Exploration doesn’t feel like a choice for Krista Rossow—for her it’s a natural impulse she feels compelled to follow. “Exploring allows me to see more of the beauty in the natural world, whether that’s in my backyard or in the furthest reaches of the planet,” she says. Travel and photography go hand-in-hand for Krista and she uses her camera as a tool for understanding new cultures and discovering the world around her.
While working as a photo editor for seven years at National Geographic Traveler magazine, Krista explored all kinds of incredible places—places she only dreamed of visiting—as she sorted through images from exceptionally talented shooters. Today Krista is on the other side of the desk. As a contributing photographer for the magazine, she is the one venturing around the globe with camera in hand. Her latest assignments have had her braving typhoon-influenced weather in Japan’s Oki Islands, climbing mountaintops in New Zealand, and meandering through mist-shrouded forests in Asheville, North Carolina.
Krista’s time as an editor schooled her in the art of dynamic storytelling—and she brings both technical aptitude and a creative eye with her into the field. One look at her work and it’s clear she understands not only what makes the perfect travel photo, but how best to achieve it. Whether setting establishing shots—say a sweeping view of Patagonia’s iconic Torres del Paine Massif—or honing in on quintessential details, like those ethereal blues at the heart of an iceberg, Krista’s images evoke a powerful sense of place.
When not directly behind the lens Krista still enjoys photo editing, primarily for National Geographic Books. For her most recent editing project, 100 Dives of a Lifetime, she immersed herself for a year in spectacular underwater imagery from 100 locations around the world. She’s also a pro when it comes to photo instruction as anyone who has traveled with her aboard our ships knows. Krista shares her expertise with passion and patience, helping our guests reach new levels in their own photography.
It may be hard to believe but Krista is a self-described “homebody with a vagabond soul.” She’s happiest when she’s back in her native state of Oregon, where she can often be found ice skating. But as soon as that call to travel kicks in, she’s off again for new adventures.
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
There is an immensity and remoteness to Antarctica that cannot be conveyed through words or pictures, but can only be sensed by being there in person. I feel overwhelmingly small and humble in the face of such great beauty. And although the penguins are endearingly charming, what I am most enchanted with is the ice. I love the patterns along the top of tidal glaciers, the artistry in icebergs being sculpted by waves and time, and the sheer awe inspired by massive tabular icebergs floating in an open ocean. I still daydream about the beautiful shapes of ice that I’m missing out on thousands of miles away at the end of the earth.
What is the dream exploration you haven’t done…yet?
A great American road trip. I’ve been to every continent, but I can’t say that I know my own country as well as I would like to. I think it would be fascinating to travel through the United States documenting the landscape and people that make up this vast country.
Name your female hero(es) and why.
Two of my female heroes are Michelle Obama, for always being true to herself, and Jane Goodall, for her open-minded curiosity.
What advice would you give the next generation of women explorers?
Explore with passion and compassion. Much of the history of exploration was focused on conquest. It then thankfully has shifted to conservation, especially due to efforts of companies like National Geographic and Lindblad, but I think it is time for the next generation of women explorers to explore this planet and its people through a lens of compassion. Of course, we can climb mountains, cross continents, conduct scientific research, and do anything men explorers can do, but my advice is to find your passion, listen and learn with compassion, and then share stories in a way that connect people.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
They would be surprised to know that for somebody who travels so much, I’m a homebody at heart. I’ve become a master of making faraway places seem like home by renting apartments in neighborhoods and creating daily rituals to make a sense of familiarity even when everything surrounding me is completely foreign, but there is nothing I love more than coming home.
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