M_Six wrote in post #18102110
Tom, what's the backstory behind your shot? Were you working the fire or just in the right (or wrong) place at the right time? Great shot, either way.
I wasn't working the fire, as this was taken last season, and I just became a firefighter this season. But the pic was of the Okanogan Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in Washington state history. It came right to the edge of several towns, threatening many homes, many of which were lost to the flames. I myself was evicted and was unable to get back into my home for two days. The fire was a persistent threat to the local communities for a couple of weeks. This was the fire that inspired me to become a wildland firefighter.
As for the circumstances of the shot, this was on the first day of the fire; the day the winds swept the fire rapidly down from an area called "the Tunk" down into the hamlet of Riverside. Air attack was effective because the river was right there by the fire and heli crews were able to dip (or draw) very close to the flames, so that they were each able to douse the flames about 5 times every hour. With three choppers working the immediate area, this was a very effective attack and saved many homes.
As soon as I saw the heavy smoke to the north, I drove up to Riverside as quickly as I could, to get there before they could close the roads. I made it just in time, and was able to spend the next 3 or 4 hours traipsing about, trying to get to the best vantage points from which to photograph the flames. Most of the time the smoke was so heavy that I couldn't get a decent shot, so I just had to wait for shifting winds to momentarily clear the smoke and hope that there would be a shot available before the smoke filled the void.
I spent a lot of time trying to get down to the river so that I could get photos of the choppers dipping and drafting water..........but I now realize that was a mistake, as photos of the flames were actually much more dramatic and interesting. God only knows how many great fire shots I missed because I spent so much time getting permission to get onto the private ranchland near the river, finding a safe way down the steep riverbank, moving up or downstream to get a better angle, etc. I should've just stayed up above the floodplain and shot the fire instead. Lesson learned.
The next several days yielded some more good opportunities to shoot the fire - I was like a hurricane chaser but chasing fires instead of hurricanes - but none of the opportunities were as good as this one was, on the first evening of the fire. Overall I am pleased with the photos I was able to get, and I realize that I may never get a chance to photograph a wildfire like this again.
"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "peace of mind", NOT "piece of mind".