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Firefighters In The Flames

Updated on October 12, 2015

Firefighter Photos Catching A Moment

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then capturing a photo of a firefighter facing the flames is worth a million words. Words that mean fighting fires isn't just what we do, it's the epitome of what we are. Firefighters train, practice, learn and practice some more. Great firefighters train the same way they work at fighting the fire, training as realistically, as often as possible to gain the experience, the knowledge, the ability to deal with constantly changing hazardous conditions and that training and experience can make the difference between lives saved and tragedy.

Firefighters learn quickly that PLAN "A" is controlling the environment based on what we pre-plan, what we learn and what we have experienced. Just as important as that is PLAN "B", because it's impossible to always control the environment in hazardous conditions, especially when working in extreme heat, limited visibility, difficult communications and carrying an additional 50 lbs or so between your firefighter bunker gear and SCBA. Plan B is all about trusting your instincts, your equipment, your training.......and most importantly your fellow firefighters.

A moment in a fire is filled with physical exertion, intense mental focus and more firefighting brotherhood than any other time.

Firefighters: The Photo I Took - Why My Photo Means So Much To Me

Firefighter Live Burn Training
Firefighter Live Burn Training

I know when you look at this photo, this moment that I captured a firefighter facing flames, you see something different than I see. When I took the photo at a Live Burn training exercise at a local Fire Academy, it just happened to be a moment when I could stand back behind the crews and observe.

I see a group of firefighters I serve with. That I will crawl through fires with. Some I have already crawled through many fires with. I see a Rookie, a Fire Officer, a senior firefighter with dozens of fires in his experience and a two year veteran always, always wanting to learn and practice. I have been serving as a firefighter for almost 19 years. In this one photo I see the past fires I have fought and the future ones that will come. And they will come. I see the heart and soul of firefighters, the willingness and dedication to give it your all for your brother firefighters, for friends and strangers in your community. I see why I love firefighting and after I have attended so many Live Burns, it still means so much with every new crew and every new experience.

I see my senior firefighter with his hand on the Rookie firefighters back, assuring him he's OK, offering guidance and reassurance. It's hot in there, at this point in the photo probably about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can feel the heat closing in on you and you learn to trust your bunker gear. You learn why your fire officers are always nagging you about making sure every snap, zipper and closure is properly secured. Why we wear nomex. Why we train to learn how to fight fires and what we could expect. How we learn when it's time to call it a day, secure our crews and exit the building together, time for a defensive strategy.

I see the faces of each guy in this photo. I see their families, their wives, children and parents. I see the story of their lives. Memories we have shared and times ahead together. I see their struggles and their triumphs. Their graduations from the Fire Academy. Their last birthday party. Their weddings. The donuts and coffee we shared that morning as they shared their anticipation and the heat of the fire.

I see the importance of everyone going home. Safely. Every day, from every call.

Cindy Rashkin Fire Photography
Cindy Rashkin Fire Photography

Fire Dept Photographers

Fire Dept photographers are not just anyone walking around with a camera. Our fire dept Photographer Cindy Rashkin is very cool. She is out there with us rain and shine, hurricanes and blizzards, night and day. She captures moments of firefighter time on our faces, in our flames and in our victory over the fire gods.

Cindy is there at our training drills and exercises. She crawls on the floor for a great shot, climbs the engines and has climbed more than just one aerial ladder to capture the moment. She's lost a lot of sleep and gone to work at her "regular" job late. She's gotten sunburned, mosquito bitten, frozen feet and totally soaked from unrelenting rains.

She represents not only what we do and what we face, she personifies our fire dept with dignity, compassion to those who have lost much and honor to all fire officers, firefighters, EMS and police officers on the scenes.

I am honored that I caught a moment in time that I bring to this lens, but I thank Cindy for all of the times and all of the memories worth more than millions of words could ever say.

