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Earth, National Geographic

10 Top National Geographic Photos

National Geographic: “Inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888.”

For me, it has been an inspiration since 1992, the year I came to exist on the planet. My parents have had a subscription to National Geographic ever since I can remember, and my attic now acts as an archive for past Nat Geo mags, aging as far back as 1976.

Although I’ve been blessed to travel to remote parts of the world, no one can ever see all the world has to offer, and National Geographic has taken me (and countless others) to parts of Earth that remain virtually unseen; it has also shown me images I see every day in a new light.

Here are 10 of the best photos over the past year I’ve come across on National Geographic’s website:

10.

National Geographic
This photo speaks volumes of the world; nothing is out of bounds. The world is limitless. The surfer is about to embark on an epic moment, one that the viewer can only imagine, yet there is something so serene about the picture — one man, his surfboard and the endless blocks of ice.In regards to this picture, photographer Catherine Karnow said, “Sometimes it’s powerful not to seize the moment, but to show utter stillness instead […] because he’s standing still, we notice the graceful, curved shape of his wetsuit, which contrasts with the sharpness of the surfboard and icicles.” Yet another juxtaposition on the eye and the world.

9.

 National Geographic
This picture was taken five days after Nyamulagira erupted in Virunga National Park in the Congo. To not only see the lava and fumes flowing out of the top but to also watch the ranger as he overlooks this natural occurrence is captivating. Lava flows are heading north into an uninhabited area of the park and aren’t expected to displace or harm any humans, although a family of chimps may have to shift ground, officials say.

8.

 National Geographic
Sometimes humans forget that they share the world with what seems like an infinite amount of species. This picture so perfectly captures a moment between a mama grizzly bear and her young. However, it also illustrates the issue on the animals of North America’s largest oil field, Prudhoe Bay, and their habituation to feeding on human trash due to the contamination people and unnatural oil fields have had on the planet.Prudhoe Bay, operated by BP and owned in part by ExxonMobil and Conoco Phillips, is trying to alleviate the situation by putting lids on their dumpsters and educating workers on the long-term effects of feeding bears and foxes.

7.

 National Geographic
At 2,723 feet, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is easily the tallest building in the world, more than 1,000 feet taller than it’s predecessor, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Every October, Dubai receives a lot of fog because of the mixture of still-high humidity and falling temperatures.Similar to the contrasting weather patterns, the stark constrast between natural flowing beauty and the placement of equally beautiful, man-made structures makes for a truly breathtaking picture that says, “Look how high we can go.” Always reach for the clouds because we can get there (in more ways than one)!

6.

 National Geographic
Between the vast ocean, the mountains on the horizon and the diagonal symmetry of the BASE jumper and the tallest building on the beach, you feel a sense of adrenaline running through you simply by looking at the photograph. The photo is also a perfect example that rules are meant to be broken; the composition is determined by the subject of a photo.I would have to agree with photographer Catherine Karnow in that the best part of the shot is the cropped foot at the top: “It’s as if the jumper is safely held in place by the top of the frame. But we know that this is false, that he’s in fact held by nothing,” Karnow says.

5.

 National Geographic
Aurora Borealis is arguably one of nature’s strangest and most beautiful phenomenons (but then again, what about nature isn’t strange and beautiful?). Taken in Iceland, the photo illustrates the simplest form of photography: capturing such a pure, still moment in nature and showing it to the world. It’s hard to imagine such an illuminated green sky. It’s almost as if aliens are saying, “Greetings, Earthlings. We are here. And we are watching you.” In a peaceful way, of course.

4.

 National Geographic
This innovative underwater sculpture park located in Grenada is a true testament to what the human mind can accomplish. The park can be viewed at all angles; from a glass water boat or up close and personal by snorkeling and/or diving.”The physical nature of the underwater world is vastly different from that of dry land,” says sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor of his work. “Objects appear 25 percent larger underwater, and as a consequence they also appear closer. Colours alter as light is absorbed and reflected at different rates, with the depth of the water affecting this further.”

