I must say that it was quite a job to look through all the photos submitted to the Sense of Place assignment. There were so many beautiful shots of beautiful places! When choosing pictures for the final story, I tried very hard to stick with the instructions I gave you: The most compelling shots should have something extra, they must make the viewer feel something.
This is the constant struggle we have when choosing pictures for our magazines and online stories. Especially in the Travel genre it's easy to pick the pretty pictures and forget about saying something deeper. This means I must look beyond technical perfection and choose the pictures based on the feeling I have when looking at them. Sometimes pictures like this are a little more messy-looking, but not always. The best feeling for an editor is finding those gems that have great composition, lighting, and emotional appeal.
I want to stand next to that boy in India and feel the rain. I want to follow the Shinto priest as he climbs the holy mountain. Yes, I even want to brave the freezing water and get closer to the waterfall. Thanks to the assignment participants for taking me along on their journeys.
This year marks the 30th year that National Geographic Traveler magazine has been sending photographers out into the world to bring back to our readers their sense of place. In the November 2014 issue, we're running our favorite 30 photos taken from the estimated 36,000 we've printed since the beginning of Traveler.
Looking through 30 years of magazines, many of the pictures looked dated and old-fashioned, but every now and then there was a diamond. It was very rewarding to dig through the old drawers of the magazine, find those timeless pictures, and print them again.
Editing this Sense of Place assignment was a lot like choosing the
photos for the November issue-- with one major advantage. For the magazine, we
worked as a team to come to consensus about which pictures we would print. For
the Your Shot assignment I was the only editor. Thanks for your submissions and
the opportunity to have the final word!
If you'd like to go on assignment with me again, have a look at some of the photo trips and workshops I'll be running this year!
Director of Photography, National Geographic Travel
Dan is the director of photography for National Geographic Traveler magazine, is based in Washington, D.C., where he spends his days looking at pictures of some of the most beautiful places in the world. Since picking up a camera in the 8th grade, he has been fascinated with photography and ...