First Response Team of America

Team plus Grapple Truck and Light Towers

Team plus Grapple Truck and Light Towers

First Response Team of America, created by Tad Agoglia, is quite simply one amazing project of ‘Paying it Forward’. These guys move in to areas hit by natural disasters before the dust settles and clear the way for recovery. Everything from clearing downed trees with heavy equipment to powering up shelter facilities with enormous generators to flood rescues with hovercraft. And they ask nothing in return … no payment … nothing. If you want to be truly inspired, check them out.

About a week ago I got a call from my good friend and photographer extraordinaire Jeremy Hess, , asking if I would be interested in partnering to photograph the team and some of their equipment. Jeremy’s specialty is photographing people, mine … not so much. But, I do enjoy shooting big things that don’t move, so I immediately said, “When!!”. The shoot was last Thursday evening, with perfect weather and despite the challenges of doing two dusk shots (One with people) simultaneously, everything went off without a hitch.

We staged both setups beside each other and I shot some frames for both with the evening light. Jeremy, myself, and another good friend, Josh, then set up lights for the team members (See production shot below). Jeremy shot the guys, we removed the lights from the set, and while I ‘painted’ the light towers and truck, Jeremy grabbed some shots of the team on the other set. I painted this shot with flash because there was still twilight and by the time I finished, it was dark enough to paint the second truck with my little 150 watt CF bulb on a stick (That shot will post tomorrow).

Now, up until noon on the day of the shoot, I had the fool-hardy idea that I could (With Jeremy’s help, of course) handle the lighting and my part of the shooting myself. Better judgement along with a dose of panic prevailed and a last minute call to my friend Josh Slaymaker saved both the shoot and my back. The painting part is a one person show. But setting up lights for the team members, while not terribly complex, does involve some heavy lifting (The light-stands alone are steel, extend to over 15′, and weigh 25 lbs) , not to mention gelling the lights, rigging radio controls, and fine tuning the positioning. So, a very big thanks to Josh for volunteering only a few hours before the shoot.

And thanks to Jeremy for his talented direction of the team members and above all, thanks to Tad Agoglia and his team, not just for helping to pull off a challenging shoot, but for everything they do to help those in need.

First Response Crew production shot

First Response Crew production shot

2 thoughts on “First Response Team of America

    • Thanks. It’s two trucks … a tri-axle dump truck, with the grapple attached, pulling a smaller dump trailer. Just now thought that it might have been nice to raise the rear dump. I have two Ram pickups to shoot. They’re black as well and I’m rounding up black cars to test the lighting on. Shiny black is extremely challenging to light. The only reason these truck look good is because they reflect the sky and I can’t always rely on that.

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