National Geographic : 1991 Jan
On Assignment SA camel is preferable to walking," says underwater S photographer DAVID DOUBILET (above, at left), "but not by much." The beachfront ride, a tourist attraction in Broome, Western Australia, was a lark for David and fellow photographer SAM ABELL, who met to coordinate their coverage for the land and sea articles on northwest Australia in this issue. It was the first trip for both men to the region-600,000 square miles of brutally hot, hard-muscled country and equally rough-and tumble coast. "Some oceans breathe deeply," David explains. "If you're on the surface, you sense it beneath you. The Indian is one of those rumbling oceans of heroic scale. Everything about it is big: waves, tides, fish." He should know. As a 12-year old, David took his first underwater photograph off the New Jersey shore and has since dipped cameras into most of the world's major bod ies of salt water during his 20-year association with the GEOGRAPHIC. For Sam Abell, whose lyric pho tographs have illustrated magazine articles on Tolstoy, the Appalachian Trail, and Shakers, the assignment meant a chance to confront terrain rarely photographed. "It's a place where the architecture of the earth is laid bare," says Sam, who also is a 20-year GEOGRAPHIC man. "We traveled to spots where we made the first tracks and along shores that a few hours later were submerged by 35-foot tides." Close cousin to the camel, the guanaco once roamed Patagonia's plains in the millions. Depleted by hunters for pelts and food, the ungulates now are increasing in southern Chile, where wildlife ecol ogist WILLIAM L. FRANKLIN began studying their behavior in 1976. After nine years Bill and his Iowa State University team changed their research focus to guanacos' chief predator, the Patagonia puma, which Bill reports on in this issue. Here he bottle feeds young guana cos, still his first love. Bill and graduate student Warren Johnson maintain a running ecology joke. "I claim that pumas are important because they eat guana cos," Bill says, "and Warren claims that guanacos are important because they are eaten by pumas." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. 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. BOX 2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.