Many Earth-Like Planets Have Climates Too Hot for Life

There may be fewer habitable planets circling nearby stars than has been thought.

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A new 3-D computer model has changed scientists’ expectations about how many alien planets could sustain life.

An alien planet climate analysis cuts nearly in half the estimated number of habitable planets in our galaxy, scientists reported on Wednesday. The findings arise from a new 3-D computer model that reveals the climates of other worlds may be warmer than researchers expected.

Over the past two decades, the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting nearby stars has bolstered speculation that some might be home to life as we know it. Since there is life virtually wherever there is liquid water on Earth, the search for extraterrestrial life is especially focused on worlds in the so-called “habitable zones” of stars, where temperatures are just right—not too hot and not too cold—for seas of liquid water to exist.

Detections of planets by NASA’s Kepler space telescope has led to recent estimates that roughly 22 percent of sun-like stars might host a rocky Earth-size planet within their habitable zones. With some 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, this hinted there could be as many as 22 billion Earth-like planets in the galaxy.

However, this number depends on defining the habitable zone of a sun-like star as ranging from one-half to two astronomical units (AU) around it, where one AU is the average distance between Earth and the sun, some 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

The new alien planet atmosphere analysis, released by a team led by astrophysicist Jérémy Leconte, of the Pierre Simon Laplace Institute in Paris, in the journal Nature, narrows back the inner edge of habitable zones around sun-like stars to about 0.95 AU from those stars, roughly 90 million miles (145 million kilometers).

This could nearly halve the estimated number of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way.

New, More Complex Model

Past models of temperatures on alien worlds essentially treated such planets as simple dots, one-dimensional objects that averaged the amount of heat they reflected or absorbed from their stars. The new research instead uses a 3-D climate model, which can account for details such as the way air flows.

“We can start to treat exoplanets as real three-dimensional planets, where complex processes like cloud formation can occur,” said Leconte.

One factor the study model analyzed is water vapor, which traps heat. If a world is too close to its star, too much water on its surface can vaporize, heating that planet enough to eventually cause all its water to vaporize, rendering its surface uninhabitable to life as we know it.

Researchers suspect this “runaway greenhouse” effect is what happened to Venus in our solar system.

Until now, scientists thought clouds of water vapor helped cool planets by reflecting heat back into space. The new model reveals that some clouds instead might trap heat and help destabilize climate on alien worlds. Although clouds near the surface of planets do reflect heat back into space, clouds at high altitudes are colder and so absorb some of this heat, allowing less of it to escape, Leconte said.

Stabilizing Climate

Although these findings regarding clouds suggest it might be much easier to send planets hurtling toward runaway greenhouse scenarios than previously thought, the new model showed that there are other factors that help stabilize climate.

For instance, an atmosphere moves warm, moist air from tropical regions to colder polar ones. “These regions are very important for stabilizing a planet’s climate, keeping it from a runaway greenhouse,” Leconte said.

In addition, the new model reveals the “moist greenhouse effect,” in which the host star’s light is thought to cook away water vapor in the upper atmosphere, may be much less of a concern for the habitability of planets than previously thought.

“We found the upper atmosphere of planets gets much colder than it was thought to get,” Leconte said. “This means any water vapor would [turn to] rain or snow it before it gets to very high altitudes where it can get broken down.”

Where to Look for Habitable Planets

The new 0.95 AU estimate for the inner edge of habitable zones is actually very similar to some other estimates from simpler models of alien climates, acknowledge the researchers.

“At first it was a little disappointing not finding a bigger difference,” Leconte said. “The important thing is we now are finally beginning to understand how the climates of real planets might behave.”

Planetary scientist Ravi Kopparapu at Pennsylvania State University, who did not take part in this research, agreed it was likely that the inner edge of habitable zones for Earth-size planets in sun-like systems lies beyond 0.5 AU. “Venus, which is completely desiccated, is at 0.72 AU,” Kopparapu said. “That is telling us the inner edge of the [habitable zone] probably lies beyond 0.72 AU.”

