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  Field Notes From

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Mammals On AssignmentArrows

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From Photographer

Robert Clark

Mammals On Assignment

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From Author

Rick Gore

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 Alex Di Suvero (top), and Todd James



Field Notes From Photographer
Robert Clark
Best Worst Quirkiest

    Photographing the manatees was great fun. It was pretty neat to float around with them because they came up to my leg and sucked an enormous amount of water from over my skin. They're sort of bristly, so it feels like a big cleaning brush—the same feeling as cleaning a swimming pool and having the jet of water touch your skin. The only problem was that they excrete a lot. So it was no fun to clean my scuba suit later!

    I did a group photo of an elephant, a sloth, a sea lion, and a chimpanzee. While this was the most interesting part of the assignment, it was also pretty frustrating because the chimpanzee was terrified of the elephant. It was impossible to get them all in the same photo at the same time. I hadn't anticipated this problem because I always saw Cheetah in the Tarzan movies riding on the backs of the elephants. But evidently there was only one chimpanzee who could do that, and he'd pretty much been raised with elephants. So I had this idea of bringing all these animals together for one nice family portrait, but it didn't work out that way. Still, I got the point across. You can see the results in the magazine. [See pages 8-9; and learn more in our Zoom In gallery.]

    There's a picture in the story from Fossil Butte, Wyoming. When I worked for a newspaper in Utah 12 years ago, I did a story on that area. I had done a lot of research about Green River formations and the Eocene radiation time period for that story, so it was nice to have all that information when I went back this time. It was also good to be able to shoot the kind of picture I wasn't capable of shooting back then. So it was kind of quirky to use old information to put a new twist on something.


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