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Welcome National Geographic Sunday Stills Readers! Site-wide FREE SHIPPING through Tuesday, Dec 1

Partners in Learning

Two trusted names in lifelong learning—The Great Courses and National Geographic—have joined forces to bring you exciting educational adventures. Let award-winning National Geographic photographers teach you the secrets to taking great photographs and join acclaimed scientists and National Geographic explorers to explore the farthest corners of the globe.

See more ways to learn photography with National Geographic >

Learn about National Geographic's polar trips >
Fundamentals of Photography II

New! Fundamentals of Photography II

Joel Sartore

Take a deeper dive into the art of great photography and learn to apply skills and techniques with a National Geographic photographer out in the field. Great photography requires you to consider the challenges that arise and creatively work with the conditions and equipment you have to capture amazing images. Learn to open your eyes and see all of the possibilities in a scene.

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Wonders of the National Parks

New! Wonders of the National Parks

Ford Cochran

Drawing millions of tourists each year, our national parks capture a special place in our hearts—and in the history of how our planet came to be. Most visitors get only a superficial view of these sites, but there is so much more to be discovered. Our national parks offer profound lessons for anyone who loves history, geology, and nature. This highly visual course takes you to more than a hundred spectacular sites, guided by a geologist and other experts from National Geographic. We are proud to partner with this extraordinary institution to present Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America, a fascinating introduction to the geological forces that forged North America’s national parks.

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National Geographic Polar Explorations

Travel to the polar regions with five Arctic and Antarctic experts on an exquisite visual journey that explores the earth sciences, history, and culture of the poles. Over 22 fascinating lessons, you'll encounter incredible wildlife and delve into the astronomy, the seasons, and the geology that define these captivating places. Learn about the "heroic era" of polar exploration, discover how indigenous people thrive in these climates, and gain valuable tips on how to take captivating photographs in the otherworldly landscapes found at the ends of the Earth.

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National Geographic Masters of Photography

These lessons by 12 renowned National Geographic photographers offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at their techniques and works. The course is divided into six units: Adventure, Wildlife, Landscape and Nature, People in Their Environments, Color and Light, and Storytelling. In each unit, you’ll gain insight from two photographers into the creative process behind the striking photography you see in National Geographic magazine and other publications. Featured in the course are William Albert Allard, Stephen Alvarez, Ira Block, Jodi Cobb, Annie Griffiths, Ed Kashi, Michael Melford, Cory Richards, Jim Richardson, Joel Sartore, Steve Winter, and Michael Yamashita; plus an introduction by the Society’s Chief Content Officer, Chris Johns, who served as National Geographic’s editor in chief for more than nine years.

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Take beautiful and inspiring photos by learning to “see” like a professional photographer. Taught by an award-winning National Geographic photographer, Fundamentals of Photography is a thorough and easy-to-follow guide that presents tips and techniques guaranteed to improve your photography skills.

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Capture the magic of your travel adventures by learning how to take great photographs under a wide variety of conditions. Taught by Joel Sartore, a National Geographic contributing photographer, The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons is filled with tips, techniques, and field demonstrations that will help you take beautiful photos anywhere you go.

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National Geographic Masters of Photography Set

Be inspired by renowned National Geographic master photographers in this two-course set. In Fundamentals of Photography, learn to maximize your results with the equipment you have on hand, even if it's just a smartphone. Then, in Masters of Photography, travel around the world with 12 fantastic photographers and learn their secrets.

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What People Are Saying

  • A nuts-and-bolts how-to course. I give it a solid recommendation. —Kanawa, Atlanta, GA
  • This is the best course I have ever seen and it completely changed the way I shoot pictures. — Linda, Miami, FLA
  • This course is fabulous! It's easy to follow and understand. I have learned so much! —Allie, Mason, MI


  • Joel Sartore

    Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photographer

    Joel Sartore is a professional photographer and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His assignments have taken him to some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging environments and have brought him face to face with a diversity of wildlife in all 50 U.S. states and all seven continents. He was recently named a National Geographic Fellow for his work on "The Photo Ark," a multiyear project to document the world’s biodiversity in studio portraits (see and His photograph of a lion in a tree was voted the best picture by National Geographic magazine in 2011, and also won him a 2012 Veolia Environment award for wildlife photography.

    In addition to his work for National Geographic, Mr. Sartore has contributed to some of the most prestigious and widely read publications, including Audubon Magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. Mr. Sartore and his work have been the subject of national broadcasts such as National Geographic Explorer, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition, and an hour-long PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor to CBS’s Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

  • William Allard

    William Albert Allard, National Geographic Photographer

    A major force at National Geographic and in mainstream photography for 50 years, William Albert Allard has contributed to the Society’s magazine stories and books as a photographer and writer since 1964.

