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All-Request Photos: Aurora Borealis, Blue Frogs, Spacewalks ...

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Yesterday I decided to try an experiment: I solicited reader requests for news photos. I asked people on Twitter and Google+, "Would you like to see a good photo of a particular subject? A high-res version of a photo you've already seen somewhere else? A photo from a particular photographer or event? If I have access and can find it, I'll try to post it" (details). The response was great, the subject matter was varied, and the task of finding the images and composing this entry was great fun. Images ranged from massive solar flares to tiny insects, taken in places from Thailand to outer space. If you enjoy this experiment, let me know in the comments, and I may develop it into a more regular feature. To all those who made requests, thanks so much, I hope you like what I was able to find. [29 photos]

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Beth Winter (@bwinter) and Spidler both asked for a higher resolution version of "Anonymous in Polish parliament". -- Lawmakers from the leftist Palikot's Movement cover their faces with masks as they protest against ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, during a parliament session, in Warsaw, Poland, on January 26, 2012, after the Polish government signed the agreement. Poland's plans to sign ACTA sparked attacks on Polish government websites and street protests in several Polish cities this week. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Beth Winter (@bwinter) and Spidler both asked for a higher resolution version of "Anonymous in Polish parliament". -- Lawmakers from the leftist Palikot's Movement cover their faces with masks as they protest against ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, during a parliament session, in Warsaw, Poland, on January 26, 2012, after the Polish government signed the agreement. Poland's plans to sign ACTA sparked attacks on Polish government websites and street protests in several Polish cities this week. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Anh Pham wrote: "My favorite photojournalist is Na Son Nguyen from Vietnam. He covers such a wide range of topics that I think it'll be fantastic to take a glimpse of his different projects in one place." Here is one of Nguyen's amazing images: A Buddhist monk takes photo at a temple in Bagan, one of the old royal capital of Myanmar, on November 9, 2010. The ruins of Bagan cover an area of 16 square miles (41 km2) in central Myanmar. The majority of its buildings were built in the 11th century to 13th century, during the time Bagan was the capital of the First Burmese Empire but haphazard and unauthentic restoration by the military junta in recent years has denied the site World Heritage Site status. (Na Son Nguyen/AP Photo) #
Maurice Li (@Maurice) asked me for "your favorite photo of the solar flare-fueled aurora borealis". I have to say my favorite comes from the source,the sun itself, brought to us by NASA: A solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere, seen on January 22, 2012. Space weather officials say the strongest solar storm in more than six years is already bombarding Earth with radiation with more to come. (AP Photo/NASA) #
Brett (@f1point4) and Alexandra (@alexandra_z) both requested "this week's aurora borealis". I wasn't able to find a lot in the agency photos, but found this amazing image shared with us by Lars Tiede. Northern lights on the Norwegian island of Kvaløya on January 23, 2012. Original here. (CC BY SA Lars Tiede) #
@PeterFahmy asked me for "The most powerful Image from the Egyptian Revolution". There were so many amazing images, but this one says so much, in my opinion. Mubarak just resigned, and this man and his friends and family had won, but after suffering so much for so long - the tremendous joy, anger, and celebration all caught in this compelling image: An anti-government demonstrator weeps with joy upon hearing the news of the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
@ChrisPaulPayne requested "a skier in Colorado". Here you go Chris: Zach Kinler of Crested Butte, Colorado, blasts through powder snow with his skis during the largest snow storms that is passing through the Colorado Rockies, on January 16, 2012. Crested Butte received more than a foot of snow. (AP Photo/Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Nathan Bilow) #
@NatesBS requested a photo of "An artist creating something." Hungarian sculptor Erno Toth works on a wax model for a new bronze statue of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in Budapest, on November 18, 2011. The statue was unveiled in a ceremony in a Budapest business park on December 21, 2011. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh) #
