“He put a camera in a carcass and waited for the wolves to come.” That, says Whitney Johnson, director of visuals and immersive experiences, is the kind of effort that makes for a standout National Geographic photo. How does she choose 100 photos from 106 photographers, 121 stories, and more than two million images taken over the course of a year? “I count on my great photo editors,” says Johnson.
There are many such moments here, from military exercises in a warming Arctic and Rwandan schoolgirls flexing their muscles to Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan’s sheer face without ropes. Johnson calls that particular photo run “a whole stretch of strength across space and time.”