Photographing fire trucks in Washington DC

Images here represent a more recent trip to Washington, DC photographing fire trucks for the Seagrave calendar. Unlike several previous visits to DC, I was shooting with a LEAF Aptus digital camera back this time instead of film. I was though using the same Mamiya RZ67 that I had with me in years past.

Things had changed a bit since the last time I wanted to photograph a fire truck on the National Mall, but sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. I was informed before my arrival that the shot would not be permitted to take place on the mall … but as illustrated in the images here, it all worked out. The city was a bit busier than I’d had to deal with almost 30 years earlier … and that meant that I’d have to spend some time during post production making edits so the image would satisfy my obsessive compulsive desires.

Because I was using digital capture, I was less stressed about the difference in lighting between the bright sky and the darker fire truck. If I’d been using film, I would have placed a neutral density filter over the lens to reduce the bright sky by 1-2 stops.

Seagrave heavy rescue for Washington DC
Washington, DC Fire Department Rescue 2 photographed on the National Mall for the Seagrave Fire Apparatus calendar. Larry Shapiro photo

This next image taken by my wife Dorothy from behind the camera position depicts a somewhat more cluttered street scene.

photographer on the National Mall with a fire truck
An overall shot of the setup and scene on the National Mall as I created a calendar image for Seagrave of DCFD (DCFEMS) Rescue 2. Dorothy Shapiro photo

I always take the time to talk with the firefighters that are spending time with me and offer them a look through the camera to see how I’m framing the shot. Many are often curious about the medium-format Mamiya RZ67 camera that they’ve never seen before. Equally as foreign to them is the LEAF Aptus digital back attached to it.

photographer on the National Mall with a fire truck
I like to take the time to explain my madness to the firefighters if they’re interested and to show them that all my obsessive compulsive requests do contribute to a better image. Dorothy Shapiro photo