• November 27, 2014

10 National Geographic Photographers Give Thanks for the Photos That Changed Them

Jessie Wender

As a new photo editor at National Geographic, I was eager to learn more about the photographers we work with, many of whom I haven’t met in person. In honor of Thanksgiving, I asked ten of them to share an image that they were especially thankful for having taken – one that had perhaps changed the way they thought about something, or had a large impact on the trajectory of their career. Below are the stories and images they shared.—Jessie Wender

John Stanmeyer, Vignettes from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, Aceh, Indonesia

Picture of survivors praying in a mosque in Lampuuk, Indonesia
Photograph by John Stanmeyer/VII for National Geographic

A wall of water 100 feet tall inundated the village of Lampuuk in northern Sumatra on December 26, 2004. When the ocean receded, the only structure remaining was this mosque. Some called it mystical, others fate. 7,000 residents once called Lampuuk home. In this photograph are the thankful few who survived, saying evening prayers while fires still smoldered in the devastated landscape through the shattered walls of this holy place. I learned a great deal during many months covering this tragedy, a disaster where there was no one to blame. Such events solidifying how precious our time is, reminding us how astonishingly alive is our earth, how nature gives but also takes, and how important it is for all of us to to hold sacred this gifted period we have to do something, no matter how grand or small. Each day I’m thankful for the simple act of waking up and putting my feet on the ground. One day I won’t. Accepting and thankful for whatever time I’ll be given, hoping I am humble enough, thankful as surely these women and men who went on to dream and live another day.—John Stanmeyer

Stephanie Sinclair, Mejgon, Herat, Afghanistan, June 19, 2004

Picture of a teenage girl who lives in a shelter for girls who have escaped unwanted marriages in Afghanistan
Photograph by Stephanie Sinclair

A single conversation ten years ago changed the course of my life. Mejgon’s story wasn’t a happy one; she was married off at 11, and at 15 years old she was living in a shelter, home to several Afghan girls who’d escaped their marriages. When we met she said, “In my whole life I have never felt love.” In the years that followed, I carried her devastating words in my heart and saw them echoed in the faces of child brides around the world as my personal photography project slowly turned into something much bigger—moving from a story in National Geographic to an international advocacy campaign and nonprofit called “Too Young to Wed.” Last week, the United Nations general assembly adopted a historic resolution to end child, early, and forced marriage. I am grateful for Mejgon’s friendship that day and the impact she has had on my life and my work. Her inspiration continues to help women and girls around the world.—Stephanie Sinclair


Carsten Peter, Hang Son Doong Cave, 2010

Picture of the interior of the massive Hang Son Soong cave in Vietnam
Photograph by Carsten Peter

It was a challenging task to light Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam. Discovered in 2009, it is one of the biggest cave galleries in the world. The pictured gallery is a mile long, 200 yards high, and not quite that wide. We needed 14 people to light this immense room. It was very chaotic. Half of them were Vietnamese and we could not communicate. After the story and photograph were published they went viral on the internet. The photo story received the World Press Photo Award and the Picture of the Year award, but most meaningful for me was the National Geographic Photographers Photographer Award. On social media, I was happy to read comments like: “I am proud to be Vietnamese.”

Until recently, the cave was managed responsibly. The human impact was minimized as much as possible, local guides and porters were employed for expensive guided excursions, and money was earned. Now, though, Sun Group and the Austrian Doppelmayr Company are planning a six-mile long cable car. It will transform the cave in a mass tourist attraction and change the delicate ecosystem and structure of the cave dramatically. As a nature-lover, these developments are depressing in the worst way. I feel responsible. I always thought showing natural beauty would generate respect and awe and contribute to the protection of the environment. In this case, I feel, I totally failed: Maybe without my coverage this development would never have gotten this far. I would be thankful if you would support me and the protection of this unique natural monument, and sign this petition to stop the construction.—Carsten Peter


Maggie Steber, Madje Sits for a Portrait, 2006

Picture of a woman posing for a portrait in front of a white backdrop
Photograph by Maggie Steber

