From a charging buffalo to an erupting volcanoa€”see the winning pictures of the 2010 National Geographic Photo Contest.
A canceled trek turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for photographer Aaron Lim Boon Teck, who captured an active Indonesian volcano in his image "Eruption of Gunung Rinjani.""Trekkers [who] were able to make it up to the crater rim on time [were] able to camp overnight to witness the eruption [the] whole night long," Boon Teck, of Singapore, wrote with his submission to the 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest.
Scientists who filmed the rare spider-tailed viper in the wild have unlocked the secret of its bizarre tail. Tiger range countries are on their way to their goal of doubling the animal's population, but challenges remain. NG Kids My Shot is a moderated community where young photographers can tell their stories through pictures. National Geographic Young Explorer and wildlife photographer Nansen Weber has been going to the same party for 16 years and it never gets old. The best part of my job as a photographer for National Geographic is meeting wonderful people along they way, like the Salt Lake Unified Authority fire crew.
McKay DeGering, 21, a chain saw operator (sawyer) on the Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority crew at the Fork Complex fires near Hayfork, California. I asked Zach VanDyke, a pre-school teacher who was acting as a lookout for his crew’s burnout operation, why he returned for this, his fifth wildfire season. The Salt Lake crew worked on the wildfires with nearly 50 Los Angeles structure firefighters.
The group from Los Angeles included the higher ranks of captains and battalion chiefs, yet they turned themselves into students, learning from the Salt Lake crew about how to prep line, perform burnouts, hold line, and chase spots. Pizza was brought out to the fire line by Los Angeles City fire department members as a thank you to the Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority crew.
On the last day, Cody Werder, a Los Angeles city firefighter said, “We have a new appreciation for how hard these handcrews work.
You are the best thank you guys, for such incredible job, risking your lives for us … much appreciation goes to you. A beautiful article and photos, you indeed can see it in their eyes, locked in and on their game and so young, really incredible.
We had the honor and privilege to have a LAFD crew here on our ranch the past few days protecting us and going into the fire lines to do the wild land firefighting they just learned. Cal Fire firefighters, pilots, inmate crews, dozer operators, National Guard on the ground and in the air, city and county firefighters from around our state and country, private fire crews and dozer crews, support crews giving their all for us and away from their families for weeks at a time, we are in awe of them and so very grateful that they are who they are. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for saving our historic ranch, Williams Ranch, and our neighbors and the forest around us, you are all the best humanity has to offer in such dangerous and trying circumstances. Thank you to Trevor, Mark, Jeff, Chris, Roy, Dan, everyone involved for your heroism under fire, we’ll never forget you and your courage and compassion. Thank you also to the parents of these brave firefighters for lending them to us for awhile, you should be so very proud of the young men and women that you have raised. The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department, and the people they proudly serve, remain indebted to the Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority crew mentioned in this story, and all who have so generously guided and inspired LAFD responders and others from across North America, as we worked together against Mother Nature’s fury at the Fork Complex wildfires.
One of the best jobs for someone with an adventurous spirit and a love of a hard day’s work well done. Just want to give a shout out to all you firefighters busting your butts working to keep others safe !!! Mark, what an honor it is for me to see where you are now and your wonderful photos of those brave firefighters. I know Mason Lisonbee and he is a fine young man who puts his life on the line for our safety.
Thank you Mark for capturing the endurance, difficulty, and bravery that wildland firefighting requires of an individual.
What’s left unsaid about how difficult what these guys do is how bloody HOT it is where they are working. Thanks for re-posting that link Lynn – Mark does have amazing action photos from the fires on our News story. Mark, great job on the insight and dedication you give on a profession that many of us love and few understand.

