Tragedy of fire
I must first temper this post with a point of sadness. My sympathies are directed to the people that have suffered a loss at the hand of these tragic fires. Even while looking through the view finder at the images I’m about to shoot it’s impossible not to feel their deep sorrow. At all of the fires I’ve photographed over the past year no one lost their life and there were no serious injuries. Just property loss as if that wasn’t enough. The lives of the people displaced continue to sway from; glad to be alive to what do I do next. Truly sad indeed. Last week four buildings on the main street of our town burnt down. Three weeks before it was a house just on the outskirts. A year before it was a house about five miles down the highway.
While photographing the fires I did not feel helpless because the fire fighters were on site and doing all that they could. Another thought while looking through the view finder is what a tough job those first responders have. The danger is obvious. Sometimes I feel compelled to scream out warnings but I know they would never hear me. I need to remember that this is what they do, they are operating right in their comfort zone.
I’m not a great night photographer yet and fires are the toughest to shoot at night. It seems as soon as you figure out the metering the fire flares and you are forced to either push the button or re-adjust. Auto is little or no help at all. All the action from the fire fighters adds to difficulty in framing and exposure. One thing that is always a common denominator is the drama. That is what any photographer wants to capture, not the tragedy, that needs no author it speaks for its self.