How The Day’s Top News Photo was Taken with a Phone by a NFL Linebacker

It was a quick snapshot of common summer weather, but this Istagram photo quickly became the most popular image on the Internet

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As weather as a news story goes, yesterday in New York City was rather mild. There was no tornado, no hurricane, it was just a really hot day followed by a concentrated and intense late afternoon thunderstorm. Still, news outlets and professional photographers all reached for their DSLRs and captured dramatic dark clouds descending over the iconic skyline. But, a former NFL linebacker with a window seat on a plane taking off from LaGuardia snapped a shot with his iPhone and trumped them all.

The image, taken by Dhani Jones, and shared with his followers on Instagram was quickly shared and reposted all over Twitter, Facebook, and all other forms of Social Media. But beyond being a novel, "hey look at the crazy weather we're having" image, the photo became in a matter of minutes a symbol of how news and photography works in 2012.

As photographers we understand that there’s a lot that goes into making a winning image: composition, timing, relevance. And while this image isn’t as technically perfect as others from outlets, it had (pun intended) the perfect storm: an unexpected vantage point, an element of surprise, and perfect timing.

Still, we wish we could see the original non-instagrammed image. It's likely even more spectacular.