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Are you in love with the world? Do you see it as a living masterpiece that constantly grows and changes? Do you hear the music of wind and water? Do you revel in the texture of sand and stone? Is green not only a color, but also a smell for you? Do you lose track of time when you notice how beautiful your world is? I do.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been in love with the world. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be outside - exploring, discovering, noticing things. No matter how many times I went to the same places, they were always different. The seasons changed. The weather changed. I would visit at a different time of day. Animals and insects came and went.
Then I discovered National Geographic. The world was full of fascinating and exotic places that were nothing like the places I knew. I wanted to visit them all! And there must be even more places that National Geographic hadn’t published articles about. I want to discover them and visit those places too! Maybe someday when I grew up, I could get a job at National Geographic and I could spend my career exploring this amazing world I so longed to experience in its entirety.
As a teenager, I was fortunate enough to travel a bit. I remember standing on the south rim of the Grand Canyon as the sun was going down one evening. All the rocks glowed as the sunlight hit them! The smooth, cool, green Colorado river deep in the canyon was a perfect counterpoint to the rough, red, heat of the sunset on the cliffs. And then something magical happened.
The family camera “broke.” Or more accurately, the automatic settings failed to function. As far as my parents were concerned, the camera was now useless. They had no idea how to use the manual settings. So they handed the camera off to me to “play” with. I had no idea what I was doing of course, but I moved a few dials and adjusted the zoom and focus. I finished off the roll of film on that Grand Canyon sunset. When the prints came back, I was convinced my photos were just as good as the ones I had seen in National Geographic (Hahahaha! My teenage ego needed a little calibration with reality.)
I looked at my photos and I could feel all the same things I felt at the moment when I took the photo. It was like experiencing that moment all over again. Even now, 20+ years later, I look at those photos and I’m 14 years old standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon again.
A picture wasn’t just something to look at anymore. When I looked at the National Geographic photos, I now felt the heat of the jungle, smelled the crisp Siberian air, heard the lions on the savannah. I was a participant in the captured scene, not just an observer. A photo became an entire sensory experience and it was almost as good as a Star Trek transporter.
My camera became my best friend. Together, we’ve traveled all over the world and not so very far from home. Our mission is to share these experiences with you, to help you love your world they way we do.
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