What does it take to be a National Geographic photographer?

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Joel Sartore lives a life akin to James Bond. He has been chased by wolves, grizzly bears, musk oxen, lions, elephants, and polar bears. He has eaten guinea pigs that still have their teeth. He has traveled the world in search of … photos.

Sartore works behind a camera. He's a photographer for National Geographic, and is responsible for some of the most incredible images of animals. Sartore will take 30,000 photos in a year to come up with three or four keeper photos.

To be sure, Sartore leads quite a life, one that includes a cause. He is into conservation, and saving animals from extinction.

Toward that end, Sartore has been working on a 20-year protect called The Photo Ark, taking studio-style photos of animals to document biodiversity and call attention to endangered species. "The goal is for people to look these species in the eye and get them to care while there's still time," said Sartore, described as a modern-day Noah.

Sartore recently posted a video about his fascinating life and what it takes to be a photographer for National Geographic. He also touches upon The Photo Ark. Fortunately for us, several of his photos are featured in the video he calls "Joel Sartore, a photographer's life":

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More than 2,650 species have been photographed by Sartore, who writes on his website that "for many of Earth's creatures, time is running out. Half of the world's plant and animal species will soon be threatened with extinction."

Sartore believes he’ll have 5,000 to 6,000 photos of animals in The Photo Ark by the time he’s finished.

As you can tell, it is a noble cause, and it’s nice to see Sartore combine his passion of photography with his love for animals, though we wouldn't be too keen about being chased by them.

Photo of Joel Sartore and friends is from his Vimeo video.