Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fire Station Photo Shoot

On Saturday, July 25th, I had the honor of being allowed to photograph inside of a local fire station. It took some time to get permission, but once I finally reached the right person, things seem to move along swiftly.

My motivation
for this self-assignment was to show the viewers a glimpse of what life is like for these brave men who risk their lives to protect us. Most of us only see these guys when its an emergency, and by then, its too late to exchange the pleasantries of introduction.

I wasn't sure what to expect
when I arrived. I had most of my lighting gear packed into the back of my little hatchback. As it turned out, I only needed one light stand some gels and two CLS speedlights.
I was greeted at the door by the three-man crew and felt immediately at home. These guys went out of their way to help me create these images. I showed them the sketches of what I was trying to capture and they were more than willing to help.

In this shot, the Captain holds up an adapter for framing. He's lit from a straight speedlight at camera right (set to TTL). I like the hard light and the way it adds drama to this shot. His blue eyes add so much to this capture.

I asked this man
if he could tell me a story about when he felt fear in the course of his duty. He recounted a time when he was at an apartment fire with his partner. The floor was getting soft and some spots had already burned through. His partner was advancing and he was close behind. The call came in for them fall back because it was getting too dangerous, but his partner wanted to press on and try to put it out. He had to coax his partner out just before the place collapsed. "Most fire fighters that die in structure fires are killed by falling though something, or from having something fall on them"

This fire engine
is basically a pump on wheels and a very large tool box. The pump is capable of 1500 gallons per minute. That's an entire swimming pool every 9 minutes! Each of those aluminum roll up doors houses a compartment with hose adapters, hydrant wrenches, tools for getting access into burning building quickly, and paramedic gear for keeping victims alive until the ambulance arrives.
Inside there are 6 seats. Where the men sit, is at the discretion of the captain. Near each seat it each man's own custom designed jacket and pants (or "turn-outs" as they're called because of the way they are stored) The men get dressed en-route to save time. Everything they need in in the engine so they don't forget anything.

All in all it was a great experience to meet these modern-day heroes. I have the ultimate respect for these guys and the difficult job they do so well.

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