National Geographic : 1990 Aug
On Assignment 1A I A GE G APHICi Mi AGAZIdNE T HE LINE between near miss and tragedy stretched fright eningly fine for two veteran photographers working on different continents for this issue. Contract photographer STEVE MCCURRY, who has covered stories from Afghanistan to Beirut to the Sahel for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, survived his closest call in Yugosla via. Not far from Zagreb, where Steve had enjoyed a quiet moment with a feline friend (above), he boarded a light aircraft to make aerials of an island in Lake Bled. Blinded by reflections on the lake's surface, the pilot dipped too low, flipping the craft upside down. As the plane sank, Steve strug gled-under ten feet of 40-degree water-to release his seat belt and shoulder harness. Fortunately he and the pilot were picked up by a fisherman within ten minutes; days later the plane was raised (above right), but Steve's equipment is still 60 feet down. At Penn State, Steve had studied filmmaking before turning to still photography. "Stills allow me to spend more time in the field instead of in the editing studio or out raising money. I can grab my camera and be out the door. Travel is as much my passion as photography." Steve has published two books: The ImperialWay and Monsoon. RICHARD OLSENIUS had a close call along Baffin Bay on the North west Passage. He was following narwhal hunters along the edge of the sea ice when, he reports, "I jumped to what I thought was a solid piece of ice. It was pure slush, and suddenly I was up to my neck in ice water-as if a trapdoor had opened. I was weighted down with camera gear, and I could feel water filling my boots and wind pants and creeping around my chest." A hunter heard Richard's cries for help and pulled him to safety. "Soon I was back in our tent chang ing into dry clothes. For years I've carried a spare set of everything, wondering if it was worth the weight and effort. This one time made it all worthwhile." In 12 years as a staff photogra pher for the Minneapolis Tribune and nine years as a free-lancer Richard has logged thousands of miles, working as far afield as Thailand, where he photographed Cambodian refugees in the 1970s. His lifelong interests in music and photography have combined in one of his current projects DistantShores, a book and accom panying tape recording celebrating his native Great Lakes. BERT DEAN NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC(ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBY THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THAND M STS.N.W., WASHINGTON,D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAID AT WASHINGTON,D. C ., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX 2174, WASHINGTON,D. C . 20013.