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Exploring Time

This assignment ran from Nov 20 to Dec 11, 2017.

Photographs have a special relationship with time. The very process of making an image involves time exposures of shorter or longer durations – and the end result is a moment of time. For this Your Shot assignment we want you to delve into describing the idea or concept of time. We are looking for images that encapsulate time, defining what a particular hour of the day looks like, tells a story about time, or captures a moment of time that clearly shows what life looks like at - say midnight, or 5:00AM, or noon. With clarity, coherence, and a point of view, show us a segment of life that defines a specific time, in the cycle of a 24-hour day.

The goal of this assignment is to publish a final story, with a full 24 hours in the life of our Your Shot community. What moment, scene, or activity tells us what a particular hour of the day look like? How do you frame it, what details are important to include?

The published story will start with an image taken at midnight, and then show different hours throughout the day and world in our photo community. Like the assignments we do as photographers for National Geographic, our editors expect the end results to startle and surprise them – we are hoping for the same. Dazzle us with your creativity and the visualization of time.

We want you to explore different landscapes and how they appear during the golden hour of sunset or during the early morning sunrise. Watch how the light shifts during different times of the day and explore new angles and perspectives to show us views we have not seen before. As you’re out capturing these moments remember to take note of the exact time the photo was taken as well as the location, and add this information to your caption. 

Deadline for submissions is Monday, December 11th at 12:00 pm EST.

This assignment was inspired by our enhanced partnership with Rolex. The partnership promotes exploration and conservation. The organizations, with more than 200 years of combined experience supporting expeditions, are again joining forces to support pioneering explorers and nurture their successors in efforts to safeguard the Earth's oceans, poles and mountains for the benefit of future generations.

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

Curated by:

Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
National Geographic Photographers
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 Jan 18, 2018.
Thank you for your contributions!

One more submission.

Posted dec 7, 2017

Hello Your Shot!

A fourth submission is being allowed for this assignment! Make it count! Try and think of a time when not many people might be photographing. Is it 3am? 4am? Or maybe 2:30pm! 

Editor's Update #2

Posted dec 6, 2017

We want to thank everyone for such incredible and overwhelming contributions to the “Exploring Time” assignment. It’s great to see that you are taking so many different and interesting approaches to interpreting this theme. We wanted to share some thoughts about what we might be looking for in our final edit - as we head into the last few days of the assignment.

Please think about what elements you include in your images that help convey a narrative about “time.” Is there some activity (or lack of human activity) in a particular place or landscape, which clearly conveys time - without relying on a clock in the frame of your photograph. Also, keep in mind the published story will explore a complete time cycle over a 24-hour period. If you look at what we have included in favorites so far, you may find some time slots in the day that do not yet have images selected - and that gives you an opportunity to go out and photograph something new. Hint - that’s probably NOT sunrise or sunset.

What we would like to see you do, in these last few days, is go out with your camera – and think about “time.” Push yourselves to a new level, and make some truly amazing pictures. And don’t forget to include a note about the time when your image was made!

Diane Cook & Len Jenshel

National Geographic Photographers

Editor's Update #1

Posted nov 20, 2017

Please make sure to include what time the image was taken and where the location was in your caption. One rule to consider, no watches can be in the frame, but we will allow clocks to be included as one of the elements in the photograph.

Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

National Geographic Photographers
Diane Cook and Len Jenshel are two of America's foremost landscape photographers, exploring issues of beauty, boundary, culture, and the control of nature. They were married in 1983 and began collaborating in 1990. They have worked for many magazines, published numerous books, and are the recipients of many prestigious awards and grants. Their work has been exhibited internationally in one-person shows and is represented in over a hundred major collections worldwide. They are currently contributing photographers to National Geographic, covering landscape and the environment. Recent stories have covered green roofs, New York's High Line, Night Gardens, Tumbleweeds, and The Wisdom of Trees.Their latest book Wise Trees was published in October 2017.