What does it really take to shoot for National Geographic? How do National Geographic photographers think and take photos? How is their working style different from that of a “regular” photographer? Photographer Bob Holmes shares with us how he approaches photography to make images worthy of National Geographic:


“The camera is the biggest barrier to great photographs very often.”

Moments come and go in the blink of an eye. If you spend time trying to work your camera when you should be taking images, you’ll lose lots of photo opportunities. Preparation is key, and as a photographer, you’ve got to be prepared by knowing your gear through and through. The camera should be your tool to take images and not a barrier. When out in the field, you shouldn’t be thinking too much about the equipment and the settings. You should rather be concentrating on what’s happening around you.

know your gear


Besides working with gear, it’s equally important that you educate and train your eyes. By studying other great photographers, or even painters, you can train your eyes to look for interesting compositions, expressions, and even anticipate decisive moments.


“One of the things that you need in strong composition is some punctuation.”

Think of punctuation as a decisive moment. It should get the viewer’s attention and force them to think of what’s happening or about to happen in the image. Include elements in your photographs that make viewers pause and think.

punctuation in photography


“As a photographer, it’s your fault if there’s something in the frame that shouldn’t be.”

Always be careful of what you’re composing. You may be so interested in the subject of your photo that you end up missing out on what’s happening on the edges of the frame. This increases the chances of unnecessary elements being introduced into your composition that can ruin the shot. Be responsible for everything in your frame.

be responsible for the frame

Also, pay attention to the background. Are there branches or poles popping out from behind your subject? Is there anything back there that shouldn’t be? Have a holistic view whenever taking photographs.


“To take your very best photographs, you have to be on your own, and you have to give your subjects a hundred percent of your concentration.”

While interacting with your subject is one thing, it’s also essential that you study your potential subjects. Understand what they’re doing and what they’ll do next. Think of ways you can present the story of your subjects through your photographs.

For instance, in the following photograph, to give a sense of the heavy loads the boys were carrying, Holmes used a wide-angle lens and shot from a lower perspective. This has given an impression of the weight of the load coming in from the top of the frame.

involve with your subject

While the topics Holmes covered here may not land you an immediate job with National Geographic, his tips will certainly help you out in improving your style of photography.

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For DSLR users, this is one of my favorite subjects. Why? Because changing the aperture in your lens can totally change how your photo will look. And there will be photos in this article to show you just how much this change will do. But, I like what the changes do vs. changing shutter speeds. Changing shutter speeds in your camera are meant for certain types of photos for sure, but, changing your aperture settings in your camera can significantly change the outcome of your photo.

To explain this, I have found a couple of good articles how exactly the aperture works and how it changes your photo’s outcome.

The first article is from PICTURE /CORRECT, and was written by: Tiffany Mueller:

Photographers use aperture for a multitude of things from getting the proper exposure to creating a specific depth of field. Understanding how it works is essential to being able to use aperture to your advantage and taking the photographs you envision in your mind.

Photographers use aperture for a multitude of things from getting the proper exposure to creating a specific depth of field. Understanding how it works is essential to being able to use aperture to your advantage and taking the photographs you envision in your mind. In this quick primer, John Cripps breaks down the ins and outs of aperture and lets us know what it’s all about:


Simply put, an aperture is the opening in a lens that allows light to enter and, conversely, blocks light from coming in depending on which setting it is on. If you hold a lens up to the light and move the aperture ring (or arm depending on your lens) you will see the aperture diaphragm opening up and closing down. That is your aperture.

Aperture is the hole that lets light into your lens.


Let’s say you want to take a photo of a tree, but the tree you want to photograph is surrounded by a bunch of other trees. How do you isolate the chosen tree from the others to draw the viewers eye to it? Simple. Just adjust your aperture. Look at the two photographs below. They were taken using Aperture Priority Mode, which locks your aperture to a setting that you control and automatically adjusts the ISO and shutter speed to get the proper exposure.

At f/4, a narrow aperture, the depth of field is shallow, effectively isolating the tree in the foreground
At f/22, a lot more of the trees are in focus, making it harder to decide which is the subject.


The F number (i.e. f/4, f/8, f/22, etc.) represents the ratio between the focal length of your lens and the diaphragm of your lens. But there’s no need to memorize any complicated formula. Just remember, the bigger your F number, the more depth of field you will have, even though it’s actually a smaller sized aperture opening. A wider aperture (small f number) lets in more light and results in a more shallow depth of field. Think of it this way:

“Say you have a horde of screaming tweens at a Justing Beiber concert trying to get backstage. If you only have 2.8 security guards holding them back, well, there’s a lot space in between them for those teeny boppers to get through, but if you have 22 guards holding rank, there’s a lot less space for those Beliebers to make it past.”

