Fire scene photography in Detroit

A bit more about fire scene photography in Detroit. First of all, time is often … of the essence. Here is an instance where we spotted the header in the sky minutes before there was a dispatch. Since we had no address, we followed the column of smoke. We were ultimately hampered by the Detroit City Airport, which blocked our direct access to the fire. We saw an impressive column of smoke with high flames … from across the airport property.

But, when we pulled up ion the scene, we found …

fire consumes vacant house in Detroit
Firefighters silhouetted by the heavy fire from the collapsed dwelling. Larry Shapiro photo

While en route to the fire, we heard a company announce that the structure had collapsed. From here, it looks like a huge bonfire. It was of course our first fire of the trip, so we hung around for a little bit … fearing that this might be the only fire we’d actually get to see.

fire consumes vacant house in Detroit
Burning remnants of the house. The image was exposed directly for the center of the flames. Larry Shapiro photo

Since there’s nothing to see here except the flames, it’s important while photographing fire at night to expose for the brightest section. Have faith that everything else that matters will fall into place. There’s so much ambient light in these images that they’re not a complete silhouette because of the glow against the trees, the smoke, and the detail in the shadow area of the foreground remnants of the building.

fire consumes vacant house in Detroit
Another image with full detail to the fire without overblown highlights. Larry Shapiro photo