New Brighton Fire Engine Number 5 Light Painting Photography
With the wonderful spring we are having, I’m trying to think warm thoughts! So here’s the story leading up to the New Brighton Fire Engine Number 5 light painting photograph that I created last June. Summer seems like it was about five years ago! Anyway, this was by far my most ambitious light painting photo that I had attempted at that time.
Practice Makes Perfect
I was pretty busy since attending John Hartman’s light painting photography class in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. In the first few weeks after the class, I completed several light painting photo projects to get some practice with my newly acquired skill set.
My very first light painting photo project I did after I attended John’s class, was a light painting photograph of a stunning home remodeling project. I’ll be sharing that light painting with you soon too. That bar features a beautiful wooden top that was both fun and challenging to light paint.
The Light Painting Photo That Started Something Special
Just two days later, Joannie and I created this, our very first wedding photography light painting. It was created in light rain at Derek and Zlata’s Olympic Hills Golf Club wedding. It taught me a lot about nighttime photography and the colors that can be present in the sky with long exposures.
All because we attempted that one light painted wedding photo, Joannie and I are now creating something that no other wedding photographers offer. We have become The World’s Only Light Painting Wedding Photographers!
Light Painting In Our Portrait Park
Then over two nights, I created three separate light painted photographs of a 1977 Classic White Corvette right in our Portrait Park. That car’s name is Snow White. It was a great light painting learning experience for me.
Just one week later in pretty downtown Stillwater, MN, I created this beautiful 1955 Chevy BelAir light painted photo with the famous Stillwater Lift Bridge as the backdrop. That car is one sweet ride with a “mini-me” of itself on display in the back window!
The Stillwater Lift Bridge was permanently closed to traffic just a couple of weeks after I made this photograph.
Then the very next night, I created a 1938 Chevy Coupe light painting. That’s another one which I will be writing about in the future. That awesome car offered its own set of unique light painting photography challenges. Mainly the beautiful paint job that features lightning bolts hand painted on the hood of the car. It took some serious post-production finesse, but I was able to nail those bolts in Photoshop!
Light Painting Wedding Photography Takes Off
Two days later, Joannie and I created this stunning light painted wedding photo of Gretchen and Clint at the Saint Paul College Club in St. Paul, MN. That was a really good light painting photography week!
The History Behind Engine #5
That brings us to this light painting creation, the New Brighton Fire Engine Number 5 light painting photo. The history of this firetruck is kind of cool.
The following information about Fire Engine #5 is taken from the book “The New Brighton Fire Department – Celebrating Over 50 Years” written by Edward L. and Rose Ann Schneider.
In July of 1962, the city of New Brighton awarded the bid for the new pumper truck to General Safety of North Branch, Minnesota. The cost of the truck was $13,000. The International truck chassis featured a gasoline powered engine, a 1000-gallon-per-minute Waterous pump, and a 500-gallon water tank.
The truck’s call number is 797. It was the workhorse of the New Brighton Fire Department until 1987 when a new pumper was added to the fleet. 797 was still an operational pumper and was used as a back-up for the new front-line pumper.
Engine #5 has won awards for the New Brighton Fire Department at the Burnsville Fire Muster as the best maintained Fire apparatus in original condition and still in service.
Firefighter Ron Finney Sr
I wanted to light paint a firetruck even since I left John Hartman’s light painting class. So I contacted my longtime friend, Dan Olson, the Deputy Director of Public Safety at the City of New Brighton. Dan and I met to discuss the idea of me using one of the trucks to light paint. Of course, Dan not knowing what the heck light painting was, but trusted me none-the-less graciously said yes to the idea.
During that meeting, Dan mentioned that one the department’s firefighters, Ron Finney, was going to be retiring soon and he wondered if I could incorporate him into the photograph. With my ability to do green screen photography, I told him I could secretly pull it off and we could surprise him with a nice print at his retirement party. Engine #5 was selected because of its historical background.
Trying Out A New “Experimental” Type Of Photography
So the afternoon before Engine #5’s light painting photo, Ron Finney dropped by the station for his “experimental” portrait. Unknown to me is that the area where the trucks are kept is not air-conditioned. It was a pretty hot June day, and I set up the green screen and all of my lighting equipment in one of the fire bays. Ron arrived and put on all of his gear for the green screen photo shoot. I know I was very warm, but Ron had to feel like he was fighting a fire in there!
Last fall, the City of New Brighton celebrated the retirement of Ron Finney Sr. at their City Council Meeting. Ron served the citizens of New Brighton as a firefighter for over 36 years. Over the years, Ron made great contributions to training and developing fire department staff. He was a long time active member of the Stockyard Days ambassador program. Ron retirement leaves a legacy of service to the citizens, and we wish him good luck in his future endeavors.
Fire Engine Number 5 Light Painting Photography
The next night, I arrived to do Engine #5’s light painting an hour or so before dark. The firefighters on duty helped me out a lot with the positioning of #5 and helping me get lights on and off inside and outside the building as needed.
Off-duty firefighter Mike Schute, who lives right across the street from the station, dropped by to see what was happening. Mike ended up a “volunteer” for most of the night. He was my “trigger man” firing the camera with my iPhone whenever I shouted “ready” from all over the inside and outside of the building. Thank you, Mike, for helping me out, I really appreciate it!
Here’s completed light painted photograph of Engine #5 with Ron Finney added in post-production.