Justin Beiber, huh? Well, I like that analogy.

Here is another article that gives just a little bit more detail about how the aperture works depending on what lens you use. Check this out:

This article was written by Lee Johnson for PICTURE / CORRECT:

Depth of field is a photography term that refers to the selective focus of the camera lens along a certain plane. This creates a sharp focus for any objects at a specific distance from the lens, while objects further away from that specific distance become increasingly blurry. The more shallow your depth of field is, the more precise your focus becomes, thus leaving objects in front of or behind your subject more blurry. A deep depth of field is the opposite, and all objects are sharper.

Photo by Cam Miller; ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/100-second exposure.

There are four main factors that affect the depth of field:

  1. Format or frame size. The area of light captured by a camera (signified by the type of sensor in digital photography (i.e. 2/3 CCD, APS-C, etc.).
  2. Aperture. The lower the F-stop number, the more shallow your depth of field will be. Be aware that for video, you may need neutral density filters to help compensate. For still photography, you can usually compensate by increasing the shutter speed.
  3. Lens length (zoom). The longer your lens length (the closer you zoom in), the shallower your depth of field will be.
  4. Physical distance from the lens itself. The closer your subject is to the lens, the shallower your depth of field will be. This is because the depth of field is not linear and becomes more shallow quicker as you get closer to the lens. For example, if your subject is 10 meters away, objects at 15 meters away will appear sharper than objects 5 meters away, even though they are both 5 meters away from your focal point.

As you might guess from these factors, this makes getting clear pictures in macro photography very challenging.

Photo by Bernd Thaller; ISO 3200, f/18.0, 1/25-second exposure.

In macro photography, the lens is usually either very close to the subject, at a longer zoom length, or both. To mitigate this, there is a technique called “stacking,” in which a subject is shot from the same angle multiple times, each with a different focal point, and the images are digitally combined to create one smooth shot that’s completely in focus.

So, with all that information in mind, I hope you can take that and go practice with your DSLR, and discover what you can do with your aperture setting. It will amaze you. You too, will find joy in realizing how you can change the outcome of your photos.

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Here are some more creative ideas of how to use your aperture:

Photo by Valiphotos on

Photo by Renato Abati on

Photo by Alex Andrews on

Photo by Josh Sorenson on


Photos of the week: 9/5/2019, If you like thrill seeking places, and have the nerves of steel, then here are 20 locations that you should put on your bucket list. For you Halloween lovers, this might just be something to think about too. Check these photos out:

An eternally-burning pit in the middle of Turkmenistan. A church near Prague made out of human bones. A tiny village in Japan where life-sized dolls outnumber the residents nearly 10:1. We may live in a big, beautiful world, but our planet certainly has its fair share of terrifying and mysterious places—places just waiting for the next morbidly inclined traveler to come visit. From hell-themed amusement parks to islands covered with snakes, these are some of the scariest places in the world. Have you started packing your bags yet?

North Yungas Road, Bolivia
The path from La Paz to Coroico, Bolivia, is a treacherous one: The North Yungas Road weaves precariously through the Amazon rainforest at a height of more than 15,000 feet. When you consider that frightening elevation—not to mention the 12-foot-wide single lane, lack of guardrails, and limited visibility due to rain and fog—it’s easy to see why this 50-mile stretch of highway has earned the nickname “The Death Road.” While the North Yungas Road used to see some 200 to 300 annual deaths, it has now become more of a destination for adventurous mountain bikers than a vehicular thoroughfare.
Photo courtesy of Getty

Nagoro, Japan
Nagoro is a tiny Japanese village with one very notable feature: a life-sized doll population that outnumbers the human population nearly 10:1. The toy residents are the work of local Tsukimi Ayano, who began making doll replicas of her neighbors after they died or moved away. The eerie doppelgängers can be seen in various positions across the town—fishermen sitting on the riverbank, students filling entire classrooms, elderly couples resting on benches outside of buildings. There are now around 350 dolls and 27 breathing humans (the youngest is over the age of 50) in Nagoro, making it a quirky and somewhat terrifying toyland.
Photo courtesy of Getty

