Abell was the photographer and co-editor for his high school yearbook and newspaper. It's a documentary photograph of a tree but due a combination of light and Abell's inclusion in his composition of roof tiles in the background the photograph takes on the transcendent illusory quality of a stained glass window. He first worked for National Geographic in 1967 and is one of the more overtly artistic photographers among his magazine peers.
He is also a teacher an artist and an author. Sam Abell's style of photography is documentary in the sense that his major avenue the National Geographic magazine is a publication of record. Abell was the photographer and co-editor for his high school yearbook and newspaper.