In the midst of her memory loss, my mother Madje posed for me during a weekend visit to my home in Miami. I wanted a simple picture of my mother. I sat her on a tall stool and photographed her against a white backdrop. I had been photographing throughout this melancholic voyage of dementia to help me get through it, being the only child of a single parent, and just to make new memories for myself. After I shot the photo, I can’t even say why but I asked my mother to remove her dress. Without missing a beat, she took the dress off and sat back on the stool naked. I was astonished but I took the picture because she was so beautiful—the vessel that brought me into life. I wanted to remember this. I will never show that photo to anyone. It is just for me. That moment was an epiphany. My prim and proper mother who would never have done this, was gone. In her place stood a Madje I saw anew. The mother-daughter travails we had experienced disappeared. No longer my mother, Madje was her own woman.

Memory loss is sad for all but there can be gifts as well that allow us to celebrate a life and to be the warrior on their behalf to the end. I’m grateful for this photograph but more importantly, the experience and the memory it left me.—Maggie Steber


Jimmy Chin, Chang Tang Expedition, 2002

Picture of Galen Rowell standing on the Chang Tang Plateau of Tibet
Photograph by Jimmy Chin

I shot this image of Galen Rowell in 2002 on my first National Geographic expedition crossing the Chang Tang Plateau of Tibet with Galen, Rick Ridgeway, and Conrad Anker. Galen was a hero of mine. I never imagined I would get to meet or work with him, much less go on an expedition with him. We spent a month tracking the endangered Chiru and successfully discovered their birthing grounds, which we aimed to document and protect from poachers. We were completely exhausted from hauling 200-pound rickshaws over 300 miles at more than 17,000 feet. Looking at the map, we still had over 100 miles to go over the Kun Lun mountains to get to our pick-up point up. True to form, on our way out, Galen looked up at the biggest mountain in the range and said, “Let’s go climbing!” I was sure I had misheard him, but I hadn’t. We changed trajectory and headed towards a huge unnamed, unclimbed 20,000 foot-plus peak. After two days of climbing, I burrowed through the summit cornice and happened to see Galen coming up the ridge another way. I barely got the camera out in time to snap this quick shot of Galen, in his element, stomping up the mountain. We climbed the mountain, named it Chiru Peak, and eventually made it back to civilization. Sadly, Galen died a couple months after the expedition in a plane crash. I was devastated that my mentor and new friend was gone. National Geographic decided to use this photo as his tribute photo, and it became my first spread in the magazine. I felt like the photo was his last gift to me and seemed to be the closing of a circle. I was sad Galen never got to see the story or my image published but the Chang Tang expedition, my time with Galen and this photo, changed the course of my career. I have much to be thankful for.—Jimmy Chin


Erika Larsen, Altered Landscape, 1995

Picture of a sunflower on the ground with light painting effects in the background
Photograph by Erika Larsen

I took this picture during an introduction to color photography and printing class in 1995, when I was 19-years-old. The assignment was to create an altered landscape. At the time, I was using artificial lighting to see how colors on film could be enhanced and change. In this specific image I lit the sunflower with a flash and walked through the frame with a flashlight to create the light in the sky.

But these are all technical things.

This picture became an early turning point in my visual literacy. I knew enough to know that photography could transport you to another place, time, and emotional state. However, I had only experienced this in the images of others. Those images inspired me, but there is no class, textbook, or technique that can teach how to do this. It is a gift that is given when you are finally ready to make that leap yourself as an aspiring image-maker. With this photograph, I remember feeling that for the first time I had finally been able to reveal the world that I had experienced during the moment I made the image. I was also able to reveal a part of my emotional state. This image was pivotal in helping me believe that it was possible to make images that brought people into other states of mind. Even for a moment.—Erika Larsen


Steve Winter, Port-au-Prince, 1990

Picture of young children at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Photograph by Steve Winter

When I was 17-years-old I volunteered at an orphanage in Central Mexico. Later, when I was striking out on my own as a photographer, I heard the same orphanage also had a home and hospice for children in Haiti. I decided to go and give something back by photographing a story to bring awareness and funding. In Port-au-Prince, many of the children at the orphanage had been abandoned on the doorstep of Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity. Families had no money nor means to care for these children. When I first met the boy in the Mickey Mouse shirt he hadn’t spoken for six weeks – he was so traumatized by the experience.

