Tomorrow, in many markets in the United States—and later in the week in other markets—Public Broadcasting will air "National Geographic Magazine's Top 10 Photos of the Year." You can see JPEGs of the ten pictures here.
Here are some excerpts from the official write-up:
In 2009, National Geographic’s photographers took more than one million images from which only 1,000 could be published in the magazine. From 1,000, these 10 were singled out for lasting significance.
National Geographic magazine's Top 10 Photos of the Year presents a countdown to the magazine’s best image from 2009, chosen by National Geographic magazine editor in chief Chris Johns from his list of the 10 best photographs published in the magazine last year. The photos cover a broad range of subject matter, from unexplored caves and endangered freshwater dolphins to the global food crisis and vanishing cultures.
The top 10 images were taken by:
Kevin Schafer, who struggled with the murky, tannic waters of the Amazon River for his first National Geographic magazine assignment.
Fritz Hoffman, who dangled from a cable over the raging Nu River in China as villagers crossed on a zip line to take animals to market on the other side.
Amy Toensing, who, documenting the drought in Southwestern Australia, describes how her picture came together almost by accident as she followed a family through the parched landscape of what had once been a thriving farm.
Stephen Alvarez, who explains how he illuminates pitch-black underground caves to expose them in a way that has truly never been seen before.
Martin Schoeller, who typically shoots portraits of celebrities like Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie, photographed the Hadza, a vanishing culture in Tanzania. He shipped a complete studio to the African bush with lights and generators to capture this series of intimate, searing portraits.
Randy Olson, who used a computer to control an underwater camera trained on a grizzly bear in Kamchatka, Russia.
John Stanmeyer, who usually covers wars, international conflict and social injustice, traveled to nine countries for a story about the global food crisis.
James Nachtwey, who has a similar beat to Stanmeyer’s, spent several months in Indonesia covering the many faces of Islam in a nation that is home to more Muslims than anywhere else in the world.
Len Jenshel and Diane Cook, a husband-and-wife photographer team, battled time and weather to make a photograph of a rooftop garden on Chicago’s City Hall.
Michael “Nick” Nichols, National Geographic magazine’s editor at large, was ranked No. 1 of the top 10 with his photograph of a giant redwood tree. He talks vividly on camera about how it took nearly a year to complete the photograph and how it almost drove him to the brink. Using gyroscopes, dollies and computers, Nichols and his team made a seamless top-to-bottom photograph of a 300-foot redwood tree, the first in history.
Sounds interesting—I'm going to try to catch it. If you've never seen Nick Nichols' redwood picture from the October, 2009 issue...well, you still won't, because even the fold-out in the magazine was but a small representation, and a JPEG or a TV image are going to be even more inadequate. But it's a remarkable project and one that I imagine is going to be well worth hearing about.
Check your local listings for scheduling in your area.
(Thanks to Dan Carnagey)
Featured Comment by emptyspaces: "The redwood photo was reproduced three stories high and hung on a downtown building here in Charlottesville, Virginia, for a month—quite a nice way to view it. I count myself as lucky. It's impressive work, and an amazing print as well."
Featured Comment by Helcio J. Tagliolatto: "Two notes on the dolphin image:
1. That tea colored water is not from the Amazon River, but from Rio Negro (Black River);
2. The real color of those botos are not pale gray...but always pale red or pink. The pale gray are the very common 'gray botos,' a different shaped dolphin, more akin to ocean dolphins.
Anyone who have ever photographed those red botos in Rio Negro knows that the NG photo is a very hard image to make.