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Jim Brandenburg (born 1945) is an environmentalist and nature photographer and filmmaker based near Ely , Minnesota . His career includes over 10 years as a newspaper photojournalist , over 30 years as a contract photographer for the National Geographic Society , and commissions from such groups as the United States Postal Service , NHK and the BBC . Jim Brandenburg is a Fellow [ 1 ] of the International League of Conservation Photographers [ 2 ] [ edit ] Early life and career Jim Brandenburg was born and raised in Luverne, Minnesota in the farms and prairies of Southwestern Minnesota. After studying at Worthington Community College , he went on to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth , where he majored in art history and worked for the local public television station.