To be able to photograph the sisters at work, I first had to work at the hospice and clinic to show that I was serious about what I was doing. Those were the rules. Working in these various aid centers brought out emotions deep inside me. The last day I was there I took this portrait of some of the kids I got to know. The little boy with the mouse on his shirt spoke that day and gave me a hi-five when I left. I will always remember this, and my time in Haiti, with great joy. I received so much more than I could ever give back. It was a life changing experience. Thank you.—Steve Winter


Michael Nichols, A Silverback Mountain Gorilla Named Mrithi, 1980

Picture of a silverback mountain gorilla up close
Photograph by Michael Nichols

In 1980 I was living my dream. My images were wild, but with no real purpose. Then, I went to Rwanda with Tim Cahill for Geo Magazine. I proposed a story inspired by a childhood of looking at National Geographic magazines, and a fascination with Leakey’s Great Ape women: “Fossey, Goodall and Galidkas.” I wanted to take my wild heart and document the mountain gorilla, but I had never photographed wild animals. Tim and I dove into the dark bamboo and experienced the birth of ecotourism, a movement that would save the almost extinct Mountain Gorilla.

I would go out everyday to photograph the very shy, only slightly habituated gorillas and make one bad image after another. I often visited a nervous young Silverback named Mirithi. Pre-digital by about 25 years, it was almost impossible to capture the black gorillas in the dark forests. The lack of light had me shooting at impossibly slow settings and using a flash would have scared the shy animals. Photography is all about moments and at one point I was so close to Mrithi that the frame filled with his black face, but while the shutter was open he moved slightly.

Somehow the photograph worked and became the lead for the story “Gorilla Tactics.” To this day, the photograph continues to hold up for me. This image was my entry into photography, National Geographic, and making images that speak for those that have no voice.—Michael Nichols


Paul Nicklen, Nord Austlandet, 2013

Picture of a string of waterfalls coming from the ice cap in Nord Austlandet
Photograph by Paul Nicklen

Whenever I travel to the polar regions I am always secretly hopeful that the dire predictions and forecasts scientists have been warning us about, will somehow be less worrisome than the last time I was there. Sadly, during my trip last summer to Svalbard, Norway this was not the case. Not only was this the year in which I saw more dead polar bears than in the previous 25 years I have spent roaming the Arctic, it was also the first ice-free summer I spent in the Arctic. The reasons are simple: for polar bears, survival hinges on their ability to find, stalk, and ambush seals, their main prey, and this can only happen if there is a healthy layer of multi year or annual sea ice that they can use as a hunting platform. In the polar regions, ice is like the soil in a garden; it is the substrate that supports all life and more and more we are seeing vast expanses of the Arctic that are ice-free during the summer months.

As our ship approached the massive ice cap in Nord Austlandet, I was shocked to see a string of waterfalls that straddled the entire expanse of the melting ice cap. I suppose it is true that “seeing is believing” so the silver lining for me was that through SeaLegacy I was able to show one of our donors first-hand how her support helped raise awareness and build constituencies of support for climate action. While some people vilify change, others resist change, others are victims of change, and others inspire change, I can only aspire to drive change through imagery and storytelling.—Paul Nicklen


Lynn Johnson, Turning Point, 2014

Picture of a man lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by his wife and his friend
Photograph by Lynn Johnson

