National Geographic : 1983 Jan
On Assignment THE RAINS FELL every day during most of the 18 months that David and Carol Hughes spent in Costa Rica filming "Rain Forest," a new National Geographic TV Spe cial to be shown January 12 on Public Televi sion. Yet sometimes shelter was as close as the nearest giant leaf. The moisture that attacked their equipment and morale was only one of their many prob lems. At one point, Carol was poisoned by a potent caterpillar. "It was red and white and covered with long hairs," she said. "It fell off a branch as I was photographing it and gently brushed my arm. I felt a slight sting right away that slowly built into intense pain, spreading up my arm and into my chest. I really won dered whether this was it." However, the pain gradually ebbed away, leaving Carol un harmed but more wary. To film some of their most remarkable scenes-like the ants inside the thorn of an acacia tree-the couple used fiber-optic probes to control tiny beams of light. More of ten, they captured images through sheer deter mination and patience. A collection of their photographs appears in this issue. "Rain Forest" is the third special the award winning filmmakers have produced for the Society and WQED/Pittsburgh with support from the Gulf Oil Corporation. The others were "Etosha: Place of Dry Water" and "The Living Sands of Namib." A new film on Afri can animals of the night is in the works. For photographerJames P. Blair (below, left), who covered the story of earth's dwin dling rain forests for two years, sharing a dug out with fellow traveler Bob Langenwalter on the Tapanahoni River in Suriname was a wel come break. After visiting so many areas where the forests were being destroyed, it was a joy, he said, to glide down an unspoiled wa terway through an untouched forest. "Even the rain was refreshing." Jim's travels during 20 years on the GEO GRAPHIC staff have taken him from the quiet islands of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic to the riot-torn black townships of South Africa, coverage that won the Over seas Press Club Award in 1977. For the rain forest story, he visited 11 nations on four conti nents, demonstrating the magazine's commit ment, he said, to do comprehensive reporting. "To a photographer, that's one of the great est gifts."