Video: Randy Olson Packs for National Geographic Assignment

National Geographic Magazine contract photographer Randy Olson made this time lapse of himself as he packs for an assignment in Lake Turkana.

National Geographic Magazine contract photographer Randy Olson made this time lapse of himself as he packs for an assignment in Lake Turkana.

Every time I see Randy prep and pack for an assignment, I’m quickly reminded how many times he and so many other photographers take so many risks to bring home compelling images that move and inspire us as individuals and the world.

The amount of time they get in the field has been reduced dramatically due to disruption and yet they still deliver despite the realities of working on assignment for The Natty G.

As he says, “It’s an art.” packing for a variety of conditions and situations. Check it out:

Magazine Designs for National Geographic Traveler September 2010 Issue

Chaos! That’s been my life for the past several months so I’m finally getting around to sharing these stories I designed for my former employer National Geographic Traveler. When the September issue of Natty G Traveler came out I was in the middle of a relocation, several project deadlines, and a presentation on branding and marketing for photographers for Geekfest 2010.

So here are two stories I designed, Ischia and Slovenia.

There were a couple of pictures that were swapped out from the versions I had sent and the typography was tweaked. I was expecting that to happen though. A layout out of context is one thing and when placed in the sequence of ads and a mix of other stories, changes are inevitable. Anyone working for a magazine needs to get over that one pretty quick.

On top of working with my favorite people, I had a blast pairing pictures again.

Thanks Jerry, Leigh and Carol.

Photographer Massimo Bassano made images of Ischia.

National Geographic Traveler Ischia Feature opener

National Geographic Traveler Ischia Spread 2

National Geographic Traveler Ischia Magazine layout 3

National Geographic Traveler Ischia Design Spread 4

National Geographic Traveler Ischia Design Spread 5

Photographer Aaron Huey made pictures of Slovenia.

National Geographic Traveler Slovenia Magazine Feature Opener

National Geographic Traveler Slovenia Feature Design 2

National Geographic Traveler Slovenia Magazine Design 3

National Geographic Traveler Slovenia Magazine Design 4

National Geographic Traveler Slovenia Feature Last page

Today’s OEA Wins “Best in Show”!

Over the weekend I received an email from Meg Krugel, the Editor of Today’s OEA letting me know Today’s OEA received the“Best in Show” award at the State Education Editor’s (SEE) conference in Nashville, TN on behalf of the National Education Association.

It is the top honor from all 50 states.

Feature Story Opening Spread for Guiding Lights in Today's OEA Magazine

Feature story opener, Dress Code for Today's OEA magazine.

Meg and I have been working together since last summer. We started with a redesign and have collaborated each issue beginning in the Fall of 2009.

Our efforts with the redesign paid off because Today’s OEA was also recognized as “Most Improved Publication”.

Some of the judges comments:

“Excellent, sophisticated use of design, great use of positive and negative space, great use of grid design with elements that pop, took a magazine that was already good and made it truly excellent, a magazine worthy of the newsstand…”

Feature story opener, Empty Spaces, Today's OEA magazine.

Feature story opener for Three Sisters of Mt. Hood for Today's OEA magazine.


Reading their comments made me feel so good. It is always an honor to be recognized by colleagues and extremely flattering.

One important note: With this redesign Meg and I agreed photography would have a greater role in helping to tell the story but also give greater visual impact to the overall feel of Today’s OEA. Thank you to the photographers who have worked with us this past year. 

Thank you judges. Thank you Meg and congratulations to Today’s OEA and NEA!

Today’s OEA Magazine Redesign

A few weeks ago the redesign of Today’s OEA magazine went out to the members of OEA. I had initially written “my redesign” of Today’s OEA magazine but really the redesign was a team effort between myself and the staff of Today’s OEA.

Sure, the Editor, Meg Krugel and I hashed out a lot of the details and I executed the design but it really was a team effort that could not have happened without all the people on the masthead and more.

Some of the redesign goals:

  • Make the overall feel more lively and more consumer magazine than institutional newsletter
  • Deliver content that is easy to scan and digest quickly
  • Be more bold with typography and color
  • Design a publication that members look forward to and find useful

It was incredibly fun to be back in a magazine environment. I really do miss it.