The Firefighter Team

A firefighter is always part of a team. No firefighter ever fights a fire alone. We use the buddy system. If two go in to fight a fire, two come out together. Once firefighters start a job together, whether it is extinguishing the flames, doing overhaul or extrication on trapped victims, they are a team. We rely on each other to get the job done. We keep track of each other and don't go wandering off to find a better job to do.

If your firefighter buddy is running low on air and has to exit the building, then you are right by their side even if you still have air in your SCBA. We know where each firefighter on our team is at all times, sometimes we can see them, sometimes we have a gloved hand on their boot or leg, sometimes they are on the other end of a search rope. We share the hose, the tools, the radios, and we share the experience.

Digital Camera Photography

Fire Photography means you have to have a great camera. It doesn't have to be the most expensive camera but if you are going to get up close and personal in the hazard environment it would be great to have a photo camera that can take a beating, handle some bumps, waterproof is a definite plus and rugged makes it great.

Most photos in the real world though will come out great with a basic digital camera with easy to use buttons, zoom and switch to video feature. Some will even upload directly to Facebook and your favorite social media sites for almost on live on the scene fun.

Olympus TG-1iHS 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom
Olympus TG-1iHS 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom

World's First f2.0 High-Speed Lens on a Tough Camera. Olympus' newest Tough model draws on their extensive history of creating rugged, durable cameras that take the worry out of life-on-the-go shooting. This revolutionary TOUGH model introduces the World's First Ultra-Bright, High-Speed f2.0 lens on a Tough camera allowing you to capture dramatically better images in low-light and fast action situations than any other rugged model currently on the market*. The combination of durability and outstanding image quality makes it possible to shoot in even the harshest of conditions.

 
Canon PowerShot SX210IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 14x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Canon PowerShot SX210IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 14x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

PowerShot SX210 IS packs a feature set that reads like a wish list. The 14.1-megapixel CCD joins a 14x 28mm wide-angle zoom for imaging power to spare. Frame your shots in the bright 3.0-inch widescreen PureColor System LCD, with the Low Light mode for sharp images in dimly-lit situations.

 

Honored With A Purple Star Award

Honored With A Purple Star
Honored With A Purple Star

Firefighter Photo Prints and Posters

Be A Great Photographer

With today's people friendly digital cameras everyone at almost every age can take photos. But to be a better photographer and really capture the moments of your life the way you want to see them forever, try some of these great photography books. They are filled with great tips and tricks that everyone can use, especially fire photographers who are faced with the challenges of weather, nighttime, reflective gear and trucks.

With a little knowledge and training, even a firefighter can become a better photographer!

The Digital Photography Book
The Digital Photography Book

Scott Kelby, the man who changed the "digital darkroom" forever with his groundbreaking, #1 bestselling, award-winning book The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, now tackles the most important side of digital photography--how to take pro-quality shots using the same tricks today's top digital pros use (and it's easier than you'd think).

 
BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro
BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro

If you can press a button, you can take great pictures. It’s as simple as that. In BetterPhoto Basics, Jim Miotke, founder of the popular online photography school BetterPhoto.com, shares tips and tricks to improve your photos right away, no matter what camera you’re using. Too busy to read a book? No problem—flip to any page for an instant tip to use right away

 

Firefighter Photo Gallery

I welcome your view of my photo and wonder what you see when you look at the photo I took. Check out my Firefighter Photo Gallery to see more of my emergency adventures at: Firefighter Gallery Over The Years


