Editor's note: Veteran CNN Photojournalist Neil Hallsworth gives a behind-the-scenes look at working and traveling with Anderson Cooper.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/02/art.neil.taiwan.jpg caption="Neil Hallsworth shooting port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, a hub for shark fins. The majority of the fins make their way from here to china, where they're eaten as a delicacy."]
I'm having Deja Vu, 2 weeks ago I was pulling up at the same JFK terminal, dealing with the same baggage issues
Its Sunday and after the rain, thunder and lightning. Shortly before I arrive at JFK airport I can't believe the flight actually going to leave on time...we board early...then get stuck on the tarmac for nearly 2 hours. It's painful. To ease the pain stuck on the tarmac the airline offers us cocktails On the small TV screen in front of me there is a slide show of 3 tempting specialty drinks, one called the Mile High Mohito…I'm so bored at this point I flick through the sky mall magazine and actually consider buying the hot digity dogger (pop up hot dog maker).
Finally we're airborne. But we land so late in San Francisco our connecting flight to Taipei is long gone.
Now the fun starts—finding the baggage—12 cases of gear that was checked all the way to Taipei, so we can get on the next available flight. But finding it is proving somewhat difficult. Neither airline admits responsibility for having the baggage. All we are told is, "they're in the system."
Over the next 5 hours the words "they're in the system" haunt me. No one can find them in "the system."
The system...the system!!! My mind drifts to a scene form the matrix...right now though I'm hoping Morfeus of the Matrix will pop out open is left hand and offer me the blue transporter pill...then I can wake up in Taipei with all my equipment.
We eventually arrive on a different airline 12 hours later, minus 2 bags.....one of which I really need for the first shoot. Muphy's law I suppose.
CNN Senior Photojournalist
Today I’m covered in mud, wet and frankly….exhausted. I just trekked for over 3 hours up a mountain to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas. It was special sight – the gorillas we saw are known as a “research group” – they’ve never been seen by tourists, and very rarely by anyone but the scientists who study them.
Our journey started with an hour-long drive up an endlessly rutted and muddy road. At one point we got stuck and everyone had to get out and help push…except me! (I was filming – call it the benefits of being a photographer!) We finally broke free, drove 15 more minutes, then the hard part began….
The trek starts uphill and doesn’t change – 1 hour of fast hiking, following the park rangers. We finally catch a rest at the entrance to the park and our head researcher Veronica explains the gorillas are not used to people and may charge us, maybe even grab the camera. PIP executive producer Charlie Moore asks how we get the camera from the gorillas if they get their hands on it, but the answer is less than comforting: “if it feels like the gorilla’s pulling hard then let it go,” but “you’re welcome to try and rip it back if you care to give it a go.” I’m not sure I want to be the first CNN Photojournalist to have their camera smashed by a 400-pound gorilla (note: we do have a history with this sort of thing: PIP producer Mary Anne Fox had to request a new BlackBerry after it was crushed by the foot of an elephant).
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