rawaki. The Metropol Parasol at the Plaza de la Encarnacion in Seville, Spain, is the largest wooden structure in the world.
Drinks blend with the landscape during a summer solstice midnight party in Iceland's Blue Lagoon.
The northern lights glow over the Lofoten Islands in this picture taken by Your Shot community member Kevin Gorton for our Travelogue assignment. Framed by the branches of baobab trees, safari jeeps stir up dust at sunset in northern Tanzania's Tarangire National Park.
Before dawn, a brilliant full moon illuminates the snowy landscape of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, home to an arctic fox.
Swimmers float effortlessly in the salt-laden waters of the Dead Sea near Ein Bokek, Israel. A rare snow shower falls on Rome's Colosseum, built 2,000 years ago to host gladiator duels, battle reenactments, and other public spectacles.
Earth and sky are indistinguishable on the Salar de Uyuni, a vast salt flat in southwest Bolivia. Sea anemones, anemonefish, and corals create a Technicolor scene at Ari Atoll in the Maldives. The observation deck at the Burj Khalifa—the tallest building in the world at 2,716.5 feet—offers a panoramic view of the flat desert shores of sea-level Dubai.
A camp on Pumori offers a stunning view of neighboring Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth at 29,029 feet. Swiss Guards greet with salutes in the Sala Regia, a hall adjacent to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Water rushes over Horseshoe Falls, one of the three falls that make up world-famous Niagara Falls. The Wave is the most famous landform in Arizona's Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, a little-known 300,000 acres of rugged terrain. Symbol of eternity, a "mother tree" overlooking frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia is wrapped in cloth offerings. A Celeste River waterfall plunges into a blue pool in Tenorio Volcano National Park, a verdant oasis in northern Costa Rica.
In Japan the nighttime viewing of cherry blossoms in spring, like these at Kyoto’s Hirano Shrine, is a special event. The craggy Cliffs of Moher wrap around the western coast of County Clare, providing a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean. Sugar white sand and windowpane water attract sunbathers to Lake McKenzie, one of dozens of lakes on Fraser Island in Queensland. Thirty baroque statues line Charles Bridge, a stone marvel that spans the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. Spanning the Golden Gate Strait—the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean—the world famous Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County to the north. Basket umbrellas help keep women somewhat dry as they work in flooded fields in Mawsynram, India. Men still fish with traditional handwoven nets along the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya’s northwest corner.


A girl runs through the lanes of Chefchaouen, a city in northwestern Morocco that's noted for its blue-washed buildings and homes. The twin streams of Havasu Falls splash down the Grand Canyon into a pool on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, which lies just outside the national park. So now I am going back to Scotland, back to the storied Highlands and my beloved islands, which I’ve been exploring for nearly 20 years. On this trip I’m going to leave the the big Nikons (the ones with all the megapixels) behind and take my shiny new iPhone 5S. I’ll post on Instagram and here on Proof, seeking images that speak to the excitement of both exploring and reconnecting, and seeking freshness out amongst the islands of the Hebrides. This is a moment in time when photographers are seeking new audiences in new ways, and photography is changing. Jim Richardson is a Kansas farm kid whose father loaned him a used camera and his mother allowed him to use her kitchen as a printing darkroom. Lightning flashes over Ayers Rock, a landmark red sandstone monolith that draws tourists to Australia's center. The remote Kimberley region in Western Australia features dramatic landscapes filled with river gorges and sandstone formations that were featured in the 2008 film Australia. The sky stretches far and wide above cowgirls—or jillaroos—on a cattle ranch in Queensland.
Eight towering limestone monoliths make up the Twelve Apostles that sit on Great Ocean Road in southeastern Australia. The Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of Australia’s largest city and provides multiple venues for different types of entertainment.
The world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground was built in 1853 after the Australian government forced the 15-year-old Melbourne Cricket Club to move locations. Australian surf lifesaving clubs were formed in the early 20th century in an effort to help save swimmers who get caught in the sometimes treacherous surf. King penguins crowd Macquarie Island, which is halfway between Australia and Antarctica and home to thousands of migratory seabirds and elephant seals.
The Remarkable Rocks, a series of weather-sculpted boulders that perch on a granite dome above the sea, draw visitors to Flinders Chase National Park on south Australia's Kangaroo Island. Crystal Shower Falls is just one natural attraction in New South Wales's Dorrigo National Park. The threatened Australian sea lion is found only in the Great Australian Bight, which arcs around the southern shore of the continent. The smooth, sandy shorelines of Australia’s Whitsunday Islands and the natural wonder of the surrounding Great Barrier Reef draw tourists from around the world. Divers and fish hover over the remains of a ship that broke up on one of the many shallow reefs around the Cayman Islands, West Indies.
Overfishing of herbivores such as the Pacific slopehead parrotfish has allowed many reefs to be overtaken by algae—but not in the southern Line Islands, where food webs remain in balance. Surf pounds the fringing reef at Flint Island, limiting coral growth to only the most robust species. Whitemargin unicornfish are among the 325 fish species recorded in the waters of the southern Line Islands. Twosaddle goatfish await darkness, when they will leave the safety of their coral shelter at Millennium Island for their nightly feeding before taking refuge again in the morning.
Vividly marked Achilles tang, a type of surgeonfish, gather around an upwelling to feed on plankton near Vostok Island. Blacktip grouper at Starbuck Island are among the predators that dominate fish communities on healthy reefs. Marine biologists have learned that a healthy coral reef is not one with swirling clouds of colored fish, but one where predators dominate and prey keep hidden—as at Millennium Island, where a gray reef shark patrols seemingly empty waters. Elsewhere in the world, coral has been damaged by bleaching and disease, but the southern Line Islands’ reefs retain their resilience. Go behind-the-scenes with our storytellers and join conversations about photography, art, and journalism.
These king penguins were part of a breeding colony photographed in the Falkland Islands, their spectacular coloration on full display. The pink coralline algae is an early sign of recovery: The algae form a substrate on which new coral can attach itself and grow.
The abundance of this species, often fished out early when reefs are targeted, means that the reef system here is still relatively intact.
Since the waters here were hit by a severe bleaching episode, the coral has grown to a diameter of more than four feet. Although the atoll lost many corals, it kept an abundance of grazing fish that help reefs recover by keeping them clean. About the same size as California, PIPA is one of the world's largest marine protected areas. With more than 500 fish species, reefs in this undisturbed island chain have recovered more quickly from coral bleaching than reefs in places such as the Caribbean, which also face pollution and fishing.
Marking the beginning of the season, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, falling on June 20 or 21.Travel to the land of fire and ice with National Geographic Expeditions. Dry season in the thousand-square-mile park brings an array of wildlife—including dense elephant herds—drawn to the perennial Tarangire River.In need of a digital detox?
Ten times saltier than seawater, the lake is extremely buoyant and a popular destination for holidaymakers.


