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Photos of the Week: 9/13-9/19

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This week, we have a look at photographs of debutantes at the Queen Charlotte's Ball, a crumbling Soviet memorial in Bulgaria, an Estonian raccoon dog, Saqqara's pyramid of Djoser, Hurricane Odile in Mexico, and much more. [35 photos]

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A pod of orca whales swim in the waters of the San Juan Islands near Friday Harbor, Washington, with Mt. Baker in the distance. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
A pod of orca whales swim in the waters of the San Juan Islands near Friday Harbor, Washington, with Mt. Baker in the distance. (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
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California's King Fire

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The King Fire started about five days ago, in a California canyon 60 miles east of Sacramento, and has since burned an estimated 70,000 acres of steep forested terrain. The wildfire is one of nearly a dozen major blazes being fought across the state right now, driven in part by the ongoing severe drought conditions. The King Fire continues to grow (as of now, it is only 5 percent contained) and has prompted the evacuation of 2,000 residents so far. Firefighters plan to strengthen their control lines and protect as many of the 1,600 nearby homes as they can over the coming days. [25 photos]

A firefighter battling the King Fire watches as a backfire burns along Highway 50 in Fresh Pond, California, on September 16, 2014. The fire led officials to call on about 2,000 people to evacuate from areas threatened by the blaze. It has charred more than 70,000 acres and is currently listed as 5 percent contained. (Reuters/Noah Berger)
A firefighter battling the King Fire watches as a backfire burns along Highway 50 in Fresh Pond, California, on September 16, 2014. The fire led officials to call on about 2,000 people to evacuate from areas threatened by the blaze. It has charred more than 70,000 acres and is currently listed as 5 percent contained. (Reuters/Noah Berger)
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Scotland's Big Decision

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Tomorrow, legal residents of Scotland, ages 16 and older, will be voting in a referendum to decide their country's independence from the United Kingdom. While ending a centuries-old union is a complex and emotional issue, the wording on the ballot could not be more simple -- "Should Scotland be an independent country?" -- with only two choices, yes or no. Interest in tomorrow's vote is extremely high, and more than 97 percent of Scotland's eligible voters are registered to vote. "No" voters had the edge in polls for most of the past year, but "Yes" voters surged ahead to take a brief lead just weeks ago. At the moment, polls favor a "No" vote, but the slim margin makes the outcome too close to call. As Scotland prepares to decide its future, here is a collection of images of the campaign, the voters, and the country. [32 photos]

Ninian Gibson, 16, poses for a photograph at Duddingston Loch in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 4, 2014. Ninian, who plans to vote "No" in the referendum, said, "Though I think Scotland should have full control over its own affairs I think that the U.K. is an important force in the world that it should be kept united." (Reuters/Paul Hackett)
Ninian Gibson, 16, poses for a photograph at Duddingston Loch in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 4, 2014. Ninian, who plans to vote "No" in the referendum, said, "Though I think Scotland should have full control over its own affairs I think that the U.K. is an important force in the world that it should be kept united." (Reuters/Paul Hackett)
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The Eruptions of Iceland's Bardarbunga Volcano

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In southeast Iceland, the Bardarbunga volcano system, located under Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajoekull, has been rocked by hundreds of tremors daily since mid-August, prompting fears the volcano could erupt explosively, wreaking havoc on air traffic once again. An eruption of Bardarbunga, the largest volcanic system in Iceland, has the potential to be even more disruptive than the 2010 eruption of nearby Eyjafjallajokull. Scientists are closely monitoring the site, as lava continues to spew from fissures, earthquakes rumble underfoot, and nearby glacial ice appears to be melting, possibly signaling explosive interaction between lava and meltwater. [14 photos]

