He drives through fires and wades through floodwaters to bring us to natural disasters from the safety of our homes. Photographer Josh Edelson takes great personal risks to get the shot and shares his scariest moments behind the camera.
"Today, humans feel like they've mastered the environment and that we can control anything and that we are the masters of our planet," Edelson told FOX Weather's Nick Kosir. "But I like the idea of feeling like we are at nature's mercy. That kind of piques my interest, and it drives me to go and capture those scenes."
You have probably seen those captured scenes on television and in newspapers. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton retweeted his photos. One even took center stage in a press conference with President Trump and California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Fires are some of the riskiest situations he said when asked, "Has there ever been an instance where you go, ‘Whoa, I’m lucky to have gotten out of that?'"
He said that he was driving between towns devastated by the 2021 Dixie Fire in Northern California.
"I got to a place where there is just a wall of fire across the road I could not pass. So, I turned around, but the fire kind of pinched me in and crossed my path behind me as well," Edelson said. "And that was a gnarly situation."
He said he couldn’t see where the fire was through the tall trees.
"So I kind of had to drive right through it, which was not an ideal situation," he continued.
In 2020 while covering the North Complex Fire also in Northern California, fire again threatened.
"That whole scene was just wild, like getting up to right where the flames were," he said. "I got to the bridge, and me and another photographer were a little nervous crossing it because we had to ask ourselves, 'What's the integrity of the bridge? Is this a bridge that could collapse because of the heat from the fire and are we safe to cross this?'"
They waited and saw a few cars cross the bridge safely. So they nervously proceeded.
"Then on the other side there was a clearing, and it was a good spot to kind of like catch our breath," he said. "And I got out of the car and that was the scene I saw."
Flames roared behind the Bidwell Bar Bridge in Oroville, California, and embers flew past him.
Kosir also asked him how he stays calm in the chaos. Edelson said his camera functions as his emotional barrier between tragedy and himself.
"That inner monologue can get so loud that I just don't really have the mental bandwidth or emotional bandwidth to really sink into what I'm experiencing," he admitted. "After I'm done shooting, when I'm running through the photos, and I start to reflect, and I think, ‘Wow, that was a dangerous situation’ or ‘that was an emotional scene.’"
Lesson number one he gives to anyone aspiring to walk in his footsteps is, don’t go where firefighters and other rescue personnel don’t go. Use the professionals' training and experience to keep you out of trouble.
"It's tempting to go into those disaster zones and take photos or videos or whatever you're going to do. It may garner likes and whatnot, but it is definitely dangerous," Edelson said. "So, in short, if you're going to go cover a disaster like that, please make sure that you're either with someone that's experienced or that you get trained up and that you're wearing appropriate gear."