National Geographic : 1994 Jan
On Assignment C- never thought I'd do something this frightening to get pic tures," says freelance FRANS LANTING, 80 feet high in a palm swamp in Peru. While he was there, a friend and colleague, filmmaker Dieter Plage, died after a 150-foot fall in Sumatra's rain forest. Frans's cramped platform put him at eye level with a nest of blue-and yellow macaws, and weeks of ten hour days paid off (page 137). Getting there meant preparations akin to planning a mountain climb. A ton of steel scaffolding was flown from Lima over the Andes to Puerto Maldonado and carried upriver by cargo canoe. His crew lugged the sections over forest trails, then reas sembled them in towers at far-flung nests, fruiting trees, and clay licks. "It was the most complicated assignment logistically," recalls Frans, who has photographed from Botswana to Borneo. "But it was rewarding to see things that few people witness. It goes to the heart of why I do this work: To turn wild creatures into ambassadors for whole ecosystems." Searching for bright spots during last summer's Mississippi flood, freelance photographer JIM RICH ARDSON found a whole armful. The orphaned fawn was stranded by ris ing waters near Meyer, Illinois. Jim, on river patrol with a state conserva tion officer, spotted the exhausted deer lying in the levee grass. He quickly helped transport the animal to safety on high ground. Jim had finished shooting Missis sippi photographs for our special water issue (November 1993) when the Midwest's torrential rains made the river national news. Returning to cover the flood, he soon found himself sandbagging levees with the people he'd come to photograph. Says Jim, whose work includes stories on the Colorado River, the Ogallala aquifer, and the Great Salt Lake, "I always bring my hip boots on assignment." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLY BY THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,1145 17TH ST. N.W ., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.