Managing Editor Lou Lesko

Lou Lesko started as a fashion photographer who veered off into photojournalism for few years. His first journalism assignment was in the Soviet Union in 1989. He came back to the commercial photography world and then went on to directing commercials. An irreverent style of writing and a best selling book about the advertising photography world paved the way for Lou to become the managing editor of the National Geographic Assignment Blog. He is a graduate from the English writing program at the University of Southern California.

Lou lives in California splitting his time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. You can follow Lou on twitter @loulesko.
Languages: English, ASL, Cocktail Hour

Editor Victoria Wylie

Victoria is a San Francisco based writer who graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in journalism. Her specialty is foreign stories especially those about Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. She currently lives in San Francisco and is working on a book about a child’s perspective of immigrating from the Soviet Union to the United States.

Languages: English, Russian

Senior Photo Editor Leah Painter Roberts

Leah Painter Roberts is a freelance photography editor in Washington, DC. Over a 25-year career, she has been a photography editor on staff at the National Geographic Society, most recently as director of photography of National Geographic Kids magazine. For the International League of Conservation Photographers, Leah photo-edited the book A Climate For Life. Her other freelance clients include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Forest Service, National Geographic Image Collection, National Geographic Television, National Geographic Online, Destination Cinema IMAX Theaters, Eastman Kodak, and Collins Publishers.

In addition to editing, Leah is a photography exhibit curator. She served as curator, art director and project manager for a permanent exhibit about the Grand Canyon at the National Geographic Visitor Center – Grand Canyon. She has picture-edited many photography books, including the highly acclaimed Fast Forward, Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, and Day in the Life of Italy, as well as the first-ever National Geographic Image Collection catalog.

Leah lives in Washington, DC
Languages: English, German, Italian

Editorial Assistant Tracy Treadwell

Tracy was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and attended college at The University of Memphis for a year before moving out to Los Angeles. Immediately upon her arrival in LA she began interning at Buzz-Media and attending Santa Monica College. After completing her internship she got involved in developing and producing an innovative interview project. Ultimately her goal is to impact people through strong visual and written story telling.

Tracy lives in Los Angeles
Languages: English


William Albert Allard

William Albert Allard, a National Geographic photographer since 1964, captures portraits of America with the ruggedness of John Wayne wielding a pistol. Bill is a decisive leader who synthesizes old school techniques with today’s technology. A pioneer in the use of color, Bill paints the world with a vivid brushstroke.
Bill and his wife split their time between the mountains in Virginia and Montana.

Stephen Alvarez

Stephen Alvarez captures the ethereal qualities of this world and the ones beneath our feet. He inspires awe with his beautiful and magical images. Stephen himself is somewhat of a Peter Pan who thrills in exploring the world’s secret places and leading a troupe on the journey. Stephen brings a youthful enthusiasm to the projects he pursues along with a technical mastery of lighting incredibly challenging locations.

Stephen lives in Sewanee, Tennessee with his wife and two children.
Languages: English, Spanish.

Ira Block

Ira Block is a study in efficiency, gliding smoothly through his work, his effortlessness a result of years of studious attention to detail and the ever-changing technology behind the making of photographs. Indoors or out, using ambient light or toting studio lamps, Ira’s mastery of lighting creates results that are consistently clean and descriptive. His inquisitiveness is engaging, and he can quickly bring a roomful of people into a discussion.

Ira Block lives with his wife in New York City.

John Burcham

John Burcham says, “You can’t shoot adventure from a safe distance.” Getting up close and personal in his extreme outdoor, often quirky, photography makes danger seem fun and all the more inviting. This amicable and laid back adventure and lifestyle shooter has a dedicated work ethic that he always delivers with a smile. John marries hard work with creative enthusiasm fueled by his digital wizardry.

John lives with his wife and daughter in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Jimmy Chin

Jimmy Chin’s clean, crisp style takes you on exquisite journeys to the ends of the earth. Jimmy is a refreshingly modest, Mt. Everest-summiting rock star with such personal accolades as gracing People magazine’s Most Eligible Bachelors and Outside magazine’s 25 Coolest People lists with the technical sporting know-how to back it up. Jimmy’s talents lie in blending natural, often dangerous, elements into a produced scene. Working as photographer, videographer, or creative collaborator Jimmy delivers results from both extreme and everyday temperate locations.

Jimmy lives just outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Jodi Cobb

Jodi Cobb entices an organic sensuality and glamour from her subjects creating undeniable and accessible allure in her imagery. Jodi’s charisma has granted her access to such private realms as presidential campaigns, Saudi Arabian women and the closed world of the Japanese geisha. With her uncomplicated demeanor and knack for fun, she easily gains the trust of those around her. Jodi is the first woman to have been named White House Photographer of the Year.

Jodi currently lives in Washington, DC.

Pablo Corral Vega

Pablo Corral Vega infuses his images with romance, sensuality and passion. Trained with a PHD in Political Science and Law, this and his Ecuadorian childhood informs his understanding and cultural sensitivity. Pablo is an endearing spirit whose curiosity enables him to capture the intimate essence of a moment in time. He couples production knowledge with a cinematic feel to create spontaneous magic within the frame.

Pablo lives in Quito, Ecuador.

Languages: English, Spanish.

David Doubilet

David Doubilet’s passion for capturing the majesty of undersea light has made him a leader in underwater photography. He takes this role seriously and challenges himself to redefine photographic boundaries each time he enters the water. David has worked to achieve his unique photographic vision, even creating new underwater technologies and techniques. His fruitful years in the ocean have helped secure his standing as a member of both the International Diving Hall of Fame and the Royal Photographic Society.

David lives in Clayton, New York.

Annie Griffiths Belt

Annie Griffiths Belt captures photos with a compassionate lens, softening life’s hard edges. Annie allows her quiet confidence and good nature to permeate her work. A soothing presence, who is also masterfully organized, Annie puts people at ease. Through vivacious color and always-pleasing composition, viewers happily join Annie on her myriad photographic journeys.

Annie lives with her husband and two children in Great Falls, Virginia.

Languages: English, Spanish.

Bill Hatcher

Bill Hatcher brings the epic right into your lap. His heroic landscapes entice technical thrill-seekers and couch potatoes alike. Bill is the ultimate anti-diva who anticipates and delivers the right shots time and again. Being a generous and perpetually prepared leader, Bill engages the trust of those around him with his approachable style. He applies his technical know-how of sports and photography to effortlessly tell the story set before him.

Bill lives at 7,000 feet in Dolores, Colorado.

Languages: English, conversational German.

Beverly Joubert

Beverly Joubert has spent her life in the wild and threatened areas of southern Africa. Tapping a well of patience and harnessing the natural sunlight of the African plains – often filtered through leaves or filled with dust from churning hooves – she captures the splendor of the wild creatures inhabiting her continent. Sophisticated and elegant, Beverly captivates an audience as easily as she captures stunning images with her camera. She works closely with her husband, film director Dereck Joubert; together they have five Emmys and a Peabody.

Beverly lives in Botswana.

Languages: English, conversational Tswana.

Tim Laman

Tim Laman’s approach to photography belies the stereotype of the rarified academic. A PHD-wielding, Harvard-trained biologist, some of Tim’s most breathtaking wildlife work has been shot while climbing high into the rain forest canopy or diving into the oceans’ depths. His photos reflect his own energy, as well as the spirit and personality of the animals he captures with his lens.

Tim lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Languages: English, Japanese.

David Liitschwager

David Liittschwager’s style is fresh, clean and utterly captivating. Whether building a studio in the field or working within one, this former assistant to Richard Avedon applies his modern ethos to every image. David’s quiet and unassuming demeanor allows his stunning macro, still life and portrait work to take center stage, bringing a focus on technique and trade to the set.

David lives in San Francisco, California.

Michael Melford

Michael Melford draws you into his work with a combination of precise polished framing and glorious use of light. His frames bring the world alive and show us the beauty he discovers and refines with his technical and creative prowess. On set Michael is an affable professional, quickly gaining the confidence of those he works with.

Michael lives with his wife in Mystic, Connecticut.

Michael “Nick Nichols

Michael “Nick” Nichols’ photos pulse with the energy of the wildlife he has spent a lifetime championing. His passion for the environment has led him around the world, at times working closely with Jane Goodall and Michael Fay, including a 2,000-mile trek on foot across Africa. His images bring you into a scene with heart-pumping reality. Nick’s sense of purpose and vision is contagious; he’s a natural at bringing people together.

Nick lives near Charlottesville, VA with his family.

Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen’s work transforms polar wildlife into art by harnessing the raw beauty found at the farthest reaches of the planet. Paul is happiest in extreme conditions, a trait cemented by his childhood growing up in an Inuit community in Nunavut, Canada. Enriched from his training in biology, Paul creates truly remarkable images while thriving in harrowing situations. Paul embodies quintessential Canadian humor as easily as he waxes profound on the fragile state of our marine ecosystems.

Paul lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Michael O’Brien

Michael O’Brien portrays the timeless essence of a place or a person, his subjects poised in a moment of greatness, delicate humility or touching humor. His kind and respectful nature makes these things possible in his images. Michael is composedly conscious of his surroundings and the people inhabiting them, bringing with him a positive energy that radiates on set. His diverse techniques paired with a gift for sourcing locations, draws out the best from everyone with whom he collaborates.

Michael lives with his wife and three children in Austin, Texas.

Randy Olson

Randy Olson’s work is layered in meaning, like a visual Rosetta Stone. He captures entire worlds in a single frame, often with a keen sense of irony. Randy is a receptive and passionate craftsman who takes his work seriously, bringing people together and fostering relationships. As a consummate producer, Randy anticipates the moment with expert patience and vision.

Randy lives with his wife Melissa Farlow in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson is a master story-teller. His images weave tales before your eyes, leading you on timeless visual journeys. Soft spoken and self-effacing, Jim quickly puts people at ease. He captures the essence of an individual or a culture and shares their humanity with simplicity and dignity. Jim’s vast travel knowledge and expertise of the British Isles carry us back to simpler times, unlocking the beauty of antiquity in the modern world.

Jim lives with his wife in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore’s photography is often humorous, sometimes poignant and always engaging. He has a knack for presenting everyday life in a way that makes you stop. And think. His camera finds precious moments that so many of us never notice, whether it is a simple household scene or vanishing species of the Amazon. Joel works gladly with animal wranglers and animals that refuse to be wrangled. Those who work with Joel come away impressed by his sheer energy; he is tireless on the set, focused but fun.

Joel lives with his wife and 3 children in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry uses his camera to bring the mysteries that lie at the oceans depths into plain view. He captures the vibrancy of marine life in all its intricacy making it accessible to all. Brian’s ability to pursue subjects of great diversity is rare within the field of underwater photography. On a shoot, Brian is collegial and easy going, building trust among his counterparts but always ready for whatever life and nature might throw at him. His quiet passion for marine life is infectious.

Brian lives in Uxbridge, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Steve Winter

Steve Winter’s images vibrate with crisp color and complex, often geometric design. Steve is so infused with enthusiasm for his work it’s impossible not to get excited and energized by his engaging personality. Though perhaps best known for his extensive experience working with both wild and trained animals, he brings equal skill to his portraits of people.

Steve lives with his wife in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Languages: English, Spanish.

Gordon Wiltsie

Gordon Wiltsie is one of those rugged types whose overwhelming drive for adventure pushes him to climb forbidding peaks around the world, including Antarctica. But Gordon is more than just a pioneer in adventure photography. He is a thoughtful student of world culture, which he captures with great sensitivity. The attention to detail that keeps him alive in some of the most perilous terrain in the world also shows in his work. He is a true professional who is as comfortable in the world of digital imagery as he is in the world of his climbing brethren.

Gordon lives with his family in Missoula, Montana.

Languages: Nepali, Spanish, Hindi, Mongolian.

Alison Wright

Alison Wright’s images are alive with the sense of wondrous life and spirit that emanates from Alison herself. Her work, shot all over the world, gives insight to her own sense of the exquisite. Alison’s contagious laugh, and warm, straightforward demeanor put people at ease allowing art to take over from artifice. Her intimate portraiture can be idealized, but is always real.

Alison lives in San Francisco, California.

Mike Yamashita

Mike Yamashita paints a complex canvas with his camera, capturing life with a classic, artistic style. His work has taken him around the world, though concentrated in Asia where he enjoys almost unprecedented access through his large web of contacts. Warm and gentle, Mike is a consummate professional; calm, unflappable and always prepared on set, Mike is equally prepared for fun when the shooting is over.

Mike lives with his wife and daughter in Chester, New Jersey.

Languages: English, Japanese.


Michael Banks

After graduating from Reading University in the United Kingdom with Honors in English Language and Literature Michael ran a community center for disadvantaged Jamaican youth in South London. He then went on to KRW International who are pioneers in the field of executive coaching in the United States.

Michael continues to aide executives with leadership skills as well as writing about sports for publications in the United Kingdom. Michael also writes spoken word pieces that he uses as the foundation for live performances which are performed against a background of live music.

Michael lives in Mill Valley, CA with his partner Karin.

Languages: English and rusty French

Tim Redmond

Tim is executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. A former State Desk intern at the Hartford Courtant, he narrowly graduated from Wesleyan University in 1980 with a degree in economics and absolutely no honors or distinctions. He is the author, with Marc Mowrey, of Not In Our Back Yard: The People and Events that Shaped American’s Modern Environmental Movement (William Morrow, 1993). He has won more than 30 journalism awards, including the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Editorial Writing. He is the First Amendment chair of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

Tim lives in San Francisco with his partner Jean

Languages: English

Jeff Burkhart

Jeff is an award winning bartender as well as a columnist and author. His best selling “What Do You Know About Wine?” calendar series is in its third year and his column Barfly has graced the pages of newspapers from the San Jose Mercury News to the Tallahassee Democrat.

He is a graduate of the San Francisco State School of Journalism, where he was nominated for a Hearst Journalism Award, and where the dean once responded to his choice of career with a less than enthusiastic “Food journalism!?!” Jeff’s writing style has been described as casually erudite (whatever that means). He spends his time in Northern California, reading, writing and researching the food and beverage world. Especially the researching part.

Jeff Lives with his family in Northern California

Languages: English.

Gena Thorn

Gena is an expert on the internet. She is a graduate of the Arizona State University and has delved deep into the inner workings of what some consider the most transformative and influential technological advance of the modern era. It’s one thing to say your on Facebook and quite another to know how Facebook affects the online world. With the web a part of the quotidian existence of a significantly growing number of the global population, Gena Thorn is our person to make sense of it all.

Languages: English, UNIX, C, Java and various other computer protocols that are over the head of the average person who is online.

Kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer who is recently based in San Francisco after a six year stint in Europe – based out of Brussels. Her travel and lifestyle articles have appeared in Delta Sky Magazine, Afar, Wine Enthusiast, Palm Beach Illustrated, b.there Magazine, Tampa Bay Illustrated, and in other online and print media. Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the Dordogne region of France, was recently released by Running Press.

Languages: English, French

Kate Arkless Gray

Kate is multimedia journalist with a special passion for radio. She has reported for a wide range of outlets including the BBC, New Scientist and The Times. Her obsessive interest in all things space has seen her abscond from the UK to follow the end of NASA’s shuttle program and take on a life as a Space Nomad.

Back in the real world, she holds the title ‘Editor’ at Audioboo, where she promotes the idea of social audio. Kate loves to travel, meet people and tell stories.

Languages: English