[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  Field Notes From

<< Back to Feature Page

View Field Notes
From Author

Kennedy Warne

View Field Notes
From Photographer

Annie Griffiths Belt

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Rob Morris (top) and William L. Allen


Field Notes From Photographer
Annie Griffiths Belt
Most people photograph New Zealand in the summer, so I planned to do some of my coverage in the winter. I was blessed with the most extraordinary snowfall, which I shot from a helicopter. It was a heavy wet snow that blanketed the rain forest. But even though it only lasted about six hours, for that brief time it made this exquisite place even more beautiful. After shooting since dawn, I was on my way back to my place in the middle of the day when I stopped for a farmer herding a huge flock of sheep across the road. An elderly man going 60 mph (100 km/h) hit me from behind. I think he may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Emergency workers cut me out of the car, put me on a backboard, and flew me by helicopter to a hospital. I suffered a broken back (compression fractures in a couple of vertabrae) and a pretty good whiplash.
The worst thing I could have done was get on an airplane and fly 25 hours home. So I stayed, did my coverage, and went through my physical therapy.
My husband, Don, did all the driving and carried my equipment. He made it easy for me to do nothing but aim and shoot.
Fiordland is known for its extreme rainfall, but for some reason it stayed dry the whole time I was there. I didn’t get a real drenching downpour until my last day.

© 2000 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE HOME Contact Us Forums Subscribe [an error occurred while processing this directive]