A Fire Photographers View - Photos By Fire Photographer Cindy Rashkin

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Garden Apartment fire contained to six units with heavy fire showing from three units on our arrival. Started by a small christmas treeVehicle fire in a residential parking lot already spread to three cars on our arrival. Started by cigarette butt disposed of in a pile of leaves by the car in photo when the owner exited his car.Fire Chief gets the nozzle as our Deputy establishes command on the scene of multiple vehicle and brush fireFirefighters battled this roof fire when insulation piled on the roof of a school under construction went up in flames as workers soldered beams located directly below.Scene of a motel fire with heavy fire showing on arrival, started by careless cooking when one of the long term motel residents fell asleep while cooking.Captain and LT lead off the attack with a 2 1/2" on a residential structure fire. OK that's me in the back, I let him have the nozzle on this one.
Garden Apartment fire contained to six units with heavy fire showing from three units on our arrival. Started by a small christmas tree
Garden Apartment fire contained to six units with heavy fire showing from three units on our arrival. Started by a small christmas tree
Vehicle fire in a residential parking lot already spread to three cars on our arrival. Started by cigarette butt disposed of in a pile of leaves by the car in photo when the owner exited his car.
Vehicle fire in a residential parking lot already spread to three cars on our arrival. Started by cigarette butt disposed of in a pile of leaves by the car in photo when the owner exited his car.
Fire Chief gets the nozzle as our Deputy establishes command on the scene of multiple vehicle and brush fire
Fire Chief gets the nozzle as our Deputy establishes command on the scene of multiple vehicle and brush fire
Firefighters battled this roof fire when insulation piled on the roof of a school under construction went up in flames as workers soldered beams located directly below.
Firefighters battled this roof fire when insulation piled on the roof of a school under construction went up in flames as workers soldered beams located directly below.
Scene of a motel fire with heavy fire showing on arrival, started by careless cooking when one of the long term motel residents fell asleep while cooking.
Scene of a motel fire with heavy fire showing on arrival, started by careless cooking when one of the long term motel residents fell asleep while cooking.
Captain and LT lead off the attack with a 2 1/2" on a residential structure fire. OK that's me in the back, I let him have the nozzle on this one.
Captain and LT lead off the attack with a 2 1/2" on a residential structure fire. OK that's me in the back, I let him have the nozzle on this one.
FIREFIGHTER GIFTS
FIREFIGHTER GIFTS

Fire Photos Here and There

My firefighter photography is not too legendary. I snap pictures here and there on the fire scene sometimes, when I get a chance and a camera. I take some photos at training exercises and during parades. Mostly my photos aren't really that good, but they are a memory. A pride for the guys to share with their families. Sometimes they work great for motivational recruiting, it makes people who have thought of joining a volunteer fire dept even more interested when they see some of the great things we do to help people.

Other Fire Photos By Me

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Responding to the local fireworks show when the area was hit by a nasty pop up lightning storm.Master stream big water for big fires operating at the scene of house fire, too big and advanced for firefighters to enter and the attack was defensive.Overhaul after the fire is extinguished, checking for extension of fire beyond the walls, floors and ceilings.Car fire on the NJ Turnpike, fully involved on arrival.
Responding to the local fireworks show when the area was hit by a nasty pop up lightning storm.
Responding to the local fireworks show when the area was hit by a nasty pop up lightning storm.
Master stream big water for big fires operating at the scene of house fire, too big and advanced for firefighters to enter and the attack was defensive.
Master stream big water for big fires operating at the scene of house fire, too big and advanced for firefighters to enter and the attack was defensive.
Overhaul after the fire is extinguished, checking for extension of fire beyond the walls, floors and ceilings.
Overhaul after the fire is extinguished, checking for extension of fire beyond the walls, floors and ceilings.
Car fire on the NJ Turnpike, fully involved on arrival.
Car fire on the NJ Turnpike, fully involved on arrival.
Firefighter Visibility
Firefighter Visibility

The Rest Of My Fire Photography

This is what most of the fire training photos look like that I took at this particular Live Burn. Just like in most real structure fires there is limited visibility due to smoke from the fire, your SCBA mask and darkness from no power in the building. You can make out some pinpoints of light from firefighter flashlights sometimes. Reflective material on firefighter gear can shine through if the light from your helmet flashlight hits it just right. If it's daytime you can get some visibility there or even see the reflection of the fire truck lights from outside.

