Photographing fire trucks working at night

I took in a fire the other night in Island Lake (IL). I got there well over an hour after the initial units arrived, and not surprisingly, most of the fire had been extinguished. I took some shots around the scene and then went about photographing fire trucks working at night. Depending on the situation and the many variables found at the scene, the task of capturing well flattering images may be easy, complex, or virtually impossible.

The factors here were the smoke, water spray from the multiple lines, overall scene illumination, and the amount of colored emergency lights from the vehicles. I was fortunate the the smoke was blowing away from the trucks, there was good ambient light from street and parking lot lights, and I had ample room to stand and frame the shots that I was looking for.

Nova Quintech SkyArm working at night fire scene
I had plenty of room to frame this shot with no smoke or flashing lights from other rigs. The only thing missing was big flames and smoke burning through the roof. Larry Shapiro photo

Another plus for me with these images is the fact that the trucks are¬†older and aren’t adorned with humungous reflective chevron striping. The only flare is from the small strips on the outriggers.

Nova Quintech SkyArm working at night fire scene
I would have like to have moved the water jug and red vest … but that might have been to obsessive on my part. Larry Shapiro photo

I found this last shot interesting with all of the hose lines going in every direction in addition to the fact that the engine is properly illuminated without excessive glare.

Pierce fire engine with lots of hose at night
The hose lines strewn about in all directions in this image add to the interest and dynamics of the shot. Larry Shapiro photo