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the Big Picture

Archive for December 2012

December 31, 2012 Permalink

Mongolia's nomads

Through his Vanishing Cultures Project photographer Taylor Weidman documents threatened ways of life. Regular readers of The Big Picture will recognize his distinctive work from his previous entry here on the Mustang region of Nepal. Weidman writes of the threatened nomadic culture in Mongolia: "Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world's largest remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land. Due to severe winters and poor pasture, many thousands of herders have traded in their centuries-old way of life for employment in mining towns and urban areas. The ger (yurt) camps that ring the capital city Ulaanbaatar house a permanent population of displaced nomads. There, they live without running water or a tangible use for the skills and crafts that were practiced on the steppes. The younger generation is no longer learning these essential aspects of their nomadic heritage." -- Lane Turner (29 photos total)

A young nomad herds his animals by motorcycle after an early spring snowstorm. Mongolian herders adopt technology quickly and it is not uncommon to see trucks and motorcycles replacing work animals. (Taylor Weidman/The Vanishing Cultures Project)
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December 21, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part III

Our collection of the best photojournalism of 2012 concludes with a look at the months of September, October, November, and December. While hurricane Sandy devastated the American northeast coast, numerous powerful typhoons wreaked havoc on several Asian nations. The battle for Syria further devolved into a bloody abyss as the conflict dragged on well into its second year. Protests against austerity measures roiled Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other European countries, China picked a new leader during their once-a-decade power transition, and a new burst of violence scarred relations between Israelis and Palestinians. Through it all, the ordinary lives of people in our multifaceted cultures shined bright. [Editor's note: The Big Picture will not publish during the week beginning December 23. We will return on December 31.]-- Lane Turner (43 photos total)

A woman, dressed in a Halloween costume, takes a rope jump from an old water pipe bridge 144 feet high in the Siberian Taiga area outside Krasnoyarsk, Russia on October 28, 2012. (Ilya Naymushin/Reuters)
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December 20, 2012 Permalink

Best nature pictures of 2012

This is a compilation of images in which photographers have captured the beauty of our world, along with great moments among the living things we share this planet with. Most are from the reoccurring photo gallery The Natural World, in which photos of animals and our environment are selected from the many wire service photos moved throughout the year from all over the world. Many great photos of animals are taken in zoos, but this entry mostly shows creatures in their own habitat. -Leanne Burden Seidel(53 photos total)

A lenticular cloud formed as high winds blew over the rugged Crazy Mountains in Montana. Lenticular clouds are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes. (James Woodcock, Billings Gazette via Associated Press)
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December 19, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part II

The second collection of images from 2012 once again brought us nature at its full force and beauty along with news and daily life coming from countries like Russia, Syria, Egypt, England, India and Italy. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the second 4 months of 2012. Please see part 1 from Monday and here's part 3. -- Lloyd Young ( 47 photos total)

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda walks the high wire from the United States side to the Canadian side over the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ontario, on June 15. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
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December 17, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part I

Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)

Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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December 14, 2012 Permalink

Raised Behind Bars

Five years ago, Reuters photographer Carolina Camps documented the stories found in the maternity wing of a women's prison in Los Hornos, Argentina. The prison not only housed female inmates, it was also home to 63 of their children, who were allowed to live with their mothers inside the jail until they were four years old. Now, half a decade on, Camps tracked down four of the women to see what had become of them and of their young families. -- Paula Nelson ( 30 photos total)

This combination photograph shows Valeria Cigara posing when she was pregnant with her daughter Milagros as she was serving a sentence for robbery in the Los Hornos women's prison in La Plata November 4, 2007; and Cigara hugging Milagros, now four-year-old, during a visit by Milagros to her mother's latest prison in Magdalena, where Cigara is awaiting trial for a fourth case of robbery August 19, 2012. Cigara raised Milagros in prison with her until she turned two. Argentine law allows women prisoners to raise their infant children in jail until the age of four, after which they must leave to live with family or in a state home. (Carolina Camps/Reuters)
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December 12, 2012 Permalink

Let it Snow

For those who desire a layer of snow with their holiday season it's been mainly green and brown so far this year in the Boston area. Since the start of December, here are some places that have already had the chance to experience the beauty and sometimes annoyance of a winter wonderland. -- Lloyd Young ( 32 photos total)

A train of the Brocken Railway steams through a winter landscape with snow covered pine trees as it approaches its destination on the Brocken mountain in the Harz mountainous region of Germany on Dec 8. (Stefan Rampfel/European Pressphoto Agency)
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December 10, 2012 Permalink


There are now over one billion automobiles on the road worldwide. An explosion in the auto markets in China and India ensures that number will increase, with China supplanting the United States as the world's largest car market. It's fair to say humanity has a love affair with the car, but it's a love-hate relationship. Cars are at once convenience, art, and menace. People write songs about their vehicles, put them in museums, race them, and wrap their identities up in them. About 15% of carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels comes from cars. Traffic fatality estimates vary from half a million per year to more than double that. Gathered here are images of the automobile in many forms, and our relationship to and dependence on our cars. This is the second in an occasional Big Picture series on transportation, following Pedal power earlier this year. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)

Antti Rahko stands next to his self-made "Finnjet" during preparations for the Essen Motor Show in Essen, Germany on November 22, 2012. The car rolls on eight wheels, offers ten seats, weighs 3.4 tons and is worth about one million US dollars. (Marius Becker/AFP/Getty Images)
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December 7, 2012 Permalink

The wake of Typhoon Bopha: Philippines

Typhoon Bopha, an incredibly powerful typhoon, has killed hundreds, triggered landslides and floods and left immeasurable destruction in its path in the Philippines. The death toll stands at over 500 entire families washed away many still missing. At least 200 of the victims died in Compostela Valley alone. A muddy wasteland of collapsed houses and trees felled by ferocious winds; 300,000 left homeless in great need of water, food and shelter. Paula Nelson ( 38 photos total)

Typhoon Bopha is shown moving toward the Philippines from the International Space Station, Dec. 2, 2012. The typhoon slammed into the Davao region of the Philippines early Dec. 4, killing hundreds and forcing more than 50,000 to flee from inundated villages. (NASA/Associated Press)
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December 5, 2012 Permalink

Daily Life: November 2012

For this edition of our look at daily life we share images from Iran, Ecuador, Austria, India, United Kingdom, Myanmar, Nepal and a few others from around the world. -- Lloyd Young ( 37 photos total)

A Palestinian man washes his horse in the Mediterranean Sea in Gaza City on Nov. 6. (Oliver Weiken/European Pressphoto Agency)
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December 3, 2012 Permalink

Christmas approaches

The appearance of multiple simultaneous Santa Clauses is a sure sign that mankind's most widely recognized and commercialized religious holiday is near. It's also a sign that the holiday is celebrated by many more people than just faithful Christians, for better or worse. From the traditional Christmas markets in Germany to elfin divers feeding dolphins in Japan to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where it all began, Christmas is observed worldwide for commercial, irreverent, and religious reasons. Gathered here are images of people as they herald the advance of an entire season built, loosely or faithfully, around the birth of Jesus Christ. -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)

German bicycle designer Didi Senft, known during the Tour de France as "El Diabolo", presents his latest Christmas-themed construction in Storkow, Germany on November 29, 2012. (Patrick Pleul/AFP/Getty Images)
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