Open Source Arson Investigation

3 10 2009

The story that follows is long and a bit convoluted, but it’s necessary to understand the situation and my reasoning behind releasing the images herein.

On August 29, I decided to go shoot some breaking-news images of the Station Fire, a massive wildfire conflagration which continues to burn as I write this in early October. I spent a significant amount of that day inside the forest shooting. The forest was closed to the public and I was admitted as media – told I was “on my own” which was just fine with me. Late in the afternoon, as I was making my way back out, I came across a rather eerie looking scene at a turnout a few miles from the forest boundary. It just looked and felt weird – the fire hoses sitting there in a box (apparently staging by the firefighters), the gnarly blackened trees, etc. So I pulled in and took a couple photos of the site.

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Ink Time

7 09 2009

Briefing: The Moment [Time]The Hollywood sign shot has been everywhere.  It’s been really exciting.  Thank you to all of you who saw it in your papers (Fargo! Tulsa! Edmonton! DC! London! Holy Moly!) and wrote to me.  I feel really lucky this past week.

I was at the newsstand today to check the fresh Newsweek, because they finally ran the story on the John Hancock Tower for which they had licensed a couple of my shots.  My shots didn’t make the final cut, so that was a disappointment.

But, knowing that TIME had featured my Hollywood sign shot in their weekly gallery online, I figured – just in case – I’d peek at their print edition.  I dropped Newsweek, picked up its shelf-neighbor, TIME – and there was my baby, jumpin’ off the page!  I was psyched.

[Apologize for the quality of the scan; the paper is so thin that it is hard to scan it well.]



California Wildfire Photos

30 08 2009

I spent much of the afternoon and evening yesterday up in Angeles National Forest photographing the fires and general devastation up there.  You can see some of the photos in my Station Fire photo album.  The Associated Press has licensed a couple of them – and I’m pretty psyched about that.  Let me know if you see them anywhere.  (And, in the “dubious honor” department, my smoky Hollywood Sign image is on the front page of the Drudge Report as I write.)

Once past the police checkpoints, it got very eerie.  The roads were debris-strewn and entire neighborhoods abandoned.  I explored the neighborhoods briefly but decided to save that for evening.

Once up into the forest, I was prepared for the flames and the smoke – but not the sound.  It was perhaps the oddest sound I’d ever heard.  Not just the roaring-freight-train sound you’d expect a mountainside of fire to sound like – but a strange, squealy-popping sound – almost like a cackling scream.  There were lines of fire everywhere.  It was really touch-and-go and “intense” is understating it.

It was a humbling experience; I hope to write more later – but for now, check the images.