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Advice for shooting natural disasters


timo
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I live in Northern California and right now we are experiencing wildfires, evacuations, power shutoffs and general human misery. I'm in the Live News feed and shoot only for Alamy. I know enough not to stick my nose where it doesn't belong or get in the way of emergency responders. On the other hand, I don't want some minor official that's drunk on power restricting my access. How do I identify myself to officials? Should I print up a generic press pass? Any thoughts from you pros?

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Tim,

 

All I can say is: "If you need to ask, you should not be out there."  I covered all the large fires in California and Nevada in the 80's.  Ruined one vehicle (rental).

The current fires move faster and are more dangerous then the fires in the 80's.  Let me say this one more time: "IF YOU NEED TO ASK, DO NOT GO OUT THERE."

 

I've had the soles of my boots get so hot I could not stand in them and my camera straps melt.

 

My opinion.

 

Chuck

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I can't give any specific advice along the lines you ask, but can I please ask that first and foremost you keep yourself safe? We've recently lost, Keith Morris, a valued member of the Alamy community, whose body was found in the sea not far from his home.  I think we are all now more aware than we might have been some weeks ago of the dangers of being a photographer, even in familar places.

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Tim,

 

Some of those minor officials have a wealth of experience and likely have your best interests at heart, if they say don't cross the line, then there is a reason thats apparent to them.

Printing up a press pass? Maybe not. A smile, professional attitude, saying please and a big assed lens are a safer bet.

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Live News has helped me get press access in the past. Send them an email and ask them to send you an email that says you are shooting for them. If you have a Press Pass from ASMP or the like as well, you might want to have that on you too. Stay safe. 

 

Edit: Just saw the other posts  while I was writing. I've only shot house fires, I'd heed Chuck's advice. 

Edited by Marianne
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