This photograph was not taken on assignment. This is my father, Jack, and at the moment I took this photo I thought he was dying. On one side is my mother, Jane. She and my father, wed for 67 years, have been together since the instant she saw him at the top of a junior high school stairway wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. On the other side is Charles, a new and stalwart friend. Jane and Charles are working to keep Jack alive; one by calling his name, the other by reporting the latest football scores. Just months before, I had documented the death of Phyllis, a friend’s mother, for a National Geographic assignment about the end of life. From hearing Phyllis’s last breaths—a fragment of audio seared into memory—I realized that my father was slipping away. I ran for help. As we waited for the paramedics, I took this picture with my phone. They arrived, attaching tubes and wires. Then the ER, oxygen, fluid. Life. Later I called my friend, Phyllis’s daughter. “Your mom just saved my dad.” Silence, as we considered that, even though Phyllis was physically gone, her spirit still had life giving power. Jack, Jane, Charles, Phyllis. Thanksgiving.—Lynn Johnson

There are 97 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. TrucThao Nguyen
    April 12, 2015

    Thank Carsten Peter for your picture about Son Doong cave. I’m a Vietnamese people but I have never seen that. And thank to your picture, I can know how beautiful it is. In my opinion, It’s really a wonderful picture!

  2. Vicky
    December 19, 2014

    Thanks for sharing. I will use the same theme to pose thinking from young students. Erika Larsen’s image and essay made me sad to ponder on the loss of a nephew you was just getting started developing his art with photography. Walk in peace Mike.

  3. Rahnuma
    December 17, 2014

    I especially love the pictures of Nord Austlandet and Port-Au-Prince. One is majestic and the other has so much innocence in it. Thank you for these amazing pictures and stories that you bring to us.

  4. Bonnie
    December 17, 2014

    It is so refreshing to see that there are still people that see beauty in everything they touch or experience. As well as to read the beautiful and grateful comments of the people that see through the lense of someone elses eyes. Thank you to all the photographers and also to the comments of the audience for giving others hope that there is still love and hope on this earth.

  5. Mimi Manis
    December 17, 2014

    Amazing, depressing, awesome and exquisite beauty.

  6. juan morales
    December 16, 2014

    i am disgusted by the lack effort and not inspired

  7. David
    December 15, 2014

    The words as well as the writings tell beautiful stories in one way or another. Bravo to the photographers and to National Geographic. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

  8. E.A. McWilliams
    December 15, 2014

    The photo and story by Maggie Steber touched my soul. My oldest sister has Alzheimer’s disease and it is a journey no one should have to make. She has her family to support her and she still has a smile for you when you come in the door.

  9. Rosanne
    December 15, 2014

    The photo by Paul Nicklen of the ice cap blew me away. And to think there are fools who think nothing is happening, everything is OK with the planet.

  10. Paige S
    December 15, 2014

    It’s completely inspiring and encouraging to see the pictures of actual Nat. Geo. photographers that helped their careers. All these pictures have meaning in some form and you can truly see it through the photographs. Each of these shows his/her passions.

  11. Carol
    December 14, 2014

    I think that the love in the eyes of the photographers is reflected through their work and that they have inspired more than they have been inspired. Much gratitude for sharing their love, their work and their words.

  12. Michael Marshall
    December 14, 2014

    Incredibly reflective. Each image is so powerful. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

  13. Gilma Changmarin de Sanchez
    December 14, 2014

    I have been touched by most of the photos, but the one of little boys in Haiti and the dead of bears in the Artic were the most touchy. I do like beautiful compositions and colors, but these two have such a meaning that it is impossible that your heart will not be touched, thank you.

  14. Dirk Dypold
    December 14, 2014

    What do we hold sacred? Do we have a common sense of this? In viewing these photos & hearing these comments I’m hearten to find so many others inspired by these messages. This sense of wonder, awe, respect & then responsibility is our heritage from our Creator. Yes there still is a living sense of the sacral common to many. Yes there is unlimited human potential for healing the wounds we have inficted on humanity & the planet. Everyday it continues with the efforts of every One.From the photos at the top of the world, to placing ones feet on the floor each morning & being grateful. This is how we will turn things around.
    Currently I an studying amazing applications & discoveries of structured water :ie living water, holy water, E.Z. water, or the 4th state of water. As 71% of the earth is covered with water & our bodies are 70-90% water, it is revolutionary to find new insights into the living substance that literally surrounds us. Currently scientists, engineers,& professors from all over the world are documenting it’s 4th state, it’s memory,it’s ability to communicate,& it’s potential to solve so many issues at large.Truly water & our attitude toward it belong in the sacral realm. Armed with a consciousness of waters true potential would have an incredibly beneficial impact on both people & planet.
    Wishing all a renewing & insightful Holidays,thank you N.G. for these inspirational stories & the great work you do.