Hill of Crosses, Šiauliai, Lithuania
People have been placing crosses on this hill in northern Lithuania since the 14th century. In the benign, throughout the medieval period, the crosses expressed a desire for Lithuanian independence. Then, after a peasant uprising in 1831, people began adding to the site in remembrance of dead rebels. The hill became a place of defiance once again during Soviet occupation from 1944 to 1991. The hill and crosses were bulldozed by Soviets three times, but locals kept rebuilding it. There are now more than 100,000 crosses crowded there, clashing together in the breeze like eerie wind chimes.
Photo courtesy of Getty

Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
Despite its history and status as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Xochimilco is primarily known for its Isla de las Munecas, or “Island of the Dolls.” Hidden among the boroughs’s many canals, the tiny island is famous for the hundreds of dolls—and doll parts—hanging from trees and scattered among the grass. Although it looks more like a horror movie set than anything else, the chinampa (akin to an artificial island) used to be the actual residence of a now-deceased man named Julian Santa Barrera. After finding a dead girl’s body in a nearby canal, Barrera collected and displayed the toys in the hopes of warding off evil spirits. Daring souls can hire their own boat, try to convince the driver to pay it a visit, and view it safely from the water.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Taylor Glacier, Antarctica
It may look like a geological crime scene, but the five-story, crimson waterfall of Taylor Glacier (aka “Blood Falls”) is a completely natural wonder. The phenomenon can be traced back about five million years, when the glacier sealed off a microbe-rich lake beneath it. Isolated from light and oxygen, the water became more and more concentrated, both in terms of salt and iron content. The water’s salinity level (about three times saltier than the ocean) keeps it from freezing, while the iron provides the color. It then seeps out through a fissure in the glacier, and we get to witness the gory display.
Photo courtesy of Peter Rejcek / Wikimedia Commons

Centralia, Pennsylvania
From the late 1800s to the 1960s, Centralia was a quaint but bustling town in Pennsylvania, thanks to its prosperous coal mines. However, when a mine mysteriously caught fire in 1962, the flames began to spread underground via the interconnecting tunnels. Although the citizens were aware of the situation, they weren’t truly troubled until two isolated incidents some years later: a gas station owner reporting abnormally high gasoline temperatures in his underground tanks in 1979, and a young boy nearly falling into a 150-foot-deep sinkhole in his backyard in 1981. Since those disturbing occurrences, the town’s population decreased sharply. As of 2014 (the date of the most recent census), only seven residents remain, although Centralia seems like a complete ghost town upon visiting. If you ever find yourself in the deserted city, you’ll find many torn down buildings, crumbled sidewalks, and the cracked, graffiti-filled Route 61. And just in case you forgot why the town is deserted, you can occasionally see smoke billowing out from the subterranean fires, which scientists estimate will continue to burn for at least another 250 years.
Photo by: Getty

Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, Germany
If this old German hospital looks disturbing, well, it is. Between 1898 and 1930, the Beelitz-Heilstätten complex (a 50-minute drive south of Berlin) served as a tuberculosis sanatorium. It also housed mustard gas and machine gun victims during World War I, including a young soldier named Adolf Hitler, who had been wounded in the leg. The hospital later went on to be a major treatment center for Nazi soldiers during World War II, and it was used as a Soviet military hospital from 1945 until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, a few hospital wards are used as a neurological rehabilitation center, although the majority of the complex is abandoned. The surgery and psychiatric wards have both been left to decay and give way to nature (and vandals), and the result looks like something straight out of American Horror Story—definitely not an enjoyable day trip for the easily spooked.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Gomantong Caves, Sabah, Malaysia
The Gomantong Caves in Malaysia are geographical wonders, with limestone walls reaching up to 300 feet in some spots, but visitors often leave the site describing it as one of the most disgusting wildlife experiences they’ve ever had. First things first, Gomantong is home to more than two million bats, which leads to impossibly thick layers of guano (otherwise known as bat poop) covering the ground. And don’t even think about slipping, because the handrails are just as filthy as the floor. If you can make it through the river of bat droppings, you’ll then encounter several million Malaysian cockroaches scurrying around. Wherever the guano is, that’s where the cockroaches will be (read: everywhere). Finally, if you get past the bat smells and cockroaches crawling up your legs, there are several other wonderful creatures you just might happen upon, including snakes, scorpions, freshwater crabs, and the infamous giant scutigera centipedes—poisonous critters that are at least three inches long.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

EWWW !!! That last one was Ewww !

