National Geographic Photographers: Hardcore Professionals

When reading magazines and books of all varieties, you will come across pictures that instill awe, beauty, and even terror. But one thing that many people forget to consider is the people that take these photographs. Risking life and limb, National Geographic photographers stand a ledge above the rest to capture nature in it’s most raw and basic state.

Here we see a group of gentlemen running for their lives after a brown bear gets a little too close for comfort.

Many animals use camouflage to hide from predators and blend with their surroundings; it stands to reason that photographers would do the same.

The most rigorous requirements for National Geographic are experience, usually about 5 years, and a college degree. The organization does not want photography degrees, and urges other fields of study. The most common applicants come from journalism, sociology, anthropology, and others, but the main thing is having a variety of skills, interests, and styles.

One never really considers the size of birds of prey. Here we see what appears to be a golden eagle, with an average wingspan of 5-8 feet and 2.5 inch long talons. It’s talons can squeeze with 750 psi, allowing it to grab goats off of cliffs and kill small deer.

An interesting picture with a rare point of view, until you realize the photographer has 500 pounds or more of muddy, raging muscle barreling towards them.

A personal favorite, this image was captured by a photographer laying in wait by a river. An adult lioness approached the water to drink, but quickly caught interest in the man. Unable to run, he laid in the mud motionless until the cat came closer and surprisingly rolled over passively.

National Geographic photographers also work in single contracts, usually earning $400-500 a day. This may seem like a decent amount, but these people have to pay for their own equipment, insurance, and other costs of living. NG photographers risk assault from both man and animal, diseases like malaria and dysentery, and many more hazards that are not faint of the heart.

But this job allows for so much as well. One can travel the world, experience a multitude of cultures, see beauty and destruction in all it’s forms, and show the world that what’s left of nature and the world is truly worth preserving.



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