  15. Karen Coulson
    December 14, 2014

    I am so grateful that I chose to look at these pictures and read the captions by the photographers….what beauty and wisdom is in the world for us to discover. Thanks to you all.

  16. Jasbir
    December 14, 2014


  17. Wendy Deyell
    December 14, 2014

    I am most touched by the photos of Maggie’s mother and Lynn’s father, having been my Mum’s caregiver for almost a year after her terminal cancer diagnosis. We lived her dying together and she died holding my hand, totally lucid. I am eternally grateful. It was the biggest gift, and the most important role I will ever be given. And to the fellow who thinks it’s morbid to take a photo when someone is close to death: I can only hope someday someone loves you enough to bother to want to remember you in your last moments in this life.

  18. Susan
    December 14, 2014

    I am moved beyond words. Thank you for sharing your photos and beautiful stories.

  19. Jennifer R. Ewing
    December 14, 2014

    It’s great to see all the positive comments about these photographs, to which I wholeheartedly add my voice. OTOH it’s depressing to see the (fortunately very few) comments calling the photos “stupid” and castigating one photographer for taking a picture when she thought her father was dying. To them, all I can say is, haters gonna hate. We each have our own way of connecting with and living in the world. For me, it’s writing, and crafts. Clearly, for these photographers, that’s their way of connecting with and making sense of their world. It’s not “wrong,” or “stupid,” or “selfish.” The haters need to get over themselves.

    TLDR–Keep up the great work, NatGeo! Love you guys!

  20. Carol Giamario
    December 14, 2014

    viewing these photos have filled me with such powerful emotions….thank you

  21. Elizabeth Overstreet
    December 14, 2014

    For those of us who can’t be in these places, the photos were a breath of fresh air. I am grateful.

  22. George A Martin CGA
    December 14, 2014

    Amazing. .Forwarded this to my Grandson MacKenzie Elliott

  23. Duane Morrison
    December 14, 2014

    These photos by themselves are beautiful…but the stories accompanying them make them more poignant! I’m feeling both joy and sadness. Humans are tenants for a very short time on this beautiful earth and I hope the planet we live on continues to thrive for future generations. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Linda Brownstein
    December 14, 2014

    Fantastic individually & together to portray what we need to pay attention to & care about in life: our precious planet Earth, it’s landscape, ecosystems, people & animals and our relationships with other living things. Special thanks to Jimmy Chin for reminding us how special Galen Rowell (& Barbara) was. I, too, had the priviledge of knowing & working with him.

  25. David Sneed
    December 14, 2014

    Which is most powerful, pictures or words is often debated. Your excellent series certainly supports the profound effects of both.

  26. Margaret
    December 14, 2014

    With regard to using photography to promote unproven climate theories:
    No one denies there has been climate change since the earth was formed and began its journey through the Milky Way. Has everyone forgotten the ice ages and warming periods the human race has survived through thousands of years? No one denies there has been some ‘warming’ since preindustrial times (experts calculate it at less than one degree C) or that there will be cyclical warming and cooling trends during our lifetimes. It takes an amazing amount of human hubris to think we are going to prevent global warnings and coolings, or prevent the expansion and contraction of ice sheets in various parts of the planet. Are scientists calculating the increase in global food production that might occur in Canada and Russia if warming were to continue in our lifetimes.

  27. Leanne
    December 14, 2014

    Usually, they say a picture is worth a thousand words… In this case, as amazing as the photos were, the words made the picture! Great job!

