National Geographic : 2004 Feb
ONE THAT ALMOST GOT AWAY Final Edit CARBON CYCLE Quiet Time Is it possible for a photograph to be too tranquil or even too beautiful? To meet the needs of some articles, the answer is yes. While developing the layout for the carbon cycle story, design editor Elaine Bradley experimented with a poetic approach. She tried beginning the article with Peter Essick's image of a decomposing leaf in swirling water (the picture that's now on page 103). Early on, Peter's dreamy picture of an egret wading off shell-laden rocks on Florida's San ibel Island (above) seemed to fit the story's mood. At the last moment, she and photo editor Dennis Dimick chose a new tack to "ramp up the energy of the story," says Dennis. They changed the opening picture to one of a blazing fire. Then they moved another of Peter's shots from Sanibel onto the next spread-not this quiet still life with the egret, but one with crashing waves-launching the story with speed and drama. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * FEBRUARY 2004 WEBSITE EXCLUSIVE Cut it or keep it? Find out more about what tipped the balance for this photo and send it as an electronic greeting card in Final Edit at nationalgeographic.com/ magazine/0402.