    He studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts (now the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and the University of Minnesota. Mr. Allard is the author of six highly acclaimed books, including the award-winning Vanishing Breed: Photographs of the Cowboy and the West. His latest book, William Albert Allard: Five Decades, a retrospective and memoir, explores his long career in both words and pictures. Among his worldwide exhibitions, his one-man show at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2002 was the first exhibit of work by an American artist in Iran since 1979. Considered one of color photography’s most celebrated pioneers, Mr. Allard is a former contributor to Magnum Photos, and his prints appear in private and museum collections. Learn more about his work online at

  • Stephen Alvarez

    Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic Photographer

    Photographer and filmmaker Stephen Alvarez produces global stories about exploration, adventure, and culture. He has been a National Geographic magazine photographer since 1995 and has published more than a dozen stories with the magazine. Mr. Alvarez has won awards from Pictures of the Year International and Communication Arts. His story on the Maya and their religious rituals was exhibited at Visa pour L’Image, a renowned international photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France.

    Mr. Alvarez also has produced stories with NPR, including a story on underground Paris that won a 2012 White House News Photographers Association award. He has appeared on NPR, PBS, and CBS News Sunday Morning and at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Shakerag Workshops, National Geographic Live, the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, and the Banff Centre. Mr. Alvarez is a founding member of, and social media strategist for, The Photo Society, a group of contributing photographers for National Geographic magazine. His work is on the web at

  • Ira Block

    Ira Block, National Geographic Photographer

    Ira Block is an internationally acclaimed photojournalist, filmmaker, teacher, and workshop leader who has produced more than 30 stories for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, and National Geographic Adventure magazines. He began his career as a newspaper photographer, earning numerous press club awards. His momentous coffee-table book, Saving America’s Treasures, was a collaborative effort among the Clinton White House, the National Geographic Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

    Mr. Block’s photographic exhibit Faces of Hope, portraits of survivors and images of objects retrieved from the aftermath of the World Trade Center tragedy, is part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. As an expert in lighting, Mr. Block is sought after for assignments ranging from shooting ancient artifacts in Greece to photographing dinosaur fossils in the Gobi Desert and documenting Moche mummies in Peru. View more of Mr. Block’s work at

  • Jodi Cobb

    Jodi Cobb, National Geographic Photographer

    Jodi Cobb’s groundbreaking career spans more than three decades as a staff photographer with National Geographic, one of only four women to have held that position in the magazine’s history. She has worked in more than 65 countries, documenting closed societies and disappearing cultural traditions. Ms. Cobb is perhaps best known as the first photographer to document the secret lives and rituals of the geisha, revealed in her book Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won the American Society of Media Photographers Outstanding Achievement Award.

    In another first, Ms. Cobb provided an unflinching look at the brutal reality of human trafficking in the National Geographic story “21st-Century Slaves.” Featured as one of National Geographic’s Women of Vision in a new book and exhibition, Ms. Cobb has repeatedly received National Press Photographers Association Pictures of the Year and World Press awards. In 2012, she was awarded one of journalism’s most prestigious honors, the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. Learn more about Ms. Cobb at

  • Ford Cochran

    Ford Cochran, Geologist and Program Director, National Geographic

    Geologist, journalist, and educator Ford Cochran is Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions, where he selects and manages the expert scholars, writers, photographers, explorers, and scientists sent on educational expeditions for travelers to destinations around the world. As an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, he studied English literature. He then took graduate courses in Earth Science at Harvard University and earned a Master of Philosophy degree in Geology at Yale University, where he was awarded competitive Global Change fellowships from both NASA and the Department of Energy. He was an Assistant Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Kentucky before joining the National Geographic staff.

    Over his more-than-20-year career with National Geographic, Professor Cochran has written for National Geographic magazine, served as principal contributing writer for its Historical Atlas of the United States, helped launch and directed content development and programming for the website, and documented numerous Society-funded research expeditions in the field. He has traveled widely as an expert on National Geographic Expeditions, including tours to many U.S. national parks. His work online has earned multiple Webby, CODiE, and People’s Voice Awards, along with the American Association of Museums’ Gold MUSE Award.