Planetary scientist James Kasting, who is also at Pennsylvania State University and was not involved in this study, noted that if the habitable zone is narrow, “then many stars must be searched to find an Earth-like planet, and the telescope must be correspondingly large.”

Future Directions

Future research by the team will explore if 3-D models alter estimates of where the outer edges of habitable zones lie. Current estimates for the outer edge of habitable zones for Earth-mass planets around sun-like stars range from 1.7 to 2 AU. “The way air circulates in a 3-D model could keep water from freezing at greater distances from stars than before thought,” Leconte said.

Scientists can also investigate what climates are like in systems unlike that of Earth and the sun. For instance, planets around smaller stars likely get tidally locked, always keeping the same side facing their stars.

“This means that, like the moon around the Earth, they always present the same day side to the star and have a permanent night side,” Leconte said. “This will profoundly change both the atmospheric circulation and the location of clouds.”

Courtesy : National Geographic

Photo : The White Cliffs of Iturup

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Photograph by Alexey Kharitonov

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Photo Contest Images

White rocks have stretched for miles alongside the shore of the Prostor Bay. They are formed of a very light and soft pumice as a result of the huge volcanic eruption. This pumice is being eroded by the storms of the Okhotsk Sea, by the rains and numerous small rivers that form the amazing shapes of the rocks. At the foot of these rocks lies an unusual black-and-white beach, consisting of chopped white pumice and black lava sand. And every morning that we camped there, fresh bear trails appeared on this sand. Iturup island.

(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest.)

Frosted Tamarack Swamp

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I had scouted out a few places for an early morning shoot in the tamarack swamps of Wisconsin. I searched and searched until I found this scene. With the sun barely breaking through the fog rising from the melting frost, the light lit up the tamarack in front of this ditch. The ditch faded into the mist, while the frost captured the early morning rays as everything glinted like it was covered in diamonds. I absolutely fell in love with the mood that this scene created. Just a few moments later, the sun rose high in the sky and melted all the frost, causing the scene to completely change.

Courtesy : National Geographic

National Geographic Akui Kualitas Foto Nokia Lumia 1020

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Nokia Lumia 1020 yang mengandalkan kamera 41MP mendapatkan pengakuan dari National Geographic. Kamera pada Lumia 1020 digunakan oleh salah satu kontributor National Geographic untuk hunting foto dalam sebuah tur yang dilakukan di bagian barat daya Amerika Serikat.

Kontributor bernama Stephen Alvares tersebut menggunakan Lumia 1020 sebagai kamera utamanya. Alvares mengaku bisa mendapatkan foto dengan kualitas yang tak kalah dibandingkan kamera yang biasa digunakannya. Dan dengan bentuknya yang sangat kecil, smartphone Lumia 1020 memudahkannya untuk dibawa kemana-mana serta memungkinkan untuk pengambilan foto dari berbagai posisi yang sangat sulit dilakukan dengan kamera biasa.

Dengan menggunakan Lumia 1020, Alvares pun merasa bahwa dirinya bisa menjadi lebih kreatif dibandingkan memakai kamera DLSR. Meskipun begitu, Alvares mengaku bahwa dirinya tidak akan meninggalkan kamera DLSR dan beralih ke Lumia 1020. Namun dengan hal ini, dia membuktikan bahwa kualitas gambar yang diambil memakai Lumia 1020 tidak akan kalah dibandingkan sebuah kamera. Testimoni lengkap Stephen Alvares bisa dilihat pada video dibawah ini.

Courtesy : Jeruk Nipis

National Geographic Extreme Photo of the Week

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1. Snowboarding the Pemberton Ice Cap, British Columbia. Photograph by Mark Gribbon

“Being in the backcountry is where I belong and am the most happy,” says snowboarder Joel Loverin, seen here on the Pemberton Ice Cap in British Columbia, Canada, during a three-day backcountry camping and riding excursion.

“Compared to the other lines I rode on the trip, this one was a lot more relaxed, but the end result for the photograph came out a lot better than the others,” recalls Loverin, who is based in Whistler. “I’m drawn to the freedom and isolation of being way out in the mountains and being submersed in terrain that is always changing. I love the adventure and endless exploration possibilities and the quiet serenity of it all.”

