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National Geographic Magazine

National Geographic Magazine June 2013

The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders. Get a National Geographic digital magazine subscription today and experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edit.

United States
National Geographic Society
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coming home

to an Aboriginal Australian, homeland is not just where you are born. it is where you will die and be buried. it is the center of gravity, heart and soul, beginning and end. to be in control of homeland is to be in control of one’s life. But european settlement took control away. Aboriginal history is a litany of dispossession. still, the relationship with the land endured. Aboriginals are spiritual survivors. so how does an outsider enter a world apart? For Amy toensing, who photographed “First Australians,” the answer often lay in sitting and waiting. she learned to value the moments between pictures. planning was useless in a world where clocks are irrelevant. What did matter was relationships —getting to know someone who had a cousin who had a friend willing…

unseen libya

Muammar Qaddafi was a monster beyond description, and the world can rejoice at his passing. What he did to Libya is beyond comprehension. I had the opportunity to work in Libya when Qaddafi was in power, and it was without question a reign of terror. Hopefully, as your article suggests, the people of Libya can look forward to rebuilding their country now that this tyrant is dead. They have such a rich history, and your story about their vast wealth and resources doesn’t even scratch the surface. The rest of the world and I wish the Libyan people Godspeed for their future. JOHN M. MASSEY Dodge, Texas You’ve opened the world’s eyes to the rich culture and archaeological gems that have been hidden for the past 40 years. MARY ZIVANOV Palm Beach Gardens, Florida The enlightening…

breaking camp

Weather is a paleontologist’s biggest enemy in the Arctic. Even in summer it’s only about 40°F, and we have to camp up in the mountains to avoid polar bears. The winds are very strong at those high elevations. My team digs for giant sea-reptile fossils in holes as big as a bus. We dig by hand; some years we move as much as 80 tons of sediment. Team members are often so exhausted they nap in the dig hole. In the good summers we can dig five or six feet before we hit permafrost, in bad years just one or two. During the midnight sun there is no difference between night and day, so we can work whenever we feel like it. We dig a lot in what would be night,…


China Like figures in a shadow theater, mannequin forms—illuminated by bare incandescent bulbs and veiled by a red tarpaulin—captivate shoppers in Guilin. The city’s popular night market sells clothing, trinkets, food, and more. Scotland Champion strong man Gregor Edmunds lets fly a 16-pound shafted hammer at the Cowal Highland Gathering. The annual three-day event in Dunoon—featuring traditional games, music, and dancing—is open to international competitors. Poland As shadows lengthen near sunset, spring fields near Nowe erupt in a color riot. The photographer paraglided over Pomerania to get this abstract expressionist shot: a brushstroke of red poppy weeds flowering amid green grain sprouts. Order prints of National Geographic photos online at PrintsNGS.com.…

your shot

EDITORS’ CHOICE Lindsay Comer Stratford, Connecticut Comer noticed this group of dancing Russians in 2011 while living in St. Petersburg. One woman stood out from the crowd, joyfully moving to the Soviet-era music being played by a nearby brass band. “She had pink socks and gold teeth and just looked so vibrant.” READERS’ CHOICE Chandrabhal Singh Pune, India During a trip last year to photograph flamingos that spend the winter near India’s Ujjani Dam, Singh watched as this brown-headed gull scanned the glassy water. He pressed the shutter, luckily, at the very moment the bird dipped to catch a fish. Antoine van der Maesen Sellingen, Netherlands One day last summer van der Maesen brought his camera on an early morning walk with his wife and two dogs. As they approached a small clearing, he stayed back…

backyard treasure

THE PHOTOGRAPHER More of Aaron Ansarov’s work can be seen at ansarov.com and legionphoto.com. A few years ago I was medically retired from the U.S. Navy, where I’d been a combat photographer. As therapy, I wandered my Virginia backyard and bonded with my young son, teaching him about the animals we encountered. He suggested we escort a few inside and photograph them in detail. When we did, their colors and textures looked larger than life. Since then we’ve moved, first to Georgia, then to Florida. We’ve also spent time in Poland, where my wife was born. But everywhere we’ve gone, the same thing has happened: New “neighbors”—like a blue jay (above), which chased a dragonfly right into our house, or a curled-up pill bug (left), which we found beneath a log—answer our “critter…