Career as a National Geographic Photographer

Eight minutes of your time is a small investment to receive the wealth of photographic riches that are contained in this video. To compress a thirty year career of making pictures for National Geographic into such a short time span required a lot of editing. Bruce Albert Dale, (the initials BAD give the video it’s title), traveled the globe to create over two thousand images that were published in the pages of National Geographic and on several covers. Take a moment and enjoy:

His achievements include being named National Geographic “Magazine Photographer of the Year” twice and “White House Photographer of the Year” in 1989. The video also shows the photo, that was chosen from his work to be representative of life on earth, and travel beyond the solar system on the Voyager spacecraft launched by NASA.

A highlight of the video is the technical background for the holographic cover that was published for the 100th anniversary issue of National Geographic magazine. When the magazine came out, many people speculated that the photo was not the capture of an actual event, but some computer generated effect. Mr. Dale explains the process in a short section that taken alone, would make the video worth watching.

Bruce was one of the first photographers to visit China when Western visitors were permitted and made a total of ten trips for National Geographic exploring the country. The images shown in the video are superb insights into the life of Chinese people and capture the look and feel of the country before Western influence became a factor.

Working in over 75 countries, Bruce travelled extensively and only a few highlights of his published photos were touched upon. The images are always stunning with underwater, landscape, portrait and special effect photographs that span the gamut of photographic possibility.

When National Geographic gave out assignments they often did not give explicit instructions as Bruce explains, “In actual fact, you were often given a subject; like time. Actually, as a photographic pun, I decided to photograph killing time and I asked Cartier to give me some counterfeit watches that I shot bullets through.” Revealing his sly sense of humour, Bruce “shot” the watches with a gun as well as his camera. This short section of the video shows an interesting effect that he achieved during this process.

national geographic photographer

National Geographic Photographer

My personal favourite section of the video was the technical explanation of how the cameras were mounted on the tail of a jumbo jet to achieve the breathtaking landing image that has become so well known The focus and depth of field are perfect as he captures the runway lights.

Mr. Dale left National Geographic in 1994 to explore innovative work in digital imaging that has brought him honors from the Smithsonian Institution and freelance work. He has created several books including his most recent, The American Southwest, published by National Geographic in January 1999.

Amazon currently offers national geographic subscriptions for $1.25 per issue (Amazon’s most popular magazine), it can be found here: National Geographic

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11 responses to “Career as a National Geographic Photographer”

  1. Such beautiful photos and amazing stories — I wished the video could have gone on forever.

  2. What a wonderful group of photos and what a story each one tells. Thank you BAD!

  3. Ron says:

    Anyone who claims to be a photographer HAS to be moved by this video. What amazing photos. Thank you Bruce.

  4. Danial Shah says:

    AMAZING PIECE . highly motivational

  5. Greg says:

    What an amazing walk-through of some of his work.

  6. This was just beautiful !!
    Brilliant work BAD ! :)

    This just inspired me to carry on with my work too !
    Hope to be as good as you one day sir !

  7. kodeeswaran p.p says:

    I have moved by this video and it is motivational for the upcoming photographers and it is amazing to view your video. Thanks to the technical excellance that from all over the world it is possible to see your video by nthe internet. thanks BAD.

  8. Laura Lok Lok says:

    Beautiful piece.

  9. Lauren says:

    So inspirational! It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young girl to one day be a photographer for National Geographic. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into that life!

  10. Cameron says:

    Amazing video! I am younger and this is what I want to be. Keeping my dream! Especially since I seen this video!

  11. V.N.Karthik says:

    Hi how i can apply for a photography job

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