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Field Notes
Olson
Photograph by Lynn Johnson
Randy Olson

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

The folks at the Frankfurt Zoological Society went out of their way to help me on this assignment. Director Markus Borner flew me over the wildebeest and zebra migration one morning when there was perfect light, allowing me to do aerial shots. And projects director Joseph Ole Kuwai introduced me to Maasai elders, which made it easier to take real pictures of the people.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

Some parts of the Serengeti have become like Disneyland. Land Cruiser traffic in the Ngorongoro Crater is overwhelming. Stuffed with staring tourists, the vehicles look like a traveling zoo with human animals staring out of cages.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

So many tourists go to Tanzania that all the lodges were booked when I arrived at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. So I paid $6 a night for a room at the Endulen missionary hospital that was right next to the tuberculosis ward. The $6 even included a meal.