Unbeknown but lucky for me, the fire department delayed its training by one day. This fire was set on purpose to help train firefighters. We just happened to be driving back from Blythe, CA (grocery shopping), when when we saw the plume of dark smoke in the sky. I knew exactly what it was… and Carl willingly detoured so that I could take some photos. This is when it pays to have your camera with you at all times. I used to only carry that compact Canon SD950, but these days, I carry both cameras. This photo shows it is worth the extra bulk in my pocketbook.
In my rush to catch the image, I forgot to double check my camera settings. Since I never shoot at anything other than ISO 80, I’m not sure how I managed to set the camera at ISO 400… but I’m glad it worked out this way since I think it set a tone that would not have appeared with ISO 80. I used Topaz DeNoise to remove some of the graininess.
I then used the hue settings in Aperture to bring out the colors in the fire and also paint the cactus with the Vibrancy brush. Finally, I sent the photo over to Topaz Adjust and ran it through Photo Pop. Prior to posting this, I tried a few of the presets in Aperture, and although interesting, the techniques seemed to override the mood of the photo. I went back to using the Definition paint brush on the buildings on the “Topaz Pop” version and Ithought it helped give me exactly what I was aiming for.
By the way, the fire department spent as much time hosing down the Saguaro Cactus as it did the building.