Gallery Gate

Every month in the Big Picture, we revisit Afghanistan, to see the people, to see our troops and troops from other nations, to get a sense of the country. President Hamid Karzai said recently his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan, the first step toward his goal of having the Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. Our troops are due to begin coming home this July. There is still work to be done. Many of the photos featured in this post show the celebration of the Afghan New Year. The festival to celebrate new year's starts on March 21 and is celebrated in Turkey, Central Asian republics, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, as well as war-torn Afghanistan and it coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox. One of the most popular places to bring in the new year, Mazar-i Sharif, attracts hundreds of thousands of Afghans. Afghan children play as they eat ice lollies in Kabul on March 21, the Afghan New Year. Marine Lance Corporal Shawnee Redbear plays with an Afghan toddler during a patrol in Basabad, Helmand province, on March 9. Redbear is part of a program to increase interactions with Afghan civilians, specifically women and children. Afghans carry balloons to sell, as they walk toward the Sakhi Shrine for new year's ceremonies in Kabul.

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view Afghanistan, March 2011 as presented by: Boston Big Picture


Minnesota native Mark Heithoff ‘s series of images of Lake Minnetonka, called “The Lake,” is currently showing at the Burnet Gallery at Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis through September 8, 2013. Lake Minnetonka was named in 1852, and its name came from the Sioux Indian words minne (water) and tonka (big). Rightly so, as the lake covers almost 22 square miles, with many bays, peninsulas and islands, providing lots of scenic views and attracting loads of visitors. Heitoff’s series of images, known as “The Lake,” was photographed from the bow of his parents’ boat over a period of four years (2006-2009). Out of the estimated 1500 photographs Heitoff produced, only 18 images were selected for the Burnet Gallery show. “The Lake” was made into a photo book of the same name in 2012.

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view Life on the Lake as presented by: Photo District News


The Powerhouse Fire grew to 19,500 acres in northern Los Angeles County after a hot and windy Saturday, burning structures and prompting evacuations in rugged areas between the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. At least five homes have burned in the blaze, said Los Angeles County Fire spokesman Keith Mora. Firefighters battle the Powerhouse wildfire at the Angeles National Forest, with the fire now having destroyed several homes near Lake Hughes, California on June 1.

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view California Wildfire Grows, Destroys Homes, Injures 3 Firefighters as presented by: Photoblog on NBC News



Sumo is the national sport of Japan and is almost 2000 years old. It's not only the oldest of Japan’s various martial arts, it also evolved into the most distinct and ritualistic. We've selected some pictures of Sumo Wrestling worldwide. A sumo wrestler walks under cherry blossoms in full bloom on his way to a bout for the 'Honozumo', an exhibition sumo tournament at the Yasukuni Shrine precincts, in Tokyo, Japan. "Yokozuna", or sumo grand champion, Hakuho from Mongolia (facing) throws compatriot Kakuryu to the dirt during their playoff bout at the Spring Grand Sumo tournament in Osaka.

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view The Big Picture goes Sumo Wrestling! as presented by: GigaPica


In a region where governments are swollen with foreign currency reserves and inflation remains relatively tame, Vietnam is an island of economic instability. The country’s economy is still growing at 7 percent a year, but double-digit price increases for food and other essentials are punishing the working class and contributed to a top credit rating agency’s recent decision to downgrade the country’s sovereign debt. Vietnam’s currency is consistently falling below the official exchange rates, creating a thriving black market for gold and dollars. And one of the country’s largest state-owned companies is all but insolvent, brought down by debts that are the equivalent of more than 4 percent of the country’s total output. Hammer and sickle flags are still flying here as Ho Chi Minh City, the seemingly irrepressible bastion of Vietnamese capitalism, closes the Communist Party’s National Congress, an event held every five years to chart the course of a country that has witnessed an economic miracle in recent decades. “We are on the edge; there’s not a lot of room for mistakes,” said Le Anh Tuan, head of research at Dragon Capital, an investment company here. “The Vietnam story will depend much on how much the government understands the root of the problem and can fix it.” The problems, say many businesspeople and economists, are rooted in Vietnam’s continued heavy reliance on state-run companies despite the country’s opening to more private enterprise, which has expanded rapidly and profitably. For years the government considered its vast network of state-run companies as the vanguard of the economy, large conglomerates that the Communist Party could use to steer the country toward prosperity.

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view In Focus: Vietnam Economy as presented by: Denver Post


The experimental airplane Solar Impulse completed its first flight across the United States this week. The Swiss-made plane, powered only by the sun, is the first to make the trip both day and night without using conventional fuel. It started the journey on May 3 in California and ended on July 6 in New York. Pilots and creators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg took turns manning the single-seat flyer, which is powered by about 12,000 silicon solar cells and has a wingspan of a jumbo jet. The next step is a trip around the world in 2015. Workers load a wing of the Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse into a Cargolux Boeing 747 cargo aircraft on February 20 at Payerne airport in Geneva. The Boeing will carry the Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype aircraft to San Francisco for a series of flights across the US from the West to East Coast. The Solar Impulse glides over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco during a successful test flight on April 23. The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover massive wings and charge its batteries, allowing it to fly day and night without jet fuel. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA plane with Andre´ Borschberg onboard approaches JFK airport on late July 6 in New York. The experimental Solar Impulse plane, powered by the sun, completed a transcontinental trip across the United States late Saturday, touching down in New York despite a rip in the fabric of one wing.

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view Solar Impulse flight: Across the US, Powered by the Sun as presented by: Boston Big Picture


For many, photographs from the World War II have only been seen in grainy black and white. But now, new colour images have emerged that show the full horror of the destruction inflicted by Nazi bombings across London. The powerful images were released to mark the 70th anniversary of the launch of Winston Churchill's 'V for Victory' campaign on July 19, 1941. In this extraordinary picture, the double-decker bus is still visible amid crumbling tarmac and bent girders left in an enormous crater caused by a bomb which landed in the middle of a Balham high street, south London. A symbol of resilience: The Houses of Parliament with part of them covered in scaffolding are seen across the River Thames on a sunny day in 1941. The random nature of the bombing is clearly demonstrated here as a church, right, remains untouched while a vast swathe of buildings close by were reduced to rubble.

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view Amazing Color Pictures Of London Under Siege From Nazi Bombers During World War II as presented by: Daily Mail Online


This was a weekend of the Sun and Moon -- a coincidence of the summer solstice and the "Supermoon". Friday was the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere), welcomed by humans for thousands of years as the longest day of the year. In ancient times, people celebrated this day as the center point of summer. Some still observe the solstice with ceremonies and prayers, gathering on mountaintops or at spiritual landmarks. Over the weekend, skywatchers around the world were also treated to views of the so-called Supermoon, the largest full moon of the year. On Sunday, the moon approached within 357,000 km (222,000 mi) of Earth, in what is called a perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system (perigee: closest point of an elliptical orbit; syzygy: straight line made of three bodies in a gravitational system). Photographers across the globe set out to capture both events, and collected here are 24 images of our two most-visible celestial neighbors. The Supermoon sets behind the Statue of Liberty, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in New York. The larger than normal moon called the "Supermoon" happens only once this year as the moon on its elliptical orbit is at its closest point to earth and is 13.5 percent larger than usual. The largest full moon of 2013, a "supermoon" scientifically known as a "perigee moon", rises over the Tien Shan mountains and the monument to 18th century military commander Nauryzbai Batyr near the town of Kaskelen, some 23 km (14 mi) west of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on June 23, 2013. The Supermoon, behind the Marina district towers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on June 23, 2013.

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view The Solstice and the Supermoon as presented by: The Atlantic



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