When you find the flames, that's when you get some visibility. We don't necessarily hit the fire with water immediately especially if we are doing a search for victims. It aids us in finding our way around as long as we can control it.

We learn to look with our hands and feet and tools. We learn to use our thermal imaging cameras and become proficient in reading what we see in there. We always, always stay together on our handline hose, on the wall. We communicate, talk with each other, keep in physical contact with each other. Because we drill, we know our jobs. We know how to combat the odds. We know that if it's a big one, we probably won't be able to see at first with our eyes until we get some ventilation going, so we do in fires what we do in training until it's second nature.

Training to cope with extreme conditions like these is what firefighting is all about.

Firefighters Battling Structure Fires
Firefighters Battling Structure Fires

Firefighters Battling Structure Fires

Firefighters eat, sleep, train and practice fighting structure fires because very few calls are as physically and emotionally demanding as someone's home or business on fire. There may be victims trapped. There may be dogs, cats, birds, horses in barns to save. Firefighters love our pets and besides saving cats from trees, we save a lot of families pets also.

We have to be fired up, ready to go. No delay in getting water to the fire truck. No slow down charging the hose lines, gearing up and putting on our SCBA masks before we enter the hazard zone. Part of every successful structure fire call is communications. Communicating with your crew, your engine, with the Incident Commander of the scene, the Operations Officer. Everyone knowing their job, their equipment, their dedication.

Firefighter Live Burn Training My Photo

Firefighter Live Burn Training My Photo
Firefighter Live Burn Training My Photo

Amazing Digital Photo Frames

After you have taken your amazing photos, captured a moment in time you want to keep forever, there's just one other thing you have to do. Share it, show it off and enjoy the moment and pride of having it to look at again and again.

Digital photo frames are a great way to show off and enjoy your photos. Some of the digital frames can even sense that someone is nearby and start the photo show. You can add more photos, retire older ones and just keep making more memories go on and on.

Your View Of My Photo

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    • Bonfire Designs profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonfire Designs 

      5 years ago

      @flycatcherrr: Thank you for stopping by to share some of my photo moments!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 

      5 years ago

      Your photographs are impressive, and I think important for helping the rest of us to understand just a tiny bit more of the experience of firefighters.

    • Bonfire Designs profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonfire Designs 

      5 years ago

      @wyzeguru: Thank you for stopping by to share the moment with me and some really great firefighters!

    • Bonfire Designs profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonfire Designs 

      5 years ago

      @ShariBerry: Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, I will share them with my guys!

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Your photo's are awesome. Many thanks for sharing what it must be like to be a firefighter. This is an awesome tribute to your profession. Thanking God for people like you who serve their communities with such bravery.

    • Bonfire Designs profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonfire Designs 

      5 years ago

      @SteveKaye: Thank you for visiting my firefighters, we love the job!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 

      5 years ago

      Wow! What amazing photos. And thank you for being there as a firefighter. You have one of the toughest jobs on the planet. Everyone owes you a huge thinks. All the best.

    • wyzeguru profile image

      wyzeguru 

      5 years ago

      Stunning photography, your passion comes through in the way you frame and capture the moments.

    • Bonfire Designs profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonfire Designs 

      5 years ago

      @Onethindime LM: Thank you so much for visiting my firefighters and your awesome comment!

    • Onethindime LM profile image

      Onethindime LM 

      5 years ago

      Amazing pictures! And an appropriate way to honor these heroes. Thank you.

    • Bonfire Designs profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonfire Designs 

      5 years ago

      @Echo Phoenix: Thank you so much for taking a moment to share with me! Thank you for your SquidLike too, it means a lot.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      5 years ago

      Wow, that is one HOT lens! but seriously, I appreciate your work as a firefighter and thank you for it. I believe Firefighters are very special people and admire you for your courage:) Great Lens, thank you for sharing a glimmer of your world.

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