13 Feb. 2015
DAUPHIN ISLAND, UNITED STATES
Beach goers sunbathe behind a wall of hay bales, used to absorb any oil that might come ashore, on Dauphin Island, Alabama in this May 11, 2010 file photo.
Brian Snyder: I was in Alabama and Mississippi covering the BP oil spill and took this image while in a helicopter with the Alabama Army National Guard. We had been flying for a while, surveying the protective booms installed around the barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico off the Mississippi coast, and were making our way back to the base.
It's always challenging photographing from a helicopter - apart from making sure the images are sharp despite the helicopter moving and bouncing around, images pass by fairly quickly so you have to be fast.
To me, this image shows an important aspect of the oil spill story: the impact on the daily lives of the residents and the significant, negative impact on tourism which is an important part of the region's economy. It also shows some of the effective and extremely low-tech ways to protect beaches from oil washing ashore - in this case simple hay bales. It was a challenge, when shooting this story, to have images that put the oil spill in context, and I think this image does that. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS DISASTER ENERGY ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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