  • Annie Griffiths

    Annie Griffiths, National Geographic Photographer

    Annie Griffiths has photographed in nearly 150 countries during her illustrious career and worked on dozens of magazine and book projects for National Geographic. Her books include A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel: My Journey in Photographs, a memoir about balance and the joy of creating a meaningful life, and National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs, which was named the top photo/art book of 2011 by both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    In addition to her magazine work, Ms. Griffiths is the Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document programs that empower women and girls in the developing world, especially as they deal with the devastating effects of climate change. Known for her warmth and humor as a lecturer, Ms. Griffiths has the innate ability to share stories from her photographs that bring to life both the people and the cultures she documents. Learn more about her work at

  • Ed Kashi

    Ed Kashi, National Geographic Photographer

    Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, a filmmaker, and an educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. Since 2000, he has pioneered the movement to multimedia and filmmaking in photojournalism, producing an innovative flip-book entitled Iraqi Kurdistan and award-winning short films and multimedia projects on geopolitics and social issues. Mr. Kashi has won numerous awards from World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year International, as well as the UNICEF Photo of the Year for 2010, a Prix Pictet commission in 2010, and honors from Communication Arts and American Photo.

    He has published seven books, including Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta and THREE. His latest book, Photojournalisms, is a compilation of journal writings to his wife, done over a nearly 20-year period from various locations around the world. View more of Mr. Kashi’s work at

  • Michael Melford

    Michael Melford, National Geographic Photographer

    Michael Melford is an internationally recognized photographer who has worked with National Geographic for more than 30 years. He has produced 19 feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 stories for National Geographic Traveler. His work also has been featured on the covers of Newsweek, TIME, LIFE, Fortune, Smithsonian, GEO, Travel + Leisure, Travel Holiday, and Coastal Living. Mr. Melford has won recognition from World Press Photo, the International Center of Photography, the Art Director’s Club, and numerous other arts organizations and publications.

    He also has produced photography for eight National Geographic books, including National Geographic Treasures of Alaska: The Last Great American Wilderness and Hidden Alaska: Bristol Bay and Beyond. Mr. Melford teaches photography primarily through National Geographic; he leads one-day seminars around the country through National Geographic Traveler’s photo seminar series and travels with National Geographic Expeditions aboard the small ship fleet and on other trips around the world. Learn more about his work at

  • Cory Richards

    Cory Richards, National Geographic Photographer

    A climber and visual storyteller, Cory Richards was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012, the same year the American Alpine Club presented him with its Rowell Award. At the 2014 National Geographic Explorers Symposium, Mr. Richards was named to the inaugural group of National Geographic Photography Fellows, whose work combines visual storytelling and exploration. Mr. Richards’s camera has taken him from the runway to the wild and remote corners of the world, from Antarctica’s unclimbed peaks to the Himalayas of Nepal and Pakistan, in an attempt to capture not only the soul of exploration but also the beauty of modern society.

    He is a passionate mountain climber on The North Face athletic team and has carved a niche as one of the world’s leading adventure and expedition photographers. His photography has appeared in National Geographic magazine, Outside, and The New York Times. His film work has won awards at nearly every major adventure film festival, including grand prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival for Cold. View more of Mr. Richards’s work at

  • Jim Richardson

    Jim Richardson, National Geographic Photographer

    Jim Richardson has been a photographer for National Geographic for more than 30 years, specializing in global environmental issues and landscapes. He also is interested in the Celtic world, with special attention to Scotland and its remote islands. His documentary photography has focused on the American Great Plains and includes extended coverage of small-town life in his native Kansas. He has a 30-year photographic relationship with the people of Cuba, Kansas (population 220). This unusual body of work has been excerpted in National Geographic, LIFE, and many other publications worldwide. Among his books is The Colorado: A River at Risk, which has been recognized widely for its contribution to awareness of water issues in the American West. In addition to photographing for National Geographic magazine, Mr. Richardson represents National Geographic in keynote presentations, media appearances, cultural enrichment lectures for travel groups, and workshops. To view his portfolio, visit

  • Steve Winter

    Steve Winter, National Geographic Photographer

    Steve Winter has been a photojournalist with National Geographic for more than 20 years, specializing in wildlife, particularly big cats. He is also an adventurer who has been attacked by rhinos, stalked by jaguars, and charged by an 11-foot grizzly bear. Mr. Winter was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008 and Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year in 2012 in a competition cosponsored by the Natural History Museum in London and BBC Worldwide. He won the Pictures of the Year International Global Vision Award in 2010 and 2011 and received first prize in the nature category from World Press Photo in 2008 and 2014. Mr. Winter is the coauthor of Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat. He lectures globally on photography and conservation issues and has been featured on NPR, as well as the CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, and other programs. Mr. Winter teaches workshops with Wildlife Photo Masterclass, a cooperative formed by National Geographic photographers. He is on the web at

