Sam Abell talks about taking a year to make a picture


“Sammy…compose your picture and wait. Compose and wait.”

-Sam Abell recalls his father’s advice

In the video above, from The Atlantic, Sam Abell recalls taking a year to make a picture of bison skulls for a National Geographic story on the life of American cowboy painter Charles M. Russell. The story here hits close to home for me; the areas Abell photographed for the story are where I grew up, and my high school was named for Russell. Be sure to watch to the end of the video; the story on the airplane is great.


  1. Cosmin says:

    As Minor White said: “However long or short the exposure is, Time stops for the photographer it has chosen”. That bison really gives life to that photo. Great work!

    [Reply]

  2. He made a lot of money off of ad work for Marlboro. I remember interning for Steve McCurry back in 2001 and seeing many images for Marlboro in his files as well. . . definitely a surefire way to fund the personal work!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um74DKYlta8

    [Reply]

  3. [...] Compose and wait – This is a lesson I learned from National Geographic photographer Sam Abell. Be patient and wait for your pictures. Take your time, take several frames. Try different lenses [...]

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