Chasing Blazes: Sublime Photos of Wildfires

Awestruck!

TIME

Over the last two fire seasons, I’ve photographed wildfires in Southern California at night. On location, there is absolute calm and stillness in the burn area of a wildfire. In May I stood atop a mountain overlooking San Marcos and Escondido in San Diego County, alone and under the moonlight, with the distant roar of flame and fire engine siren lights in the valley below. Smoke hung low over the valley, enveloping the cities in an ashy cocoon as the Cocos Fire smoldered. I setup my tripod and made images as the fire danced vertically into the air, inexorably marching forward, towards more homes.

This is, for me, a typical evening photographing fire.

Deciding which fires to roll out on, accessing them, scouting the right spot, and hiking around steep hills and mountains at night in smouldering and unfamiliar terrain can be a challenge. Often there is falling rock and…

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