Photographing a fire scene at night poses several challenges, chief among them being lighting, but smoke, water mist, and rain are a few of the obstacles waiting to trip up a photographer. Realizing also that a fire scene is not a posed production, other challenges come from space, proximity, access, and physical objects that interfere with the subject matter.
In this image, it was raining fairly heavily, there was a high volume of smoke and wind, the area was pitch dark, and I had my back (literally) up against a wall. The image is square, but came from a rectangular format … it is a merged image or a two-shot vertical panorama.
I was unable to avoid illuminating water droplets in the air, but I was able to find a few seconds when the smoke was not obstructing the truck … creating the horrible white-out condition created when light from the flash hits smoke.
The truck in the image is a one-of-a-kind … a Grumman AerialCat tower ladder mounted on an American LaFrance chassis. It belongs to the Broadview Fire Department in Illinois.