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Final Edit
April 2004

The image we rescued from the cutting room floor.

Final Edit Editor Photo editor Kathy Moran explains why beauty isn't everything.

Cut It?
"This photograph is stunning," says photo editor Kathy Moran, "but when you've got limited space and you're trying to say everything you can about multiple species, you've got to go with the images that give some kind of context. Cranes have habitat needs, and each species has different migration needs. We just didn't have the luxury of giving space to an image that was essentially just a very pretty picture. It wasn't working hard enough for the story."

Or Keep It?
"There's an elegance and a simplicity to this image," Kathy continues. "Most of the images in the story show flocks of cranes and cranes interacting. So to include such a lovely bird alone would have given the reader a moment to step back and recognize that these are absolutely beautiful animals."
—Scott Elder 

April Final Edit
Photograph by Konrad Wothe,
Minden Pictures

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Crowning Glory

 "If Audrey Hepburn were a bird, she'd be this one," says photo editor Kathy Moran of the grey crowned crane above. "The photo added elegance and serenity to the slides we were considering," most of which were images of birds in raucous, sometimes comical, displays. But in the end the editors chose to represent this particular species with the image of a flock roosting in a tree (page 55 in April's NGM). "Context was important," explains Moran. "We needed to use a photo that says something about habitat and behavior. This one says Breakfast at Tiffany's."
—Jennifer Steinberg Holland

Check out Cranes, the feature story for which this photo was originally taken.

Watch the world's largest avain migration, some 500,000 sandhill cranes, live from Nebraska via Crane Cam.
Cranes Thumbnail Zoom in on more crane images.

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