This beautiful image [hi-res available here] was recently recognized by National Geographic as one of the best photographs of 2011. Two of the magazine's photo editors appreciated it for its cryptic quality. Is the subject of this photograph a sprouting fungus? A microscopic photo of a leaf? A snowy landscape?
For me, this image immediately called to mind the tree featured in the first installment of the Sagan Series (bonus points to anyone who can remind me what that tree is called.)
But it's actually an aerial photograph of desiccated rivers in Baja California, Mexico. The shot is just one stunning example from a series captured by photographer and Adriana Franco and submitted to NG's photocommunity, My Shot, back in December — one that is definitely worth checking out.