An aerial picture taken on September 14, 2014 shows a small plane flying over the Bardarbunga volcano as it spews lava in southeast Iceland. The Bardarbunga volcano system has been rocked by hundreds of tremors daily since mid-August, prompting fears the volcano could explode. Bardarbunga, at 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), is Iceland's second-highest peak and is located under Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajoekull. (Bernard Meric/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial picture taken on September 14, 2014 shows a small plane flying over the Bardarbunga volcano as it spews lava in southeast Iceland. The Bardarbunga volcano system has been rocked by hundreds of tremors daily since mid-August, prompting fears the volcano could explode. Bardarbunga, at 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), is Iceland's second-highest peak and is located under Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajoekull. (Bernard Meric/AFP/Getty Images)
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Rosetta's Amazing 10-Year Space Journey

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More than a decade ago, the European Space Agency launched an orbiter named Rosetta, bound on a circuitous voyage to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In the years since, Rosetta has been drawn in and flung along by multiple gravity assist maneuvers, visiting the Earth three times and making observations of the Moon, Mars, and several asteroids and comets. In January of this year, after 31 months of hibernation, Rosetta re-awoke, nearing comet 67P. Recently, it approached to within 100 km of the comet, entering orbit and preparing to send a lander to the surface. The lander, named Philae, will be deployed in November, securing itself to the comet with harpoons and drills to prevent it from bouncing away in the weak gravity. The lander and orbiter are then scheduled to ride along, escorting the comet on its upcoming close approach to the Sun next August, all the while sending imagery and data home to be combined with Earth-based observations. Gathered here are some snapshots of Rosetta's incredible trip so far. [28 photos]

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko imaged by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft on August 3, 2014. The photograph was taken from a distance of 177 miles (285 kilometers), with a resolution of 17 feet (5.3 meters) per pixel. Comet 67P measures approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) along its longest axis. (ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko imaged by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft on August 3, 2014. The photograph was taken from a distance of 177 miles (285 kilometers), with a resolution of 17 feet (5.3 meters) per pixel. Comet 67P measures approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) along its longest axis. (ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)
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Photos of the Week: 9/6-9/12

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This week we have photographs covering a beer-mug-carrying world record, 9/11 remembrances, a wildfire in Yosemite National Park, flooding in Arizona and Pakistan, Vietnam's Ha Long Bay, an early snowstorm in Calgary, independence demonstrations in Catalonia, and much more. [35 photos]

A fiery Kyrgyz stuntman performs during the first World Nomad Games in the Kyrchin (Semenovskoe) gorge, some 300 km from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on September 10, 2014. Teams from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan take part in the games. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images)
A fiery Kyrgyz stuntman performs during the first World Nomad Games in the Kyrchin (Semenovskoe) gorge, some 300 km from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on September 10, 2014. Teams from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan take part in the games. (Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images)
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9/11: The Flight 93 National Memorial

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Thirteen years ago, during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a passenger revolt against the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93 resulted in the aircraft crashing into a field just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 44 people aboard (including the four hijackers). Authorities believe this fourth hijacked aircraft was also to be used as a missile, targeting either the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House. In the years since, a national memorial at the Pennsylvania crash site has been under planning and construction, now due to be completed sometime in late 2015. Phase one was completed in 2011, including the "wall of names," 40 granite slabs standing eight feet tall, inscribed with the names of the passengers and crew of Flight 93. On this 13th anniversary of that tragic day, here are a few recent images of the Flight 93 National Memorial. [15 photos]

Visitors walk along the wall of names of passengers who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 2014. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Visitors walk along the wall of names of passengers who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 2014. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
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Historic Flooding in India and Pakistan

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Days of heavy monsoon rain in northern Pakistan and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir have brought some of the worst flooding the region has seen in 60 years. More than 450 deaths have been reported and the scale of the disaster is straining rescue efforts. Hundreds of thousands remain trapped as the armed forces of both Pakistan and India ramp up relief and evacuation operations. [34 photos]

