Photographers' Blog

Photographer vs. wild cow

By Joseba Etxaburu

I’m a fireman and photo stringer for Reuters. I have been coming to the San Fermin festival for the past 12 years.

Every year I try to find new images and new ways to tell the stories we see. One of the events I usually cover is the release of wild cows into the bullring following the running of the bulls. A young cow chases revelers around knocking them down and occasionally tossing them.


Looking for a different angle, for a while I have been going into the ring with a wide angle lens – getting as close to the action as possible while keeping an eye on the cow, which is very fast and often pretty bad tempered. On Thursday, I hadn’t really planned to go into the ring but Reuters photographer Susana Vera said she wanted to shoot the action with a long lens. I thought it wasn’t worth both of us doing the same type of pictures. So I went in.

Looking back on it, I think the cow had spotted me from the start and didn’t like the look of what she saw. She had a crooked horn and maybe she was self-conscious about being photographed. She kept her eye on me and started advancing. I tried to back away using a circular motion. It’s never a good idea to run to or from bulls or cows in a straight line. They are faster than you and will catch you. It’s better to move in a curve. They have less ability to turn than we do and there’s a chance you can out-turn her. On this day though that didn’t happen. She came at me and while I was trying to dodge, I slipped.

I grabbed onto her horn to stop her tossing me. It worked but she stepped on my elbow, which is the biggest scratch I got that day. With my other hand I held onto my camera. Those things aren’t cheap.

Iraq’s youngest photographer reflects

Qamar Hashim is an 8-year-old Iraqi photographer. He tours famous streets to picture Baghdadis with his single camera and is the youngest Iraqi photographer to win several local awards, according to the Iraqi Society Photographic (ISP).

Below, Qamar responds to a series of questions.

When did you take your first photograph and what did it show?

I do not remember exactly the first picture but I had been mimicking my father since I was 4 or 5 years-old and started to take pictures of the Tigris river, the gulls, birds, old houses and heritage places.

Why do you think photography is important?

Photography is very important. It documents life and pauses time. We can show the city, life and the people.

Remembering Shaun Best

The following is a note to staff from News Editor, Pictures America, Gary Hershorn following the tragic death of Montreal based Reuters photographer Shaun Best.

“By now you have all woken up Monday morning having dealt with the news on Sunday that our colleague and friend Shaun Best has passed away.

We have all been running through our heads today Shaun’s passing, trying to make some sense of something that has hit so many of us so hard.

from Russell Boyce:

Finding a nugget in the murky waters

One of the greatest pleasures in editing photographers work is finding an interesting visual nugget that may have already been missed. In years of  looking at raw material a common trait I have spotted is that photographers who are headed to an assignment see something they are attracted to and take a picture of it thinking "that looks interesting".  The assignment is shot, the pictures are quickly edited, captioned and transmitted but the picture that was instinctively taken because it was interesting is often condemned to the darkness of the archive folder on the backup hard drive, never to be transmitted because it was not part of the assignment.

I was asked by our Hanoi based photographer Kham to have a second look at his file of the state visit of East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta to Vietnam; a good selection of handshakes, parade inspections and smiling suits. Then a pleasant surprise - at the end of the file were eleven frames of a fully dressed woman, nose and mouth covered with mask, wearing a traditional Vietnamese hat wading chin deep in water.  


Immediately questions came into my head, probably the same ones that are in your head now. Why was this person wading chin deep in water? Why are they wearing a face mask? Why are they wearing a hat? All questions I asked Kham. He told me that he had chatted with her and she was looking for mussels to sell, is 60 years old and comes from 150k outside Hanoi. I am sure what President Jose Ramos Horta and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Minh Triet had to talk about was very interesting but I just want to know more about this woman - unlike the presidential meeting, an everyday sight for Kham.

The best job

Editor’s Note: Eliana Aponte is a highlighted photographer this month on the Reuters website. See an extensive portfolio of her recent work here.

Being a photographer is one of the best jobs in the world because when you enjoy what you do it is more a hobby than a job. In our case, it is a hobby with considerable responsibility.