@jeremysacco wrote "Hey Alan - how about some huge scale modern factory shots?". I found this one from Iowa: A worker sits at the base of a wind turbine blade at TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa, on December 22, 2011. TPI Composites manufactures blades for Mitsubishi and GE. (Reuters/Joshua Lott) #
Jay Lukes (@1000Steps) asked for something from the "1993 Laguna Beach Fire in Laguna Beach CA". That terrible fire destroyed more than 350 homes in a single day (more here). In this image: a single home sits virtually untouched in Laguna Beach, California, on October 28, 1993, after wildfires reduced neighboring homes, and hundreds of others, to rubble. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac) #
Jennefer Jones would like to see "a blue frog". Jennefer, your wish is my command: A blue poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis) sits in its enclosure at the zoo in Zurich, on October 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt) #
Ingrid M. B. Halvorsen said "I would love to see some good concert photos!", and here you are, from the Big Day Out: Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant surfs the crowd at Big Day Out 2012 at the Sydney Showground, on January 26, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) #
Arjen vd Broecke (@PaVink) asked for a "'Timing is Everything' photo that could not have been taken a second earlier or later". Here you are: A German shepherd leaps into the air biting a water balloon thrown her way while playing on a hot summer day in Encinitas, California, on August 16, 2010. (Reuters/Mike Blake) #
@nickburka wrote: "I'd love to see a photo of rock climbing in Yosemite valley", and I was able to find this one: Ron Kauk climbing the Killer Pillar at the Yosemite National Park in Yosemite, California, on August 4, 1998. (Mike Powell/Allsport/AFP/Getty) #
Mike Smith said "New York, New years eve, please". Here, confetti rains down on revelers at midnight during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square in New York, on January 1, 2012. (Reuters/ Kena Betancur) #
Colin (@cpbowyer) requested a photo of "Rural Russia" -- Victor Gavenko, 76, carries a barrel of snow in the village of Pravy in the Taiga district, some 75 km (47 miles) northeast of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, on January 16, 2012. Villagers Gavenko and his wife Nina, who are not connected to a fixed water supply system, melt snow on the furnace of their wooden house to get potable water for themselves and their domestic animals in winter, and take water from a natural stream located 300 metres downhill in summer. (Reuters/Ilya Naymushin) #
@PeterNankivell asked for an image of "Sustainable Architecture". Here's a creative example from Thailand: A Buddhist monk looks out of the window of the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple, built with more than a million glass bottles, in Thailand's Sisaket province, about 600 km (370 miles) northeast of Bangkok, on October 17, 2008. The Thai Buddhist temple has found an environmentally friendly way to utilize discarded bottles to reach nirvana -- using them to build everything in its premises, from a crematorium to shelters and toilets. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom) #
Jen Fish (@JenFishie) asked to see "the most beautiful place you've ever been". I had the good fortune to work as a tour guide in Alaska for several years, and developed a love for Turnagain Arm, part of Cook Inlet, south of Anchorage. Some days, when the weather and timing is just right, you can see unbelievable sunsets, spectacular coastal mountains, possible a Beluga whale or two. It's the first place that popped to mind when she asked. In this photo, the sun rises over Turnagain Arm, viewed from an airplane, on October 31, 2010. (John Moore/Getty Images) #
Tim Tate (@potentato) asked for "a really big explosion. Like Michael Bay big." This is the closest I could find: Colombian anti-drug policemen stand guard after burning a cocaine laboratory in Puerto Concordia near Meta province, on January 25, 2012. At least 90 members of the drug police are participating in Operation "Republica 73", aimed at destroying labs that belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in Meta province. (Reuters/John Vizcaino) #
Peter Leavitt (@bearshirts) said "I'd love to see a spacewalk". Back in 2011, astronaut Mike Fossum made this particular spacewalk: With his feet secured on a restraint on the space station remote manipulator system's robotic arm or Canadarm2, NASA astronaut Mike Fossum holds the Robotics Refueling Mission payload, on July 12, 2011. Dextre, also known as the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator or SPDM, is holding the CTC-2, delivered by HTV-2, in the upper left corner of the photo. NASA astronauts Fossum and Ron Garan performed the six-hour, 31-minute spacewalk, which represents the final scheduled extravehicular activity during shuttle missions. (NASA) #
