11 Dec. 2017
Las Vegas, UNITED STATES
Air Force One departs Las Vegas past the broken windows on the Mandalay Bay hotel, where shooter Stephen Paddock conducted his mass shooting along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 4, 2017. Mike Blake: "This all started with a phone call in the middle of the night. A mass shooting in Las Vegas. I packed my gear and left my house in southern California in the dark. Arriving with other colleagues at first light, I began covering what was to become the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The picture of the president's plane leaving Las Vegas was planned and thought out. I had watched 737 aircraft take off from my hotel window and thought that because Air Force One is a much larger and heavier plane than most others, it might fly just above the hotel where the shooter had smashed out hotel windows to commit his crime. We had a rough schedule of the president's timeline, as we have a photographer travelling on his plane. But after patiently waiting for it to come into my viewfinder I put my camera down and texted our travelling photographer. They were obviously running late and he texted back they were just arriving back at the airport. When the plane came into my viewfinder I was shocked by how low it was. I expected it to be just above the hotel but it was really low and passed behind the hotel. I quickly refocused and reframed and waited for the plane to reappear on the side where the broken windows were. I shot about 15 frames and did a quick edit and filed to our global picture desk in Singapore. The whole thing took about five minutes. When the president's plane landed hours later in Washington, I received a text from our travelling photographer Kevin Lamarque saying a White House press person loved the image and had come to show him the picture on the flight home." REUTERS/Mike Blake/File photo SEARCH "POY STORY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.