Photographers' Blog

Harvest Moon rising

London, England

By Toby Melville

“Moon, Daddy!” exclaimed my two year old daughter excitedly from the rear seat as I drove her back home from a day with the childminder. “Where’s the moon?” I inquired as I concentrated on navigating through the evening rush hour on the busy roads of west London. “Over there: moon!” she repeated.

I knew it was a full and so-called Harvest Moon that night. I had a 500mm lens and decent enough 2 x converter in the trunk of the car as the every-ready back up emergency news set up. But the afternoon had been grotty and drizzly so not for the first time I had pretty much abandoned ideas for ‘full moon’ shots for another month.

But she was right: as I sat at the traffic lights in an interminable line, I could just catch a glimpse of the huge glowing orb peeping between clouds and houses. So, now the dilemma again of plenty a photographer when features and news just don’t happen between pre-determined working hours or ‘on-shift’. Continue home and then do the cherished fun evening routine of bedtime stories for Junior, followed by wee glass of wine and dinner? Or go moon chasing?

This time the picture hunt won. Mom was already home, and happy to do the bed routine for our daughter. I promised not to be long (heard that one before!), dropped off Little One, turned the car around, nipped down a couple of well used short cuts, all the while seeing the moon rising higher, darting between clouds and the wonderful dusk blue starting to turn blacker with the moon growing brighter and brighter. The race was on, and opportunities were fading fast! Plane lights flickered as they came into land ever nearer to the moon’s path as I drove away from home, close to Heathrow airport, one of the world’s busiest.

I hadn’t enough time to go to any of the buildings that might work well with the moon rising behind as it was already too high, and I wasn’t close enough to get to the right areas of London. So planes it was.

Trading fear for photos on a stricken plane

We took off smoothly for the short flight from Singapore to Jakarta, and I started falling asleep. Suddenly I was woken up by the sound of two bangs, like a bomb or truck tire blowing out. My wife gripped my hand and asked “Do you smell something burning?” Yes, there was a sharp smell stinging my nose. I realized there was something wrong because all the stewardesses ran back with the food carts.

The plane started to vibrate, harder and harder. I held my wife’s hand tightly and looked at her face as she started praying. My two younger children were asleep, after their first ever trip abroad, but not Pradipta, the eldest one. “Pra look through the window and watch outside,” I said. “I see light, I see fire, I see fire,” he said. Then the electricity was switched off.

I realized the plane, an Airbus A330, had a big problem. I was afraid because I thought we would die. Pradipta looked into my eyes and asked: “Will we die?” I was afraid and could not answer the question. I looked at all my children’s faces and held my lovely wife’s hands tightly.

Stars align, for passengers and photographers alike

Gary Hershorn is the Reuters News pictures editor for the Americas

It was another ordinary Thursday in the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square.

I was spending endless hours at my desk on the 19th floor, helping to work out the logistics for next week’s presidential inauguration and talking with photographer Eric Thayer.

The quiet was broken at about 3:30pm when a colleague yelled out to the newsroom: “There is an airplane in the water!”