Getting the Shot

“The cold nights would turn the snow into a sheet of ice, then we would have to wait until the afternoon for the snow to soften up to ride anything,” recalls photographer Mark Gribbon, who was on assignment for Snowboard Canada magazine when he got this shot.

Gribbon faced tough weather conditions—for both snowboarding and photographing. Toward the end of the session, Gribbon captured this image. “At the end of the season, the sun is pretty high in the sky, which makes for less dramatic photos. It is a balance trying to find decent snow with a feature that is ridable this time of year,” he says. “The ice and shade kept the surrounding snow rideable at such a late hour in the day.”

Gribbon photographed with a Canon Mark IV and a 70-200mm, f/2.8 lens.

2. Climbing Hallucinogen Wall, Black Canyon, Colorado. Photograph by John Dickey

Getting the Shot

“I had never even seen the Black Canyon before this climb. Turns out the Black is infamous for a reason,” says photographer John Dickey, who joined climber Josh Wharton on Hallucinogen Wall in Colorado’s Black Canyon. “I’ve been shooting on big walls for over a decade and when I first stepped over the edge, it took me a minute to get my head right before continuing.

“I knew the Black had some pretty difficult lighting, so I went prepared with gradient filters and a strobe. Once I rappelled in and saw the lighting situation, I put away the filters and milked the contrast for all I could. I toyed with balancing the light using filters and in the end stuck with the high contrast,” he recalls.

In order to get the shots he wanted of Wharton, Dickey started climbing at 4 a.m. His goal was to get a head start on Wharton and then begin the long rappel at around 6:45 a.m. to intersect on the wall a few hundred feet off the ground. Dickey had his lighting and climbing thoroughly planned, but serious routes can give pause even to the most prepared. “The biggest challenge of the day was at the start—those first minutes stepping over the edge of the wall. Whenever I get intimidated like that I focus on the task at hand: Check the harness, make sure the carabiner on my belay device is locked, double check camera batteries, and move on.”

Dickey photographed with a Canon 6D and carried a lens.

3. Winter Surfing in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Photograph by Scott Dickerson

“I would say that surfing up here is not very popular,” says Homer, Alaska, local Gart Curtis, seen here rushing back to the truck, with his friend Mike in the distance, after a winter surf session 30 minutes outside of town. “The conditions are fickle. Weeks can go by without waves. It’s rare that the number of guys in the water exceeds single digits—and we know each other.”

Curtis and his friends were navigating large, broken up pieces of ice formed by packed snow on the shore that gets soaked, refrozen, and then broken by the waves and tide. “They are a bit tricky, but it is faster to go along on top of them than to slog and weave through the heavy snow in between,” Curtis recalls.

Gearing up to surf in Alaska’s biting cold is critical. “You can still feel the cold through the wetsuit, but luckily it’s warmer in the water than on the beach. I’m wearing a 6/5/4 wetsuit, with 7mm booties and mitts. I’m also wearing a thermal rashguard and neoprene trunks,” Curtis says. “Some guys use battery-powered, heated tops, but I don’t have one. And a couple of the guys I surf with put vaseline on their faces to block the wind on the really cold windy days … I might try that sometime.” “Hunting for breaks is a big part of the fun,” Curtis says. “Even finding a new sand bar a few hundred yards from a known spot, or a spot suddenly working at a different tide than what worked last season—that’s a thrill.”

Getting the Shot

“It was just above zero degrees, windy, snowing, and pretty dark outside,” says photographer and surfer Scott Dickerson. “There was no practical way that I could have photographed from the water given the conditions. The current was going much faster than I could swim, and there were large chunks of ice floating through the surf that would have been even more dangerous to me, considering my lack of mobility swimming with the camera.”

The surfers drove along the Alaskan coast, looking for waves that could be surfed at Cook Inlet. While watching his friends attempt to surf, Dickerson fought the extreme weather on the beach. “The beach was a sloped sheet of ice that made it incredibly difficult to get out of the water because it required you to scramble uphill over wet ice between the surging waves,” recalls Dickerson. “I had to be careful to keep the camera lens protected, while also having to run through thigh-deep snow to keep up with Mike and Gart as they drifted down the beach in the strong current.”