A temple stands amid the waters of the overflowing river Tawi during heavy rains in Jammu on September 6, 2014. Authorities declared a disaster alert in the northern region after heavy rain hit villages across the Kashmir valley, causing the worst flooding in decades. (Reuters/Mukesh Gupta)
A temple stands amid the waters of the overflowing river Tawi during heavy rains in Jammu on September 6, 2014. Authorities declared a disaster alert in the northern region after heavy rain hit villages across the Kashmir valley, causing the worst flooding in decades. (Reuters/Mukesh Gupta)
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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: 6 Months Without a Trace

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Six months ago, on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 mysteriously disappeared about an hour into a routine journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 mostly Chinese people aboard. The search is due to resume again soon, with investigators hoping that evidence might be found in the southern Indian Ocean, though it will be extremely difficult to find on an ocean floor four miles deep, with the black box voice and data recorder batteries long dead. Loved ones of missing passengers are left with huge holes in their lives, losses without explanation, grieving in a painfully uncertain situation. Some derive what comfort they can from what was left behind: photographs, possessions, emails, plans, and memories. Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon recently traveled to Beijing to photograph several of these relatives who are trying to cope, still looking for answers. [16 photos]

Feng Xuehong, whose son Wang Houbin was aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, cries during an interview with Reuters in Beijing on July 18, 2014. In the last conversation with her son before the incident, he said, "Give me a hug, mom. Take care of yourself and I'll come back to see you soon." (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Feng Xuehong, whose son Wang Houbin was aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8, 2014, cries during an interview with Reuters in Beijing on July 18, 2014. In the last conversation with her son before the incident, he said, "Give me a hug, mom. Take care of yourself and I'll come back to see you soon." (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)
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Up in the Air

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As the summer of 2014 winds down and the evenings bring a bit of chilly air, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at time spent in mid-air during recent warmer months. This recent collection shows people, animals, and machines jumping, soaring, leaping, diving, falling, and flying, momentarily free from their connection to the Earth. [30 photos]

A Palestinian man plays with his baby on a beach in Gaza city on September 7, 2014. (Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man plays with his baby on a beach in Gaza city on September 7, 2014. (Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
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Photos of the Week: 8/30-9/5

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This week we have a look at the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, Ecuador's still-erupting Tungurahua volcano, Iraqi forces taking the battle to ISIS, the massive Jurong Rock Caverns below Singapore, a kitesurfing world record in Spain, and an 82-foot-tall white rabbit in Taiwan, as well as many other subjects. [35 photos]

Leng Yuting, 26, poses underwater for her wedding pictures at a photo studio in Shanghai on September 3, 2014, ahead of her wedding next year. Her fiance Riyang said they had their wedding photographs taken underwater because "it's romantic and beautiful." (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
Leng Yuting, 26, poses underwater for her wedding pictures at a photo studio in Shanghai on September 3, 2014, ahead of her wedding next year. Her fiance Riyang said they had their wedding photographs taken underwater because "it's romantic and beautiful." (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)
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Amazon Warriors Fight for Their Trees

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Reuters photographer Lunae Parracho recently went on a search and destroy mission in the Amazon with Brazil's Ka'apor Indians. Frustrated by the government's lack of action to keep illegal loggers out of the Alto Turiacu Indian territory, local warriors from several tribes have taken it upon themselves to find logging camps, destroy equipment, and drive out the unwelcome intruders. Parracho documented the scene as Ka'apor warriors captured a number of men in the forest, burned their trucks, destroyed their logs, then sent their captives down the road—freed, but without shoes or pants, their hands still bound. The Ka'apor Indians and four other tribes—the legal inhabitants and caretakers of the territory—have also set up monitoring camps in areas that are being illegally exploited. [20 photos]

