Toad River Valley, Canada
Photograph by Michael Christopher Brown
This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Magazine Features
Like curtains drawn across the landscape, the walls of the Toad River Valley yield to untracked forests and pure lakes in northeastern British Columbia. Years of compromise and careful planning defined the enormous Muskwa-Kechika Management Area here, where competing interests—from miners to outfitters, preservationists, and native peoples—coexist in delicate balance.
Chicago City Lights
Photograph by Jim Richardson
Chicago at night burns bright under blankets of clouds. Much of the glow escapes from streetlamps, including clear, Victorian-style lamps good for creating atmosphere but poor for harnessing today's extra-bright bulbs.
Owachomo Bridge at Night, Utah
Photograph by Jim Richardson
A starry night gleams above Owachomo Bridge in Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument—named the first Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). "Here you see something forgotten," says ranger Scott Ryan, "and reconnect with the sky."
Mexican Gray Wolf
Photograph by Joel Sartore; photographed at the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center, Eureka, Missouri
Still on shaky ground, the Mexican gray wolf, an endangered subspecies, is slowly increasing in number in Arizona and New Mexico, thanks to captive breeding.
Tuckerman Ravine Rest, New England
Photograph by José Azel
The mountain's moods aren't all bad. Spring warmth draws crowds to New England's Tuckerman Ravine, including thrill seekers who attempt to ski a steep headwall. Others simply relax in the sun-washed glacial cirque and bask in the presence of the peak.
Cave of Crystals, Mexico
Photograph by Carsten Peter, Speleoresearch & Films
Massive beams of selenite dwarf human explorers in Mexico's Cave of Crystals, deep below the Chihuahuan Desert. Formed over millennia, these crystals are among the largest yet discovered on Earth.
Elephant Seal Pups, South Georgia Island
Photograph by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott
Fattened and then abandoned by mothers who leave to mate anew, weaned elephant seal pups stick close together until ready for a first season at sea.
Stallions Fighting, South Dakota
Photograph by Melissa Farlow
Two stallions fight at a wild horse conservation center in South Dakota. It's an equine echo of an ongoing struggle across the western United States, where mustangs compete for space with ranching and energy development.
Illegal Miners, Ghana
Photograph by Randy Olson
Fevered by hopes of striking it rich, illegal miners claw sacks of "money stone"—gold ore—from the Pra River in Ghana. Their toil feeds the world's hunger for gold, and leaves a ruined landscape in its wake.
Brown Bears in Mist, Russia
Photograph by Michael Melford
In early morning mist that rolls in from the coast, two brown bears tussle like teenagers. "I was at this spot a year earlier and saw these bears doing the same thing," says John Paczkowski, a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. "They sparred for about 40 minutes, taking breaks to eat a few berries." Bears in the Kronotsky reserve often encounter each other at salmon streams and seem to socialize more here than in some other food-rich areas.