47 of the best images on Wikipedia from over the years


(Pocket-lint) – The best images to have appeared on Wikipedia and been awarded the “featured picture” status. There are some incredible photos in this collection.

Featured pictures are photos that have been chosen as some of the best quality on Wikipedia. This list includes over 12,000 photos out of a total of well over 54 million used on the site. 

We’ve collected some of the best from the last few years for you to enjoy. 

Kabelleger/David Gubler

An empty bucket train

The second place winner from 2018’s competition came from Bolivia and shows an empty “bucket train” on the tracks between San Pedro and Ascotan, Chile. An incredible backdrop includes the San Pedro volcano dwarfing the long line of train carriages. 

Danielarapava

Frosted bubble

A classically beautiful frozen bubble caught in the middle of freezing over. This image won third place in 2018 and it’s easy to see why. 

Renato Augusto Martins

Two male Phyllomedusa rohdei frogs

Some of the best photos are those close up images of nature, our world and the creatures in it. This image from Brazil shows one frog casually leaping over one of his buddies – how doesn’t seem best pleased about it. The image won the Picture of the Year award in 2017 and came with this caption: 

“Phyllomedusa rohdei is a species of frog in the family Hylidae with a purple and orange colouration in the inguinal region. In the picture, two males vie for a branch, one passing over the other. Photographed in the Atlantic Forest, Michelin Reserve, Igrapiúna, Bahia, Brazil.”

BerryJ

Royal Pavilion in Phraya Nakhon Cave

A breathtaking view of the Royal Pavilion in Phraya Nakhon Cave in Thailand. It was originally snapped in 2015, but went on to be used in multiple places on Wikipedia in the time that followed before snatching second place in the 2017 competition. 

Colin

Two Tower of London ravens

These might look like two normal ravens, but they’re actually special:

“Jubilee and Munin, Ravens of the Tower of London. Jubilee was hatched in Somerset in 2012 and wears a gold band. He was given to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. Munin was hatched in North Uist in 1995 and wears a light green band. She is the oldest raven at the tower. Identification confirmed with Chris Skaife, Ravenmaster at the Tower. “

Another brilliant image of nature at its finest and another award-winning photo – this time the first place winner from the 2016 competition. 

Khunkay

Wild elephants in the road

This award-winning photo comes from Khao Yai National Park in Thailand and shows some magnificent wild elephants casually wandering down a long manmade road. 

Andreas Weith

Polar bear in flight

From the northern region of Svalbard, Norway comes this snap of a polar bear leaping from one ice floe to another in a desperate bid to find something to eat. The photographer of this award-winning image explained how the bear had been chasing a bearded seal moments before but the seal had escaped. The result is a brilliant view of nature in action. 

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

A high-resolution view of Pluto

We’ve featured this image before and are impressed every time we see it. The image shows a high-resolution enhanced colour view of Pluto that was taken in 2015 by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. A fairly amazing shot considering Pluto is 4.67 billion miles away from Earth. 

The image was the winner of the Picture of the Year competition in 2015. 

Ayyoubsabawiki

A colourful mosque view

This photo came second in the 2015 Picture of the Year competition. It shows a colourful view of the inside of Nasir ol Molk Mosque located in Shiraz. The sunlight casts incredible colours on the interior carpets and creates a beautiful view for visitors to the Mosque. 

Ian Norman

Heavens above her

An amazing award-winning photo of the Milky Way captured stretching out above the skies of a lady standing below. It was snapped at Trona Pinnacles National Landmark, California in 2014 and won third place in the 2015 Picture of the Year competition. 

amalavida.tv

A butterfly feeding on the tears of a turtle

This beautiful scene was captured in 2012 in Ecuador. It shows the unusual behaviour of Julia Butterflies from the region. They’re engaging in an activity known as “lachryphagy” – feeding on the tears of the nearby turtles. They get their nutrients in that way and thrive together. 

This incredible photo was the first place winner of the competition in 2014.  

Christopher Michel

Emperor penguins in Antarctica

In 2013, Christopher Michelm, an American entrepreneur and photographer captured this incredible photograph of an Emperor penguin jumping out of the waters of Antartica. A majestic creature brilliantly snapped and well deserving of the second place award in 2014. 

Kabelleger/David Gubler

Boxcabs in Chile

Not for vertigo sufferers, this photo shows a view of one of SQMs Boxcabs riding the tracks way above Tocopilla, Chile. Another brilliant award-winning photo from 2014.

Stefan Krause

A burning bulb

2013’s competition-winning photo was this amazing image of a cracked bulb by Stefan Krause:

“The glass envelope of this light bulb has been opened, allowing oxygenated air to replace the inert gas normally inside. When turned on, the tungsten filament burns with a flame. At the time of exposure, the bulb was screwed into a socket, which was replaced with the lamp screw base using image editing.”

Balkhovitin

The national park

The second place winner of the 2013 competition was this image of the National park “Sviati Hory” (Holy Mountains), Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. A breathtaking view of the park with a brilliant mist across the waters. 

sanchezn

A swallow drinking

This epic image of a swallow in flight shows a bird magnificently framed in the picture about to take a drink from the surface of a swimming pool. We wonder how long it took to capture such an awesome moment. The image won third place in the Picture of the Year competition in 2013. 