A Ka'apor Indian warrior chases a logger who tried to escape after he was captured during a jungle expedition to find and expel loggers from the Alto Turiacu Indian territory, near the Centro do Guilherme municipality in the northeast of Brazil's Maranhao state in the Amazon basin, on August 7, 2014. Tired of what they say is a lack of sufficient government assistance in keeping loggers off their land, the Ka'apor Indians, who along with four other tribes are the legal inhabitants and caretakers of the territory, have sent their warriors out to expel all loggers they find and set up monitoring camps in the areas that are being illegally exploited. (Reuters/Lunae Parracho)
A Ka'apor Indian warrior chases a logger who tried to escape after he was captured during a jungle expedition to find and expel loggers from the Alto Turiacu Indian territory, near the Centro do Guilherme municipality in the northeast of Brazil's Maranhao state in the Amazon basin, on August 7, 2014. Tired of what they say is a lack of sufficient government assistance in keeping loggers off their land, the Ka'apor Indians, who along with four other tribes are the legal inhabitants and caretakers of the territory, have sent their warriors out to expel all loggers they find and set up monitoring camps in the areas that are being illegally exploited. (Reuters/Lunae Parracho)
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Dramatic Photos of California's Historic Drought

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According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 82 percent of the state of California currently falls in the "Extreme Drought" category. The years-long dry spell has tapped groundwater reserves and left reservoirs at record lows. Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville are both down to 30% of full capacity, exposing steep shorelines that were formerly under hundreds of feet of water. Marinas are crowding into ever-smaller coves as the water recedes, and ramps and roads no longer reach the shoreline. Getty Images photographer Justin Sullivan traveled to a number of these reservoirs last month and captured dramatic images, evidence of the severity of the water crisis in California. [22 photos]

A section of Lake Oroville is seen nearly dry on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State's lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows. Lake Oroville is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A section of Lake Oroville is seen nearly dry on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. As the severe drought in California continues for a third straight year, water levels in the State's lakes and reservoirs are reaching historic lows. Lake Oroville is currently at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Afghanistan: The Long Withdrawal

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Five years ago, the war in Afghanistan began to escalate drastically. Troop surges soon pushed the number of NATO troops up to more than 140,000, and the levels of violence grew to match the surge. At the time, I felt the conflict was being under-reported relative to other international stories, especially considering the level of commitment involved, so I began a monthly series dedicated to covering the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Now, more than 60 monthly photo essays later, I'm ending the series as a regular feature. I will continue to post photos from Afghanistan through the withdrawal, as well as after the handover—but as an occasional entry, not monthly. In this time, I've been fortunate enough to feature more than 2,000 amazing images of Afghanistan taken by incredibly brave and skillful photographers—telling many aspects of a very difficult story. As of today, there are reportedly fewer than 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with a withdrawal deadline looming at the end of the year. How many soldiers will stay after the deadline remains in question, as the outcome of the recent Afghan presidential election remains in dispute, and the signing of any long-term agreements is on hold. For the past year, many coalition forces have been involved with what they term retrograde operations, defined by the U.S. Army as "defensive tasks that involve organized movement away from the enemy." Gathered here are images of recent retrograde operations in Afghanistan, from demolition and remediation to demilitarization and evacuation. Today's entry is the last of the monthly series here on Afghanistan. [38 photos]

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles wait in a staging area for onward movement at an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia. The joint team of Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Central Command's Deployment Distribution Operations Center is playing a major role in moving the more than 50,000 coalition military vehicles in Afghanistan that will need to be recovered or pre-positioned in contingency stocks abroad. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Master Sgt. George Thompson)
Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles wait in a staging area for onward movement at an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia. The joint team of Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Central Command's Deployment Distribution Operations Center is playing a major role in moving the more than 50,000 coalition military vehicles in Afghanistan that will need to be recovered or pre-positioned in contingency stocks abroad. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Master Sgt. George Thompson)
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Burning Man 2014

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Every year, participants in the Burning Man Festival descend on the playa of Nevada's Black Rock Desert to form a temporary city -- a self-reliant community populated by performers, artists, free spirits, and more. Last week, an estimated 65,000 people came to Burning Man 2014 from all over the world to dance, express themselves, and take in the spectacle. Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart spent the week in the desert, capturing some of the scenes from this year's festival, which lasted a week and comes to its conclusion today. [24 photos]

