Bryan Denton was out of the safety of the armored vehicle and away from cover when the suicide car bomb approached, looking "like an armadillo covered in steel plates." "As everyone began to run, and the soldiers opened up on the vehicle, my only thought was to get low and find cover," the photographer writes in a photo essay for the New York Times. Denton describes a tense journey leading up to the car bomb attack—the day's fourth, though only successful—as he traveled with Iraqi counterterrorism forces on the road to Mosul last week. Denton and other journalists were put to work keeping an eye out for car bombs from their armored vehicle in a convoy that included a tank for protection and a bulldozer to clear the way and create dirt banks to slow approaching vehicles.
Throughout the long day, Denton's convoy took near-constant machine gun and mortar fire from ISIS while Iraqi soldiers worked to clear IEDs and mines from their path. Periodically, cars laden with explosives would drive at the convoy, only to get stuck or be destroyed before reaching their target. The convoy had stopped and Denton was out taking photos when the fourth car bomb came at them. It took Denton four or five seconds to get to the nearest Humvee for cover. "Too long," he notes. The car bomb exploded before he made it. Something hit his wrist, leaving a gash down to the bone. Read the full story here and find out why Denton says he's "incredibly lucky." (Read more Iraq stories.)