Being Present in the Moment: National Geographic Photography


How does the phrase “pet the whale” relate to being present in the moment? How does this even relate to photography?

“Petting the whale” is a way to remind yourself that, sometimes, you should just put your camera down. Seeing life with your eyes instead of a camera lens can help you both to appreciate the world around you, and to be more selective in your photographs – capturing the most important moments and enjoying the rest of your experience.

As you’ll learn in this short video, even the professionals don’t go around with their cameras up all the time! Join National Geographic Photographer Joel Sartore as he explains the perks of petting the whale and how being present in the moment might mean you miss the perfect shot, but the experience and memories are really what matter.

This tip is just one of hundreds of techniques found in the course Fundamentals of Photography available now on The Great Courses Plus.

With recent developments in technology, we now take and share photographs almost instantaneously through online photo albums and social media-making this unique form of personal expression more central to our lives than ever before.

The Fundamentals of Photography by The Great Courses for the article Being Present in the Moment: National Geographic PhotographyBut when many of us take photographs, we simply point our cameras and click without being aware of what we’re doing, what we’re seeing, or how we can do it better. In reality, taking great photographs requires you to see as a professional photographer does; to train your eyes using the same fundamental techniques and principles the experts use to create unforgettable images from the grandest (and simplest) of subjects.

With Fundamentals of Photography, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the art and craft of great photography straight from a professional photographer with more than 30 years of experience. Designed for people at all levels, these 24 lectures are an engaging guide to how photographs work and how to make them work better for you. National Geographic contributing photographer Joel Sartore has crafted a course that will hone your photographer’s eye so you can capture the greatest moments in nearly every situation and setting imaginable, from a field of flowers to a friend’s birthday party to a grand mountain range. Taking you both inside the photographer’s studio and out into the field, this course is a chance to learn, in a way anyone can grasp, the basic insights and hidden secrets of photography.

Learn How to See Just as a Professional Does

The first and most important lessons you learn in Fundamentals of Photography involve seeing and thinking just like the professionals who make taking perfect shots seem like second nature.

Mr. Sartore teaches you the three features any photographer needs to have in place before snapping a shot:

  • Great lighting
  • Solid visual composition
  • An interesting perspective on your subject

By paying attention to these aspects (with help from well over 1,000 dramatic photos from Mr. Sartore’s award-winning portfolio), you’ll be better able to take the kinds of photographs that surpass their original situation and actually mean something to you and others.

Start your free trial of The Great Courses Plus and watch Fundamentals of Photography  today!

Watch more National Geographic photography tips:
Using Shadows in Compositions
How to Photograph Mirrors
Telling a Story With a Picture