Getting the photo that ran with Dave Washburn’s article today of scientist Marc Montminy handling an overweight mouse was not the easiest assignment I’ve had in my life.

To start with, Montminy doesn’t really handle mice all that often. He had one of his lab assistants show him how to do it right before we did the shoot. I set up right in front of a sheet of plastic that was guarding a construction zone. I had this horrible image running through my head of this mouse jumping out of Montminy’s hands only to scramble into the construction zone and incur the wrath of someone’s staple gun.

But Montminy held his cool and held onto the mouse. Then the only challenge was coaxing the little guy to turn toward the camera. I tried to resist the urge to ask the scientist to say “cheese.”

After I rattled off about 20 frames, the mouse began to try to shake loose as Montminy barely held on.

“Alright, I think I’ve got what I need,” I told him.

Is it the best photo I’ve ever taken? No. But I’m pretty happy that fat little mouse isn’t hiding in a ventilator in the Salk facilities somewhere.


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