Christ of the Abyss, San Fruttuoso, Italy
Although there are several versions of the same Jesus statue scattered around the ocean floor (including Key Largo, pictured), the original version is located in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of San Fruttuoso. The eight-foot-tall likeness was commissioned by Italian diver Duilio Marcante in 1954. Marcante wanted to place some sort of memorial at the exact spot where his friend Dario Gonzatti died while diving a few years prior. And thus, Christ of the Abyss was born. The result is vaguely spooky, especially with the deity’s outreached arms and upward gaze. The algae and corrosion only add to the effect, although the statue was removed from its watery home in 2003 for some much-needed restoration (including replacing a hand that a rogue anchor had broken off). Regardless of whether you find the monument eerie or beautiful (or both), it’s certainly worth taking a 55-foot-dive down to snap an underwater selfie with Jesus.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Pripyat, Ukraine
If there was ever a poster child for eerily abandoned places around the world, then it would have to be Pripyat. Established in 1970, the city had reached a population of nearly 50,000 by the time it was entirely evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Pripyat has remained an uninhabited city since the evacuation, although the buildings, furniture, and all other signs of life are exactly where its former citizens left them. Weathered books can be found in classrooms, decaying dolls lie abandoned in cribs, and photographs are still in their original frames. The most famous landmark is the Pripyat amusement park’s ferris wheel—a skeletal reminder of what used to be. And now, following the airing of HBO’s Chernobyl series, Ukraine’s government has announced that the site will become an official tourist attraction.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Hanging Coffins, Sagada, Philippines
If you want to visit the dead in Sagada, you’ll have to look up—rather than six feet under. The people of this region are known for burying their dead in coffins attached to the sides of cliffs, like an aerial cross-section of your average cemetery. The tradition goes back thousands of years: carve out your own coffin, die, and get hoisted up next to your ancestors. Many of the cliffside coffins are hundreds of years old and all look completely different, as they were specially made by the person who now rests inside of them.
photo courtesy of Getty

The Door to Hell, Derweze, Turkmenistan
While Joss Whedon led us to believe that the entrance to hell could be found in Sunnydale, California, he was actually some 7,500 miles off. Located in the middle of the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan is the “Door to Hell,” a name locals gave to a 230-foot-wide crater that simply won’t stop burning. When Soviet scientists began searching for oil back in 1971, they accidentally hit a methane reserve and the drilling platform collapsed, forming the crater and releasing dangerous gas into the air. The scientists decided to light the crater on fire to burn off the methane, creating a Dante-esque anomaly that has remained lit for the past 40-plus years.
Photo by Getty

Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy
Of all the catacombs in the world, from Salzburg to Paris, none are quite as creepy as Sicily’s Catacombe dei Cappucini (Capuchin Catacombs). The macabre space was created back in the late 16th century when the cemetery at the Capuchin monastery became overrun. Religious men were originally intended to be the exclusive residents, but once word got out about the natural mummification processes occurring in the space, it soon became a status symbol for local citizens to earn a final resting spot there (in their best clothing, of course). As a result, the underground tombs now contain around 8,000 bodies divided into separate corridors, including one for religious figures, one for professional men, one for children, and even one for virgins. The corpses are displayed like a museum exhibit, dressed to the nines and arranged in grotesquely lifelike posts. Sound like fun?
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Snake Island, São Paulo, Brazil
Located about 90 miles off the coast of São Paulo, Ilha de Queimada Grande (also known as Snake Island) is one of the most dangerous islands in the entire world. The site earned its moniker due to its insanely high density of golden lancehead vipers; some studies report an average of one to five snakes per square meter. When sea levels rose some 11,000 years ago and separated Snake Island from mainland Brazil, the newly isolated snakes became hyper evolved—and hyper terrifying—to adapt to their changing environment. Without any ground-level prey on the island, the snakes learned to hunt in the treetops and strike at birds from the air. And because they couldn’t track down the birds and wait for the poison to kick in, their venom adapted to become five times stronger than that of their mainland counterparts—capable of killing their prey instantly, as well as melting human flesh. Because of their potency, the Brazilian government bans the public from ever setting foot on the island (as if you would want to).
Photo by John Mark Rose

Sedlec Ossuary, Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
The incredible Sedlec Ossuary is a small chapel located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, known worldwide for its macabre decor. Back in the early 1300s, an abbot of the Sedlec Monastery brought back holy soil from Jerusalem and scattered it across the church’s cemetery, and suddenly everyone wanted to be buried in that sacred ground. But overpopulation kicked in and the old bodies had to be dug up to make room for fresh corpses. In true “waste not, want not” fashion, the abbots decided to put the exhumed bones to good use. A local Czech woodcarver named František Rint was given the daunting task of arranging the collection of more than 40,000 human remains in a visually impressive way—and he clearly delivered. The bony structures include four candelabras, a family crest, and several streamers of bones cascading down from the ceiling. The most stunning display is probably the church’s massive chandelier, which contains almost every bone found in the human body (plus some creepy cherubs for good measure).
Photo by Alamy

