Meet the Photographer: Pete McBride

Pete McBride has been adding a flash of panache to National Geographic Traveler for roughly 15 years. “He brings the whole package to the magazine, ” says Director of Photography Dan Westergren. Though McBride started off making his name as a photographer, he has the literary chops to handle both text and images for feature stories–which is rare. And, as Dan notes, he has something else going for him: “the curiosity to find out what makes the world tick.”

McBride’s knack for storytelling, eye for detail, and ability to make the personal universal are also what make him a standout documentary filmmaker (check out his stunning–and impassioned–documentary about the Colorado River, Chasing Water).

“In the last few years, we have been willing to just let Pete run,” says Westergren. “He gives a story idea that is perfectly suited to the sensibility of our magazine, and we send him off knowing he’ll bring back a surprise in words and pictures.”

Here’s a small peek into the life and times of Pete McBride:

Home: The quiet Rockies town of Basalt, Colorado

Trip of a Lifetime: Years ago, I rode in a WWI replica, open-cockpit biplane on a reenactment of the first African air passage of 1920, from London to Cape Town, up the Nile and down eastern Africa. It took 58 days; two French Mirage jets intercepted us over the Red Sea.

Out of Africa: While I was working on a story about the legal drug trade of khat in Djibouti, officials confiscated my photo memory cards and deported–or as I like to say, “Djibouted”–me.

La Vida Local: Streets and plazas are the living room of Latin culture. That’s where to find the best food and drinks–and maybe even dance with some elderly ladies and belt out mariachi songs.

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Bookmarked: The Emerald Mile, by Kevin Fedarko, is a wild adventure on the Colorado River, rich in history with Spanish explorers and a crazy boatman in the Grand Canyon.

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