Photo: Snorkler in blue-green water

Photograph by George Grall

Photo: Photographer George Grall

Photograph courtesy George Grall

George Grall was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1952. His interest in wildlife began when he collected his first snake at age three. Leaving Chicago, his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1957. During grammar school, Grall conducted reptile presentations at local schools and later worked for a herpetological venom laboratory as an assistant in animal husbandry.

Grall was bitten by the photography bug at 16, and by age 24 his career as a freelance photographer specializing in wildlife photography above and below the surface of water had begun. Driven by his new career, Grall traveled extensively throughout North America, Mexico, and Central America studying reptiles, amphibians, insects, marine life, and plants.

Grall has worked with the National Geographic Society since 1990, and has photographed and written numerous articles. Grall's article "Cuatro Cienegas: Mexico's Dessert Aquarium" brought so much public awareness to a unique desert oasis in the Cuatro Cienegas valley that the president of Mexico decreed some 215,000 acres (87,000 hectares) of this critically endangered biosphere as a federally protected biological reserve. Another article, "Life on a Wharf Piling," which explored a fragile underwater ecosystem in the Chesapeake Bay, was honored by the governor of Maryland for its conservation message.

Newsweek, Smithsonian, Life, Nature Conservancy, Audubon, International Wildlife, National Wildlife, GEO, Le Figaro, and a host of other international publications have also honored his work.

In addition to being a freelance photographer for the National Geographic Society, Grall has been the staff photographer for Baltimore's National Aquarium since 1984. He also mentors aspiring young photographers with his lectures and entertains audiences with his vivid presentations documenting his travel and discoveries around the world.

Grall lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with his wife, Kathy, who is a graphic designer.

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