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Final EditThe image we rescued from the cutting room floor.

Kathy Moran Illustrations editor Kathy Moran discusses which photo stays and which goes when two from the same story are very similar.

Cut It?
"There's an emotional appeal to this photo but, in the end, it didn't have the same behavioral component as the image ultimately chosen for the article," says illustrations editor Kathy Moran. "When you look at the photograph featured on pages 104-105, you see an interaction between the female, the infant on her back, and the male. It shows a real tension, and you're not quite sure what's happening. Are they greeting the male? Are they feeling threatened by him? The image we ran is much stronger, and it wouldn't serve the reader to have two photographs like that."

Or Keep It?
"There's something seductive about those two tails wrapped together," Moran continues. "It's very compelling, and you're drawn to this somewhat anthropomorphic moment. Every once in a while I think it's an interesting exercise for the reader to see what we actually do in choosing between two similar photos. It's a very a subjective process."

Final Edit

Photograph by Michael Nichols To send this image as a postcard click here.

Free Ride

Once they're three months old, geladas ride their mothers jockey-style. Females have just four or five babies in a lifetime but invest a lot of time and energy taking care of them—it's a "quality, not quantity" strategy, says biologist Chadden Hunter, who has spent parts of the past six years with the animals in Ethiopia.

Hunter can't understand why this picture was selected for Final Edit. "It's a mundane shot," he complains—not a surprising reaction, given all the picturesque sex and violence in the gelada's behavioral repertoire. But there's something about the way the tails intertwine. Says Editor in Chief Bill Allen, "I hated to lose this shot of the wonderful bond that any parent knows."

Check out Kings of the Hill, the feature story for which this photo was originally taken. Michael Nichols Zoom In on more images by Michael Nichols and read his notes from the field.

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