As a contributor to National Geographic for more than 16 years, Maria Stenzel has covered a wide variety of assignments, documenting indigenous groups from the rain forest to the Arctic, dinosaur digs in Madagascar, and Inca mummies high in the Andes.But like most National Geographic photographers, there's one region of the world that keeps calling her back.
Subscribe to National Geographic magazine and save. Print and digital editions available for as little as $12. Each summer for about a month, thousands of beluga whales congregate in Cunningham Inlet, a part of Canada's Somerset Island. National Geographic photographer Mark Thiessen embedded with one team fighting a group of fires called the Fork Complex near Hayfork, California.
We don’t claim to be hotshots, but we try to bring our caliber of work to that level,” says Mike DeGering, the crew’s foreman and a full-time structure firefighter. The group includes crews from Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority and the Hayfork Fire Dept. On the final day, as a thank you, Dameron bought 25 pizzas and had them brought to the fireline. They had battled the Fork Complex fires near near Hayfork, California, for three weeks with no time off.
I am curious as to why there are never any photos of heavy equipment operators on the fire lines? I had the pleasure of working with Mark at the Statesman in Boise and covered lots of cool stories … I remember that he was so impressed with the toughness and grit of firefighters … That is definitely captured in these portraits! We can assure you that every lesson learned in the heat of battle will be taken back to communities like Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, where they will be put to use on a daily basis in protecting humanity from the oft unpredictable forces of man and nature.
Food never tastes so good and sleep is never quite as sound as on a wildland fire assignment.
I just wanted to say thank you to these men a million times for putting your life on the line to keep us safe! As a former firefighter, this brought back great memories of wildland fires and the guys that I was able to work with. My son Adam Myers is fighting the Fork Complex fire in Hayfork, and your pictures capture a story that I only could understand through seeing it with my eyes. But why did editors choose only portraits and no shots of these wildland firefighters at work?
Two of my sons, Michael and McKay DeGering, just returned after 21 days on the line of the fire you reported on.
Thank you for sharing with the world the difficult and dangerous work these men and women have done.
For Stenzel, that place is Antarctica and its frozen underworld of big seas, icebergs, sea ice, and the largest concentration of wildlife on Earth—not to mention the world's largest icecap.Her Antarctic work began in 1995 with a voyage by icebreaker to study the winter sea ice of the Southern Ocean with a team of scientists from the National Science Foundation. Here, he shares his portraits of the Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority crew and his first-person account of working with them. DeGering spends his summers helping lead the team—which includes his brother McKay (pictured above.) “I’m not out here to be a hot shot crew or a smokejumper. Probably the one and only time the Salt Lake crew will ever have a pizza party on the line. Good times and highly recommended for anyone 18-35 looking for an awesome summer experience with decent pay and priceless memories. They dedicate themselves to the greater good, putting their own lives at risk to answer the call of people in need. Be safe, Mark, and all the rest of you incredibly courageous, indefatigable heroes of the forest. We were watching the planes drop water and retardant on the Peak Fire in the Fork Complex last week & it was only because of your hard work that the Peak fire didn’t creep on up our road!
The crew comrarderie can not be beaten, the hard work, fun, danger, thrill and exhaustion is unmeasurable. And it’s a fact that the Salt Lake crews are some of the most respected crews that fight wildland fires. I am proud of my sons and the crews that sacrifice their summers to serve in these vital roles.

More projects have followed—the ice-free Dry Valleys, Sir Earnest Shackleton's heroic journey across South Georgia, a survey of scientific research in Antarctica, and the South Sandwich Islands.Stenzel grew up in Ghana, the Netherlands, and New York. The Salt Lake team is type two, called an initial attack handcrew, but they may as well be on top. When their services weren’t needed anymore they were going to be sent home, but Walter quickly grabbed them up. The crew is every bit as hard working and professional as the best hotshot crews I’ve worked with.
I’m hoping NATGEO, that you contact me so that we figure out how to make this happen.
Armed with a bachelor's degree in American Studies from the University of Virginia, she personified a typical liberal arts student—interested in everything and qualified in nothing. They're enjoying the warmer water of the Cunningham River, which can be 8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the ocean and that's like a bathtub when you're swimming in 1 degree Fahrenheit water all the time," Weber says, describing the yearly scene.The belugas don't seem to mind that Weber is crashing their party.
I was all over the west on fires, and I have to be honest, I saw some of the most beautiful country and Mother Nature in full on raging inferno. An entry-level job at National Geographic introduced her to the world of photojournalism, and she has been on that journey ever since. In fact, Weber has spent so much time photographing the whales that they've come to know and trust him, swimming within feet of him and allowing him to get amazing close-ups.
Using a drone, Weber has also captured mesmerizing aerial footage of the epic beluga parties, stunning footage of polar bears swimming in icy blue waters, and the harsh but awe-inspiring Arctic landscape.
Weber has no shortage of gorgeous footage from the ground, including head-butting musk ox and playful Arctic fox pups. Check out the video to see Weber's striking images.While Weber has been fortunate enough to witness the massive beluga whale congregation for nearly two decades, he worries that future gatherings are numbered. Climate change has compromised wildlife habitats and is breaking up ice in the Northwest Passage, allowing more ship traffic through. Therea€™s new birds that are migrating up north that I haven't seen before, there's mosquitoes now where there shouldn't be mosquitoes, the ice patterns and weather patterns are all weird.
It's kind of a dilemma that's always there in the back of your head while you're enjoying the beluga whale spectacle in front of you," Weber says.This dilemma inspired Weber to take photos of the beluga whales not just for the sake of beauty or awe but to help protect the species as part of a National Geographic grant. My work is contributing to a beluga whale photo ID program that will allow scientists to understand which whales are coming in and out of the bay, which whales come back year after year, how long the whales stay, and it is the base for any scientific work that has to be done in Cunningham Inlet." Weber's photos can help shed light on how increased ship traffic may be disrupting the beluga whale population's migratory routes, he says. I mean, we have polar bears, there's narwhals and bowheads along the Northwest Passage, arctic char that run in the rivers. Inland you have the musk ox, the caribou that graze, all the migratory birds that fly up every summer to enjoy the short arctic summer, the snowy owls, the falcons.
You'd see the polar bears dive down, rip these huge chunks of blubber out of this rotten whale.
Every day I'm out there photographing is such a great privilege."Weber hopes the inspiration he feels in the Arctic will be felt by others who view his images. People don't get to see beluga whales or polar bears every day, but they all should know that the Arctic is such an important part of our environment, and we need to protect it.
Hopefully through watching these drone videos of beluga whales, people can say 'Wow, this is such an amazing place. We definitely need to keep this safe.'"Weber's family operates the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, where he also serves as an Arctic guide. To see another National Geographic grantee who makes the Arctic his "office," check out Best Job Ever: Traversing Glaciers featuring polar explorer BA?rge Ousland.

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