One Of My Images Published By National Geographic

I’m uncomfortable tootin’ my own horn but I promised readers that I’d provide more details about who published this image when the book came out.


western grebe 1704 not rotated ron dudley

1/2000, f/8, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

National Geographic recently published a new kids book about birds titled “Little Kids First Big Book Of Birds” and this image of mine is included in it. The photo is of an adult Western Grebe back brooding one of its chicks at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.



first big book of birds 5956 ron dudley

My complimentary copy of the book was waiting for me when I returned home from my Montana camping trip earlier this week.



first big book of birds 5964 ron dudley

And here’s my image, cropped differently than I’d presented it on my blog. I was pleased to note that they used my photo to actually teach something about the natural history of birds – in this case the bare crown patch on the forehead of the chick that turns color when the youngster is begging for food (or becomes excited when separated from its parents).

I was delighted that National Geographic used my photo in a book for little kids. I believe that teaching younger generations about the wonders of nature is an investment in our future – one of the fading number of hopes we have for a relatively healthy planet down the road. And this retired biology teacher couldn’t be happier to be part of that effort.

I’ve had concerns about the future integrity of National Geographic ever since climate-denier Rupert Murdoch took them over last year. Many observers fear an eventual loss of autonomy and a dumbing-down of the science in their publications as a result of his influence. But based on what I see in this book it hasn’t happened yet – the science seems accurate, unbiased and the reading level appropriate for its intended audience.

So I’m happy to have played a small part in the project.



  • Reader Jo Ann Donnelly has informed me that the book won’t be shipped or available to the general public until 7/12/16 (she looked it up on both Amazon and the NG website). Price will be $14.95.
  • Regular readers may know that I’m somewhat reluctant to offer prints for sale because it can be more hassle than it’s worth to me. But there have been multiple requests to purchase a print of this image so I’ve made arrangements with my printer to produce and ship 16×20 prints of the image upon request. Anyone interested in purchasing one of them can reach me through the “contact me” button at the top of my blog (just above the rotating banner). Price will be $90, including printing costs and shipping within the continental U.S.  


102 comments to One Of My Images Published By National Geographic

  • Sarah Hamilton

    They don’t come any cuter than this. Congrats on such a great picture.

  • Debbie Trainer

    I am also late with this. Congratulations Ron! How exciting for you! It is a beautiful photo.I have 34 years of NG Magazines lol and I will be buying this book. I know someone famous! I will keep it with me and when my Great Nephew comes for a visit I can tell him about the birds in the book and about you.

  • Jean

    Sorry I am late in reading this. What a thrill for you. Such a sweet photo. I will look for the book, and buy it for my Great-Nieces!
    p.s. You need to put your own book together!

  • Ron,
    Your original image, with your chosen cropping, is sublime.
    Everyone else has told you all the good things about having it in a NG “Big Bird Book” for kids. Agreed.
    And, my heart hurts when looking at NG’s rendition.
    I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes, trying to figure out what to say next. I’ll be glad to give a full critique from my ex- fourth grade teacher/ current artist-craftsperson viewpoint, if you are interested.
    In the meantime, I’m not buying the NG book, and I would like to purchase a copy of the original picture, if I may.
    I love your photography, Ron.

    • Elizabeth Sawin

      I agree with Sue that your original picture is sublime. I, too, would be interested in purchasing a copy of it (and others from you). So many Arts Festivals show photography that yours far exceeds.

    • Sue and Elizabeth, I’ll respond to each of you via email soon.

      • I too would love to purchase a copy of the original Western Grebe print. I agree it is sublime! I have to look at it every day. Please include me in the email reply for purchase.

  • Congratulations, Ron! Totally deserved. And, I’m with you, how terrific it’s in a book for new generations of birders!

  • April Olson

    Congratulations! It is a beautiful photo. Rarley do you see the bare patch on the head in photos.

  • Nancy Collins

    Congratulations Ron! You should be very proud of yourself. You have spent countless hours crafting your art to reach the next level! Job well done!

  • Camey Hanks

    Your work is awesome! I love following all your projects!
    I too, have had doubts about the direction of Nat Geo since the new management took over.
    It doesn’t seem to have changed much…. so far. Happy trails!

  • Janice Kelber

    Congratulations, I will be purchasing 2 books for 2 of my favorite girls, 3 and 6 that love birds. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fantastic! I will buy a copy for our young grandsons. I’ve already put a bird feeder in their back yard. When they are a little older I may gain some points by pointing them to the blog of the photographer who took that photo.

