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from Full Focus:

Images of August

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Our top photos from the past month depict events including the gas attack in Syria, elections in Mali and wildfires raging in California.

from Photographers' Blog:

Singapore’s hazy skyline

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Singapore

By Edgar Su

As someone who has lived in Singapore all my life, haze is not unusual, it is somewhat a seasonal event that I have become used to. But last Monday was different, I woke up to a slightly smokey smell in the air and the view outside my apartment was more hazy than usual. Immediately, I checked Facebook to see what my friends working in the city were experiencing. Many posted pictures of a very hazy skyline from the view in their office and remarked that even the air in the subway and malls smelled of smoke.

I immediately made my way to the business district to have a look. My first instinct was to get up to the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands hotel to get the best vantage point available in the city. On the way up, a hotel staff member apologized to me in the elevator, "I am sorry for the view today". He was right, from the observation deck, the haze was so thick that I could only see the outlines of landmark buildings.

from Photographers' Blog:

Waves of fire

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As wildfires rage through California, photographers Patrick Fallon and Jonathan Alcorn describe working on the fire line.

By Patrick Fallon

Driving up the 101 towards the Dos Vientos neighborhood in Newbury Park, California, I could see the fire's thick, black smoke - a sign the fire was burning fresh brush, fueled by strong winds.

from MuniLand:

Mini stimulus coming?

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Mini stimulus for muniland?

The White House has been telegraphing the shape of the proposal that President Obama will make tomorrow in his jobs speech to a joint session of Congress.

It looks like it is a half-sized version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The media is reporting that the proposal will be about $300 billion but faces stiff opposition from Republicans in the House. I'd suggest that state and local governments not include these funds in their budgets quite yet. Bloomberg says:

from Photographers' Blog:

Tips on the fire line

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My rental SUV smells like a junior high school locker room manned by a chain-cigar-smoking gym instructor and I am standing on the side of the road with my pants and shirt half off cleaning myself with baby wipes and I am itching in areas that are not suppose to itch like that… yeah, I am in the field covering a wildfire.

Luckily I keep a "go" bag with all my own fire gear in it. I got the call in the evening and had arrangements to fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the next morning. I was being sent to cover the Wallow Wildfire, which has turned into Arizona's largest fire in history, and was right on the border with New Mexico heading to the community of Luna, New Mexico. Thankfully I had editors that trusted me and knew I had been to a few of these rodeos before and would let me make the calls as to where I would go for photos and take the risk of getting out ahead of the fire.

from Photographers' Blog:

An aerial view of Sumatra Island

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I joined a Greenpeace tour flying over Sumatra Island to take pictures of their protest over forest destruction.

Five photographers and a TV cameraman set off early in the morning, while it was still dark, in a new, single-propeller aircraft. No one told me it would be nearly three hours to get to Jambi on a small plane with no toilet. Luckily for me I had an empty bottle as an emergency measure.

from Photographers' Blog:

Amid fires the air is thick with prayers

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Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, wearing headphones, sits in the cockpit of a firefighting plane in Ryazan region August 10, 2010.   REUTERS/Ria Novosti/Pool/Alexei Nikolsky

The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin occupied the nation's TV screens while reports of his bravado in fighting forest wildfires littered the media. The rest of the country were dead on their feet, choking with smoke as they fought the disaster.

Residents attempt to extinguish a fire near the village of Polyaki-Maydan in Ryazan region, some 380 km (236 miles) southeast of Moscow, August 9, 2010.  REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

Unable to depend upon Putin, government authority or new luxury equipment for assistance, locals grew weary as they defended their houses using an arsenal of tractors, farm equipment and shovels.

from Photographers' Blog:

There is always one…Part three

Continuing this mini-series of highlights from the Reuters picture file, my eye was caught by Robert Galbraith's photograph shot in California on July 29. Robert was there to photograph the fires near Yosemite National Park, and saw this figure of an angel in the remains of a home burned in the fire.

In conditions such as this it is easy for the eye to miss what is nearby, because there is so much to photograph on a large scale, and it can be exhausting to work in an area that is dangerous and physically demanding.

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