Pierre Dalous

European Bee-eaters

This award-winning photograph from 2012 shows two European Bee-eaters resting on a lone branch. The male can be seen reach to grab some lunch for his mate. 

NASA

Acoronal mass ejection

This snap from 2012 was taken by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and shows a large coronal mass ejection from the sun. This beautiful, yet deadly plasma burst is thought to have resulted in an aurora appearing in the night’s sky around the start of September that year. 

 

Stefan Krause/RitchyBlack

An exploding bulb

This image was carefully crafted using high-speed photography techniques. It shows a light bulb seemingly exploding after being shot with a low-powered airsoft pistol round.

Heinrich Pniok

A lakeside view

This award-winning photograph from 2011 shows a staggeringly beautiful view of lake Bondhus in Norway. The Bondhus Glacier can be seen in the background, along with wonderfully calm waters, a lone boat and brilliant clouds rolling in down the mountains. 

NASA/Tracy Caldwell Dyson

A space-based selfie

You’re unlikely to snap a better selfie than this. This photo from 2010 was chosen as the second-place winner for the 2011 Picture of the Year competition. It shows astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson aboard the International Space Station.

This is one incredible woman, with nearly 189 days of space under her belt that include three successful space walks and the honour of being the first astronaut to be born after Apollo 11 mission. 

Luc Viatour (Lviatour)

A waterway in the lava tunnel

This brilliant photo by Luc Viatour shows a breathtaking view of a cave created by a lava tunnel in Spain. The still waters inside the cave appear to show an optical illusion with awesome reflections of the cave walls. 

Yuri Beletsky (ESO)

A laser to the heavens

The winner of 2010’s Picture of the Year competition was taken by Yuri Beletsky and appears to show a laser firing off into space.

“In mid-August 2010 ESO Photo Ambassador Yuri Beletsky snapped this photo at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, Chile. A group of astronomers were observing the centre of the Milky Way using the laser guide star facility at Yepun, one of the four Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT).”

“Yepun’s laser beam crosses the southern sky and creates an artificial star at an altitude of 90 km high in the Earth’s mesosphere. The Laser Guide Star (LGS) is part of the VLT’s adaptive optics system and is used as a reference to correct the blurring effect of the atmosphere on images. The colour of the laser is precisely tuned to energise a layer of sodium atoms found in one of the upper layers of the atmosphere — one can recognise the familiar colour of sodium street lamps in the colour of the laser. This layer of sodium atoms is thought to be a leftover from meteorites entering the Earth’s atmosphere. When excited by the light from the laser, the atoms start glowing, forming a small bright spot that can be used as an artificial reference star for the adaptive optics. Using this technique, astronomers can obtain sharper observations. For example, when looking towards the centre of our Milky Way, researchers can better monitor the galactic core, where a central supermassive black hole, surrounded by closely orbiting stars, is swallowing gas and dust.”

 

Ramirez

An old town panorama

This award-winning panorama was captured by Ramirez and shows Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, an ancient city that dates back to 1452.

Paulo Barcellos Jr.

New York at night

From the beautiful countryside, the middle of the urban sprawl. This award-winning image shows NYC at night with HDR mode engaged. 

Ray eye

A rare red squirrel

This last snap shows a rare red squirrel photographed in Germany. These squirrels are a rare sight in Europe where the dominant grey squirrel has mostly taken over. That makes this winning photo even more special. 

NASA

A volcanic eruption

An incredible view from high above the Earth was taken by NASA and shows the awesome power of nature. This mushroom cloud almost looks like a nuclear explosion, but shows the aftermath of a volcano eruption and the magnificence of nature. 

Paulrudd

A pilgrim at the Golden Temple

The first place winner of 2009’s competition was this image taken at the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India. It shows a lone pilgrim in a state of undress after recently emerging from a ritual bath with the amazing Golden Temple in the background. 

Forest Wander

Waterfalls and swirling pools

Another incredible and award-winning view of nature. This one shows the beautiful Elakala Waterfalls in the Blackwater Falls State park, West Virginia. In the foreground, an amazing swirling pool of water draws the eye as numerous waterfalls cast water down in the background. 

MC1 Chad J. McNeeley. (PD US Navy)

The Russian Honor Guard

The third place winner from 2009 comes from a military parade:

“A Russian military honor guard drawn from the 154th Commandant’s Regiment welcomes U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia, June 26, 2009. Mullen is on a three-day trip to the country, meeting with counterparts and touring the Russian military academy.”

Mikel Ortega/Richard Bartz

Relaxed horses

This image was the first place winner of the 2008 Picture of the Year competition. It shows two horses relaxing in the mountain regions in Navarre, Spain. 

Luc Viatour

A fire breathing performer

A fire breathing performer wows onlookers during a rendition by the Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band. This image was the second place winner in 2008 and shows some real fire. 

Jack Delano

Steam locomotives

This image might well be one of the most interesting on our list. Simply because it wasn’t taken in the year it one. Although the photo came third in 2008, it was actually taken by Jack Delano in 1942. It wouldn’t win until a decade after he passed away. 

