January 9th, 2015

National Geographic’s Photo Engineering at Work

Striving for new and unusual ways to photograph subjects from land, sea, and air, National Geographic photographers often turn for technical assistance to NG photo engineers Kenji Yamaguchi and David Mathews. The two men, who are the subjects of an article in January PDN and now on PDN online, devise ingenious tools for making pictures that would otherwise be too dangerous or difficult for photographers to make. ““These guys are the unsung heroes of the Geographic,” says long-time contributor George Steinmetz.

Yamaguchi and Mathews worked behind the scenes on Nick Nichols’s Serengeti lions project, Steve Winter’s snow leopards project, and various projects by underwater photographer David Doubilet, to name just a few examples. Here are some videos that show their technical ingenuity in action:


Nick Nichols and his assistant, Nathan Williamson, at work on the Serengeti lions project with a robotic camera tank and a camera drone.


Steve Winter explains how he used camera traps to photograph a mountain lion at night under the Hollywood sign.


The Photo Engineering department faces possible budget cuts, but National Geographic recently profiled of Kenji Yamaguchi, with this video showing him at work in the publisher’s Photo Engineering lab.


Addition videos on National Geographic’s web site:

Steve Winter describes his 2008 snow leopard project in northern India. Scenes of Winter setting up remote cameras and strobes on snow leopard trails start at 2:47.

An encounter, narrated by Steve Winter, between a tiger and a robotic camera vehicle developed by NG Photo Engineering.

Scenes from the sinking of a ship for the creation of an artificial reef, featuring David Doubilet’s remote camera images from the ship’s deck as engineers set explosive charges, then detonated them. Remote camera images begin at 1:21.

Related Article:
The Technical Ingenuity of National Geographic’s Photo Engineering Department

February 18th, 2014

Daniel Berehulak Named 2014 POYi Freelance Photographer of the Year

©Daniel Berehulak from his project "Maha Kumbh Mela"

©Daniel Berehulak from his project “Maha Kumbh Mela”

Daniel Berehulak has been named Photographer of the Year–Freelance at the 2014 Pictures of the Year International Competition. Berehulak, who is based in New Delhi, India, won the honor for a portfolio that includes stories about malnutrition and drug addiction in Afghanistan, the Hindu pilgrimage Maha Kumbh Mela, and celebrations by South Africans of Nelson Mandela just after his death last December.

The prize, which was decided yesterday and announced today, were part of the Reportage Division of the POYi competition. Yesterday, POYi announced on its web site that Annalisa Natali Murri won the Community Awareness Award her project “Len’s Daughters,” about women still struggling to survive after a massive earthquake in Armenia in 1988. Robin Hammond won the World Understanding Award for his project “Condemned,” about the neglect and abuse of the mentally ill in war-torn African countries.

PDN posted a story yesterday identifying other winners of Reportage Division categories.

Jurors for the Reportage Division included Danny Wilcox Frazier, Renée C. Byer, Richard Cahan, and Lara Solt.

Judging of POYi’s Editing Division entries began today. Multimedia Division judging begins on Saturday.

Related articles:

Robin Hammond Wins 2014 POYi World Understanding Award

Robin Hammond Wins $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant (subscription required)

National Geographic Experiments with a New Form of Digital Storytelling
(Nick Nichols’ Serengeti Lions)

Barbara Davidson Names 2014 POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

Patrick Smith Named POYi’s 2014 Sports Photographer of the Year