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Original Issue


Staff Photographer Heinz Kluetmeier was on the lovely Caribbean island of Tortola, taking pictures for a story in the works on an underwater treasure hunt. The air was dizzying with jasmine, the water dazzling with a rainbow of tropical fish. Then the phone rang. A voice from SI's New York office said, "Want to shoot the Florida State University marching band in Tallahassee? You'll have to leave right away."

Kluetmeier didn't hesitate. As he says, "College bands have an entertaining life of their own. I'd rather shoot them than cover the Super Bowl." (For the result, see pages 44-51.)

Kluetmeier does like the Caribbean, though: He returned to continue work on the treasure-hunt story, and a few weeks ago was happy to be in Jamaica, photographing present and former Jamaican runners. Then the phone rang again. Kluetmeier thought he had finished shooting world figure skating champion Elaine Zayak for the story that begins on page 92, but an essential multiple-exposure photograph of a triple jump had turned out to be only a double. He got up at 5 a.m. on a Tuesday for dawn shots of the runners, flew to New York, edited that film until 1 a.m. Wednesday, arose at 4:30 a.m., drove to Nyack, N.Y., shot Zayak's triple and immediately flew back to Jamaica.

Kluetmeier was elated when Elaine's father, Rich, took him up for a ride in his homemade open-cockpit biplane; Kluetmeier likes flying even more than he likes bands. "Mr. Zayak took seven years to build the plane in his garage, then took it out—and it flew," says Kluetmeier. "The guy's my hero. His plane is superbly crafted and he's a terrific pilot. Flying with him, it felt like World War I." Kluetmeier himself has been a licensed pilot since 1967, and last fall he bought a single-engine Grumman Tiger, which he sometimes flies to assignments.

Kluetmeier has flown to the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500 and the World Series, but his "most important" assignment this year took place on the streets of New York City Thanksgiving morning. This one wasn't for SI and it didn't even have anything to do with sports. It was an unpaid free-lance assignment for The Milwaukee Journal: Macy's annual parade. What made it so important was the performance of the Wauwatosa (Wis.) East High School marching band, one of whose clarinetists is Kluetmeier's 14-year-old daughter, Erika. If you think he goes for bands and flying, get him started on Erika, her sister, Tina, 18, a Northwestern freshman and flutist in that band, and Jessica, 15, who "plays the stereo."

The girls live in Wauwatosa, with Kluetmeier's former wife, Donna. Heinz has a house 500 yards away. A few years ago he bought a farm, mostly for the girls, so that they would have a place to "swing on trees, ride horses and watch the weeds grow." But it's up for sale now. "When the weeds grew taller than the corn," Kluetmeier says, "I realized I was in the wrong business."