  28. Lynedah Vartell
    December 14, 2014

    yes a picture says thousands of words, yet your words make the photo a complete experience, thank you

  29. Mark
    December 14, 2014

    the range of images and corresponding commentary are inspiring

  30. Bess Brtuon
    December 14, 2014

    I am moved beyond words by these amazing photos and stories. Thank you from the bottom of my soul.

  31. Elizabeth Herrington
    December 14, 2014

    Brought tears to my eyes in several instances. Thank you for sharing and caring.

  32. Rina
    December 14, 2014

    Thank you to all photographers,very nice pictures,to Maggie S,you remind me of my mother,she lost her mind because of deep depressed ,I never had a picture with her….

  33. Roberto Sanchez
    December 14, 2014

    Tanks for the beauty

  34. DeLin
    December 14, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing such heartfelt moments in your life and I pray there are many more that you will share with the world in waiting.

  35. Nicki
    December 13, 2014

    It’s amazing how one image can change both the photographer and complete strangers. These are all such beautiful images. Thank you to all the photographers for their poignant commentary.

  36. Sheron
    December 13, 2014

    amazing!!! the ice caps along with the pics of the orphans blew me away. I truly did not notice the individual holding the flashlight until i read the story behind it. wonderful work guys. That cave pic sent my mind racing into endless directions, loved it. Feel free to see my work http://www.instagram.com/photosbysheron

  37. C. Cecelia Ariaz
    December 13, 2014

    Thank you for showing and sharing the images of current time and experiences. Your presenters follow along in the steps if Eisenstat, Margret Burke White, and so many others that have recorded their impressions of our world and history as they have seen and experienced it.

  38. Irfan
    December 13, 2014

    Thank you. Please keep sharing.

  39. Ana
    December 13, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, moving, and heartfelt stories. They make the photos even more meaningful and amazing.

  40. Hasker
    December 12, 2014

    This collection of photographs is astoundingly magnificent all by themselves. The stories behind each completes its meaning. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the collection a thirty (30)… I’ve bookmarked the page, so please leave it up! I’ll be back time and time again.

  41. emma bail
    December 8, 2014

    speechless… Thanks for sharing..

  42. bill vinton
    December 6, 2014

    With such dramatic photographic evidence provided by Paul Nicklen..how can there still be Climate change deniers?

  43. Nguyen Khac Thi Hien
    December 6, 2014

    Thanks for these wonderful photographs and the thoughts behind them. I am most moved by John Stanmeyer’s After the tsunami in Aceh, Paul Nicklen’s Ice Cap in Nord Auslandet but especially Carsten Peter’s Hang Son Dong in VietNam. The photographs depict our vulnerability and how small we are on this Earth. Yet, our resiliency, curiosity and spirit motivate us to explore and document this wonder.
    I could not help to revisit Carsten Peter’s video ( http://youtu.be/lgBFl847z-4) . Your photographs are so beautiful, powerful and soul revealing : the small human beings against the backdrops of immense caves and formations, the butterflies, the plants growing on stones… Mange tak! Cám ơn!
    I just hope that through these photographs, we can be in awe of God’s gift and honour it.

  44. Munawar Al Hoda
    December 5, 2014

    something common among all in capturing the very moment is inspiration and love of nature.

  45. wedding photographer paris
    December 5, 2014

    Oh Kat! These are fantastic

  46. Hung Hoang
    December 4, 2014

    Dear Mr. Carsten Peter,
    I could not say any thing about your shot. I am proud as a Vietnamese and your photograph completely touches my heart and my pride.
    I had a responsible feeling when I post my photograph online with map. It is a contradiction – want to bring people to nature at the same time to be afraid of the destruction of nature. Your shot and article confirms my responsible feeling. Beside signing the petition, I would support your soul and heart mission. Please let me know what can I do . I am a retiree, former educator, trailside ceramic artist, amateur photographer but best of all – I am a proud Vietnamese; my heart and soul belong to nature. I have time and trail friends.
    By the way – would you show me where I would sign the petition to stop this money hungry project.
    I also would like to appreciate Mr. Jessie Wender for his thoughtful and bright idea on Give A Thank. A true Thanksgiving gift to us.
    Thank you thank you,
    Hung Hoang
    Stockton, CA

  47. darrel tarver
    December 3, 2014

    Mesmerized by the images of life. Finally quit thinking about college football playoffs.