  • Michael Yamashita

    Michael Yamashita, National Geographic Photographer

    Michael Yamashita is a 30-year award-winning veteran of National Geographic and has photographed a vast range of topics and locations, most notably in Asia. He has traipsed with camels across the Taklimakan Desert, scaled peaks in Tibet, and journeyed the length of the Great Wall. He has published more than 30 National Geographic magazine features, as well as 10 books. He also has two documentary films to his credit, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed and Treasure Fleet: The Adventures of Zheng He. His most recent book, Shangri-La: Along the Tea Road to Lhasa, took him to the far reaches of western China and the Himalayas to capture the fast-disappearing ancient culture of Tibet. Mr. Yamashita has taught at major photo workshops and art centers, including the Maine Media Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Tuscany Photo Workshop, and Palm Beach Photographic Centre. He also has conducted hands-on workshops in such far-flung locales as Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, and China. His work is online at

  • Fen Montaigne

    Fen Montaigne, National Geographic Contributing Writer

    A veteran journalist, author, and editor, Fen Montaigne worked as a Moscow correspondent during the collapse of the Soviet Union, reported for National Geographic magazine from six continents, earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Mr. Montaigne has authored or coauthored five books and helped launch and edit the award-winning online magazine Yale Environment 360.

    Mr. Montaigne graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in International Relations. He wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1982 to 1996. Becoming a freelance journalist in 1996, he published articles in National Geographic magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Outside, Smithsonian, Forbes, and Audubon. In 2005 and 2006, Mr. Montaigne spent five months in the Antarctic Peninsula on the field team of ecologist Bill Fraser, who studies the impact of rapid warming on Adélie penguins and other seabirds. That story is told in Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica.

    Mr. Montaigne now works as senior editor of Yale Environment 360 and as a lecturer for National Geographic Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions.

  • Ralph Hopkins

    Ralph Hopkins, National Geographic Photographer

    Photographer Ralph Lee Hopkins is the founder and director of the onboard photography program for the National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions fleet. For more than 20 years, he has photographed expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic and points in between.

    Mr. Hopkins completed his master’s degree in Geology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he studied rocks along the rim of the Grand Canyon. He was a photographer on the 1990 Colorado River Expedition with the U.S. Geological Survey, and he continues to lead photo expeditions down the Colorado River.

    Mr. Hopkins’s photography appears regularly in National Geographic publications. A member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, his current work focuses on documenting conservation and environmental issues in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, Baja California, and the Sea of Cortés in Mexico.

    Mr. Hopkins is author and photographer of the popular guidebooks Hiking Colorado’s Geology and Hiking the Southwest’s Geology. His most recent book is Nature Photography: Documenting the Wild World.

  • Sylvia Earle

    Sylvia A. Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and Marine Conservationist

    National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She earned her bachelor’s from Florida State University and holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Duke University, as well as 26 honorary degrees. Formerly chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Earle is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, and chair of the advisory councils of the Harte Research Institute and Ocean in Google Earth. She has authored more than 210 scientific, technical, and popular publications; lectured in more than 90 countries; and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.

    Dr. Earle has also led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours under water, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite project in 1970, participating in 10 saturation dives, and setting a record for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth. Her research concerns marine ecosystems, with special reference to exploration, conservation, and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments. Dr. Earle’s focus is on developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes.

  • Edward Murphy

    Edward Murphy, Professor

    Dr. Edward M. Murphy is Associate Professor, General Faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He earned his bachelor's degree in Astronomy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1996. Professor Murphy was a postdoctoral fellow and an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he worked on NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE). In 2000 he joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, where he continues to use FUSE, along with radio telescopes, in his research on the interstellar medium.

    Professor Murphy teaches courses on introductory astronomy and intelligent life in the universe to undergraduates, as well as seminars on how to teach astronomy to graduate students. He also offers evening classes for the local community at the historical Leander McCormick Observatory. He was named a Teaching and Technology Fellow in 2002-2003 and an Ernest Boots Mead Honored Faculty Fellow in 2003-2004. Dr. Murphy gives astronomy talks, appears regularly on local radio, and leads professional development workshops for teachers. He has also worked with the Science Museum of Virginia to develop planetarium shows and exhibits.

  • Michael E. Wysession

    Michael E. Wysession, Professor

    Dr. Michael E. Wysession is Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Wysession earned his Sc.B. in Geophysics from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. An established leader in seismology and geophysical education, Professor Wysession is noted for his development of a new way to create three-dimensional images of Earth's interior from seismic waves. These images have provided scientists with insights into the makeup of Earth and its evolution throughout history. Professor Wysession is the coauthor of An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure; the lead author of Physical Science: Concepts in Action; and the primary writer for the texts Earth Science, Earth's Interior, Earth's Changing Surface, and Earth's Waters.

    Professor Wysession received a Science and Engineering Fellowship from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship, and fellowships from the Kemper and Lily Foundations. He has received the Innovation Award of the St. Louis Science Academy and the Distinguished Faculty Award of Washington University. In 2005, Professor Wysession had a Distinguished Lectureship with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and the Seismological Society of America.