These are the wildest places on Earth

In celebration of its 125th anniversary, National Geographic's gone and rounded up photographs of Earth's wildest, smallest, and most historically significant sights and locales. The magazine's assorted collections are, in a word, spellbinding.

We've picked out a handful of our favorites from the assorted 125th anniversary galleries, but you'll find many, many more over at NatGeo.

Captions via National Geographic

These are the wildest places on Earth

Curious creatures meet 70 feet deep off the remote Auckland Islands, 300 miles south of New Zealand. In these unfished waters, Brian Skerry photographs a diver encountering a southern right whale that may have never seen a human before. Photo credit: BRIAN SKERRY

These are the wildest places on Earth

Cory Richards and his two fellow climbers endured hurricane-force winds and temperatures of minus 50°F as they struggled to reach the summit of Gasherbrum II. "When you do succeed-well, you never conquer a mountain," Richards reflects. "You are always its guest. In this case, we were its guest when it was in a bad mood." Photo credit: CORY RICHARDS

These are the wildest places on Earth

A quarter million miles from home, astronaut James Irwin salutes the flag and the achievement of the Apollo 15 mission of 1971, the fourth manned journey to the moon. David Scott, mission commander, radioed to Earth, "I realize there's a fundamental truth to our nature-man must explore." Photo credit: NASA

These are the wildest places on Earth

A hummingbird and a Panamanian orchid make a perfect pair as the bird unwittingly assists in flower pollination. Many plants self-pollinate, but most orchids need help-often provided by the birds and the bees-to reproduce. Photo credit: CHRISTIAN ZIEGLER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

These are the wildest places on Earth

Nyiragongo, a two-mile-high volcano with a fiery lava lake, stands on the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and also one of the least studied. At the base of the volcano sprawls the city of Goma, home to an estimated million people. Photo credit: CARSTEN PETER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Top image: A tiger peers at a camera trap it triggered while hunting in the early morning in the forests of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Tigers can thrive in many habitats, from the frigid Himalaya to tropical mangrove swamps in India and Bangladesh, yet are facing extinction as wild spaces disappear and human pressures mount. Photo credit: STEVE WINTER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC