Writers and photographers are available for interviews April 15-May 14 (see specifics below).
- Photographer Jimmy Chin and writer Mark Jenkins document a new generation of daring, defiant rock climbers in YOSEMITE SUPERCLIMBERS. Chin has limited availability for interviews; Jenkins is available for interviews.
- Australia’s Great Barrier Reef faces a crucial turning point marked by warming temperatures, increased sun exposure, ocean acidification and flooding. Photographer David Doubilet, available for interviews, captures an underwater paradise at risk in THE BARRIER REEF’S GREATEST TEST.
- Bangladesh faces rising sea levels and an overwhelming population, but photographer Jonas Bendiksen and writer Don Belt showcase a resourceful and resilient nation in BUOYANT IN BANGLADESH. Bendiksen and Belt are available for interviews.
- Writer Douglas H. Chadwick and photographer and entomologist Mark W. Moffett examine the complex world of weaver ants in SISTERHOOD OF WEAVER ANTS. Chadwick and Moffett are available for interviews.
- Photographer Abelardo Morell’s camera obscura turns darkened rooms into magical landscapes, as showcased in BRAVURA CAMERA OBSCURA. Morell is available for interviews.
- Panama’s Ochroma pyramidale tree serves nightly snacks for a variety of species, a ritual documented by photographer Christian Ziegler and writer Natalie Angier in HAPPY HOUR IN A TREE. Ziegler and Angier are available for interviews.
YOSEMITE SUPERCLIMBERS (cover story), by Mark Jenkins, photographed by Jimmy Chin (Page 98) Photographer Jimmy Chin hovered 3,000 feet above the ground to capture the beating heart of Yosemite Valley: its climbers. There is a new generation of daring, defiant rock climbers who are pushing the limits, often climbing Yosemite’s peaks without ropes and clinging to rock faces by their fingertips. Rock climbing has evolved into vertical gymnastics, performed by elite climbers who are disciplined athletes who train constantly, repeating movements to perfection. As Mark Jenkins writes, “This is the magic of Yosemite: It forges heroes. No matter where they come from, from the Alps to the Andes, all self-respecting rock climbers yearn to make a pilgrimage to ‘the valley’ to measure themselves against its giants” — El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks and Half Dome.
THE BARRIER REEF’S GREATEST TEST, by Jennifer S. Holland, photographed by David Doubilet (Page 34) “Not far beneath the surface of the coral sea, where the Great Barrier Reef lives, parrotfish teeth grind against rock, crab claws snap as they battle over hiding spots, and a 600-pound grouper pulses its swim bladder to announce its presence with a muscular whump.” Photographer David Doubilet captures the sheer diversity of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site that has withstood ice ages, the shifting of tectonic plates and fluctuating ocean and atmospheric conditions. Jennifer S. Holland writes of the reef’s most crucial turning point yet: warming temperatures and increased exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays causing bleaching of the reef’s coral, ocean acidification and massive flooding in Australia that has sent huge plumes of sediment and toxin-laden waters onto the reef. Scientists are working on how to maintain the reef as a healthy underwater paradise teeming with life.
BUOYANT IN BANGLADESH, by Don Belt, photographed by Jonas Bendiksen (Page 58) By 2050, Bangladesh’s population will likely have zoomed to 220 million, and a good chunk of its current landmass could be permanently underwater. The embattled nation is already seeing the effects of climate change, with a multifoot rise in sea level projected by 2100. Yet amid bleak projections, photographer Jonas Bendiksen and writer Don Belt paint a picture of a country filled with powerful hope and resilience. The country is serving as a laboratory for innovative solutions to global problems, including grassroots planning programs to lower its fertility rate, building houses that can be dismantled, moved and eassembled quickly, and raising land for crop growth to cope with rising sea levels. The article is part of National Geographic’s yearlong SEVEN BILLION series on global population.
SISTERHOOD OF WEAVER ANTS, by Douglas H. Chadwick, photographed by Mark W. Moffett (Page 84) Weaver ants form a metropolis of boroughs and suburbs connected by busy commuter routes; lay down scents with different glands to send different messages; jerk their bodies to warn of an approaching enemy; and release pheromones to broadcast signals quickly and widely. Entomologist and photographer Mark Moffett, who has spent years discovering new ant species and studying astonishing behaviors on jungle quests, documents the complex weaver ant colonies. Douglas H. Chadwick writes of the intricate world of ants, one studied by urban planners for organization and by mathematicians to devise parallel computing formulas, proving these tiny animals are both powerful and smart.
BRAVURA CAMERA OBSCURA, by Tom O’Neill, photographed by Abelardo Morell (Page 118) In 1988, Cuban-born Abelardo Morell wanted to step back in time while teaching a photography class. On a sunny day, he covered his classroom windows with black plastic to darken the room, cut a dime-size hole in the material and watched as the black wall came alive with an outdoor image projected upside down. Morell had transformed his classroom into a camera obscura (dark chamber), the Latin name for perhaps the earliest known imaging device and ancestor of the photographic camera. Morell set out to photograph the apparition-like image that forms inside a room that has been turned into a camera obscura. The result is one of the most original and enthralling bodies of work in contemporary photography.
HAPPY HOUR IN A TREE, by Natalie Angier, photographed by Christian Ziegler (Page 130) Panama’s Ochroma pyramidale or balsa tree comes to life at night. That’s when its myriad blossoms open to reveal pollen-covered stamens surrounded by inch-deep pools of rich, syrupy nectar — luring a kaleidoscope of species. Photographer Christian Ziegler captures some of the nightly visitors looking for a taste: hummingbirds, boa constrictors, kinkajous, spear-nosed bats, Africanized honeybees, geckos and possums. Natalie Angier considers the majestic nature of the Ochroma, from its speedy growth and need to quickly reproduce to why the tree flowers at night.
May’s Department section looks at the not-so-black-and-white penguin past; a possible connection between the number of moles on one’s skin and aging; a close kin of sharks and rays that forages in the sand; human population numbers versus animal population; and the first designated critical habitat for polar bears. This month’s Big Idea is a new way of measuring carbon in forests that may help them from being cut down. Details can be found at blogs.ngm.com.
National Geographic magazine has a long tradition of combining on-the-ground reporting with award-winning photography to inform people about life on our planet. It has won 11 National Magazine Awards in the past four years: for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Essays and two inaugural Digital Media Awards for Best Photography and Best Community in 2010; for Photojournalism in 2009; for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Reporting in 2008; and for General Excellence and Photography in 2007.
The magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations. Published in English and 33 local-language editions, the magazine has a global circulation of around 8 million. It is sent each month to National Geographic members and is available on newsstands for $5.99 a copy. Single copies can be ordered by calling (800) NGS-LINE, also the number to call for membership in the Society.