By Leo T. Garcia
Dr. Dino Rumoro and his team here at Rush began working with the Illinois National Guard to generate a nationally recognized, week-long medic training program for the Army, Air Force and National Guard.
Officially known as the Advanced Trauma Training Program at Rush, the training incorporates everything from classroom instruction to the anatomy lab. In addition, there is a simulated war exercise with civilian casualties in a battle environment complete with fog machine, gunfire soundtrack, and actors screaming, flailing and otherwise creating havoc for the medics in training.
My assignment was to capture events as they unfolded during the simulation training. Although I knew this wasn’t real, the magnitude of the training wasn’t lost on me. These soldiers would soon be facing genuine casualties and the techniques they learned at Rush would literally save lives overseas.
Through the fog, chaos and authentic sound of thunderous gunfire via audio soundtrack, I photographed the medics in training as they attempted to calm and treat wounded civilian actors. I could barely discern anything beyond three feet! Staying in the background as much as I could, the camera rarely left my eye. The medics did their job without giving me a second thought as I shot the action unfolding around me.
Technically speaking, I shot with a Nikon D700; my ASA ranged from 200 to 4000, using available light. In some instances, the fog was so thick during the simulation, visibility was down to nil. The ability to shoot up to a 4000 ISO combined with what I could do with photography software was the difference between getting the shot and not getting anything usable, much less creative.
Developing imaging technology continues to expand and redefine the conditions required to obtain quality photography. Considering the technological leaps I’ve witnessed just in my lifetime, I’m excited when I begin to consider what the future will bring and was thrilled to be able to capture the poignant images that I did.
Leo T. Garcia is a photographer with the Rush Photo Group.