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Field Notes
Robert Clark
Photograph by Robert Clark
Robert Clark

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

The conservators at the Queen Anne's Revenge Archaeological Conservation Laboratory were amazing, especially Wendy Welsh. She was very accommodating in her schedule and pretty much let me do whatever I wanted so I could capture a certain look in my photographs. For example, she showed me a cast-iron cannon that was encased in concretions, and I asked if she could stop half way through the removal process (see page 151, July 2006 NGM). I wanted to give readers a peak at the restoration work that goes into artifacts. And although that's not how Wendy would normally work, she stopped what she was doing and let me take pictures. Wendy showed this kind of flexibility over and over again.

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

When I shoot a historical story, I usually cherry-pick the most visually appealing artifacts, along with other important items like time markers. But there weren't that many artifacts to photograph for this assignment, so I took what I could get and tried to make chicken salad out of it.

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

I grew up not too far away from Dodge City, Kansas, so Old West gunfighters such as Doc Holliday were always a big deal in my hometown. But for people in Ocracoke, North Carolina, it's all about pirates. They still have a beautiful sailing culture, and restaurants have pirate themes. I even photographed a Blackbeard reenactor named Ben Cherry, who dresses up at least three times a week (see page 148, July 2006 NGM). He makes visits to festivals and elementary schools and just has a lot of fun with it.