Web Site Of The Month
Emergency Service Photography

A typical page in this site features thumbnail images of the devastation created by residential fires. Clicking on each one, produces a larger image, which can be, as seen in this example, opened within its own window.
Photos © 1999, David J. Reimer, Sr., All Rights Reserved

For the Web Site of the Month to feature an individual photographer's work, I went searching for something different. If you've spent any time surfing the Internet, you'll know there are thousands of photographer's sites to be found, each showing various individual's capabilities in producing creative images. In my search, I discovered many interesting sites that included something other than wedding, portrait, or glamour images. At commercial photographer John Durand's site (www.johndurand.com), I found a section that showcases dramatic vintage black and white images of 1960s drag racers in action. Halfway around the world from Durand, Ron Solomon's site (www.israelphoto.com) displays photojournalistic images made for the Haifa bureau of one of Israel's major daily newspapers. Back here in the U.S.A., Bruce Keen's site (www.keenfoto.com) features nostalgic color photographs of vanishing Americana, such as covered bridges, lighthouses, and barns. While these were interesting sites--and I urge you to visit all of them--I was still looking for something "different."

I found what I was looking for at David J. Reimer Sr.'s Emergency Services Photography site. Reimer is a firefighter currently on active duty with the Kutztown Fire Company in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He's an 18-year veteran and is the company's chief fire photographer. Reimer is a free-lance photographer for the Reading Eagle/Times newspaper and his work has been featured in many firefighting publications.

People of all ages like fire trucks, but there's more than just colorful photographs of such apparatus at this site. It is dedicated to those men and women who put their lives on the line to help others in times of need such as fires, tornadoes, and motor vehicle accidents. Photographs of this kind readily lend themselves to exploitation as can be seen by the popularity of television shows featuring attacking animals or car crashes. Emergency Services Photography, instead, focuses on images of firefighters and emergency workers helping others when responding to requests for help. Reimer's images are arranged in 21 different collections, with categories ranging from fires in dwellings, barns, and commercial property to downed aircraft and even some great-looking photographs of contemporary and vintage fire trucks. Clicking on any one topic takes you to a separate gallery page that displays mid-sized thumbnails of all of the images in a particular collection--some of which carry on for several pages. Clicking on any thumbnail provides an enlarged view of the photograph--filling less than 1/6 of my 15" LCD monitor.

While many of these images are powerful, I wished Reimer would have made some of them larger. Since he offers stock photographs for sale, I understand any copyright infringement concerns he might have. Some web sites have started using EquitySoft's ImageSafe program that converts photographs into Java "applets" which blocks people from copying or saving the image file. Since an applet is a small program executed within a browser, copying an image is much more difficult than grabbing a GIF or JPEG file. The only downside to using ImageSafe is that the applets it creates are not currently compatible with Mac OS browsers. As the popularity of this kind of software soars, I expect that to change. If you're interested in learning more about ImageSafe and other web-oriented products, visit EquitySoft's site at www.kagi.com/equitysoft.

The published images section of Emergency Service Photography includes not only some of the webmaster's recently published work but entire tear sheets. Yes, that is the Easter Bunny at the lower center of the screen, so it's not just images of fire and devastation that appear on this site.

Pictures And More. Beneath the category thumbnails are links to other pages within the site. Some are what you might expect in a photographer's web site, such as a modest biography featuring a portrait of the webmaster on the job in firefighting gear. Like any self-promotion site, Emergency Services Photography includes Reimer's recent publication credits, showing the tear sheets themselves, not just the images. There is the inevitable "Awards this site has won" area along with e-mail links and a guest book you can sign to let the webmaster know how much you enjoyed your visit. One of the most unique aspects is the ICQ ("I seek you") Communications Center that is one of the most intense I've seen on any photographer's site. In addition to offering his own chat room, you can leave a message on an "Online Answering Machine" or contact Reimer via his WWW pager. There's a lot more communication data on this page and assignment-driven photographers would do well to include something similar on their own web sites.

A "Links and Rings" lists all 50 states and the District of Columbia and clicking on one takes you to web sites created by firefighting districts within that state. Colorado didn't have any links, but there were some to Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, and others. If you're a fire buff, you should check out "Magazine Links" that provides access to web sites created by publications for the fire, rescue, and emergency medical services fields. Other links include a list of every WWW search engine I've ever heard of, plus some I haven't. All of the obvious ones are there, but you'll find more unusual ones such as www.looksmart.com, www.dogpile.com, and others. If you think you know all of the "portal" sites on the web, you owe it to yourself to check out this part of the site.

Next to Reimer's photographs, my favorite part of the site is the banner ad. While it's not unusual for a web site to have links to locations that have items for sale, this may be the only one that has a link to a homepage that has hundreds of new and used fire trucks for sale (www.firefighting.com). Another interesting spot is the "Graphics and Animations" section where Reimer provides emergency service logos, GIF files, and other graphics that visitors can add to their own web site.

The Ever Changing Web. The nature of the WWW is that changes can occur to a site from the time I write about it to when it appears in this column. As I write this, the July Web Site of the Month, Ultimate Photoshop, appears to be off-line.

In addition to each month's featured site, I try to introduce you to related homepages as well as sites related to the technology of homepage construction. In that way you cannot only learn from reviewing what the featured webmaster has accomplished but also find a tip or two that will help with your own site's construction. While searching for potential Web Sites of the Month, I use Macintosh and Windows computers equipped with 56K internal modems. My Internet Service Provider is CompuServe Information Systems and I use the latest version of the Netscape Navigator browser. Screen captures on my Windows computer are made using Snag-It 4.2, a wonderful utility from TechSmith (www.techsmith.com). If you're a photographer who thinks your web site should be featured in an upcoming column, e-mail me at: editorial@shutterbug.net.