Small Town Photojournalism

A Photo Blog by Matthew Jonas

Portrait of a firefighter

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I shoot a lot of portraits. Unlike some of my colleagues, I actually like shooting portraits. This is a portrait of firefighter Scott Martin who helped to save the life of 3 year old Joshua Johnson who was run over by a car in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Evergreen. I called him in the morning to schedule a time to shoot the portrait but I didn’t hear back from him. My deadline was approaching fast and my editor told me that this story was going to run on the front page. So I did what anyone in my situation would have done, I drove to the fire station and rang the door bell.

When I showed up, Channel 4 CBS was finishing up their interview with him. The night before channel 4 had run my photos on the nightly newscast and gave me an on air credit. Did I make any money? Nope. Did a whole lot of people hear my name and newspaper read on air? Yep. Thanks for the free advertising. Below is the photo that I shot of the flight for life chopper with the injured 3 year old. The guy in the brown jacket is Scott. At the time I shot this I didn’t realize that every paper and TV station would pick up this story. Note to self: next time shoot some video.

As with most fire fighters, he was extremely modest about what he had done. “I was in the right place, at the wrong time,” said Martin during the portrait shoot. Either way he stepped up and made a difference. It’s meeting people like Scott that make me appreciate what I do for a living. Read more about it on canyoncourier.com.

Technical info: The portrait was lit with 2 Canon 580 EX IIs. I dropped the ambient down about 2 stops to add a little drama and get rid of the fluorescent tones. I bounced one strobe into a silver umbrella and gelled it with a half CTO. The other strobe was placed behind the ambulance with a Honl speed snoot and both were triggered with Pocket Wizards. 24-70mm lens on a Canon EOS 7d. Its a pretty formal portrait but I think it works for the subject. In and out in 15 minutes.

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Written by Matthew Jonas

December 22, 2009 at 6:55 pm

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