What camera gear are you using?
A: I only use Canon camera gear. Not that Nikon isn’t good, but usually photographers will stay with the cameras they learned. Both my lenses and bodies are Canon. My cameras are “1D” series cameras which is all professional grade as well as my “L” series lenses which are also professional grade.
Do you use a flash or a tripod?
A: NO! Absolutely not! I don’t use a flash or a tripod. Tripods are only used for landscape photography or portrait sessions. All of my photos are taken freehand without assisted lighting.
Why do you charge for photos? / You must make some pretty good money doing this!
A: If someone thinks I can make a mortgage payment with taking pictures of fires, well, they are sorely mistaken. What most people don’t realize is that I’m probably one of only a VERY few photographers, if any, who are FULLY insured! Yes, camera gear, all equipment, liability, malpractice, everything is all insured. I drop it on your foot – covered. You drop it on my foot – covered. Tripping on hoses, whatever, all covered.
Also, I am a firm believer in having the best equipment possible. The images you see are not only made up of 25 plus years of experience and knowing how to use my tools of the trade, but also because the gear I’m using is top notch. I am constantly investing in cameras, lenses, computer equipment, printers, software, websites, all to make sure that the images you see and that my clients order all are made of the best quality. Without that, I would be doing everyone a disservice.
Finally, let’s remember that unlike when I was buffing 25 years ago, I’m not pedaling a bike to the scene! There’s car insurance, gas, more gas, tolls, taxes, radios, personal time, membership fees, etc that all come into play. So, by the end of the year when I’m done doing the tally, I can take the wife and daughter out to Chucky Cheese!
How do you hear these calls that you take photos of?
A: Through various means. I have about 15 radios on at all times at the house, plus portables and mobiles in my car. But the best way to keep tabs on what’s going on is through Metro Fire Radio or Breaking News Network.
How do you get to these calls so fast?
A: A lot of it is luck. The right place and the right time. The rest is just knowing the area or catching traffic just right. Sometimes the fire is already ahead of the department before they get there so there’s usually something left by the time I arrive.
If you have any other questions, feel free to send me an email Mike@PublicSafetyPictures.com