Dickerson photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a EF24-70mm, f/2.8L lens.

4. Ice Climbing in Zirknitzgrotte, Austria. Photograph by Martin Lugger

Getting the Shot

“At the time it was very questionable to climb this ice rock because of the danger that it would break and crash—along with the climber,” says photographer and climber Martin Lugger. After climber Peter Ortner (pictured) told Lugger about the location in Zirknitzgrotte, Austria, the two went to scout and climb. Lugger immediately knew he wanted to light the scene with strobes. “When we came there, I knew I wanted make some shots with flashes. Although it’s dangerous because of falling ice, the area is very nice for lighting.”

Lugger set up the photo he wanted to capture. “I have no standard lighting because every scene needs to be adjusted differently,” he says. “I imagined this frame when I planned my setup and lights. I had three main angles in mind and two of them worked out for me.” For this shot, Lugger lit the scene with a Hensel Studio strobe and blue gel. He also used another strobe to brighten the climber. “The biggest challenge during the shoot was to not get hit by falling ice, and not to slip on the ice with my Hasselblad in my hands.”

Lugger photographed with a Hasselblad H3DII-50, 80mm lens, and Hensel Studio strobes.

5. Surfing Jaws, Maui, Hawaii. Photograph by Fred Pompermayer

Getting the Shot

“I was so stoked to watch through my viewfinder” as big-wave surfer Shane Dorian was in position for this massive wave, recalls surf photographer Fred Pompermayer. “As soon as he made it through the huge drop, I could see that he was going to make the huge barrel.”

Pompermayer originally was going to skip photographing this early season session at Jaws, a Maui surf break known for its ferocious waves. He changed his plans the night before and arrived on the island the next morning. Two hours after landing, he was in the water capturing Shane Dorian’s winning ride for the Billabong XXL Tube Ride of the Year.

“With the swell picking up in the afternoon, the waves continued to grow,” Pompermayer says. “Just before dark a huge set came in and washed every surfer out. Shane was the only one that was able to make through the sets and was able to stay far out.

“It was an incredible moment. Then he disappeared into the spray of the barrel. It was one of those hold-your-breath kind of moments, to see if he would make it out. I kept shooting and was thrilled to see him reappear. Everyone who saw this ride knew Shane had just scored the ride of the year, no doubt,” Pompermayer says.

Pompermayer shot with a Canon EOS 1Dx and a Canon 70-200mm lens, along with his customized water housing.

Polar Bear Mating : A Chance of a Lifetime

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(A large male polar bear attempts to mate with a female in Svalbard, Norway. (Photo courtesy of Paul Nicklen))

For 15 years I had been hoping to witness this moment. As a wildlife biologist and photographer for National Geographic, I have spent countless hours observing polar bears hunting, catching seals, nursing cubs, and sparring with each other. I probably have seen over a thousand polar bears in the wild, and yet, I have never watched them mate. I sat quietly on the frozen Barents Sea, watching the drama of a mating pair. The huge male tried everything in his power to entice her to mate.

It had been a long time since I had any feeling in my feet or hands as I sat on the sea ice in Svalbard, Norway, at minus 22°F. I wanted to jump around, stomp my feet, and swing my arms to entice the feeling back into my frozen limbs, but I did not dare move for fear of scaring away the pair of polar bears I had been watching for more than 24 hours.

When we first came upon this pair, my assistant, Karl Erik, and I parked our snowmobiles facing away from the bears, which allowed us to have an easy escape route. As we waited in silence, hour after hour, for the couple to consummate their courtship, the idea of capturing this moment that I had dreamed about for so many years became a lump in my throat, and I had to control my hands shaking in anticipation.

The thin, weak, and unpredictable conditions of the sea ice surrounding Svalbard, Norway, in recent years had forced me to put this assignment on hold for several years. Traditionally, sea ice envelops Svalbard and the surrounding islands year-round, but like everywhere else in the Arctic, things are changing fast.

