Fire scene photography in Detroit

More fire scene photography in Detroit as we took in this vacant dwelling fire on Cahalen in the very early morning hours of Wednesday (June 18th). The street was crowded with parked cars which limited my¬†ability to have clear access to show the engine and ladder. Additionally, the trees create an obstacle to an unobstructed view of the fire building. These are elements that are clearly uncontrollable. You have to work around them. If they prevent the perfect shot which depicts the apparatus with massive flames … then there’ll always be another scene and the chance to try again.

I was able to frame some nice images here that show the fire and apparatus, though I doubt there’s an image that will work for a calendar. Nonetheless, I’m very happy with being able to get to the scene in time to capture the large amount of fire and the rigs that were on the scene.

vacant fully-engulfed Detroit dwelling
An image tightly cropped to show the cab of the ladder with heavy fire. The parked car in front of me blocked the rest of the tire and the street from my view. Larry Shapiro photo

Photographing fire at night requires some finesse in order to keep detail in the flames where possible to prevent blowing out the highlights. Since this often means exposing for the brightest part of the flame, everything other than fire will go dark, resulting in a silhouette. In this next image, I added some fill flash to bring out enough of the foreground to keep the shot interesting illustrate the scene without the silhouette.

vacant fully-engulfed Detroit dwelling
A relatively fast shutter speed combined with fill flash keeps both the flame detail and gives detail to the structure without creating silhouette. Larry Shapiro photo