JasonWeingart

Evolution of a Tornado

This photo by Jason Weingart was selected as the Picture of the Year 2018. It was created from eight images taken as a tornado began to form over Kansas in 2016. This massive weather front led to around 12 tornadoes whipping up a storm in the area. 

Newton2/Yummifruitbat

A tower on the hill

This image looks like a Photoshopping of the famous wallpaper from Microsoft’s Windows XP but actually shows Broadway Tower in Cotswolds, England.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz

Snowy Britain

This featured image is from 2010 – a satellite image of Great Britain when snowstorms were raging through Europe and British shores were seeming covered in snow from coast to coast. 

TSgt. James L. Harper Jr

A relief airdrop

In 2010 Haiti was hit by a catastrophic earthquake which caused the death of as many of 316,000 people, as well as the collapse of or severe damage to 250,000 homes and much more besides. 

This photo though, shows the emergency relief force that was dropped from the skies in order to render assistance. 

Thomas Fuhrmann

Milky way seen from Bolivian High Altiplano

While travelling from Ushuaia to Anchorage, Thomas Fuhrmann took this image of the night’s sky over Bolivia. The result is a magnificent view of the Milky Way with wonderful colours and a staggering look up at the stars. 

Steve Jurvetson

Superparamagnetic fluid in action

This photo shows a superparamagnetic fluid reacting to the presence of a neodymium magnet nearby.

This fluid is also commonly referred to as ferrofluid – a liquid which is made of nanoscale magnetic particles carried in fluid which is attracted to the poles of a magnet. 

As well as looking awesome, these sort of fluids are used in various applications including everything from hard drives to loudspeakers, spacecraft propulsion and more besides. 

T meltzer

A satisfying staircase

This is one of the featured images from 2015. It’s a satisfying image of a staircase in the central tower of the Granitz hunting lodge. Wonderfully framed and almost symmetrical it’s brilliantly satisfying. 

In 2020, this photo won the fifth prize at Wiki Loves Monuments 2020 in Germany.

Rodney Ee

Mud cow racing

Mud cow racing is a messy (and no doubt dangerous) business it seems. This is a traditional sport in Indonesia and no doubt one that requires a strong disposition. 

The jockey, seen in the centre of this image is standing on a wooden plough while holding onto the bulls’ tails as they dash through a muddy rice field. The winners of the race are deemed to be the bulls that run the fastest and the straightest. 

This image is a brilliant tribute to a tradition that’s been happening for centuries, as the local folks use it as a way to celebrate the end of the rice harvest. 

Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC

A long jump landing

A brilliantly timed photo captures an Army athlete just as he hits the sand during a long jump competition in the middle of an Inter-Corps Athletics Competition in 2011. 

Gerben van Es/Ministerie van Defensie

Fire!

Another well-timed photo, this time showing a Dutch Panzerhaubitze 2000 (155 mm self-propelled howitzer) during a firing action in Afganistan in 2009. 

USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch.

Geological layers

This is another impressive satellite image, this time of the Dasht-e Kavir desert in Iran. It shows different geological layers in the surface of the desert. And demonstrates what happens when thousands of years of wind whips at the surface. 

The weird and wonderful patterns are the result of layering and the blue colours are said to be other materials such as salt, vegetation and other things the satellite has picked up.

Alberto Giuliani

Heroes of our time

Alberto Giuliani took a number of photos of tired doctors and nurses during one of the worst days of the COVID-19 contagion in Italy in 2020. 

The resulting images were a testament to their efforts and those of all the healthcare professionals working tirelessly to protect our lives through this troubling time. 

“These are the doctors and nurses of the San Salvatore Hospital in Pesaro, Italy, the city of my birth and where I once again reside, which from day one has sadly been at the top of the COVID-19 contagion and death charts. I photographed them at the end of their shifts—twelve hours without a break during their fight in an unequal war. In the quiet moments in front of my camera, these embattled individuals are in a state of total abandon, victims of an exhaustion that eats away at the body and the mind, a breathlessness that renders one disoriented, detached from time and space. They would take off their masks, caps, and gloves in front of my lens, remaining motionless, looking for some sort of normalcy amid the hell they were living.”

Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy

Biological weapons training

This image might look like something out of a science fiction film, but it’s actually from a special event designed to help Airmen identify biological agents:

“Tech. Sgt. Timothy Cotterall, an Air National Guard emergency manager, is decontaminated following attempts to identify multiple biological contaminants in a simulated lab during a Global Dragon training event on March 18, 2015. Held at the Guardian Centers of Georgia, Global Dragon Deployment For Training provides a refresher course for Airmen, allowing them to put their skills to use to identify live chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and materials. Air National Guard emergency management technicians from more than 20 individual units participated in Global Dragon. Cotterall is a member of the 137th Air Refueling Wing in New Jersey.”

José Manuel Suárez

Rebounding water droplet

This simple image was one of the finalists for Picture of the Year 2012. Just a droplet of water, yet a magnificently simple and wonderfully pleasing image of an everyday object. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.



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