I spent part of a morning with some of the firefighters at a local fire department to continue my “workin’ folks” photography project.  The morning started slow, as I talked with them, surveyed the shoot options, set up my lights, and pondered what kinds of shots to take.

Then, in moments, an alarm came in, they said simply “gotta go – fire” and two trucks and an ambulance streaked out of the station and left only me, my camera and my lights.  In the few ticks of the clock after the alarm came in, my heart raced and they were very business-like in readying to leave the station.  Indeed, I was the one that seemed very nervous and they seemed at peace with what they were doing and what came next.  It reminded me “that firefighting is one of the few professions left today that still makes house calls.”

Alone in this large fire station,  I shot some of what was left behind while I waited for them to return.  I felt bad for not having the presence to yell:  “be safe” as they left.

After a bit, the hook and ladder first, followed then by the other trucks, returned with everyone safe. We then finished my short photoshoot.

Here are some of the rest of my shots.  My lighting was simple:  one SB900 light in a 28” Westcott Apollo softbox very high up and camera right, one SB900 light in a Westcott Apollo Strip Box, and depending on the shot, one SB900 for accent.  The accent light was sometimes red gelled and occasionally, I added a CTO gel to the Strip Box light.  On the blue shots, I used Tungsten White Balance and compensated with a CTO gel.  I tried to come up with some shots that were a little different than what I have seen on flickr and tried to use the lighting to create a mood and to reflect a bit of the firefighter grit.


“What is a firefighter?  
He’s the guy next door….
He’s a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.  
He’s a fireman….
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He’s a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
  He’s a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of control.
 He’s responsive to a child’s laughter because his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again….
He doesn’t preach the brotherhood of man.
  He lives it.”

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Mark