    • “I’ve already put a bird feeder in their back yard”

      Good for you, Dave. That’s one way to potentially start a good kind of addiction!

  • Laura Culley

    I’m simply delighted for you for all the reasons you mentioned and more! Congratulations! And YIPPEE!

    • Thanks, Laura. I figured you’d be happy for me, considering all the encouragement you’ve given me in the past.

      • Laura Culley

        We should all encourage greatness! And you do that in oh so many ways–by example and by teaching others. I challenge you to submit MORE photos everywhere! 🙂

        • Thanks, Laura. But I don’t submit photos. It’s not in my nature to do so and I’ve never done it. Folks contact me if they want to use them, just like National Geographic did.

  • Wonderful, Ron! It’s so great to see you receive the recognition your work deserves.

  • Philina

    Wow! That’s great, Ron. Congratulations! I too was saddened at the cropping decision, that was a *stellar* reflection shot they cut out.

  • You toot your horn so very quietly.
    And should be blasting out tunes for us all to hear.
    Love that image, and your deserved recognition.
    And am frequently ashamed of Rupert Murdoch. Glad that he hasn’t got interested in his investment in Nat Geo yet. His interests are often dangerous. For everyone else.

  • Congratulations Ron! Such a well-deserved honor and I wouldn’t doubt overdue. That is an awesome image and my photographer’s heart hurts at the crop they had to make on it. I have learned the most from your site and it is still my favorite and most recommended to others. I can’t thank you enough!

  • Ron- I can see why this image was published! Simply OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Linda Chowns

    Congratulations Ron! I love this intimate photo of the chick and parent. And, I agree this is a wonderful image to show young children how different species care for and raise their youngsters. You are very talented and well deserving of this honor. Congratulations Ron!
    My 3 year-old twin granddaughters will love this book. Even though owls are their favorite birds (they are always excited to see your owl photographs) I am certain they will love this one too. Again, congratulations.

  • Nicole

    Wow! Incredible! I will buy it for my neice, who is ~ 6 months at the moment – how fantastic! And yes, I am worried about NG as well… Have not renewed my subscription… ☹️

    • Nicole, Murdoch claims he won’t be interfering with the integrity of the magazine. Time will tell. But he sure fired a lot of talented folks when he took over. It may have been a wise business move but still very sad.

  • John Riegsecker

    Congratulations Ron. Very nice photo. Having now visited Bear River MBR it makes your photos even more enjoyable.

  • Diane Bricmont

    Congratulations, Ron. I hope this is just the first of many more to be published!

  • Betty Norman

    Seems a shame about the cropping of this gorgeous photo, but it was for a good cause! Congratulations, Ron!

    • Agreed about the cropping, Betty but then their purpose was to spotlight the bare crown patch on the chick and that crop made it appear a little larger and more obvious. They also had to crop to fit the page and their text. I suspect book publication can be very complicated.

      It’s complicated enough just doing blog posts…

  • B. Wright

    How exciting! And to think I actually know you. Congrats this is s big deal!

  • Patty Chadwick

    I might now consider purchasing the book for my grandchildren. When reality-denier, Fox News owner, Rupert Murdoch, purchased the Nationl Graphic and fired so many good, talented people, I no longer had any faith in the integrity of the organization or interest in any of its products…and, I don’t care to put one cent of my money into his pockets of the pockets of his spokespersons…..still, I’m glad for you and happy for your being part of something good. As a long-time friend, a respected Lakota elder says, “it’s not just a matter of good and bad. Everything positive has some element of negative and everything negative has an element of pisitive..” Either way, this is one of my favorite images and I’m proud of you!!!

    • Patty Chadwick

      Darned evil iPad is at it again..that’s supposedto be “positive”, not. “pisitive”…NUTS!!!

    • Patty, my dad used to say the same thing as your Lakota friend, he just used slightly different words. Then he’d challenge me to prove him wrong with an example. I never found one that he couldn’t shoot holes through, though some of his ways of doing so were pretty creative.

      We had a lot of fun with it over the years – it started when I was a kid and then continued once again many years later when my folks came to live with me in the last few years of their lives. Good memories…

  • Len

    Hi Ron, Well done.

  • It’s an excellent shot. I’m glad it’s going to be out there teaching others like you teach me! 😀

  • Trudy Brooks

    That is a nice picture, and did not know much about Grebes, since I was never around lakes. Go ahead and Toot! Toot! Always nice to receive some money for all your efforts.

  • Dennis Coleman

    Outstanding image, Ron. Congratulations!! Can’t wait to get a copy for my granddaughters.

