• Photo: Andreas Hutter

    Andreas Hutter captured the brooding midsummer evening sky over the wind-scoured landscape near El Chaltén in southern Argentina's Santa Cruz province. "I'd never seen clouds like this before," says the Lucerne, Switzerland-based photographer, who spent seven months exploring the region on horseback. "But there in Patagonia, I saw them almost every day." Dramatic weather is common in this latitude, a tempestuous zone that sailors call the Roaring Forties.

    Using a 20mm lens, he exposed the 50-speed film for 1/4 second at f/2.8.
  • Photo: Klaus Hagmeier

    Klaus Hagmeier was on assignment shooting sunny, azure-sky vistas for the British Tourist Authority—part of a marketing campaign to lure German holidaymakers across the Channel—when he came across this drizzly, Turneresque landscape on the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland. "Usually I have more blue in rainy scenes," says the Frankfurt-based photographer, who found this spot on a late August afternoon, "but for this one the color was very warm: lots of orange and brown, like whiskey."

    Hagmeier used a 90mm lens and 100-speed film and exposed the frame at f/16 for 1/2 second.
  • Photo: Pete Turner

    Pete Turner made several reconnaissance missions to this lonesome tree in Sossusvlei, Namibia, before deciding that the afternoon—when the sand in the foreground is shaded and the enormous quartz dune in the background glows orange—provides the right light. "Deserts have absolutely no scale—they're like water without a boat on it," says the Long Island-based photographer, whose new book, Pete Turner African Journey, is due from Graphis next month. "But this tree captured my eye; it gives scale to the image." Part of Namib-Naukluft Park's "dune sea," these sand hills are among the largest on earth.

    Turner exposed 50-speed film at f/4 for 1/500 second.
  • Photo: David LaChapelle

    David LaChapelle was shooting a series on beaches in India when he met 14-year-old Abraham in a village near Trivandrum, on the southwest coast, and the New York photographer and the boy communicated "just by laughing." Abraham's hat advertises his all-inclusive lifeguard services: He is available for hire as a swimming partner, and if a shark appears, he'll put his body between it and his client. Still, the beach, called Suma Sumatra, is largely peaceful. Every sunrise, the whole town comes down to bathe in the water while camels walk along the shore.

    LaChapelle used a strobe, a 35mm lens, and 160-speed film, exposing the frame at f/11.5 for 1/60 second.
  • Photo: Alberto Caputo

    Alberto Caputo captured this image while driving along Maipo Pass, on an ancient cattle trail between Argentina and Peru in the Andes. "This cloud looked like a volcanic eruption." says the Argentinian photographer, "I had to stop. "

    He used a Fuji 6x9 superwide camera with a built-in lens and exposed 400-speed film at f/8 for 1/250 second.
  • Photo: Kurt Markus

    Kurt Markus sought abstraction in the dunes of Namibia's Namib Desert, in southwestern Africa, and found it. Known for his iconic cowboy photography, the 57- year-old Markus, who lives in Kalispell, Montana, says, "I was staying nearby, in the little town of Swakopmund, and ventured inland to shoot natural forms. I left with what I wanted: pure shots, simple documentation."

    He used 400-speed film and a 200mm lens on a six-by-seven camera, with an exposure time of 1/15 second at f/22.
  • Photo: Gabe Rogel

    Gabe Rogel and his wife, Sara, were thawing out in southwestern Thailand, after two weeks of trekking in Tibet, when he took this shot of her wading out to Happy Island, off Phra Nang beach, to do some sport climbing. "Thailand's limestone is out of this world," says the 28-year-old Driggs, Idaho-based lensman and former mountain guide. "Almost all of it overlooks white sand and turquoise waters."

    Using a 17-35mm lens, he exposed 100-speed film at f/5.6 for 1/500 second.
  • Photo: Bill Atkinson

    Bill Atkinson zooms in on hunks of a stone called Pietersite to reveal deceptive, dynamic compositions. "This type of fault breccia is found only in the Outjo district of Namibia's Kunene region," says the 53-year-old, a Portola Valley, California-based photographer and member of Apple's original Macintosh software team. "While studying one rock, I came across this landscape—or is it a phoenix rising from the ashes? It's all in the eye of the beholder."

    With a custom-built, scanning digital camera and two arc lamps, Atkinson used a 120mm lens—fitted with a polarizing filter—and an ISO of 600, with an exposure time of 4.5 minutes at f/5.6.
  • Photo: Eric Fredine

    Eric Fredine sank to his knees in the mud of Alberta's Beaverhill Lake to capture this twilight scene. "I wandered around in hip waders all afternoon looking for patterns of ground and sky," says the 41-year-old, an Edmonton, Alberta-based software executive and a vocational photographer.

    He shot digitally with a 16-35mm wide-angle lens set at f/16, using an ISO of 100 and an exposure time of 1/8 second.
  • Photo: Joan Myers

    Joan Myers shot this photo from a Zodiac precariously passing by a melting 50-foot-tall iceberg in Crystal Sound, off the Antarctic Peninsula. "Bergs sometimes roll over unexpectedly," says the Tesuque, New Mexico-based photographer, 61. This image appears in her exhibit "Wondrous Cold," now at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the accompanying book of the same name.

    Shooting digitally with an ISO of 320, Myers used a 24-120mm lens set at f/9.5 and an exposure time of 1/640 second.
  • Photo: Steve McCurry

    Steve McCurry has spent the past 25 years shooting documentary articles for publications including National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times. Phaidon Press published Looking East, a selection of McCurry's portraits, nine of which (including this Rinpoche boy, photographed in Bylakuppe, India, in 2001) are presented here.
  • Photo: Steve McCurry

    Unlike most portrait photographers, who tend to rely on large-format cameras, McCurry travels light and fast, with a Nikon 35-millimeter. "It allows me to shoot quickly, in adverse conditions, when there is little time to work," says the 56-year-old New York–based photographer. "And it's much less obtrusive." The effect is a lucid realism most famously seen in the jade stare of Sharbat Gula, who as a young Afghan girl appeared on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985.
  • Photo: Camille Seaman

    In December 2006, these Adélie penguins waddled and slid roughly a mile from the iceberg in the distance to the edge of Antarctica's Ross Sea, where photographer Camille Seaman, 38, waited on the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. "It was really funny to watch their behavior," she says. "Penguins have this desire to be close, but if they get too close they'll slap each other."

    BACKSTORY: It was ten below zero the afternoon Seaman spent outside on deck waiting for these birds to march single file with equal separation. "You have to be patient and ready for a spatial relation that works," says the Berkeley, California, resident. "And then hope your hands aren't too cold to take the picture when it happens."

    THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 5D, 70-300mmf/4.5 lens, ISO 160, f/16, 1/125 second.
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