Monday, November 14, 2011

Always Carry Your Camera With You I

So there I was. Coming back from crashing at a friend’s apartment on the north side of Chicago during one of my occasional jaunts back to the City. I hadn’t yet really started to take photography as seriously as I do now, but even then I knew about the whole “always carry your camera with you” rule. I took it upon myself to violate that rule.

Since I knew I’d be crashing at my friend’s place, I hadn’t driven into the City. Rather, I had taken the el. And so, my return voyage found me riding southbound on the Brown Line on a spectacular summer Sunday afternoon. As the el made one of its many dogleg turns, I noticed a large, dark plume of smoke in the sky. I was immediately intrigued but instantly put it out of my mind – after all, that fire was almost certainly nowhere near the tracks and anyway, I didn’t have a camera.

However, as the train approached Sedgwick, it began to slow down. Moving maybe 5mph while crossing Division we emerged from the concrete canyons with a large open lot to our right and a spectacular, elevated view of the Chicago Fire Department doing some of that fire department stuff for which they’re known so well. A three flat was ablaze with three or four trucks and associated support vehicles committed to the fight. As we crawled by the scene I would have been able to easily fire off a roll of film – and from a unique angle no less.

But I had no camera.

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