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Saving Our Oceans

This assignment ran from Feb 20 to Mar 20, 2017.

As National Geographic was preparing a series of articles in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service we realized that we had an opportunity to bring America's best idea to where it is most urgently needed - our waters. Past anniversaries of the National Parks have led to expansions of the parks system so we thought a story that highlighted marine protected areas – as well as areas worthy of protection – might do the same for expanding ocean parks.

Why? Well, our nation is blue. More than 50% of the contiguous U.S. is under water. Over half of us live within 100 miles of the coast with nearly 39% living in coastal counties. Healthy ecosystems are needed to support fishermen, tourism, and other local businesses. Like our terrestrial parks, oceans and lakes support communities in countless ways. And, fully protected marine areas are proven to combat threats to ocean health. Yet there are no fully protected marine reserves anywhere in the continental U.S. or Alaska. Our only comprehensive ocean protection is currently in the remote Pacific and Hawaii.

Of course, the need for expanded protection for marine ecosystems goes beyond U.S. waters. Conservationists have called for a goal of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2020. It is a challenge, to be sure, but a worthy one. National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry and I would like to know what the oceans mean to you – how you have celebrated the beauty, the power and the wonder of being in and on the water.

This Your Shot assignment is a call to produce photographs of special underwater places that are worth protecting. While it can be argued that all underwater places are worthy of conservation, we are seeking images that bring the viewer into a special ecosystem or marine habitat and the reasons why you feel strongly about this place. Please make sure in your caption information to let us know where the image was taken and why you feel this area should be protected.

Submission deadline is March 20, 2017 at 12PM EST.

Curated by:

Brian Skerry
National Geographic Photographer

Kathy Moran
National Geographic Senior Photo Editor
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

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  • Published

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Published Apr 3, 2017.
Thank you for your contributions!

In Case You Missed It: Underwater Beauty assignment

Posted apr 13, 2018

In case you missed it, Your Shot is currently running an “Underwater Beauty” assignment curated by photographer and filmmaker Michaela Skovranova. As the producer for this assignment, the submissions are inspiring me to try underwater photography. Even though I am exploring the Earth as I curate my “While on a Walk…” assignment, I love finding myself transported to another world as I look at your submissions. I love how peaceful it is. I love how seeing underwater beauty makes me feel.

This assignment is tougher — and I knew it would be. Not everyone in our community is an underwater photographer, so if you are reading this Editor’s Update, this assignment is for you because you have already participated in our previous underwater assignment. I love Michaela’s work, and I wanted to inspire you. If you haven’t checked out her work, please do. For example, watch her showreel. I just find her work magical.

We are opening the assignment for a fourth submission because we want to see more underwater beauty through your eyes. And because I want to keep being inspired by you. Submission deadline is Wednesday April 18th at 12PM EST.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

"Underwater Beauty" assignment

Posted apr 2, 2018

Hi everyone — In case you missed it, we have launched a new assignment called “Underwater Beauty” which is curated by photographer and filmmaker Michaela Skovranova. Her portfolio is breathtaking, so magical. Every time I look at her work, I just want to jump into the water and disappear into another world. She also has a wonderful blog ("Ocean Wanderings") about pursuing underwater photography. If I didn’t have this job, I would definitely be considering it. Michaela is just that inspiring for me.

On a side note, I am also curating an assignment called “Inspiring Experiences” that I hope you will also participate in. I am curating this assignment with my mentor and former editor Jenn Poggi.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

The Importance of Captions

Posted mar 16, 2017

Many thanks to everyone that has submitted to the ‘Saving Our Oceans’ assignment on Your Shot! It has been clear from the moment we began reviewing images that each photographer has a personal connection with the sea and understands the complex relationships of wildlife within these ecosystems.

In the days that remain with this assignment, we would love to see images and read captions that explain why specific locations deserve protection. Beautiful photographs are always interesting, but understanding the relationship an animal has with a special place helps people better understand why conservation is needed. Tell us why the places you love in the sea are important to you, what you have observed and why others should care.

Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry

National Geographic Photographer
Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories. In 2014 he was one of five photographers named as a National Geographic Photography Fellow. In 2015 he was named a Nikon Ambassador. For NGM, Brian has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries to dolphin intelligence, all cover stories. During 2016 NGM published three consecutive feature stories by Brian about predatory sharks. His latest work, a cover story in the February 2017 issue of NGM, focuses on protecting special underwater ecosystems in US waters. During his coverage for this story Brian produced the first images of a US President underwater.

Kathy Moran

Kathy Moran

National Geographic Senior Photo Editor
Kathy Moran is Senior Photo Editor and National Geographic magazine’s first senior editor for natural history projects. A 30-year veteran of the Society, Kathy has produced feature stories about terrestrial and underwater ecosystems since 1990, and she has edited more than 200 stories for the magazine. Her recent projects include Nick Nichols’ “Giant Sequoias” and Tim Laman’s “Birds of Paradise,” both for the December 2012 issue.