Baby Gorilla, Gabon, 2000
Photograph by Michael Nichols
Lekedi, a baby western lowland gorilla, sits for a close-up at a gorilla orphanage in Gabon. Central Africa's lowland gorilla populations suffer from steady habitat loss, capture and killing by poachers, and the cross fire of civil wars within their range. Conservationists are working to avert the species' extinction by collecting gorilla orphans, nurturing and socializing them, and ultimately releasing them back into the wild.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Central Africa's Orphan Gorillas: Will They Survive in the Wild?" February 2000, National Geographic magazine
Pearl Station and Reef, French Polynesia
Photograph by David Doubilet
A split shot shows a coral reef beneath a pearl workstation in French Polynesia's Tuamotu Archipelago. The region, a 900-mile (1,450-kilometer) arc of 76 sparsely populated atolls and two islands, is one of the world's primary producers of cultured black pearls.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Black Pearls of French Polynesia," June 1997, National Geographic magazine
Photograph by Michael Melford
A rainbow arcs over trees blooming on a hillside in the West Indies island of Dominica. The country's interior can receive some 300 inches (760 centimeters) of rain each year, yielding hundreds of square miles of mountainous, densely forested wilderness, much of it protected as state land. The country's volcanic activity also yields natural gems, such as boiling pools, geysers, and black-sand beaches.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Dominica," November/December 1996, National Geographic Traveler magazine
Lightning Behind Chimney Rock, Colorado, 1989
Photograph by James L. Amos
Trails of lightning backlight Chimney Rock in southwest Colorado's San Juan National Forest. Home to ancestors of the Pueblo Indians more than 1,000 years ago, the area around Chimney Rock has been a designated archaeological area and national historic site since 1970.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Life and Times of William Henry Jackson: Photographing the Frontier," February 1989, National Geographic magazine
Untouchable Woman, India, 2003
Photograph by William Albert Allard
A veiled woman of the Untouchable caste pauses for a photo while sweeping outside her home in India. India's constitution forbids caste discrimination and specifically abolishes Untouchability, but the hierarchies and social codes of Hinduism perpetuate the system.
—Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Untouchable," June 2003, National Geographic magazine
Fire Dancer, Bora-Bora, Society Islands, 1997
Photograph by Jodi Cobb
A riot of light illuminates the night at a Bora-Bora resort. Fire dancing is a relatively recent Polynesian tradition, originated by a Samoan dancer in 1946. It is performed with knives wired with cotton towels soaked with a flammable liquid.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "French Polynesia: Charting a New Course," June 1997, National Geographic magazine
Wells, Zakouma National Park, Chad, 2007
Photograph by Michael Nichols
Like petals on a flower, wells fan out from a central point in Chad’s Zakouma National Park. The wells hold water from the life-giving heavy rains that start every year in May, ending months of drought in central Africa.
—Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Zakouma: Eye to Eye," March 2007, National Geographic magazine
Luther-Translated Bible, Eisenach, Germany, 1983
Photograph by James L. Amos
A copy of the Bible translated from Greek to German by religious reformer Martin Luther in 1521 lies open to the New Testament in a dimly lit room in Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany. Luther lived incognito at the castle for nearly a year after he was declared an outlaw by the Roman emperor for refusing to recant his Reformation writings.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "The World of Luther," October 1983, National Geographic magazine
Clouds, Yemen, 1979
Photograph by Steve Raymer
Clouds gather in a dramatic sky over north Yemen, once a crossroads for the frankincense trade. To the Romans this elbow of land along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden was Arabia Felix—Happy Arabia—perhaps because the abundance of silks, spices, and pearls that came north by camel caravan made it seem a bountiful place.
—Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "North Yemen," August 1979, National Geographic magazine
Wrestling Wolves, Ely, Minnesota, 1998
Photograph by Joel Sartore
Gray wolves, like these two wrestling at Ely, Minnesota's International Wolf Center, were hunted to near extinction in the western U.S. in the 1800s and early 1900s. But 34 years on the Endangered Species List and a successful federal reintroduction program begun in 1995 has helped the species recover dramatically. Western populations were delisted in February of 2008.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Return of the Gray Wolf," May 1998, National Geographic magazine
Volcanic Chasm, Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland, 1997
Photograph by Steve Winter
A column of hissing steam emerges from a gaping 600-foot (180-meter) chasm in Iceland’s Vatnajökull Glacier. Scalding magma transforms water, pooled at the bottom of this abyss, into billowing steam. In 1996, two weeks after an enormous volcanic eruption beneath the ice cap, billions of gallons of meltwater gushed from a glacial lake, causing Iceland’s worst deluge in 60 years.
—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Iceland’s Trial by Fire," May 1997, National Geographic magazine
Tuareg Cavalryman, Algeria, 1960
Photograph by Robert F. Sisson
A Tuareg cavalryman seldom reveals his face, even to a blood brother. Though nominally Muslim, the tribe's women go unveiled. Hard-riding Tuareg riders ruled the Algerian desert in the days before French rule.
—Photo shot on assignment for "Algeria—France's Stepchild, Problem and Promise," June 1960, National Geographic magazine
Related Photo Galleries
Popular in Photography
Subscribe to National Geographic magazine and save. Print and digital editions available for as little as $12.