  • Kris Eberhard

    EVERYTHING that all of your audience/friends/fans have said above—-and I’m with you in being encouraged by any move, by anyone, that promotes
    hope for our planet and its breadth of species’ survival—-you’ve made me think of Jane Goodall’s book, ” Reason for Hope “…… a good reminder!

  • Diana

    Ron So unfair to all the other photographers out there to have to compete with you. I share your pleasure. Diana

  • Ken

    Congratulations Ron, you are just kicking over the milestones here!

  • Well deserved Ron! Congratulations and thank you for your great images and natural history / biology education.

  • Ellen Wascou

    Congratulations Ron. Great photo. I also will be buying the book for my nephews children. Did Nat Geo give you credit in the book? I would hope so.

  • That is just wonderful…. and well deserved. Congratulations!

  • Christina Greutink

    Way to go, Ron! This fellow retired biology teacher is thrilled to see both the book and your image in it! I will be purchasing copies of this one as my little nieces and nephews grow up!

  • It looks like a beautiful book and this picture is sure to be a favorite!! I’ll be buying one for my niece for Christmas. Nice work.

    • “I’ll be buying one for my niece for Christmas”

      I hope she enjoys it, Carol. And perhaps it will help to forge a lifelong appreciation for birds and nature – we just never know about things like that…

  • Susan Stone

    Congratulations! I’m also glad to see that your photo was used for teaching purposes. I’m with you on wanting to teach the younger generations about the wonders of nature. And the opportunity to do that is one of the things I really enjoy about volunteering at Hueco Tanks. When we take children on tours they not only get to learn about nature and history, they also get to build their physical skills and their confidence in those skills. It’s especially rewarding when you see that they want to come back and see more.

  • Elizabeth Sawin

    Congratulations, Ron. A wonderful photo. I will buy the book for my grandson’s third birthday in August, but I wish I could have a copy autographed by you. I am so enjoying all your wonderful photos and your dedication to preserving the other-than-human world.

    • “I will buy the book for my grandson’s third birthday in August”

      Good! If you can think of a practical way to do it I’d gladly provide the autograph, Elizabeth.

  • Please, Sir, Take a well deserved bow while we applaud you. You set the bar very high for the rest of us and we appreciate it.

  • Sharon Constant

    Congratulations Ron! This is so wonderful. I echo what Roger writes…but I add that with your gift as a teacher, it’s even more appropriate that your image is being used to educate kids! I’m also pleased to hear Rupert Murdock hasn’t ruined National Geographic yet. I’d been a magazine subscriber since 1974 and was so devastated to hear about the sale that I didn’t renew my subscription.

    • Sharon, National Geographic Magazine was one of the important influences on me as a little kid growing up in Montana. My family didn’t subscribe but my grandparents in Alberta did and whenever we’d visit them I’d immediately become immersed in all the issues that had been published since my last visit. I mean my nose was BURIED in those magazines for many hours!

      Their nature photography fascinated me and their text challenged me (in a good way) at that age. Part of my present attitude toward nature is definitely due to the influence of that magazine and I’ll be forever grateful.

      For me, Murdoch’s takeover of NG is a potential nightmare.

  • Nancy Blake

    Congratulations, Ron! A wonderful photo and I learned something too!

  • That’s great Ron! Your image is wonderful and perfect for this publication! Congratulations!

  • Nikhil Rao

    Hi Ron

    Greetings a very nice image and fact. A worthy inclusion. Congratulations on the inclusion.

    It’s very nice to read your blog everyday.

  • Congrats! That is really cool. Great image and a wonderful teaching tool.

    • Thanks very much, Keith. Coming from you that means a lot.

      I’m happy to see that you’re still moderating Avian over at Nature Photographers Network. I’ve always thought that your influence and integrity was a huge positive addition to NPN.

  • Jo Ann Donnelly

    OMG, Ron!! I am so happy for you and for all the young kids who will see your beautiful photo in a book about birds!! I SO agree with you that if we teach our young children about the wonderful world of birds in Nature we will be doing something wonderful for them and our planet!! I know 2 young people I will be buying this book for (and maybe a copy for myself)!! A BIG Congrats to you, Ron!!

  • Judy Gusick

    Congratulations, Ron! 🙂 🙂 It certainly is appropriate that one of your pictures is being used for educational purposes! Well done!

  • Dick Harlow


    What you have said is spot on. Many thanks for sharing!

  • Roger Burnard

    What a great image, and an honor well deserved… Congratulations Ron!!
    Recognition well deserved, and waaaay overdue. Your are among the best!!!!