When taking a great picture isn’t enough

THIS picture has been used more than any other I’ve taken – but getting the shot was the easy bit.

As is often the way it takes extraordinary situations to get extraordinary pictures.

This photo from Iraq 2003 came after two days without sleep and after being landed a mile further into Iraqi territory than planned – we actually crossed paths with the advance sniper party as we trekked to our position.

The rocket I pictured was fired at an artillery position during a battle where shells flew over our heads and Apache helicopters unleashed their horrendous firepower on a small group of Saddam’s soldiers.

All the while the opposing Iraqi and British forces were bisected by a road and fleeing civilians were from time to time crossing the line of fire.

The little media party had been held back at the start of the battle but eventually we were given permission to make the 10 minute sprint to the front line across the rock hard mud which had once been a river bed.

It was some minutes later when I saw the dramatic shot on the back of my Nikon D2h, but now I had to try and send it back to the UK.

Computers can be frustrating at the best of times, but trying to connect my Mac to the sat phone and then to the internet on the 14.4kbps GSM network (for comparison modern 4g is 50,000kbps upload) would have made a saint swear.

As the icon on my precious laptop battery blinked itself towards useless the network refused to connect and eventually our unit had to move on, not a single picture dispatched.

It took a full day for another opportunity to send, and this time the technology remembered it’s purpose, but I’d missed the chance to have my pictures included in the first day’s coverage of the British and American invasion of Iraq.

My picture still made a few front pages though which you can see in the online archives of the Newseum.