As a journalist traveling through different countries, meeting interesting people, or working in inhospitable places, storytelling is a privilege. I have always thought that my eyes are the eyes of many people, and that through them others can see what is happening.
When I started as a photographer I always wanted to contribute my bit to make the world a better place. Many of us think that when we are young and full of dreams. As time passes, I realize that the real changes in history are made by the people who are living their own lives. Photographers just document what happens, nothing more.

from UK News:

Eye-to-eye with Simon de Glanville’s pigeons

Pigeons create controversy among city dwellers whether they are being pilloried as "rats with wings" or celebrated as endlessly feedable feathered friends.

Through photographer Simon de Glanville's pictures, viewers come eye-to-eye with the creatures.

Over the past 10 years, De Glanville has taken pictures of pigeons, squirrels and dogs for a project entitled "London Wildlife". His favourite locations for photographing urban wildlife include London's Peckham, Brixton and Chinatown neighbourhoods.

Finbarr from the field

On Jan. 14 Reuters hosted a live video Q&A with our renowned photographer Finbarr O’Reilly about his experiences in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Finbarr addressed what drew him to Africa and the most difficult aspects of being a photographer in a war zone.

Finbarr is still available to answer questions, submit them in the comments section below or send a Twitter message with the hash tag “#finbarr” .

LIVE CHAT: Finbarr O Reilly

Follow the latest updates

Check out “Death all around,” his multimedia report from a Congolese refugee camp, dispatches from Chad and Afghanistan, selected photos from his portfolio, and an audio slideshow from his most recent Congo assignment.

Shooting by accident or standing out from the crowd?

Actress Jessica Biel arrives for the premiere of “Easy Virtue” in Leicester Square, London October 28, 2008.   REUTERS/Luke MacGregor   (BRITAIN)

London-based Reuters photographer Luke MacGregor shot the picture above by using a slow shutter speed, around 1/50th of a second, and continually shooting frames with no flash in the hope that he would catch the moment a flash from another photographer illuminated Jessica Biel posing on the red carpet.

This reminded me of an earlier red-carpet picture of Jessica Biel where Luke had used the same “catch flash” technique. The picture of her arrival at the BAFTAs, below, caused a mini stir of discontent amongst the desk editors in Singapore. Some editors championed the picture, others wanted to reject it, or ‘spike’ it in journalistic terminology. One editor even said the technique was like “shooting by accident”.

Riding with Obama: Backstage

Reuters Washington staff photographer Jason Reed is traveling with the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama through election day.

It is on extremely rare occasions that individual wire service photographers get exclusive behind the scenes access with the U.S. presidential candidates for even just a few moments during the 2008 campaign. When we do it represents a fleeting chance to grab a few unguarded moments where the candidates are more relaxed and less wary of scrutiny away from the glare of the lights and the constant presence of dozens of intrusive cameras and microphones. When you cover the same man, day in and day out, with most of the time spent jostling with dozens of other photographers to get essentially the same shots from the same positions, any chance to get a few exclusive unguarded moments with just the candidate and yourself is a huge bonus.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama backstage before a campaign appearance in Pittsburgh, October 27, 2008.  REUTERS/Jason Reed

One of those rare opportunities occurred Monday night as I requested and was granted access backstage and behind the scenes with the Democratic Presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama before a campaign rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Editing Under Fire in Afghanistan

I’ve spent the past month embedded with the German armed forces Bundeswehr – operating as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in northern Afghanistan – accompanying troops during missions from their bases in Masar-e-Sharif, Feyzabad and Kunduz. This is the first time the German army have allowed news agency photographers to be embedded with operational units, in the way the U.S. have allowed journalists similar access for many years. To be close to the units operating on the ground is the only way to report on their day-to-day work.


Tuesday, September 30th was a special day. It was the first day after the month’s new moon and Muslims all over the world were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is a joyful day for Afghans too. Families prepare delicious food and celebrate together with friends and relatives.

I was attached to a unit of German and Belgian soldiers driving to the town of Taloqan, about 75 kilometres east of Kunduz. There was tension in the air. Some roads were closed to military vehicles because suicide attacks or roadside bombs were expected during the holiday period. Just a week before, a suicide bomber driving a car had got close to a German army convoy, causing damage to armoured vehicles. German military personnel travelling inside had a lucky escape.

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