In case of emergency

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Fire

The Eagle Creek fire was allegedly started by teenagers throwing lit fireworks into a dry valley. After a month of constant burning, the fire has destroyed more than 76 square miles of land in the state of Washington, and is still only 46% contained. Your Shot photographer Dylan Taylor captured the destruction outside of Moffetts Hot Springs. The Columbia River Gorge, he says, is now like “a scene out of the apocalypse.”

Reblogged from National Geographic

Through the fire

In San Bartolomé de Pinares, Spain, residents celebrate the eve of St. Anthony’s Day with the Luminarias Festival. St. Anthony is the patron saint of domestic animals. One of the traditions of the festival involves riding or jumping horses through bonfires, which is believed to purify the animal and protect it in the year ahead. Townspeople say the practice dates back at least 500 years, coming from a time when smoke was thought to ward off the plague. Animal rights groups say the practice is cruel and barbaric, but the city government claims that no horse has ever suffered injury. 
Reblogged from National Geographic

Fire

People tend to imagine wildfires as a menacing wall of 50-foot flames voraciously tearing through miles of terrain. In actuality, when covering a fire, it’s often a struggle to put yourself in the right position to capture dramatic flames and heroic firefighters. The fires often burn in steep, inaccessible terrain, and it can take hours to drive around a fire’s perimeter.

Last week, I had just returned home from three days documenting the devastating Clayton fire—a few hours north of San Francisco—when I got a go-ahead from the Associated Press to fly to Los Angeles for the Blue Cut fire. Within two hours of landing, I had wrangled a 4×4 rental, navigated several police checkpoints, and was photographing inside the fire zone.
I was actually pursuing a helicopter dropping water at night (which is fairly rare) when I came across this hillside lined with flickering embers in the Lytle Creek Canyon north of San Bernardino. I was toting a cheap, small tripod. It’s easy to fly with but wouldn’t hold up to heavy usage. The tripod legs were actually resting in hot embers—another reason a cheap tripod can be preferable!
To give the frame a more ethereal feel, I shot this as a long exposure. Sometimes long exposures of fire can be used in a slightly “cheating” way to make the fire seem stronger than it is, but in this case the frame captures more or less what a bystander would have seen.
When photographing fires, there are a variety of tools that can increase your success. It’s taken many years to hone these skills, and I still have a lot to learn. I’ve built up a knowledge of fires and learned how to monitor a police scanner, wear full safety gear, look for different perspectives, and communicate with firefighters and other photographers to figure out where the hot spots are.
One last thing—when working in these areas, it’s important to stay out of the way of firefighters, fleeing residents, and other emergency responders. I always keep this foremost in my mind while shooting. No matter how stressed I am about producing a strong image or meeting a deadline, my job is a distant second to the one of responders, who are struggling to save homes and lives.
Reblogged from National Geographic