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Final Editthe image we rescued from the cutting room floor

Dennis Dimick Illustrations editor Dennis Dimick describes the photo’s significance and what goes into making final cuts.


Cut It?
“We only had so much space to address the different issues surrounding the Columbia River,” says illustrations editor Dennis Dimick. “The only place in the story where this photograph might have been used needed to convey how, just a mile from its source, man has transformed the river into what he wanted it to become. The photo of the golf course near the river’s source (page 13 in the April issue of National Geographic) addressed that point better; it shows a river transformed from wild to tame.”


Or Keep It?
“Visually, this was a fabulous picture that spoke to the wild nature of the Columbia River,” Dimick continues. “Its dramatic yet subtle and complex visual attributes made it the perfect choice for Final Edit.”


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Photograph by Jim Richardson To send this image as a postcard click here.

From the Source of the River
When photographer Jim Richardson approached the source of the Columbia River, he felt a little like the 19th-century explorers who searched for the source of the Nile hoping to find something remarkable. But the tiny stream flowing from Columbia Lake looked much like dozens of other streams trickling down the valley. So he took to the air in a small plane, and within ten miles of the lake the Columbia began spilling over its banks into a natural wetland (above). “To me it had that sense of beginning,” Richardson says. “An untrammeled river being what it was, not what man wanted it to be.”

Cruise through the feature story this photo was originally taken for.
Jim Richardson Zoom In for more images by Jim Richardson.

Listen to Richardson discuss the plight of salmon.

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