2011 Photo Contest, Nature, Stories, 1st prize

Oil on Water

Photographer

Benjamin Lowy

07 June, 2010

In April, the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig, in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast, sunk after an explosion.

About

Benjamin Lowy

Benjamin Lowy was born in 1979. He received a BFA from Washington University, St Louis in 2002 and began his career covering the Iraq War in 2003 for Time. Since then he has cove...

Background story

Louisiana, USA Crude oil washes ashore on Grand Terre Island, a barrier island between Barataria Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The island is one of a small archipelago that protects marshes to the north and is an important estuarine habitat. In April, the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig, in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast, sunk after an explosion. Over the next four months, the resultant sea-floor oil gusher released an estimated 4.9 million barrels (nearly 780 million liters) of crude oil, making it the biggest marine oil spill in history and causing extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, as well as to tourism and fishing industries in the Gulf. The rig, operated by Transocean under contract for BP, was drilling in about 1,525 meters of water, pushing the boundaries of deepwater drilling. President Barack Obama placed an immediate moratorium on new drilling off the US coast.

Photo credit:
Reportage by Getty Images for GQ

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/60 s
Focal length
200 mm
F-Stop
f/4
ISO
50

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