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  Field Notes From
Search for Other Earths



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From Photographer

Mark Thiessen



Search for Other Earths On Assignment

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From Author

Tim Appenzeller



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 Rebecca Hale (top) and Mark Thiessen


 

Search for Other Earths On Assignment Photographer Search for Other Earths On Assignment Photographer
Search for Other Earths

Field Notes From Photographer
Mark Thiessen

Best Worst Quirkiest
I got to work with some of the best astronomers in the world and be with them when they made new discoveries. They were all easygoing and just very passionate about astronomy. There was something really wonderful about meeting people like that.


It was hard for me to adjust to living on astronomy time, which means staying awake all night and sleeping during the day. The astronomers I worked with would eat dinner, watch the sunset, and then work until about 5 a.m. when they were all exhausted. I would do this for four or five days at a time. But as soon as I got used to the schedule, it was time for me to go back to the real world. 


I wanted to get a photograph of the top of a dead white pine tree (page 93) in an Idaho forest, using a 180-degree fish-eye lens. But I couldn't use a helicopter because the rotor wash on it would blow the trees around too much. So Kenji Yamaguchi and Roger Helmandollar from National Geographic's photo equipment shop came out with a small blimp, tethered with fishing line, and hung my camera on it. We watched the blimp go up about 250 feet (80 meters), and then the line got stuck in some tree branches. We didn't want to pull on the fishing line because if it broke, the blimp would take off with my camera and a specialized lens that Nikon doesn't make anymore. I thought about finding a rifle and trying to shoot off some branches to help free the line, but after about 20 minutes of some slight tugging our blimp was free. 


   


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