3.

 National Geographic
This is by far the most amazing picture of a ferris wheel I’ve ever seen. Taken at a Kansas State Fair, the photo “mimics a giant Lite-Brite toy.” The lights, while manic, make you forget about the long lines that come with park rides and instead bring the beauty back.

2.

National Geographic
Nujood Ali of Yemen was married and divorced … by the age of 10. Her courageous and almost unheard of act of running away from her abusive, much older husband has made her an international heroine for women’s rights. To see a genuine smile on the girl as she looks to the sky in hopes of a promising future is truly inspiring. The little girl is looking to the photographer as if he is being invasive, and she doesn’t approve — a great capture.

1.

National Geographic
This photo, taken in New Zealand, is absolutely breathtaking. People think they are larger than life, but when standing next to a 45-foot-long, 70-ton whale, we are shown how small we really are.The diver in the photo recalls the moment: “At some point I stopped and kneeled on the sand to catch my breath, and I was certain the whale would just keep swimming. Instead, the whale also stopped, turned, and hovered over me as it stared with that soulful eye.”
Mexican gray wolf photographed by Joel Sartore

Valley Forward Hosts 41st Annual Luncheon Featuring National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore

Valley Forward hosted its 41st Annual Luncheon Dec. 3, and the event was wild — literally. Guests were greeted by a menagerie of interesting wildlife at this year’s event thanks to the Desert Botanical Garden, Liberty Wildlife, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, The Phoenix Zoo and the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. Several animals were showcased at the environmental education exhibits including a bald eagle, American alligator, greyhound owl, African-crested porcupine and more. These exhibits transformed all the attendees back to their school-age, zoo-visiting days, and truly served as a reminder for the topic that was discussed at the luncheon — the importance of fostering our environment.

The keynote speaker  was Joel Sartore, noted wildlife photographer at National Geographic Magazine, author and passionate environmentalist. Sartore presented a heartfelt speech about the importance of helping preserve our environment and making sure that despite the fervent pace of technology innovations, future generations value and experience the great outdoors.

Sartore has witnessed much of the devastation firsthand during his 20 plus years at National Geographic. He has photographed, among others, environmental tragedies such as the recent Gulf Coast oil spill, endangered species and more. His dedication to the cause is also demonstrated in his latest book, Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, featuring endangered species from all over the world including several from Arizona. Sartore hopes that by photographing wildlife that many people don’t even realize exist, it will draw attention to their cause and maybe help save them. His experience provided the audience with an amazing look into this wild world and what we — everyday, average people — can do to help make a difference.

Congratulations to Valley Forward for once again putting together such an inspiring event. The message of sustainability and environmental stewardship is one that continues to gain momentum. Let’s hope it does so for many years to come.

Read more about Joel Sartore in the November/December issue of AZ Business Magazine here.

www.valleyforward.org
www.joelsartore.com

Joel Sartore Presenting

Showcased at the environmental education exhibit, a bald eagle.American alligator & African-crested porcupine Joel Sartore - Rare: Portraits of America's Endangered Species

Photography of Joel Sartore - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Life Through The Lens Of Wildlife Photographer Joel Sartore

It is summer in Antarctica. Frigid temperatures have been replaced by mild, 50-degree days.

Surrounded by green hills rolling into lush, snow-capped mountains and thick fog, Joel Sartore is crouching low to the ground. Usually, it is he who is chasing his subjects, but this time the tables have turned. Instead, in the middle of the beach-like terrain, Sartore is surrounded — by penguins. King penguins to be exact.

“Most of the time the animals I’m seeing are running away, they don’t want anything to do with me,” Sartore says, adding that the King penguins did the exact opposite. “They just wanted to stare at me. I got low on the ground and they stood right over me and looked at me. The whole thing was just tranquil, peaceful, and one of the most impressive things I’ve ever been a part of.”

