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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Exhausted Fireman

If you ever encounter breaking news and have the opportunity to be a citizen journalist, photograph the impact on people, including rescue workers, spectators, and victims.

Exhausted firefighter tries to recover from the heat, humidity and smoke after fighting a two-alarm house fire on a summer afternoon, where five tenants escaped without injury (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
One hot afternoon, I arrived at a fire scene and found firemen climbing onto a house to put out a small fire, but one generating a great deal of smoke. There was nothing overly dramatic about the fire, but I shot several photos of firefighters spraying water hoses at the house and smoke. I continued looking for something with more of a human interest angle, and spotted this fireman, exhausted from climbing the roof with all his gear, and suffering from both the smoke he had inhaled and the sun’s oppressive heat that June day. As he leaned over momentarily exhausted, I shot a couple of photos, before he forced himself to recover quickly and returned to help his fellow firefighters. More than any shots of hoses and smoke, this picture told the true story of how difficult it was for firefighters in heavy gear to put out a very smoky fire on a hot summer afternoon.
3 Tips:
1) Often times it is the firefighters who make the best photos, not the fire.
2) Firefighters often visibly show their exhaustion, and the effects from smoke or heat.
3) Shoot quickly because photo opportunities don't last long in emergency situations like fires.