Cast across the Indian Ocean, the Asian nation consists of 16 major atolls, each a ring of reefs around a lagoon.The Maldives is one of the stops on a National Geographic 125th anniversary private jet expedition. His village, Gabura, is in southwestern Bangladesh and has been studied for the effects of climate change.What's your best photo? Before being named Mount Everest by the British in 1865, the mountain had gone by many names in many languages over the centuries. The waterfalls straddle the border between Canada and the United States; Horseshoe is on the Canadian side, in the province of Ontario. This year I spent three consecutive nights in early June staying in the mountain area trying to capture this phenomenon. So our editors chose a place that's likely to be a good distance from your job—no matter where you work.Here, a surfer lives the dream near the village of Teahupo'o on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti.
Four and a half decades ago I started my photographic career, wide-eyed and full of spunk in my first newspaper internship. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park houses the rock, called Uluru by Aborigines, the continent's original inhabitants. The Kimberley is also home to the massive boab tree, close relative of the African baobabs.
The original inhabitants of Australia, Aborigines were there for more than 40,000 years before white men arrived.
These eastern Australian residents spend most of their time dozing in eucalyptus trees, waking up at night to feed on the trees' tough leaves. A national symbol of Australia, the eastern grey kangaroo has been known to leap up to 29.5 feet (9 meters) in a single bound as it traverses eastern mainland Australia.
The structures, once a part of the towering mainland cliffs, now sit about 80 feet (24 meters) high and 20 feet (6 meters) wide in the midst of crashing waves. Australia’s Gold Coast is a surfing paradise where grommets (Aussie slang for surfers) hang ten in the waves that flow into famous surfing beaches like the Spit, Surfers Paradise, and Mermaid Beach. The distinctive roof of the opera house is created from interlocking “shells” that form a terraced platform where pedestrians can stroll in the Sydney sunshine. Today the site is the largest stadium in Australia and has played host to Pope John Paul II, the 1956 Summer Olympics, and musical acts like The Police. Victorian morality created the huts, situated close to the shoreline so women could slip into their bathing costumes and race to the water discretely. Today more than 300 surf lifesaving clubs help keep beaches safe and sponsor competitions and carnivals. The oceanic island is the exposed part of the undersea Macquarie Ridge, which is formed by the meeting of two tectonic plates. Boardwalks on the forest floor and the treetop level let visitors experience the rain forest up close.
The mammal is distinguished by an unusual breeding cycle that occurs every 18 months and has pups suckle for a year and a half. Many of the 74 islands are designated national park land while others play host to luxurious island resorts. Top predators like these are a defining feature of the world’s healthiest coral reefs. Beyond the edge of the reef platform, where wave power diminishes, corals proliferate in a dazzling array of color and form.
The 12-nautical-mile fishing exclusion zone around the southern Line Islands will protect barracuda along with less wide-ranging reef fish. Scientists believe the key to coral health is intact ecosystems, where all the component species play their parts.
By grazing on algae, these and other herbivores keep reefs free of seaweed, enabling pink coralline algae to take hold and form a substrate for new coral. When it dried up, it left a 4,000-square-mile basin of salt, the world's largest such deposit.
Shops and restaurants line the road, much of which is still cobblestone.Traveling to Montreal? Nearly three decades has been for National Geographic, stories around the world, in my own backyard, hair-pulling ordeals of creation (sometimes), delightful explorations (often), and always trying to stave off the stifling torpor of repetition. I’ve had several subjects in my career that I could explore in depth, dig in deep and develop a body of work, a place of personal as well as profession exploration. European settlers brought disease and politics to the continent, severely endangering the Aborigines’ distinct culture, language, and lifestyle. The safety net of all the camera gear has been taken away, and I’m left to balance moment with seeing. There were tens of thousands of fireflies dancing around using their light to paint the scene in front of me, and I was the only witness. I’ve scoured the country from coast to coast and from island to island, marched with the Lonach Highlanders, and shared a rowboat with a boatload of sheep.
I can either jump in the stream of the great flowing river of social media — or I can stand on the bank and watch it all go by.



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