National Geographic : 1984 May
On Assignment "1 T LOOKED SO PEACEFUL," recalled senior writer Rick Gore of his first sight of Italy's infamous Mount Vesuvius. In fact, one of the most hazardous volcanoes in the world, it has erupted at least 80 times since it entombed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in A.D. 79. Gore and Senior Assistant Editor O. Louis Mazzatenta, ex amining a vent on the volcano's slope (right,at right and center), journeyed to Herculaneum as archaeologists dug ever deeper, fueled by new finds of skeletons that provide poignant evidence of how a city lived and died. For Mazzatenta-who recently covered the Thames River, Italy's Appian Way, and Para guay-photographing 2,000-year-old skele tons demanded delicate footwork. "You had literally to tiptoe around them, they were so fragile. A slight misstep, and crunch! You could destroy a piece of history," he says. Nearby Pozzuoli, also a subject of the team's coverage, sits atop a reservoir of magma that may blow at any time. "People there have lived with the possibility of apocalypse for centuries," says Gore, who first became fasci nated with the area in 1981 while covering the Mediterranean for the magazine. "It's one of the world's true hot spots." Looking like one of the natives, photogra pher Flip Nicklin wears a tuxedo-design T shirt as penguins pass by unconcernedly (below). Along the Antarctic Peninsula Nick lin photographed the penguins' prey, the tiny shrimplike krill that are also the food of whales and other Antarctic creatures. ELIE5. ROGERS, NATIONAL(EOGRHAPMIC 5[All AWUV); HLIYNIC:LIN The versatile Nicklin pursued krill on land and in icy seas. At the National Science Foun dation's Palmer Station he made remarkable close-up photographs of the crustaceans. By day and by night under storm-tossed waves he photographed their giant schools. When the sea was calm, he put his camera gear on an ice floe and used it as a raft while waiting for krill to appear. On previous assignments for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, the San Diego native photo graphed humpback whales near Maui and right whales off Patagonia. Completing a fu ture article on killer whales, Nicklin left for Sri Lanka to pursue one of the most elusive of whale subjects, the mighty sperm whale.