See Nat Geo Best Photos of 2016

Here is a gallery of National Geographic's 52 best images of the year—curated from 91 photographers, 107 stories, and 2,290,225 photographs.

From the thriving shallows of the Platte River in Nebraska, to the devastated city of Ramadi in Iraq, our photographers at National Geographic have captured some breathtaking images in 2016 which truly embody the human experience.

The following images are both tragic and beautiful, vibrant and bleak, yet they all share a common theme.

What is common between these images is the shared space in which they were captured. That space being Earth, revealing much about this remarkable and astonishing place that we call home.

As an evening storm lights up the sky near Wood River, Nebraska, about 413,000 sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the shallows of the Platte River.

This photo was originally published in "What Happens to the U.S. Midwest When the Water's Gone?," in August 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RANDY OLSON


Adiver keeps a close watch on a tiger shark in the Bahamas. But the scene may not be as dangerous as it looks: Tigers rely on surprise to hunt prey and are unlikely to attack divers who keep them in sight.

This photo was originally published in "He Went Face-to-Face With Tiger Sharks," in June 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN SKERRY


Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation center in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve.

This photo was originally published in "Pandas Get to Know Their Wild Side," in August 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY AMI VITALE



Eye-care workers use test-lens frames to conduct eye exams in India’s Sundarbans region. Their goal: to help reduce India’s blind population of more than eight million.

This photo was originally published in "Why There’s New Hope About Ending Blindness," in September 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENT STIRTON



Tempted by the fruit of a strangler fig, a Bornean orangutan climbs 100 feet into the canopy. With males weighing as much as 200 pounds, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-dwelling animals.

This photo was originally published in "Inside the Private Lives of Orangutans," in December 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIM LAMAN



A pet saddleback tamarin hangs on
toYoina Mameria Nontsotega as the Matsigenka girl takes a dip in the Yomibato River, deep inside Peru’s Manu´ National Park.

This photo was originally published in "This Park in Peru Is Nature ‘in Its Full Glory’—With Hunters," in June 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES



A refugee family lives amid the rubble in Ramadi, an Iraqi
cityleveled by ISIS’s destruction and bloodshed.

This photo was originally published in "Surviving the Fall of Isis," in October 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MOISES SAMAN



Parts of the Yellowstone region are wilder now than they’ve been in a century. Grizzlies are spreading. This one, in Grand Teton National Park, fends off ravens from a bison carcass. Workers moved it away from the road to keep scavengers and tourists apart.

This photo was originally published in "Learning to Let the Wild Be Wild in Yellowstone," in May 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES

Twilight bathes the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi. Pilgrims in ancient Greece may have offered sacrifices here before consulting the oracle of Delphi.

This photo was originally published in "How the Greeks Changed the Idea of the Afterlife," in July 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY VINCENT J. MUSI AT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF DELPHI



A baby African white-bellied tree pangolin hitches a ride on its mother at Pangolin Conservation, a nonprofit organization in St. Augustine, Florida.

This photo was originally published in "Documenting the World’s Animals, One Picture at a Time," in April 2016.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE

See the rest of 2016 best photos by scrolling through the galleries below!

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