Svalbard is now facing historic sea ice declines. Even though it was March, when the sea ice should be at its largest seasonal extent, we were only able to find a tiny strip of ice on the east side of Svalbard.

The bears were plentiful as there was nowhere else for them to hunt seals, but the lack of ice and lack of opportunities for the bears to hunt meant we had frequent visits to our camp by hungry bears on a near nightly basis. We saw many instances in which bear trails disappeared into the slushy soup of an ailing frozen sea to find solid ice again only several hundred yards away.

A close look at sea ice reveals its life-giving properties. After the long winter months, when the sun finally returns to the Arctic, phytoplankton starts to grow on the underside of the ice. The tiny plant communities that thrive there create an inverted garden that becomes the base for the entire food chain. Tiny crustaceans, such as amphipods and copepods, feed on the phytoplankton. Also feeding on this soup of tiny creatures is the Arctic cod, a key component of the Arctic ecosystem that has a direct effect in the energy transfer between the plankton and the larger vertebrate species like fish, seals, walrus, and marine birds. The mighty bowhead whales, as well as beluga whales and narwhals, also feed on the cod. And at the top of the food chain, the apex predator, the polar bear, feeds on seals and walrus. In the absence of sea ice, polar bears lose their hunting platform to chase seals and are then confined to land.

A couple of years ago, I escorted former U.S. President Jimmy Carter around Svalbard. As we looked into the frozen landscape he told me that if people are to care about complex and distant issues, like climate change and the loss of sea ice, then we will need to find a common and simple language to share and spread the facts with the rest of the world. To me that language is photography; it gives me the opportunity to create evocative images that speak for the polar wildlife and their dependence on healthy polar environments. The polar regions that have been my lifelong playground are disappearing right in front of my eyes, and I want my images to become banners of hope, ambassadors for a world very few of us will ever see.

As dire as things are, polar bears are still thriving in many areas, and I still love finding big males hunting, females playing with their cubs, or young males fighting. On that cold spring day when I found a mating pair I waited for as long as I could. Just when I thought I could not take the cold any longer, the female finally got up, calmly walked over to the sleepy male, and nudged him to mate. I wiped my frosty breath away from the viewfinder, ready to capture whatever happened next.

At that exact moment, another large male appeared out of the corner of my eye. He ran at the other male, roaring. The female ran away into the sea ice with the males in hot pursuit.

I was left sitting on the frozen ground, in complete disbelief. The moment was over. I had lost the chance of a lifetime, but will never forget being so present in the drama of nature. Perhaps one day I will have another chance at making this photograph. For now, I will be content with the memory of an incredible day spent in the company of bears.

Paul Nicklen is a wildlife photographer for National Geographic. He recently published the book Bear: Spirit of the Wild.

Courtesy : National Geographic

National Geographic Photo Gallery – Tumbleweeds

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

In California’s Central Valley tumbleweeds are ready to roll into an irrigated orchard, where their offspring will hog as much water as they can.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Skeletons of Russian thistle, better known as tumbleweed, pile up in a yard in Lancaster, California.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Two western icons: the towering cliffs of Monument Valley in Arizona and the lowly tumbleweed. The latter is an impostor, an opportunistic Eurasian species that sneaked into the country almost a century and a half ago.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Once a weed is stopped by a barrier, like this abandoned car near the Great Salt Lake, it can seed a new infestation.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Tumbleweeds thrive where they can get a foothold in loosened ground, like the vacant lot at the edge of a bankrupt subdivision in Wasco, California.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Tumbleweeds have trouble taking root in cultivated lawns. An abandoned house near Lancaster is easy game.

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Each Christmas season a tumbleweed snowman, built by New Mexico’s Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority, rises along Interstate 40. At 13 feet, the 2012 snowman was the biggest yet.

Courtesy : National Geographic

15 Inspiring Entries for the Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico Competition

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Ansel Adams, one of the greatest landscape photographers of the 20th century, once said, “Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.”

Happily, thanks to digital and mobile photography, we now have more chances to test ourselves than ever. That’s one reason we’ve recently launched the Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico Competition with creative community Talenthouse.

