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.

Reflection from Ramadi, 2004

I never would have set up a selfie in the middle of a combat mission but I did lift my head for a moment to catch this picture when I spotted myself reflected in the twisted rearview mirror of a Humvee while covering a recon mission with US Marines in the Iraqi City of Ramadi on 2004.

I spent a year covering the Iraq war for The Associated Press, ending in April, 2005.

Masked messengers, 2003

Two young women don vintage gas masks while waiting for a peace demonstration to kick off on Dilworth Plaza outside Philadelphia City Hall on March 20, 2003, the same day US forces invaded Iraq.

I have covered a few violent demonstrations in Philadelphia over the years but I can’t recall police ever deploying tear gas here.

Metadata info shows that I captured this image with a Nikon D1H camera, a 1/80th shutter speed and f 4.0 aperture, but focal length and ISO data is missing.

See you later, alligators, 2006

Philadelphia Police officers remove one of several alligators they were surprised to find when SWAT teams raided a home on a drug warrant in 2006.

I spent more nearly 30 years covering breaking news in American cities and this was my only alligator call.

Metadata info shows that I captured this image with a Nikon D2Hs camera, a 1/90th shutter speed and f 2.8 aperture, but focal length and ISO data is missing.

Remember this photograph, 2003

A peace protester holds up a photograph from the Vietnam era during a demonstration held in Washington in 2003, in opposition to the impending US war with Iraq.

Date: 1/18/03, Time: 1:22:47 PM, Shutter: 1/1600, f:4.0, ISO:400, Lens: Zoomed to 92mm

Nick Ut, who captured the famous image of the burned child running from her village in 1972, recently announced his retirement after 51 years with the Associated Press.

Read more: Nick Ut, AP photographer behind ‘Napalm Girl,’ to retire