National Geographic has long been synonymous with outstanding photography, capturing the incredible in the mundane and the beauty in difficult, sometimes tragic situations. Its imagery opens viewers' eyes to remote and unusual ways of life across the world and tells a story all of its own in one, single exposure.
With over 900 images published in the magazine this year alone, editor-in-chief Chris Johns has chosen some of his favourites. Have a look at some of the Best of 2012 National Geographic Magazine Photos of the Year, below.
ABOVE: A dying tornado like this one is said to be in the "roping out" phase.
Photo by Mitch Dobrowner/National Geographic
Epic Storms | July 2012 National Geographic magazine
ABOVE: Aidyng Kyrgys caresses his newborn baby girl, whom he refers to using a Tuvan term of endearment: anayim, or "my little goat." There are only 235,000 Tuvan speakers in Russia.
Photo by Lynn Johnson/National Geographic
Vanishing Languages | July 2012 National Geographic magazine
ABOVE: A passenger barely has room for the journey home as a car is loaded with used clothing donated by a Colorado-based Native American charity. Contrary to popular myth, Native Americans do not automatically receive a monthly federal check and are not exempt from taxes. The Oglala Lakota and other Sioux tribes have refused a monetary settlement for the U.S.'s illegal seizure of the Black Hills, their spiritual home.
Photo by Aaron Huey/National Geographic
Pine Ridge | August 2012 National Geographic magazine
ABOVE: Emperors can bolt away for any number of reasons, as photographer Paul Nicklen discovered when he spooked this group. “A tenth of a second after I took this picture, all I could see were bubbles.”
Photo by Paul Nicklen/National Geographic
Penguins | November 2012 National Geographic magazine
ABOVE: Six-year-old Johanna Gill puts a protective hand on her sister, Eva. The twins both have mild autism, a disorder linked to genetic inheritance.
Photo by Martin Schoeller/National Geographic
Twins | January 2012 National Geographic magazine
ABOVE: Cloaked in the snows of California's Sierra Nevada, the 3,200-year-old giant sequoia called the President rises 247 feet. Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown, say the scientists who climbed it. The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he's standing forward on one of the great limbs.
Photo by Michael “Nick” Nichols/National Geographic
Giant Sequoias | December 2012 National Geographic magazine