National Geographic : 1995 May
On Assignment his could have been JIM STANFIELD'S last picture. The veteran GEOGRAPHIC photog rapher snapped the self-portrait 2,000 feet over Sumatra as he sat in the gunner's seat of a re-creation of a 1919 Vickers Vimy bomber, fea tured in this issue. Moments later the plane's starboard engine failed. "I knew we were going down," says Jim, "but I wasn't worried. The pilot, Peter McMillan, really knew what he was doing. There wasn't a chance to panic; I was making pic tures the whole time-until Peter landed us safely in a rice field." Making Geographic pictures for nearly three decades, Jim has cov ered everything from rats to royalty. His article on the Vatican (Decem ber 1985) won kudos from Pope John Paul II and grew into a book, now translated into 11 languages. But is a plane crash part of a day's work? "Well, I was in a helicopter crash in New Orleans in 1971; that was a mess of spewing oil hoses. The Vimy crash was cleaner." "The one time I accidentally touched a Phyllobates terribilisfrog my finger went numb," recalls biologist MARK MOFFETT (below, at right). Both he and assistant Essdras Suarez wear gloves as poison-dart maker Paulino Hueso releases a deadly yellow hopper. "Lucky for me, skin contact alone doesn't kill; the frog toxin must enter your bloodstream through an abrasion or cut to work." Unlucky for Mark, a sunburn blistered his JAMES L. BTANFIEHLU legs as he dragged his dugout canoe up Colombia's Saija River. "For a week I couldn't stand up unassist ed," he says. "That pain was bad enough, but the possibility of a terribilisbumping into my open sores made me very nervous." More of Mark's adventures appear in The High Frontier: Exploring the TropicalRainforest Canopy (Harvard University Press). NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLY BYTHENATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,1145 17THST. N.W ., WASHINGTON, D. C. 20036-4688. $24.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAID ATWASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SENDADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.