Brian Cook (@BCookMN) asked to see the "Crashed Ice event in St. Paul" Insanity on the ice, of course: Martin Niefnecker of Germany, soars over a double jump near the end of the quarter-mile track during time trials at the crashed ice world championships ice cross downhill race in St. Paul, Minnesota, on January 13, 2012. (AP Photo/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ben Garvin) #
Beth Beavers (@bethbeavers) requested"Bedouins with Saluki dog(s)". Here, Qatari breeders release their Saluki dogs as they take off at the start of the first Gulf Challenge of the Arabian Saluki Championship in the Qatari desert near Khor, on October 10, 2010. The race consists of Saluki dogs, which are popular within Bedouin tribes in the Gulf countries for racing, chasing after a gazelle along a 2km route. (Reuters/Stephanic McGehee) #
Kenton Green said "I'd like to see a great macro photo". Here's a wee one for you: Jordan Tennis, 7, holds a baby praying mantis on his fingertip as he prepares to release the tiny insect, less than a week old, into the wild in New Holland, Pennsylvania, on May 4, 2008. A cocoon, found in early spring by his aunt Bonny Tennis when she was cleaning out flower beds, was kept in a terrarium for about a month until the babies emerged. (AP Photo/Intelligencer Journal, Vinny Tennis) #
William Pomerantz (@Pomerantz) asked to see "Joseph Kittinger's Project Excelsior record setting 100,000+ foot skydive". On August 16, 1960, Col. Kittinger stepped from a balloon-supported gondola at the altitude of 102,800 feet. In freefall for 4.5 minutes at speeds up to 714 mph and temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit, he opened his parachute at 18,000 feet. More about this jump here. (U.S. Air Force photo) #
Janne Tarhanen wrote "I'd like to see pictures from the amazon". Here, a Kayapo boy with traditional body paint and piercing is seen at his home the day before the start of the "Expedicionarios da Saude" (Brazilian Health Expeditions), in the Kikretum community in Sao Felix, northern Brazil, April 21, 2011. Twice a year, volunteer doctors build a mobile hospital to provide clinical and surgical treatments for indigenous tribes and residents from different parts of the Amazon rainforest. Picture taken April 21. (Reuters/Ricardo Moraes) #
Colin (@cpbowyer) also asked to see "The Azores". Here, an image from the island of São Jorge, a view of the southern tip of the island from the Pico da Esperança. Original here. (CC BY Lars Tiede) #
Andres Ciaño said "I'd love to see graffitti photos." Here, Egyptian army soldiers beat a protester wearing a Niqab, an Islamic veil, during clashes near Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, Egypt, on December 16, 2011. Activists say the clashes began after soldiers severely beat a young man who was part of a sit-in outside the Cabinet building. Background graffiti depicts members of the military ruling council and the Arabic writing reads: "Killer". (AP Photo/Ahmed Ali) #
Steve Smorol (@ssmorol) asked to see the "NHL Winter Classic outdoor hockey game". Photographer Patrick McDermott took this intriguing infrared camera image of the event: The Philadelphia Flyers take on the New York Rangers during the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park, on January 2, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) #
@AgentSix suggested "something to commemorate Mars rover Opportunity beginning a 9th year (!) into its 3 month mission". This mosaic of images taken in mid-January 2012 shows the windswept vista northward (left) to northeastward (right) from the location where NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is spending its fifth Martian winter, an outcrop informally named "Greeley Haven." Opportunity landed on Mars on January 25, 2004, Universal Time and EST (Jan. 24, PST). It has since driven 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers) as of its eighth anniversary on the planet. More info here (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State University) #
Maya Waldman wrote "it is evening jan 26 here in india- huge holiday, republic day. have anything? civilian smiles/pride or parade would be cool!" -- Indian girls dressed in traditional attire wait to get into the grounds where they were to perform during the final dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, on January 23, 2012. India marked Republic Day on January 26 with military parades across the country. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

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