The challenge is simple: Show us your most breathtaking photos featuring landscapes, natural settings or wildlife taken using any type of camera.

The prize for the winners is an amazing trip to Puerto Rico with National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez, plus the world’s best camera smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 1020. The competition ends on October 11th and you can enter here. Hundreds of you have already done just that and to inspire those of you who haven’t, here’s fifteen awesome entries that will take your breath away.

“A View of Istanbul” By Hattie Simms 

“Russian winter” By Elena Samoylova 

“Teno” By Remon Fotos

“Cathedral Of Cologne At Night” By Ludwig Montag

“Mariposa” By Florencia Dreidemie

“Sunset from Bago River, Philippines” By Jade Bryan Jardinico

“Roots” By Steve Minor

“Sleeping city” By Marco Britto

“The Magnificence of Water” By Georgi Popov

“Wildlife Amblings” By Michelle Sergeant

“Sunrise on her day” By Rodrigo Alva Loli

“Trepar, Reir, Aire.” By Pamella Quiroz

“Journey to eternity” By Pranab Basak

“Forgotten Desert” By Kara Eggert

Title photo: “Pescador de atardeceres” By Memo Vasquez

We’re sure you’ll agree these are some amazing examples of landscape photography. Hopefully, they’ll inspire you to grab your camera and enter the competition too. In the meantime, let us know which photo you loved best in the comments below.

Courtesy : Nokia Conversations

Meet our Photograph in Puerto Rico Finalists – Part 1

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A couple of months ago we the launched Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico Competition. Now, after much deliberation, we can reveal the first twenty finalists.

The challenge was simple: With the help of creative community Talenthouse, we asked you to show us your most breathtaking photos featuring landscapes, natural settings or wildlife taken using any type of camera. Five lucky winners will receive the grand prize of an amazing trip to Puerto Rico with National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez, plus the world’s best camera smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 1020. Hundreds of you entered and now Nokia and Stephen Alvarez have selected forty finalists.  These finalists will be sent a Nokia Lumia 1020 trial device and challenged to curate a portfolio of travel and adventure themed photos that tell incredible stories using the Nokia Lumia 1020 Pro Camera features and Zoom.

Here’s the first twenty finalist’s breathtaking entries. Prepare to be amazed.

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“Aerial Shot – Vestas Windmills – Bookhorst – East Germany” by Martin Haemmerli

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 “Sequoia National Park” by Judith Shepherd

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 “Half a year in Asia” by Maximilian Thesseling

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 “The Rush” by Nathan Gonzales

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 “Forgotten Desert” by Kara Eggert

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 “Green dress” by Dario Sastre

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  ”The beauty of the height” by Lisa Marie Wadephul

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 “A View of Istanbul” By Hattie Simms

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 “Journey” By Shanya Smith

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 “Morning” by Elena Goroscenco

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 “Famara’s flight” By Carlos Sanchez

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 “Mondés” By Abigail McVeigh

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 “Peaceful view from a minaret” by Amy Yungk

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 “Turtle Attack” By Laurent Seince

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 “A Day in Chianti” By Michael Maurer

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 “Roots” by Steve Minor

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 “The desert of Thar” By Federico Ariu

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 “Sunrise over the ocean” By Lena Levin

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 “Sunrise at Silver Lake” by Dennis Dripps

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 “Sunrise at the ancient Callanish Stones” By Tim Riches

We think they’re all amazing, but which entry most impressed you? Let us know in the comments below

Courtesy : Nokia Conversations

Meet our Photograph in Puerto Rico Finalists – Part 2

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Earlier this week we showcased the first twenty finalists in our Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico Competition. Now, we’re back with the second amazing twenty.

All forty of the finalists delivered stunning shots, taken using a wide variety of camera devices. Alas, only five lucky winners will receive the grand prize of an incredible trip to Puerto Rico with National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez, plus the world’s best camera smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 1020. To decide who receives this amazing prize the finalists have all been sent a Nokia Lumia 1020 trial device and challenged to curate a portfolio of travel and adventure themed photos. The best will win the adventure of a lifetime. We can’t wait to see the results.

