The Picture Show Photo Stories From NPR

Kyrgyz girls slide plastic jugs back to their family's camp after chopping a hole in a frozen spring to fetch water. Men handle herding and trading; much of the hard labor of daily life falls to the females. Matthieu Paley/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Matthieu Paley/National Geographic

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The giant sequoia is a snow tree, says scientist Steve Sillett, adapted for long winters in the Sierra Nevada. But it's a fire tree, too. Thick bark protects it from burning in lightning-caused fires, which open cones and clear the understory, allowing saplings to find light and prosper. Michael Nichols/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Nichols/National Geographic

A worker emerges from one of hundreds of smuggling tunnels that connect the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Paolo Pellegrin/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Paolo Pellegrin/National Geographic

"A sculpture like this can take a master carver years to produce. Front and center are the popular Taoist gods Shou, Lu and Fu — symbols of long life, money, and luck. 'We hope — no, we insist — we can continue to protect these skills,' says Wang Shan, secretary-general of the China Arts and Crafts Association." Brent Stirton/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Brent Stirton/National Geographic

A white rhino cow (left) grazes with a bull that has become her companion after a poaching attack in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Brent Stirton/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Brent Stirton/National Geographic

Sulfur and algae turn hot springs into pools of living color. The water is condensation from hot gases rising from magma chambers. As the water evaporates, salts and minerals form a vivid crust. George Steinmetz/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption George Steinmetz/National Geographic

Marta (left) and Emma. The 15-year-old sisters want to go to the same university and become opera singers. They both like to draw but have a different approach to their art. Marta depicts finely detailed faces, while Emma prefers more expansive images: the sky, the rain, objects in motion. Martin Schoeller/National Geographic hide caption

itoggle caption Martin Schoeller/National Geographic