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Adventures in the City

This assignment ran from Oct 8 to Oct 29, 2018.

When you first think of exploration, you might think of going to an exotic location, mountain climbing, hikes through a dense forest, or underwater exploration. But exploring doesn’t have to be quite so extreme, it can take place a lot closer to home. In every city, there are countless things to explore and photograph. Full of vibrant life, buildings, parks, art, neighborhoods and it's people, cities offer a myriad of unique routes to explore. Show us what’s hiding down that back alley, waiting to be discovered in your local market district, or sitting right under your nose in your neighborhood park. Following your curiosity can lead to countless photographic opportunities and a richer understanding of your surroundings and maybe even of yourself.

This assignment asks you, our Your shot community, to take us on an exploration of your local city and document it in pictures as if you were doing so for National Geographic Magazine. We are empowering you to go in search of explorations that are meaningful to you. Tell the story of your exploration, with scene setting landscapes, intimate details, and portraits filled with personality. Feature the weather in your images – did you know bad weather makes great photos?! Use the depth provided by wide angle lenses to pull us into your frames, and the compression of telephoto lenses to isolate patterns, or to juxtapose contrasting elements. Shoot fleeting moments, not static scenes. Think of your frames as vibrant, moving paintings that you’re freezing and isolating with your camera to show us the vibrancy and action of your city. 

Hopefully we have sparked your curiosity, a reminder that you don’t need to be doing an extreme sport to be part of an adventure. An adventure is a state of mind, it’s a moment that you remember forever and you can find those moments in cities across the world! Now take that inspiration and go find your own adventure near you! Dive in, immerse, anticipate, reveal! Exploration is all around you, no matter where you are!

In return for the Sponsor's support of this Assignment, National Geographic may provide images from the Assignment to the Sponsor, The North Face, for use on its website, social media platforms, and other outlets to promote and publicize the Assignment.

Curated by:

Renan Ozturk
National Geographic Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Nov 15, 2018.
Thank you for your contributions!

Editor's Update #2

Posted oct 24, 2018

Hello fellow urban photo-explorers!

First, I have to say how impressed I am by the overall quality of submissions for this assignment. I wish I could leave an editor's note on every image submitted, but the assignment would be long over by the time I was able to complete that task.

A few ideas to think about while you continue to shoot and submit:

Famed photojournalist Robert Capa said, ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” All photographers, myself included, should keep this prescription in mind at all times. Getting close emphasizes emotion, action, and texture. Nothing pulls in the viewer as much as the feeling that you’re part of the action, because the photographer put you there.

With the proliferation of high quality zooms and telephotos, we’re all tempted to create urban pastiches where we compress the space, and record details from far away that allow for artistic and graphic compositions and images. But urban landscapes are all about the spaces created by buildings, public spaces, alleys, corners, intersections, etc. and these spaces are often best captured using wide angle lenses that really emphasize the three-dimensional depths of those landscapes. By including elements both close and far away, and by combining those elements in interesting and exciting ways, again you pull in the viewer, rather than distancing them as you do with longer lenses. Go deep!

And lastly, always keep in mind that what distinguishes photography from other art forms is its ability to capture moments that will never come again. The photographs we find most magical are those that capture ineffable moments, because there’s an instinctive sense in the viewer that you’re seeing something that may never happen again. It’s why landscapes without clouds always seem to lack something, and landscapes with dramatic weather always impress — the former has no sense of moment, the latter is all about the moment. That sense of fleeting time is crucial to good photography!

Looking forward to seeing many more amazing pictures from you in the next 4 days of the assignment!


Renan Ozturk

National Geographic Photographer 

Q&A with Renan Ozturk

Posted oct 23, 2018

Hello everyone! For the next 48 hours, assignment editor Renan Ozturk will be taking your questions. Feel free ask whatever you would like on this discussion board post.

This Q&A with Renan Ozturk is Sponsored by The North Face.

Renan Ozturk

Renan Ozturk

National Geographic Photographer
Renan Ozturk is a National Geographic Photographer, team climber for The North Face, Camp 4 Collective founding filmmaker and landscape artist at heart. Renan has been published in National Geographic Magazine for capturing images of expedition climbing adventures as well as covering assignments involving cultural immersion.