Photo Gallery The Best of Picture This 2012

Throughout the year, SPIEGEL ONLINE sifts through photos taken around the world for its "Picture This" feature. As 2012 draws to an end, here's a look back at some of the most colorful, humorous and moving images that have been selected.
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Lunar Landing: The pine trees on Zweierspitz mountain, which lies at 1,858 meters (6,096 feet) above sea level, were bathed in lunar light at dawn as the moon set above Untervaz, in the Upper Rhine Valley, Switzerland, in mid-January.

Foto: Arno Balzarini/ dpa
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The Birds: An Indian couple fed birds from a boat on the Yamuna River, a tributary of the Ganges, on a foggy late-January morning.

Foto: Kevin Frayer/ AP
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Rise and Shine: An early riser engaged in some vigorous morning exercise in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan in February.

Foto: AP/ Xinhua
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Tailor's Touch: A worker adjusted a sari as it hung out to dry after being dyed in an atelier south of Kolkata, in the Indian region of West Bengal in February.

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Golden Harvest: Rapeseed plants were ready for harvesting at farms in Luoping, in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan in March.

Foto: STR/ AFP
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Fiat Accompli: A woman pushed her Fiat 500 car in Rome, Italy, while her dog sat in the driver's seat in late March.

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Lady Bird: German Chancellor Angela Merkel perfected the art of publicity photos when she took a trip to a bird sanctuary in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in April.

Foto: Franzi Zöger/ dpa
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Riding High: Members of the Naxi, Yi and Bai ethnic minorities performed in a show on the Jade Dragon mountain in the the city of Lijiang in southwestern China. The performance in April was aimed at presenting the traditions and lifestyles of minorities living in China.

Foto: How Hwee Young/ dpa
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Troubled Waters: A Chinese fisherwoman biked past a pile of abandoned fishing boats in Qingdao, a city in China's Shandong province in May. Overfishing, ocean pollution and dramatic increases in the price of diesel fuel have led to an acute decline of the fishing industry in East China.

Foto: Wu Hong/ dpa
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Winging It: A white stork flew over a field near the southwestern German city of Biebesheim holding a branch for its nest in May. Earlier in the year, healthy stork chicks were born to several pairs of these protected birds at a breeding facility in the German state of Hesse.

Foto: Boris Roessler/ dpa
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A Lode Off: A laborer rested from shoveling coal inside a coal train in the outskirts of Jamu, India in late May.

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Sandman: An Israeli man passed the time on a hot June day by digging himself into a hole on a beach in Tel Aviv.

Foto: Oded Balilty/ AP
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Sitting Ducks: Bemused commuters in Taizhou, in China's Zhejiang province, looked on as they are surrounded by a flock of ducks while driving in June. Local media reported that about 5,000 ducks were being herded to a local pond.

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Under Fire: An apocalyptic scene took place in the western US state of Colorado, where a wildfire raged near Fairview. The blaze took a turn for the worst in late June as hot winds pushed the flames north, prompting the evacuation of over 7,000 people, seen leaving the area here.

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By the Horns: A bull leaps over young matador Gomez del Pilar after he abandoned his cape following a failed attempt at a pass on his knees. The bullfight took place ahead of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, in early July.

Foto: Jim Hollander/ dpa
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Hot Spot: A food vendor in the Indian coastal city of Chennai decorated his stall with chilies to attract customers on Marina beach in July.

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Nature's Call: This amusing image taken in late July shows a donkey relieving itself next to the Karakul Lake at the foot of the Parmir Mountains in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in China.

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In the Line of Fire: In August, an air tanker was photographed while dropping fire retardant on a hillside in Murrieta, California as a wildfire raged below. It was just one in a spate of fires to hit the American West in the warmest months of the year.

Foto: Mike Shelhart/ AP
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Say Zzzzzz: You never know when you are going to need a nap. This Uighur man in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in far western China this August seems to have been prepared, with a sheet and even a pillow. His goat, on the other hand, did not seem in the mood for a siesta.

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Lord of the Gourd: As part of the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show in Harrogate, England, weightlifter Jonathan Walker held up a 54 kilogram (119 pound) squash grown by Peter Glazebrook. Glazebrook won all six classes in the giant vegetable competition this September.

Foto: Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images
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For the Birds: Bird cages were hoisted high for a bird-singing competition this September in Narathiwat, a province in southeastern Thailand. Hundreds of bird owners come from across Thailand, neighboring Malaysia and Singapore participated in the competition, in which judges award points to the birds' songs based on pitch, melody and volume.

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Christ the Reunifier: Christ the Redeemer on top of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro was bathed in black, red and gold on October 3 to celebrate the anniversary of German reunification 22 years ago. The statue has been lit up in color before but, according to Harald Klein, German consulate general in Rio de Janeiro, it's the first time the 39.6-meter (130-foot) statue was lit up with multiple colors, let alone the colors of another country.

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Fly By: A crowd watches a pilot zoom past in an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet during the Swiss air force's annual flight demonstration at the Axalp-Ebenfluh firing range in October. The aircraft is a supersonic jet designed for dogfights and attacks on ground targets.

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Where's Warsaw? Anyone in one of Warsaw's few high rises in mid-October was treated to a rare glimpse of autumn sunshine above the gloomy cloud cover. Those down below likely weren't as impressed.

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Hold Your Fire: In late October, an Indian performer in Allahabad dressed as the Hindu goddess Kali performed at the Navratri festival. Navratri, which means "nine nights" in Sanskrit, is celebrated five times during the year with worship and dance.

Foto: Rajesh Kumar Singh/ AP
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High on the Hog: A villager in the Ningxiang county of Hunan province says he takes his herd of pigs to dive into the water from this 3-meter-high platform at least once a day, as shown here in November. He believes the exercise improves the taste and quality of pork and reportedly sells the meat at three times the market price.

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Manic Monday: Moods on Monday mornings tend not to be the best. But this particular sunrise, seen from Geneva as the sun peeked out from behind the French Alps as the week began in early December, was enough to improve anyone's mood.

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Gun Control: Firearms hang from a magnet before being destroyed at a foundry in Santiago, Chile in mid-December. The action was part of a government arms control program in which hundreds of guns were collected and disposed of.