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Africa’s Albertine Rift – A Special Essay by Joel Sartore

A great little blog post from Lincoln, Nebraska based National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore about a recent scare he had while shooting a story in Africa for the magazine. First off, Joel is a very accomplished photojournalist with many years of magazine assignments and so many stories he could fill an encyclopedia (or at least the number of books he has published so far).  He’s been all over the globe in some pretty hairy situations as you can imagine – from being charged by lions, elephants, gorillas, and rhinos, to the blistering cold of the North Pole covering disappearing Ice Caps – dangerous situations are part of Joel’s job description. But when the unexpected happens inside a Ugandan bat cave and his life could be in jeopardy in a different way – by an infectious disease. He gets to make a call that few of us will ever get to say we’ve had the pleasure – to the Ugandan arm of the Centers for Disease Control!

After three weeks of strict quarantine in his Lincoln home where he had time to ponder the big questions of his life – whether or not he’ll forget the feeling of potentially having his life cut short – he finally got a clean bill of health…and a second chance.

Here’s a quote from the last line I particularly love;

“Kathy (my wife) and all three kids were there, preparing a special meal to celebrate the end of my quarantine. Then someone turned on a blender. Just for a moment, the room was filled with the sound of ten thousand bats taking flight. I quickly looked down and closed my eyes as tightly as I could, just in case.”

Joel is a true fighter for the environment and his vast catalog of inspiring beautiful and tragic images are a testament to his ability. I just hope a little bout with an infectious disease wont put an end to it any time soon!


READ Joels Essayhttp://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/albertine-rift/sartore-essay

SEE Joels Photos for NGM November 2011 (along with Carston Peter and Pascal Maitre ) – Rift in Paradise—Africa’s Albertine Rift