Kawah Ijen Volcano, Java, Indonesia
The Kawah Injen volcano in Indonesia is equal parts terrifying and spectacular. The Java peak has abnormal amounts of sulfuric gases that reach temperatures of more than 1,000°F and combust as they seep through the cracks and come in contact with the air (terrifying). The gases sometimes condense into liquid sulfur, which then takes on an otherworldly shade of blue and flows down the volcano like lava (spectacular). While the beautiful lights can only be seen in the dark, Kawah Ijen’s sulfur burns at all hours. As a result, the surrounding air is filled with sulfur dioxide, and the adjacent crater lake has turned green from hydrochloric acid saturation.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Haw Par Villa, Singapore
Haw Par Villa is a 82-year-old theme park located in Singapore—and it’s pretty much the polar opposite of Disneyland. Its colorful entrance of Chinese arches seems innocuous enough, but then you actually step inside and see that Haw Par Villa is covered with more than 1,000 statues, each stranger than the last (yes, it gets stranger than a human head on a giant crab). The underworld-themed Ten Courts of Hell is the main feature of Haw Par Villa. Intended as a way to teach young children about morality, the dioramas portray severe modes of punishment, accompanied by a placard explaining the sin that warranted such lashings. You’ll find people getting cut in half by a giant saw (crime: “misuse of books”), dismembered (crime: cheating on examinations), or thrown onto a hill of knives (crime: lending money with exorbitant interest rates).
Photo by: Neil Setchfield / Alamy

The Great Blue Hole, Belize
Located about 60 miles off the coast of Belize, the Lighthouse Reef boasts beautiful coral and shallow turquoise waters… oh, and a vertical drop that’s more than 400 feet deep. Meet the Great Blue Hole, a 1,000-foot-wide, perfectly circular sinkhole in the middle of the atoll. Divers flock to the site to witness the unique geology, which includes massive underwater stalactites and stalagmites that formed during the last glacial period. The limestone shelf surrounding the vertical cave sits about 40 feet below the surface, and then it’s a straight jump down into the unknown. The further down divers go, the clearer and more beautiful the rock formations supposedly become. To appreciate how fully bone-chilling this experience is, check out the viral video of world champion Guillaume Nery free-diving straight down into the Blue Hole.
Photo courtesy of Alamy

Aokigahara Forest, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
This seemingly serene forest at the bottom of Mount Fuji has an extremely tormented history. Colloquially known as “Suicide Forest,” Aokigahara is the world’s second-most popular site for suicides (after the Golden Gate Bridge)—in 2010 alone, 247 people attempted to take their own lives here, and 54 of them were successful. Some blame this phenomena on the forest’s association with demons in Japanese mythology. Others point towards the density of the trees, which muffles sound and makes it extremely easy to get lost. Many hikers even mark their path with tape or string to make it easier to find their way back out again. This, combined with the sprinkling of clothing and letters throughout the labyrinthine woods, gives Aokigahara a terrifying Blair-Witch–meets–Palace-of-Knossos vibe that will chill you to your bones.
Photo by: Robert Gilhooly / Alamy

Veijo Rönkkönen Sculpture Garden, Parikkala, Finland
Veijo Rönkkönen was one of the most famous contemporary folk artists in Finland during his lifetime, but he was also a recluse, refusing to showcase his pieces in public spaces. Instead, he built his collection of nearly 500 concrete figures in his backyard, forming his own personal sculpture garden in the process. The biggest display on the grounds is a group of around 200 statues arranged in a variety of yoga poses. While there’s something obviously unsettling about the sculptures (supposedly all self-portraits), they are nowhere close to being the most sinister items in the garden: Rönkkönen’s collection features an array of creepy individual statues, from a nun lurking behind bushes to a cloaked man with long, outstretched arms. The malevolent grins (accessorized with real human teeth) and black, sunken eyes of these figures are exactly what the doctor ordered…provided you have a desire to never sleep peacefully again.
Photo by: Esa Hiltula

Provided this article and it was put together with the aid of :  Caitlin Morton . And was first shown on the internet on MSN / Travel

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