National Geographic : 1985 Mar
On Assignment RISKY BUSINESS. Photographer Fred Ward and senior staff writer Allen A. Bo raiko (right) donned plastic safety suits, gloves, hard hats, masks, and backpack air tanks before venturing into this abandoned graveyard for hazardous industrial chemicals near Hamilton, Ohio. "It was a very spooky place," says Boraiko, "with leaking storage tanks, thousands of cor roded drums, and puddles of fouled rain water. Some drums had yellow tags on them to indicate unknown and possibly explosive contents. The air had a bleach-like bite to it." Reports Ward: "A messy, dangerous site." For our article on hazardous waste, Boraiko and Ward spent ten months visiting chemical dumps, lagoons, storage tank farms, and land fills in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The pair previously produced GEOGRAPHIC stories on fiber optics, pesticides, and silver. Photojournalist Ward has also written and photographed articles on the Everglades, Cree Indians, Cuba, diamonds, and Tibet. MORE HAUNTED than hazardous, cata combs heaped with skulls under a mon astery in Kiev gave contract photographer Jim Brandenburg (below) a new insight into medieval Christianity-a faith brought here 1,000 years ago by Vikings. Along the Western Dvina River, once a highway for Viking trade vessels, senior assistant editor Robert Paul Jordan admired family portraits in the log home of forest ranger Sergei Dedov (below, at right), a Belorussian. "Everything here I have made by hand," said Dedov, expressing the wish that Americans and his people might compete in such peaceful work. To retrace the Vikings' 250-year presence in the area for this issue, Jordan and Branden burg traveled from the Baltic to Istanbul. A veteran Soviet watcher, Jordan adds this account of pre-Russia's Scandinavian connec tion to earlier reports on Soviet Armenia (1978) and the River Ob, a journey that carried him from Mongolia to the Arctic Ocean in 1976.