  48. Oscar Thello
    December 3, 2014

    Thank you, so beautiful stories, so marvellous pictures

  49. Tan Ai Wee
    December 2, 2014

    We are lucky n thankful for the life given.

  50. Sandy McElroy
    December 2, 2014

    The moments that change us are rarely spoken of by photographers. Well done.

  51. Barbara
    December 1, 2014

    Lynn Johnson’s photograph is every bit as beautiful and timeless as Eugene Smith’s classic photo essay Spanish Village

  52. Tina Webb
    December 1, 2014

    images not seen, ideas not considered, enlighten & uplift the human spirit

  53. Silvia De Michelis
    November 30, 2014

    Beautiful connection with humans, nature and the gifts of life

  54. roohollah
    November 30, 2014

    I research about Indonesia from year ago. About culture, economy and etc.
    But when I saw the first photo taken by John Stanmeyer I became wonderer. I’m crazy about this photo.

  55. Heather Peveril
    November 30, 2014

    Always deeply moved by Nat Geo’s stories and photos. This was wonderful and not only pics but the stories surrounding them just seem to frame up the whole story so completely. Thank you

  56. Don Gogniat
    November 30, 2014

    And that’s why we love National Geographic for all these years.

  57. luiz dantas
    November 30, 2014

    Pure human feelings

  58. ashok aranha
    November 30, 2014

    The pictures are beautiful but the commentary is even more powerful

  59. Lewis McLaughlin
    November 29, 2014

    Thanks to those who took these pictures , Beautiful

  60. Charudatta Alate
    November 29, 2014

    Each photo tells a different but true story

  61. NK
    November 29, 2014

    These pictures take you to a different world. Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts and emotions and letting us be part of it. Every picture takes you on a journey into the soul of humanity itself.

    November 29, 2014

    I loves travel with national geographic in voyage

  63. Sharon Hirsch
    November 28, 2014

    I knew Galen Rowell and have met Jimmy Chin. Scrolling down, Galen’s face was unmistakable in Jimmy’s photo. Paul Nicklen’s photo scared the hell out of me. I have photos taken in the same area, at the same time that Galen and Jimmy were following chiru. The ice is flat as a pancake with only a few, very thin waterfalls. We saw healthy polar bears, out on ice pans. To see and hear what is happening is scary.

  64. Ranji Anjie
    November 28, 2014

    Though i am unable to fulfill my dream of travel to see our beautiful world National geographic photographers are Angels to see some of it May god bless the entire team.Thank you.

  65. Jim Heeringa
    November 28, 2014

    I’ve just spent 30 minutes to capture the stories with the photograph’s about them. I am astounded & flabberghasted by this presentation. Thank you ALL !!!

  66. Madeline Kruschke
    November 28, 2014

    Absolutely amazing. Was moved and brought to tears by almost every story. As a young photographer myself, it is so fascinating to see a more personal side to some of my heroes and their views of their own workflow.

  67. Ilisapeci Tuinamoala
    November 28, 2014

    I have always been a fan of Nat Geo since high school. And the photo’ taken and comments by the photographers are so soul revealing. It is said that the “Eyes are the windows to the soul” I have always believed that when a photographer takes a shot it is an extension of his/her soul. Beautiful pictures indeed.

  68. Ангелина Георгиева
    November 28, 2014

    Да уловиш времето. Да покажеш мощта на стихията в един миг. Да запечаташ усмивката върху детското лице. Това наистина е прекрасно. Благодаря!

  69. Susan Bradnam
    November 28, 2014

    Thank you for seeing and catching these special moments in time.

