In the past, the National Geographic would routinely include maps, diagrams, and other material in special inserts inside the magazine, and some of these maps are among the most beautiful ones I've seen.
That practice seems greatly reduced nowadays, but in the latest issue there is such an insert, with a detailed map showing the major river systems and drainage basins that emanate out from the Himalayas, the Tian Shan, the Hindu Kush, and the other ranges of the Tibet Plateau.
And, on the back side of the map, is the most amazing photograph of Mount Everest that I think I've ever seen, or probably ever will see, blown up to a gorgeous six square foot image.
The photograph is panoramic, covering a 290 degree field of vision, and it is actually a composite image, stitched together from many separate pictures taken from an elevation of 27,000 feet above sea level, in mid-air.
Wait, you say! How can a picture be taken from mid-air from 27,000 feed above sea level?
The photography team hiked up to a camp at 23,000 feet at the top of East Rongbuk Glacier.
Then they deployed a camera-equipped drone and were able to pilot it 4,000 feet higher into the air, to a position where it could hover at 26,500 feet above the North Col of Mount Everest, approximately 1.5 miles away from the peak of Everest itself, and the drone took 26 ultra-high-definition images.
Then they successfully recovered the drone, took it to the National Geographic photography labs, and used computer software to stitch together the photos into the astonishing panoramic image.