Dillon Bracken attends the Burning Man 2014 "Caravansary" arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada on August 30, 2014. Over 65,000 people from all over the world gathered at the sold-out festival to spend a week in the remote desert cut off from much of the outside world to experience art, music and the unique community that develops. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)
Dillon Bracken attends the Burning Man 2014 "Caravansary" arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada on August 30, 2014. Over 65,000 people from all over the world gathered at the sold-out festival to spend a week in the remote desert cut off from much of the outside world to experience art, music and the unique community that develops. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)
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Photos of the Week: 8/24-8/29

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This week we have a look at swarms of locusts in Madagascar, 31 riders on a single motorcycle, magma from Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano, Japan's tidy superhero Mangetsu-man, huge waves in California, and a gigantic French mechanical horse-dragon. [35 photos]

A Chinese woman and her daughter wear face-kinis while swimming in the Yellow Sea in Qingdao, China, on August 22, 2014. The locally designed mask is worn by many local women to protect them from jellyfish stings, algae and the sun's ultraviolet rays. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
A Chinese woman and her daughter wear face-kinis while swimming in the Yellow Sea in Qingdao, China, on August 22, 2014. The locally designed mask is worn by many local women to protect them from jellyfish stings, algae and the sun's ultraviolet rays. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
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NATO: Russian Soldiers Are Now in Ukraine

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Earlier today, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko accused Russian troops of entering Ukraine, and NATO issued a statement saying that they were tracking well over 1,000 Russian combat soldiers operating heavy weaponry within Ukraine's borders. The announcements follow months of fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine—reportedly supported by Russian troops nearby. Ukrainian government forces had been regaining territory held by rebels in recent weeks, only to have the separatists open up battles on new fronts in the region. Caught in the middle is the civilian population, suffering hundreds of injuries and deaths as a result of massive shelling campaigns. Russia continues to deny direct involvement, even explaining that some of its captured servicemen were in Ukraine "by mistake." Below are images from eastern Ukraine over the past few weeks, as the situation may soon escalate even further. [42 photos]

Ukrainian soldiers detain a man suspected of spying for pro-Russian militants at a checkpoint near Debaltseve, Donetsk region, on August 16, 2014. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian soldiers detain a man suspected of spying for pro-Russian militants at a checkpoint near Debaltseve, Donetsk region, on August 16, 2014. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Urban Oil Fields of Los Angeles

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In the 1890s, the small town of Los Angeles (population 50,000) began a transformation driven by the discovery and drilling of some of the most productive oil fields in history. By 1930, California was producing nearly one quarter of the world's oil output, and its population had grown to 1.2 million. In the decades that followed, many wells closed, but even more opened, surrounded by urban and suburban growth. Machinery was camouflaged, loud noises were abated, methane pockets were vented, as residents learned to live side-by-side with oil production facilities. To this day, oil fields in the Los Angeles Basin remain very productive, and modern techniques have centralized operations into smaller areas or moved offshore. Gathered here are images of some of the sites and machinery still in use among the homes, golf courses, and shopping malls of Los Angeles. [24 photos]

An oil well pumps next to yard containing junked hearses and ambulances near Signal Hill in Long Beach, California, on May 29, 2003. The Signal Hill Oil Field, now known as the Long Beach Oil Field, had the world's highest oil production per acre by the mid-twentieth century. Hundreds of companies and individuals became rich on minute leases, some locations so close that derrick legs overlapped. New housing and stores are now being built among operating oil wells. (David McNew/Getty Images)
An oil well pumps next to yard containing junked hearses and ambulances near Signal Hill in Long Beach, California, on May 29, 2003. The Signal Hill Oil Field, now known as the Long Beach Oil Field, had the world's highest oil production per acre by the mid-twentieth century. Hundreds of companies and individuals became rich on minute leases, some locations so close that derrick legs overlapped. New housing and stores are now being built among operating oil wells. (David McNew/Getty Images)
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