Feb 142011

ISO 400; f/8; 1/640; 100mm (Canon SX10)

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.

  16 Responses to “21. FIRE IN THE DESERT”

  1. Very nice capture! Great shot!

  2. Great image! Love how you captured the water spray!

  3. Captivating image. I was just wondering why they didn’t transplant that cactus before the burn, then I read your last sentance.

  4. This is so wonderfully dramatic and your processing really is outstanding. Hope they hosed down that king of a cactus enough, I love where you placed it front and center.

  5. What a great catch! Glad they changed the date for you….. It’s great colors and that cactus is so huge! I’m glad they were saving that too.

  6. A great photo with lots of drama. I especially like the water droplets from the fire hose.

  7. Wow! That is a stunningly dramatic photo. What a wonderful catch!

  8. Great photo! The heat distorted trees showing through the smoke and the water drops are superb! I am also glad they saved that beautiful cactus.

  9. This is a powerful image with drama happening all over it.

  10. Wow! That is absolutely apocalyptic! The composition is incredible, and being able to capture flames, saguaro cactus and that arc of water as well as the roiling sky…just…well, actually, there aren’t any words to do it justice. You have GOT to enter this into any photo contest you can find!

  11. Really dramatic shot and what’s great about it is that unless you said it the viewer would think that it’s really happening(not a drill). Glad they try to preserve the cactus.

  12. Your explanation stopped me calling the authorities (Thinking you had set it_LOL, but I only have one question, where do you get water in American Deserts? It is a scarce commodity in Aussie Deserts, except during floods. LOL Wonderful Pictorial reporting!

  13. Really special photo – the colors are amazing and the processing is great.

  14. Very cool picture. I’m glad to hear it was set on purpose, and that no one was loosing their home.

  15. A very dramatic photo. The water, flames and building textures and the coloring are fantastic.

  16. This is my new favorite…what an incredible capture…I love the texture in the water…and I love what is left of that structure! I am so glad you had that camera handy!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>