  70. judy mortenson g_b
    November 28, 2014

    Very good photos and stories..

  71. hector
    November 28, 2014

    Your dad is dying and you reach for your camera… the photo that inspires you most is your own pic of a sunflower. What a bunch of d——nozzles you selected for this topic.

  72. Rachell
    November 28, 2014

    Absolutely love Jimmy Chin’s and Paul Nicklen’s pictures/stories.

  73. yusep
    November 28, 2014

    beautiful picture. I life in Indonesia. Picture about tsunami aceh is great. Thanks for this photo

  74. Abhirup Bhadra
    November 28, 2014

    Specially moved by the photographs by Erica Larsen,Paul Nicklen and Michael Nichols.

  75. Ronald Guth
    November 28, 2014

    I think I’ll take my expensive Canon out of the closet and start using it. These images are very inspiring.

  76. fredrick musa
    November 28, 2014

    nice picture next photograph need the petrolleum research in marine.because am study at mbegani institute of fisheries agency at study marine engineering NTA 4 need data in field pratcal

  77. meredith mc kinney
    November 28, 2014

    every photo captures a moment in time and we react to the capture….it truly adds a new dimension to read the mind which created the window.

  78. bryan
    November 27, 2014

    Photograph by Lynn Johnson and Photograph by Paul Nicklen

    touched me. Some day we will die. The beauty of destruction to the environment is painful

  79. Ehtisham Rana
    November 27, 2014


  80. Kenton Moore
    November 27, 2014

    These stories challenge me to find my photographic voice.

  81. carol
    November 27, 2014

    A very moving piece and of couse, wonderful photography

  82. Cathy
    November 27, 2014

    Wonderful photographs. Thank you for sharing these moments with all of us.

  83. Maggy Horhoruw
    November 27, 2014

    To all photographers, thank you for sharing your personal lives with us. I had the privilege to learn from Maggie Steber early this year and that class changed my style and inspired me a great deal. Please see Maggie’s short yet very moving documentary on her mom if you haven’t already. It’s called the Rite of Passage.

  84. Sharon
    November 27, 2014

    Each of these spoke to me in a different way. Wonderful Thanksgiving tribute. Thank you.

  85. malgorzata walkowska
    November 27, 2014

    Lynn Johnson’s image and caption are definitely going to stay with me fr a vey long time…..so powerful. Thank you.

  86. Hamdane. Elmostafa
    November 27, 2014

    Great photos that inspire.Thanks to all the national geographic photographers

  87. Les
    November 27, 2014

    it is delightful to read about life events that are the genesis of excellent photographers.

  88. jill
    November 27, 2014


  89. George W. Montgomery Jr.
    November 27, 2014

    These photos are very gorgeous and have a lot of meaning behind them .

  90. Kevin
    November 27, 2014

    Jimmy, I’ve always loved your photographs, and this one doesn’t disappoint. You are a source of inspiration for me to keep photographing in the mountains.
    Steve Winter, the timing on this photograph is absolutely PERFECT!
    Thanks NatGeo for putting together a great collection!!

  91. Joshua Chan
    November 27, 2014

    Those are some pretty amazing photos – more so the personal story behind it, similar to any photo that is taken. Thanks for sharing.

  92. Jenna
    November 27, 2014

    This was beautiful. Thank you.

  93. Jeremy Nasta
    November 27, 2014

    Lot of “ooh aah” moments when showing these around to my family. You guys keep us informed.

  94. Ray Jonez
    November 27, 2014

    The Geographic was where my photographic spark was found – it has always been an inspiration. The writing is just as inspiring as the pictures, as is evident in this story

  95. richard Fairbairns
    November 27, 2014

    Very moving – thank you.

  96. Gina Penny
    November 27, 2014


  97. Joseph Manuella
    November 27, 2014

    I love the national geographic photograhers I love the way they help me see the world I swats wanted to be a photographer for national geographic in stead I do weddings who knows maybe some day. Thanks for you do.

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