I sat in a coffee shop in Charlottesville waiting for Joel Sartore. Laptop flashing my portfolios laid bare … my heart thudding faster than a Grand National winner. Joel arrived and we talked photograhy and photographers. 20 minutes later Joel said “I will mentor you if you want.” This, from a National Geographic heavyweight is a dream come true. The road to success in my field is long and tumultuous; the photography industry is ruthless. But, I believe a steady combination of talent, persistance and a lucky break makes it possible to do what I love doing – making pictures. I drove to Nebraska and spent a week with Joel, assisting him on a National Geographic magazine shoot and with his abitious PhotoArk project. His is one of the most talented, hard-working, enthusiastic and inspirational beings that I have had the privilege of working with. His favourite quote: “The Geographic doesn’t publish excuses.” I am quite sure he has never made one...and as my Nikon is my witness - neither shall I.