National Geographic : 1982 Mar
On Assignment HOW DOES IT FEEL to be a caged animal? Photographer David Hiser got a taste on the Hudson Bay assignment when he folded his six-foot-six frame into a four-foot square observation cage while polar bears sniffed and pawed at his shelter. "I didn't have cold, raw fear, but I felt awe and excitement such as you get scaling a sheer cliff," says the avid mountain climber. "The bears were curious and persistent, not fren zied. But I had no doubt that if they wanted to, they could have torn the cage apart." A veteran of 13 years of National Geograph ic assignments, the dedicated outdoorsman is now in southwestern Tasmania, one of the most remote wilderness areas in the world. JUST GETTING AROUND in Sudan was an achievement for author-photographer Robert Caputo, here riding a rickety ferry across the Wau River. One-third the size of the contiguous United States, Sudan has but 800 miles of paved roads-which made Caputo's four-wheel-drive vehicle indispensable on his 10,000-mile travels. He saw more of Sudan than perhaps any other modern journalist has-more than most Sudanese themselves. But getting around has been his business; in 11 years in East Africa, he has accompanied DENNISANDRIASHEK(ABOVE)AND WILLIAM BAKER anti-poaching patrols in Kenya, covered mer cenary troops in the Comoros, and was arrest ed and interrogated by Idi Amin's notorious State Research Bureau in Uganda, an experi ence he walked away from safely. "I speak a smattering of Arabic and some Swahili, which helped," says Caputo of his African assignments. He also willingly curls up with villagers beside cow-dung fires and dines on camel meat and goat stomach.