Fire truck photography

When I’m on assignment, some locations are built for dramatic images. Industrial settings fall into this category. The nature of the site combines with the that fact that there are all manner of lights and shapes that look compelling in the dark.

I’ve mentioned in previous post that variables involved with night fire truck photography can be many, and that I always create a fail-safe daytime image before working on the night shot. This way I know that there’s at least one in the bag and ready to go if the night shot does not conform to my obsessive compulsive needs.

But, that begs the question … which lighting is more dramatic … dusk or dark? They both can be great … or complications can foil either one. I often play it by ear depending on the reception that I receive from the fire department personnel. After all, night shots take a while to get all the details just right. If they’re game … I start in the daylight, work into dusk, and then finish off at night.

Here are examples of an assignment where I the shot for dusk and then couldn’t resist another attempt after dark.

dramatic photo of a fire engine at dusk
The blue glow in the dusk sky creates a dramatic image with great colors. Larry Shapiro photo

It was only a matter of waiting another hour I think before total darkness set it. The engine didn’t move and the off-camera lighting from a portable light plant remained the same.

dramatic fire engine photo at night in a refinery
The night shot brings out much more grit and grime in the towers as well as the bare bulbs that are on each level. Larry Shapiro photo

The color temperature is much different as we lost the glow of the ambient light and relied solely on the incandescent lights. The image was created with a Mamiya RZ67 on Fuji Velvia film balanced for daylight, so the original color was very warm and yellow.

I don’t know, I’m pretty partial to both … can’t make up my mind … that’s the stuff I leave up to the client or art director. My job is to give them a difficult choice to make.