Photographing Natural Disasters like Irene - Dreamstime

Here are a few thoughts I have on photographing disaster areas, as I did recently in Vermont photographing the aftermath of tropical storm Irene.

1. Be mindful of the people who were affected by the storm. I witnessed a lot of people working hard to clean out their basements, remove inches of silt from their driveways and roads and simply dealing with the lack of electricity and thoughts of lost business with leaf peeping and skiing season right around the corner. Don't act like a rude tourist, be respectful of the situation.

2. Don't get in the way of emergency vehicles and work crews. The last thing they need is some fool getting hurt trying to take a picture or parking in front of a bulldozer. Keep in mind that workers are trying to salvage roads, buildings and restore power. Respect barriers and police lines placed for the safety of everyone. Just because the rain as stopped doesn't mean everything is safe and stable.

3. Some photography advice - shoot lots of details. The grand destruction photos have already been in the paper and on the news. Zoom in on details relating to "floods", "flooding" etc that can be used for stock to illustrate similar disasters and in articles or ads for things like insurance.

4. Head out early to get the best light and to avoid people blocking your shots.

5. Bring a map! Many of the roads in Vermont were closed, washed out or both. You might have to find alternative routes to your subject.

6. Be safe! Local officials are recommending wearing masks if you are around the dust caused by silt. Its just a precaution but who knows what bacteria or harmful chemicals could be in the dust.

7. Upload your images as editorial and put in a note to the reviewer as to the timeliness of the images. Otherwise you can capture RF images that can be used to illustrate flood damage.

Photo credits: , Peanutroaster.

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September 17, 2011


Now the issue for the flood ravaged areas in New Hampshire and Vermont is getting people (especially leaf peepers) to understand that a lot of the clean up has happened and most of the roads have been repaired.

September 05, 2011


I feel for any and everyone who has to go through massive storms. Not everyone realizes how hard it is to clean the areas up that are affected by these Monster Storms.
Recently we had a Severe Thunderstorm in our area that produced straight-line winds which knocked down about a Dozen large Oak Trees just on our Land alone. I have been working to cut it up as firewood for several weeks now and still have a big mess! People just can't imagine what a few seconds or hours to days can do to the land or infrastructure in these great Storms. Its true you can take some great pictures out of this but when you are out in the Field show compassion and love for the People affected by Mother Nature because you never know when it may happen to you!

September 05, 2011


Having been on site of two major disasters, the key issues I saw were to stay out of the way, and always show respect for the living and the dead.

There are many more important things going on than taking photographs, save a life or get a good picture? Not really a question is it.


September 03, 2011


Good advice, great results

September 03, 2011


Disasters are terrible, but for a photographer is a chance to do a great photo. I hope I`m not offending anyone, but in my opinion there is something nice even in the worst and ugly thing in the world!

September 02, 2011


Terrible, all the damage made.

September 02, 2011


Very sad...

September 02, 2011


One of the many disasters that afflict our world! I am very sorry for the people who lost their lives!

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