Total collapse, 2000

A Philadelphia firefighter sifts through the rubble of a building collapse in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city in 2000.

Although there were initial reports of people trapped after the building fell onto a bus stop, no injuries were reported.

During my years responding to breaking news, I found that abandoned buildings often collapsed after periods of heavy rain.

Katrina survivors, 2005

More than 25,000 people who were evacuated from New Orleans and other areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina take shelter on cots laid out across the floor of the Astrodome in Houston in 2005.

I volunteered to cover the disaster and was initially disappointed when I wasn’t sent to the epicenter of the destruction but I found countless stories to tell from Houston instead.

I have dozens of additional photos from this assignment posted on my portfolio site: jimmacmillan.com

Downpour, 2005

Commuters dash thorough a downpour toward Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station in 2005.

Covering the weather was a common assignment when I was a newspaper photographer and the east side of this train station yielded many photos over the years, for several reasons.

There were always spots to drop my car, sheltered areas where I could take cover and still have a view, and plenty of commuters traveling to and from Center City.

Burning umbrellas, 2004

Firefighters aim their hoses into a burning building at the scene of a five-alarm fire in the Old City section of Philadelphia in 2004.

A friend just reminded me that several news photographers were at the Pen and Pencil Club for a photojournalism event when this incident broke out and I was among those who left to rush to the scene.

I also remember that Philadelphia Daily News photographer Elwood P. Smith, who was in his 80s at the time, beat me to the scene, back to the office and into the next day’s paper.

Whenever I see old signs on a burning building, I think about Weegee’s “Simply add boiling water,” and this is the closest I have come to catching something similar.

Date: 1/7/04, Time: 11:51:00 p.m., Shutter: 1/13, f: 4.0, ISO: 1600, Lens 80mm

Pee-wee at Harvard, 1985

Pee-wee Herman points to a Harvard University banner during a parade celebrating his recognition with an Elmer Award from The Harvard Lampoon in Cambridge, Mass., in 1985.

The childlike character portrayed by actor Paul Reubens is best known for both his television and film series during the 1980s.

The Lampoon is an undergraduate humor publication founded by seven Harvard undergrads in 1876.

Very few newspapers were publishing color photos at this time; so, I was usually shooting black-and-white film, which was both cheaper and simpler to process.