How This Drone Photo Came to Be

AP photographer explains her now-familiar image
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2013 8:18 AM CST
How This Drone Photo Came to Be
The AP's Kirsty Wigglesworth took this familiar photo of a drone over Kandahar in 2010.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

It's become the go-to image for editors everywhere to illustrate stories about US drone strategy: A Predator drone flies over Kandahar's air field with a full moon in the background. (It shows up on Newser a lot, too.) With the image in wide circulation of late, Josh Dzieza of the Daily Beast tracks down the photographer—the AP's Kirsty Wigglesworth—and discovers she's not that wild about it because the moon is out of focus.

On the night she shot it in 2010, Wigglesworth—who normally covers royalty and sports back in Britain—headed out to the air field to get an image of a plane landing at sunset. No luck. Sunset came and went, but she stuck it out when the full moon rose. When the soldier who drove her spotted the drone, she snapped a few images and eventually sent them along to her editor. Given the blurry moon, she didn't think much of it, and she remains surprised about how ubiquitous the image has become. “I suppose the fact that it’s got the moon gives you that spooky feel," she says. Click for the full interview. (More drones stories.)

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