Most of us will never get the chance to experience such an event. But for Sartore, it’s just another day on the job. From Antarctica to Russia, he has seen it all. Throughout his 20-year career working as a photographer for National Geographic, Sartore has traversed the globe, photographing everything from rare wildlife to hurricane aftermath and even state fairs.

“Once I discovered photography, there was never any turning back for me,” he says.

Sartore’s impressive body of work has been featured in Time, Life, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. He also has contributed to several book projects and has been the subject of national broadcasts.

In addition to his talents as a photographer, Sartore devotes his energy to conservation efforts. A Nebraska native, he is committed to conservation in the Great Plains, is co-founder of the Grassland Foundation, and a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Sartore will share his passion for sustainability as the speaker at Valley Forward’s 41st Annual Luncheon on Dec. 3.

“That is just an excellent group. There needs to be 100 groups like them. We have to start talking about this stuff and realizing that it’s easy to be green. It’s certainly a better way to live your life,” Sartore says. “There needs to be more and more people thinking and caring about the earth. We don’t have the luxury of time to count on the next generation to start saving the planet. We have to be doing it now.”

Sartore addresses the global environmental crisis using photography as his platform.

“I really am constantly faced with environmental problems,” says Sartore, a self-professed hyperactive person. “My job is to get people to think.”

While photographing the American Gulf Coast during one of his first assignments for National Geographic, Sartore was drawn to the plight of animals and the environment.

“I remember walking the beach and the bottom of my feet were black with spilled tar and oil, and there was garbage and a dead dolphin wrapped in plastic,” he says. “When you see things like that it makes you think that we could be doing a lot of things better, could be treating the Earth better.”

Sartore’s focus on building a sustainable future has allowed him to draw attention to issues that are often overlooked. His latest book, “Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species,” sheds light on some of the country’s most endangered species of plants and animals, and what the public can do to help. “Rare” was originally inspired by a magazine assignment, before turning into a personal project for Sartore and later a full-fledged book.

Several of the subjects featured in the book were shot in Arizona, including the California condor, photographed at the Phoenix Zoo; and the Tarahumara leopard frog, photographed at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.

Although, sadly, one of the other animals featured in the book, the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit, became extinct during the book’s production, Sartore emphasizes the importance of highlighting environmental issues.

“It was a very good experience to give a voice for the voiceless,” Sartore says. “The encouraging thing is that most species in the book could make it if we pay attention to it. I guess that’s what I try to convey to people: There’s always hope. These things are absolutely worth saving.”

Sartore’s passion for photography began in high school and continued into college, where he earned a degree in journalism with an emphasis in photojournalism from the University of Nebraska. Thanks to some great mentors, Sartore decided to pursue a career in photography, but he didn’t forget his journalism roots.

“In any of these situations I go into, I bring with me a reporter’s aesthetic and background to it,” he says.

This background has proven beneficial, as he shoots such a wide variety of subjects in exotic locations around the world.
“I want to know why things are the way they are and how to fix it,” he says.

As thrilling as his job may be, it comes with its share of dangers. When asked how many times has he almost been killed, Sartore responds on his website: “More than I care to tell my wife about for sure.”

He hasn’t let the danger stop him, but he does try to err on the side of caution.

“You can’t take more pictures if you’re dead,” he writes.

Sartore continues to journey around the globe in search of the next great photo. Currently, he’s preparing to travel to Africa for an assignment. Despite two decades of experience under his belt, Sartore still worries.

“I’m very nervous that I’ll fail, starve and die, in that order,” he says. Irrational fear or secret to success? Maybe worrying is just part of the job, Sartore adds.

“Everything has worked out well so far, yet I’ve always been very worried that nothing ever would,” he says. “With a strong story you may just reach those people who can change the world. If I can right a few wrongs, then that’s probably a life well spent.”

    If You Go:
    Valley Forward’s 41st Annual Luncheon
    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
    Dec. 3
    Hyatt Regency Phoenix
    122 N. Second St., Phoenix
    Reservations: info@valleyforward.org; (602) 240-2408


    Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010