Maria Stenzel

National Geographic Photographer

Maria Stenzel is a longtime Contributing Photographer to National Geographic Magazine and a documentary filmmaker. She first voyaged to Antarctica by icebreaker in 1995 on a winter science expedition to study the growth of sea ice in the Southern Ocean.  Hooked by the vast spaces of Antarctica, Maria has returned to cover many other expeditions funded by the National Science Foundation. She has photographed geology in the Dry Valleys, astronomy at the South Pole, Emperor and Adelie penguin research at Cape Crozier, Weddell Seal studies in McMurdo Sound, NASA’s airborne surveys of the Antarctic Peninsula (Operation IceBridge), unmanned submarine surveys beneath ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea, humpback whale studies and the marine ecology of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, and the Weddell Sea.

In 2006 she sailed with renowned explorer Jerome Poncet aboard his boat The Golden Fleece to the remote South Sandwich Islands.  Located in the stormy Scotia Sea one thousand miles off the coast of Antarctica, these islands are the breeding grounds of the largest penguin colony in the world.

In 2011 Maria spent an academic year studying documentary filmmaking at MIT and Harvard as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. She is currently a Fellow at Harvard’s Film Studies Center, where she is making a documentary film about blind children in India.

Upcoming Expeditions

  • Feb 13, 2019

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