In the meantime, here’s the second twenty finalists’ stunning entries.

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“Gone with the wind” By Mercedes Catoni

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“Preikestolen” By Daniel Fuchs

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“Building a nest” By Pina Gruden

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“Morning light” By Matteo Mantovani

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“Gullfoss” By Arianna Biasini

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“To the adventure…” By Salvador Parada

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“Sunset on the coast” By Brock Caldwell

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“Lamp Post Landing” By Kristen Elizabeth

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“Swinging off a Mountain” By Benjamin O Brien

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“Northern Lights over Iceland, 2013″ By Matthew Butterfield

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“Just Jump” By Celeste Abrahams

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“The Last Sunrise” By Swapnil Mathur

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“View from Moeraki Boulders” By Vincent Riemersma

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“As we end the day ” By Kaveer Rai

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“Time for a break” By Kiattikhoun Limmany

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“Salto del Fraile” By Graciela Terrones

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“BEYOND” By Katharina Maria

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“Tundra” By Jason Bassett

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“Fight with Nature” By Sebastian Kacprzak

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“Sun Moon Lake” By Anntoinett Hansen-Harcus

We’re big fans of them all, but if you had to choose your top three, which would they be and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Courtesy : Nokia Conversations

Photo of Tranquil Waters, Svalbard

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(Photograph by Cotton Coulson)

National Geographic – Even in the middle of the day, you can take compelling photos when the right photographic elements come together. Here, in Svalbard, Norway, the wind sometimes dies down and the fjords become like a mirror reflection of the sky. Normally I like to shoot during the early and late hours, when the sun is lower on the horizon and the light is warmer. Here, however, the scene also works with bright overhead sunshine, especially when the clouds and their reflection in the water add contrast and fill out the frame.

Keep your horizon straight and composition balanced. Pay special attention to composition and horizontal alignment: New cameras have built-in viewfinder grid displays that assist in making sure your horizons stay straight. In this image, I didn’t use any filters to enhance the contrast and color of the sky against the white, wispy clouds. I made a special effort, however, to balance the amount of space in the composition between the sky and the calm water. The small section of ice floating in the water adds an extra dimension and layer to the composition. Always look for subjects and objects to add to the foreground. —Cotton Coulson

Meet the Photograph in Puerto Rico Comp Winners

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A couple of months ago we launched our Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico competition. Now, after being dazzled by masses of stunning shots, we’re happy to announce the five grand winners.

The challenge was simple: Show us your most breathtaking photos featuring landscapes, natural settings or wildlife taken using any type of camera. Hundreds of you entered.  Eventually, these were whittled down to forty talented finalists each of whom was sent a Nokia Lumia 1020 and tasked with creating a portfolio of shots on the world’s best camera smartphone.

So without further ado, please put your hands together for the five winners, who’ll now be jetting off on amazing trip to Puerto Rico with National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez. We’ll be showcasing more of their Nokia Lumia 1020 work later. In the meantime, here’s a tantalizing taster of what they’ve achieved so far.

#1 Kaveer Rai

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#2 Elena Goroscenco

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#3 Matteo Mantovani

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#4 Shanya Monique Smith

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#5 Pina Gruden

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I’m sure you’ll agree this small sample of the winning portfolios shows why our five fantastic photographers deserve to win. Question is which of their photos do you love best? Let us know down below.

Courtesy : Nokia Conversations

National Geographic Photo of the Day : Grasshopper and Moss

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(Grasshopper and Moss. Photograph by Andrey Antov, Your Shot)

This Month in Photo of the Day: Your Shots

A green grasshopper rests aboard a red mushroom boat in a sea of moss.

What Makes This a Photo of the Day? I like how this is simply what it is—color and texture playing off each other to create an eye-catching tableau. —Alexa Keefe, Photo of the Day editor

This photo and caption were submitted to Your Shot. Check out the new and improved website, where you can share photos, take part in assignments, lend your voice to stories, and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

November 29, 2013

Courtesy : National Geographic