ANIMAL’s original series I Should Have Shot That! asks photographers about that one shot that got away. This week, we give our illustrator James Noel Smith a well-deserved break and highlight that one hit by ANIMAL favorite Tod Seelie that almost wasn’t.

I was in my apartment cooking dinner when I felt the explosion. I recognized it from when I used to live in Bed-Stuy and cars were being burned all the time. I grabbed my camera and ran out the door. The car was just a few doors down. I was able to get close and take some photos before the FDNY showed up.

Small explosions were still going off, shooting glass and plastic all the way across the street, some toward me. The heat was pretty intense.

I wasn’t thinking about what I wanted the photo to look like, I was focused on trying to get the proper exposure, hold the camera steady and not get hit by anything.

Check out Tod Seelie’s Chernobyl Incident and more I Should Have Shot That! Know photographers with good stories about the shot that got away? Send them to me.