Photographers' Blog

Embedded in Afghanistan

US Army soldiers from 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery, fire a howitzer artillery piece at Seprwan Ghar forward fire base in Panjwai district,  Kandahar province southern Afghanistan, June 12, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Everyone will tell you that Afghanistan is a great place to take pictures. No one will inform you it’s a very difficult place to take pictures in the peak of summer, both for cameras and photographers.

It’s my second time embedding in Afghanistan, my previous embed was in February 2010, a time of year when the air is still clear after winter and the light is soft like no other place on earth.

This time I’m embedded in Kandahar in midsummer, at the edge of the Reg desert that spreads all the way to Pakistan and heats up to 45 degrees Celsius. The sunrise is at 4:30 and by 7:00 it’s already impossible to take any pictures due to the brightness of the sun.

I’m here to cover the last days of the Canadian army’s combat role, as they prepare to depart after 10 years and 156 soldiers killed, leaving only a small non-combatant force of trainers in Kabul.

The Canadian army now has about 3000 troops on the ground and from 2006 has held the command of the Southern province of Kandahar.

Behind the scenes: Winter Olympics

The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver presented some rarely seen challenges for Reuters photographers on assignment at the winter games.

Rain! Rain! And more rain!

Photographer Mark Blinch waits to shoot Olympic action. REUTERS/Andre Forget/QMI agency

Cypress Mountain, the home of snowboarding and freestyle skiing was quite possibly the worst Olympic venue of all time. Photographers were confronted with rain, fog and constantly shifting photo positions. As the snow melted positions became useless and had to be changed. Communications failed in the wet and the organizers moved snow from the finish area to other parts of the course to keep the events moving. Despite the trying conditions some wonderful pictures were made. Highlights included Alexandre Bilodeau, winning Canada’s first ever gold medal on home soil and the dazzling Shaun White in the halfpipe.

from Olympics Notebook: Vancouver 2010:

Winter Games: picture of the day

OLYMPICS-SPEEDSKATING/Paul Barker writes on Tuesday:

I spent much of the day editing the women's 500 metre speed skating race, looking at many very good pictures. Jerry Lampen's frame of Annette Gerritsen of the Netherlands crashing as Nao Kodaira of Japan speeds past was the image of the day from that event.

Close quarters with a cannibal

Iain Williams is a freelance Wildlife and Nature Photographer based out of Hobart, Australia.  His exclusive photos of a polar bear eating a cub were published as a slideshow on Below, Iain recounts how he came to take the photographs. The opinions expressed are his own.

Michael Perry, our chief correspondent in Australia, added a caption that referenced a vast global study in 2008. That study, published here, said that human-generated climate  change had  turned some polar bears into cannibals


A male polar bear carries the head of a polar bear cub it killed and cannibalized in an area about 300 km (186 miles) north of the Canadian town of Churchill November 20, 2009.

Human roadblock

I was relaxing Sunday evening killing zombies on the Xbox, when I got a news alert on my blackberry stating Tamil protesters were blocking two lanes of traffic on the Gardiner Expressway.  The Gardiner is a major freeway that goes through downtown Toronto. We don’t often see big protests or demonstrations, so my excitement begins to build.

The freeway snakes in between high rise condo buildings, and my first instinct was to figure out a way to get a vantage point up in the building to shoot the protest from a high angle.  I spotted a couple of guys enjoying a few beers on their 10th floor balcony  and shouted up. They were happy to come down and take me up to a spot overlooking the site of the protest. I took my pictures of the blockaded road, filed them, and got back down to street level to see if I could get in nice and close.

I ran up the onramp to the freeway, and spent a few minutes shooting the flags in the crowd, before making my way to the front lines. The demonstrators were peaceful, and the police seemed to be somewhat patient with the large crowd. Demonstration leaders kept the crowd calm with megaphones, telling them to keep the peace, but that didn’t keep a few aggressive situations from developing.

Reuters aces Canadian Photos of the Year competition

Reuters News has aced four categories, as well as ranking in three other categories, in the annual News Photographers Association of Canada Photos of the Year competition. This year’s competition drew over 2,000 entries from 125 photographers. Thomas Szlukovenyi, Global Editor of Pictures, said “These awards pay tribute to the high quality of Reuters photography and further cement our reputation with clients as the leading source of photojournalism in Canada. Congratulations to all the winners.”

Reuters photographers were honored with the following 7 awards:

General News:

1st – Mark Blinch

1st – Andy Clark

Honourable Mention – Mathieu Belanger

1st – Mathieu Belanger

Sports Action:
1st – Shaun Best

2nd – Mark Blinch

Sports Feature:
2nd – Christinne Muschi

To view a slideshow of award-winning images click here.

For further information about the awards click here.

Snakes alive: Audio slideshow

In this arid river valley in southeastern Alberta, Adam Martinson is trying to find out why rattlesnakes cross the road.

Martinson, a University of Calgary student working on a Masters degree has come to Dinosaur Provincial Park, listed as a United Nations World Heritage site, to study why snakes slither onto — and too frequently die on — the asphalt blacktop of the region’s roads.

Photographer Todd Korol looks into the fate of rattlesnakes on Canadian roads.

Cricket, lovely cricket…

Glancing up while sitting in the departure lounge of Grantley Adams Airport in Barbados my heart sank - oh crap! – joining me and a few other passengers in the waiting area was the Australian Cricket team.  Nothing personal, all good guys.   Some passengers, who were clearly supporters, reacted with muted excitement.  But it became painfully obvious to me, the team was joining us on our flight leaving shortly for St Vincent. I smiled an evil grin at the ignorant supporters in the lounge for they were unaware of the fact that the team’s presence on our plane meant only one thing and it wasn’t good… but I will come back to that.


I have been covering cricket in the West Indies for about 15 years now and consider myself a veteran of many a tour through the islands.  When I tell friends and colleagues that I am off to the Caribbean for cricket, I am constantly met comments of the, ”wow nice!!” or “man another tough assignment in paradise”, kind. I admit, it sounds pretty good to me too, but I know better… I have been there, got the T-shirt and worn it out. 

Most people when they travel down to the Windies for a holiday fly on a major airline, unpack, sit in the sun, drink too much, burn their skin the colour of a ripe tomato, pack their bags, get back on that big jet and go home… no fuss no muss. I and my photo colleagues also board that big jet but remain behind to move from island to island for the next four to eight weeks… well read on…

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