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Visions of Earth 2011 地球的憧憬 刘家英 ， Jiaying Liu, Shanghai, China [email_address] Music: Heat the World
Estonia—Bursting with luminosity under fluorescent dyes and laser beams, a pollen-producing structure from a thale cress glows under a microscope. The plant's small genome makes it a favorite subject for genetic research.
Germany—A diver polishing glass joins a radiant display of sea life in a giant saltwater tank at Berlin's Radisson Blu Hotel. The ring-shaped Aqua Dom, some 80 feet high with an elevator inside, holds about 1,500 tropical fish.
China—Towering ice sculptures set a winter night ablaze with color at the 26th annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. The monuments, showcasing architecture from palaces to pagodas, stood for more than a month.
Japan—Scarlet greater flamingos and their Chilean relatives get cozy at the Sapporo Maruyama Zoo. The birds' color arises from carotenoid pigments in their algae-and-crustacean diet, often supplemented in captivity.
Russia—Embracing love in the time of wildfires, newlyweds celebrate as smog engulfs the city of Ryazan. The region was one of the worst hit when last summer's blazes, fueled by drought and severe heat, ailed the country.
California—Like a high-speed Cupid's arrow, an air-rifle pellet pierces the heart of a rose at some 800 feet per second. The flower, plucked from a garden and flash frozen in liquid nitrogen, shatters in a spray of petal fragments.
Spain—A late afternoon stroll in Barcelona becomes a study in black and white during a rare snow shower last March. Temperatures in the city, on the Mediterranean coast, usually fall between 50° and 60°F this time of year.
United States—Uquq, a 16-year-old Pacific walrus rescued from the Alaska coast, lingers underwater at California's Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Only 18 walruses live in captivity in the U.S., and births among them are uncommon.
United Kingdom—On the banks of Loch Tulla in the Scottish Highlands, wind-sculpted trees emerge momentarily during a snowstorm. Piles of powder and extreme cold made last winter one of the region's harshest in decades.
Mongolia—East meets West on the frigid steppe as a teenager clad in a traditional del practices basketball near Batsumber village. Playing courts dot rural areas and cities alike as the game catches on with the nation's youth.
Namibia—In a scene stolen from a dream, a house succumbs to sand in Kolmanskop, once a thriving settlement for diamond miners. Winds have helped desert dunes reclaim the site, abandoned for more than 50 years.
Germany—A boxy Trabant scoots past other Cold War vestiges at Checkpoint Charlie, where the image of a U.S. soldier looks into former East Berlin. A Russian soldier on the pole's reverse faces what was the American side of the crossing.
Finland—Mimmi the brown bear shows her flair for flexibility during an afternoon stretch at the Ähtäri Zoo. Despite intense summer heat, the lively resident lifted paws for minutes at a time in poses learned from her mother.
China — Gleaming with mouthwatering perfection, a “banquet” of stones resembling food adorns a table at the sixth International Rare Stone Festival in Liuzhou. About 3,000 specimens were on show.
Mozambique—The glowing hues of dusk bathe a mud-splattered gold miner in the border province of Manica. The area draws scores of workers from neighboring Zimbabwe who pan for traces of the precious metal in turbid waters.
England—The shell of Brighton's West Pier emerges in snowy outline during a night exposure lit by promenade lamps on shore. A bustling site for entertainment in the 1920s, it fell into neglect before a 2003 fire left only bare bones.
Atlantic Ocean—Fearsome predator of the deep, a viperfish displays its meal-clinching assets: bioluminescent spots thought to lure prey in dark waters and a set of ferocious fangs. The teeth are strictly for seizing, as food is swallowed whole.
Ireland—Frolicking on glacial ice on a summer's day? Part illusion, thanks to Edgar Müller's perspective painting "The Crevasse." Created over five days on a pier's pavement in Dún Laoghaire, the faux precipice covers more than 2,000 square feet.
Peru—Stone walls on Isla Guañape Norte prevent precious bird droppings, called guano, from falling into the Pacific. Coveted as fertilizer, the dung must be reaped by hand. Here a worker returns sifted-out feathers and bones.
Canada—Fluttering wings leave lacy trails as moths beat their way to a floodlight on a rural Ontario lawn. The midsummer night's exposure, held for 20 seconds, captured some of the hundreds of insects engaged in a nocturnal swarm.
United States—At a Maui aquarium a Hawaiian green turtle makes a guest appearance. Members of this threatened species are unique among sea turtles for their herbivorous diet, thought to imbue their fat with a greenish hue.
South Korea—On single breaths of up to a minute and a half, these Korean haenyeo, or sea women, search for conch and other edibles off the coast of Jeju Island. With fewer females free diving for a living, the storied tradition is fading.
United States—In New York Harbor the Statue of Liberty weathers a lightning storm against the sparkle of the New Jersey shore. Although this bolt missed the monument, a few are estimated to strike Lady Liberty each year.
Indonesia—The blue flame of burning sulfur flickers near a miner on Kawah Ijen volcano in East Java. The pungent element is mined near the crater's highly acidic lake for such industrial uses as rubber and sugar processing.
Russia—Sunshine and freshly laundered sheets invite shadow plays in the yard of a special boarding home in the Pskov region. Here mentally disabled children from ages 4 to 18 learn to live independently—cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the wash.
China—An emerald forest of light comes alive as dancers perform at the opening of last year's Asian Games in the southeastern city of Guangzhou. More than 40 countries participate in the regional sporting event, held every four years.
United States—From his underwater perch, Claude, an albino American alligator, slips through the looking-glass waterline. Although his condition causes poor eyesight, he relies on other senses to navigate his abode in a San Francisco aquarium.
United States—Burning hot on a winter's day, a brush fire consumes a patch of dried marsh, drawing spectators at a golf course in Denver, Colorado. Fueled by wind and low humidity, the blaze charred dozens of acres.
Indonesia—A tender moment transpires between mother and infant orangutans in Borneo's Tanjung Puting National Park. The arboreal species has one of the longest intervals between births among mammals, typically around eight years.
United States—In windswept Iowa, ears of mature corn dry ahead of the autumn harvest. Last year the state yielded nearly 62 million tons of the crop—vital for livestock feed and ethanol production—making it the top U.S. grower of golden kernels.
United Kingdom—A lone mute swan stretches its wings upon a brook as the mists of dawn filter through London's Richmond Park. By tradition, the British monarch has the right to claim ownership of unmarked birds of this species in open water.
Cuba—Enjoying the storm, a boy dances in a downspout's downpour along a narrow street in Old Havana—a centuries-old part of the city that has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Restoration of the area's buildings is proceeding slowly.
Mexico—Surfacing in warm winter waters off the Baja California coast, a gray whale flashes its baleen plates by a boat. The area's lagoons and bays provide breeding and calving grounds for the giants, which migrate from as far north as the Bering Sea.
China—As if swimming in a fantasy aquarium, a school of decorative fish hovers inside Beijing’s renovated Water Cube. Where Olympic swimmers used to compete, visitors now frolic in a wave pool and on elaborate water-park rides.
Democratic Republic of the Congo—Healthy vegetation in a verdant area of South Kivu Province appears reddish when captured with infrared photography. Such imagery aids foresters, cartographers, and the military.
Pakistan—Finely dressed in military costumes, two brothers prepare to accompany their sister across a neighborhood street on a winter’s morning in Islamabad. The children were headed to a photo studio for a family portrait.