Here’s the result of our efforts and below the sample pages, you’ll find the responses we received from Today’s OEA readers. That feedback continues to make me smile.

Thanks Meg for the opportunity and I am so looking forward to our next issues together.

What Readers Had to Say

I just received my complimentary copy of TODAY’S OEA…and WOWIE ZOWIE!! The redesign is intensely wonderful. Did you change the paper, too? I mean cover to cover this magazine is really well put together. I just wanted to say congratulations for raising the bar again. I love the new layout, the treatment of the sidebars, the photos. You guys have really outdone yourselves. Taken a really wonderful magazine and made it even more stellar.

I think the current OEA’s Today is the best I have seen in my 20+ years at OEA. Seriously. I am talking visually it is really great … the photo’s, the layout, etc. One of these days I will get around to reading it too…

Greetings: First, I really like the new layout and design of Today’s OEA. It is easy to read, easy to find specific stories and ideas.

After getting the first issue of Today’s OEA, I can tell you I am so pleased and impressed! I have to tell you all of those large-font boxes with statistics really focused my attention. Good work!



  • Adobe Indesign CS4
  • Adobe Illustrator CS4
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4
  • Adobe Acrobat 9.0
  • Basecamp

Printing by Lynx Group

Rapha’s Sweet Cycling Magazine: Rouleur

Thanks to the North American Handmade Bike Show, I was able to score 2 issues of Rapha’s Rouleur magazine and the 2007 Photography Annual.


Who is Rapha and what is Rouleur?Rapha is a UK-based performance cycling clothing company and Rouleur is their magazine.

According to Rapha’s website:

Rouleur has been created to celebrate the drama and beauty of road racing. It is aimed at those people who, like us, are passionate about the sport. Don’t expect to see bike tests and race reports.

This magazine is the antithesis of most cycling magazines and rather than be a catalog for clothes, Rouleur extends Rapha’s brand with content that captures the essence of cycling. What better way to do that than tell stories of real people?

It also shows in the magazine’s evocative cycling photography. Two contributing photographers I especially respond to are Camille McMillan and Timm Kölln.

When I realized Issue Five had Timm’s Polaroid images of the Giro d’Italia, there was no question about buying. (Be sure to check out his 2006 Tour de France Polaroids, too!) The other issue I picked up was Issue 3 with John Vink‘s photographs of the 1985 Tour de France.

Rapha has chosen Portland for their North American headquarters. If you are into cycling and appreciate high-quality clothing, Rapha may be for you. It is “spendy” (a Portland term I recently picked up) and if you can afford it, it is worth every penny.

Mix: Portland’s New Food and Drink Magazine

Have you seen it? If not, you are in for a treat. No pun intended.

Mix is Portland’s new food and drink magazine published by The Oregonian. It The new glossy made its debut on Friday and is on shelves around Portland. According to The Oregonian’s Editors’ Blog, Mix can be found at various grocery stores as well as Rite Aid. As of Friday, the issues at Rich’s Cigars have sold out.

Mix: Portland’s Food and Drink Magazine

First, I should fully disclose that my husband happens to be the Photo Director of this new glossy and (Yes, I have to toot his horn, too!) overall the photography is really well executed and edited. IMHO, there are a few that fall short of what I would expect from a magazine and I can fully understand and appreciate how sometimes that happens. (He is already aware of my thoughts.) 🙂

That said, it’s a clear thumbs up for the photography. I love the cover image. The moment is perfectly captured with selective focus: the relationship between the two fingers and the knife just touching the sausage (? I just looked for a credit and an ‘On the Cover’ caption and there seems to be none. Hmmm.) is just magical. It’s quiet, subtle and beautifully executed.

All in all the photography is warm, engaging, and loose. It’s casually sophisticated; not posed or heavily stylized (1980s-1990s studio lighting anyone?). And in general, the design allows for the images to breathe and boldly leap off the page. See the story by Leslie Cole, Gardens of Eating. The opener is killer.

Now, I’m really hungry.