Published: April 2005
Flip Nicklin

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

Spending three weeks on a boat with whale expert Craig Matkin was great because he's a tremendous researcher and fisherman. Every day he'd position his boat in just the right spot, cast his line, and instantly bring up something wonderful for dinner.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

I had one last chance to photograph whale groups in some warm fall light off Puget Sound, but it stormed the entire five days I was there. I'd brought my fiancée, Linda Whitman, as an assistant. She must have thought I sit around on a boat reading newspapers for a living. The shoot couldn't have been more of a failure.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

Meals are usually the social focus of the day on a boat, but they were anything but that when I was in the Aleutian Islands. The scientist lived off classic researcher food (Pepsi, Goldfish crackers, and Pringles), and the captain ate only sausages and cream because he was on the Atkins diet. So that left me to forage for myself.