Sonoma and Napa being devastated by wild fires today.

Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial PhotographerSan Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

If you haven't heard, a huge chunk of the area here in the north bay is suffering a series of wild fires (last I heard 17 between the two counties). The studio is completely gone, but my home is safe for now and hopefully remains so. There was a small fire about a mile away from the house, but that seems to be under control. My family is safe, but loads and loads of people are homeless today. Last I heard more than 1500 structures gone and we have a long ways to go before these fires are totally under control.

Steve

Website

Comments

  • CavalierCavalier Life is a Bokeh Foresthill, CaliforniaPosts: 2,123Registered Users Major grins

    Our hearts go out to everyone in Sonoma county (and anywhere else the wildfires are raging). I can't believe that 1500 structures have been lost so far. I'm watching a news story now on CNN about it.

    I'm so sorry your studio was taken. Be safe Steve and all our other friends in the North Bay.

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 12,531Super Moderators moderator

    That is so frightening. My thoughts are with you and everyone else in the path of the fires; hopefully your home will remain safe.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    So much devastation here. It's really hard to wrap your head around it. I cannot get up to the area where the studio was, but they've shown the complex on tv several times throughout the day and every business that was there is now gone. Just a pile of rubble. This is going to hurt a lot, but compared to what others have lost, I consider myself very lucky. "Things" can be replaced in time.

    About 70,000 acres burned so far and still lots of homes and businesses on fire. The winds have died down considerably and hopefully that will help. 7 deaths confirmed here in Sonoma County and sadly that number will probably go up by the time it's all said and done. Cell phone and internet is spotty throughout the county.

    Steve

    Website
  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyPosts: 2,313Registered Users Major grins

    Oh Steve, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your studio - I do hope that your home and family remain safe. My thoughts go out to you and everone in that beautiful area.

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 19,006Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    This is heartbreaking stuff. Glad that you and your family are safe though.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    The police/fire dept allowed us to take a quick look this morning and it's a total loss. I met with my staff late last night and I made the decision to pay them through the end of the year, that seems like the least that I can do. The future for Cygnus Studios is unknown at this point. It's a lot to process and many people here have it far worse than I do. Once everything is said and done, some business decisions will need to be made and I'll see where we go to from here.

    Today the staff and I are focusing on the important things. We will be volunteering at some of the shelters and we'll be delivering water and snacks to the rescue workers where we can. Many of these men and women came from all over the northern part of the state to help save lives and considering how bad this is, they did a wonderful job. Please keep the north bay in your thoughts, so many have lost everything.

    Steve

    Website
  • GSPePGSPeP Major grins Steendorp, BelgiumPosts: 2,922Registered Users Major grins

    I hope everything will be ok. The most important is that you, your family and your staff are safe.
    What about insurance for the studio?

    Right now my Facebook account is reminding me of our trip exactly six years ago. We were in San Francisco for Fleet Week and spent a day in Napa (wine tasting)
    I have seen the images on the news. (They also report on the fires here in Belgium.) Incredible how many houses and businesses are destroyed.

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    The big things are covered (cameras) but all the little things are not. Lenses, backdrops, computers, accessories, props, etc. Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Between the 6 of us, we had tons of stuff that are just gone. I honestly haven't begun to think about what to do. Today the winds shifted and once again my home is not far from the fire. It's going to be a very dicey week. Speaking with some of the rescue personnel this afternoon, I put the odds at 50/50 that I'll have a home by this time next week. Last check, the fire is about 3 miles to the east and steadily creeping this way. One very small fire popped up just a few hundred yards away, but thankfully that one got put out quickly.

    I've reached out to our clients who are understanding of course, but business is business and they'll be going to other studios to get their images. Right now I honestly haven't put a ton of thought into what to do next. Trying to rebuild will be a monumental task and I'm not sure that I'll be up for it.

    So for now, I'm focused on helping those who have lost more than I have and praying that I'm not joining their ranks before this is all said and done.

    Steve

    Website
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 19,006Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    Hey Steve,
    I'm sure you have more pressing concerns than posting on Dgrin, but when you get a chance perhaps you could give us an update. I've been following the news of the fires on SFGate and it's simply horrible. Hope your home is safe.

  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyPosts: 2,313Registered Users Major grins

    Steve, I second what Richard says. I've also been following the news closely and have been thinking of you and your family every day - I hope you are safe. Sending positive thoughts your way. Sara

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    Sorry, it's been a dicey week. The small fire that was entirely too close to my home is now contained and they think will be out today/tomorrow. I'm still a little tempted to live out of a suitcase, but I'm trying hard to trust the fire dept.

    The 3 big fires are still going. The 10,000 + fire fighters are getting a handle on them, but over the weekend they grew with the winds. This week the wind is supposed to be calm and there is a slight chance of rain on Thursday and Fri. Maybe a quarter of an inch, but any rain would be very welcomed.

    300 square miles just gone. 5700+ homes gone. Almost 1000 businesses gone. 20,000 people homeless. A little over 40 dead.

    Outside of the Gulf War, I've never seen anything this devastating. It is truly unreal and words cannot describe it.

    With more than 1400 cops here in the area looting has been relatively small. The county DA promises to punish anyone looting to the max that the law will allow. How anyone can come up here and steal from people who have lost their homes and businesses is beyond me.

    Thankfully the loss of life is not as bad as expected although in the coming weeks the total will go up.

    For me personally, I have chosen not to rebuild the business. This fire took the wind out of my sails. I had started a little food blog a couple months back that I have put in the bare minimum of time, and now that will end up being where I spend my "photography" time going forward. Walking away after 26 years in the business is not an easy thing by any stretch of the imagination, but it is what it is.

    So that is the update for now. Hopefully the fire dept. will get everything contained this week with the calm weather. Even when the fires are gone, it will be years before this area begins to look normal again.

    Steve

    Website
  • CavalierCavalier Life is a Bokeh Foresthill, CaliforniaPosts: 2,123Registered Users Major grins

    Thanks for taking the time to give us an update, Steve. I'm so sorry that you have to walk away from a business that you've built for so long, but completely understand the 'sails luffing' problem. I'll be checking out your blog (https://thatsoundsdelicious.com/) often.

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 12,531Super Moderators moderator

    Thanks for the update Steve. I also plan to follow along in your blog, and I've passed the link on to my sister who is a real "foodie".

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    Thank you. I'm coming to grips with my new direction slowly. My staff has been wonderful and understanding. I had sent one body off to Nikon before the fires to see if it could be repaired and haven't heard back yet, so I may end up with one old body or I will at some point buy a new one.

    Thankfully with the blog I won't have the need to purchase a lot of gear. I won't need to buy a room of lights and softboxes or a couple dozen lenses and all the other stuff necessary to do large client work.

    Right now I have enough images in the bank to last me a year or more so I've got plenty of time to learn and enjoy my new direction.

    Steve

    Website
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayPosts: 2,294Registered Users Major grins

    Final update:

    The process for Sonoma and Napa county cleanup is underway. The state of California decided to make it a bit harder with declaring wide swaths of the destruction to be "hazardous materials" which means that the EPA will be involved first before the Army corps of engineers can begin hauling away the massive amounts of rubble. They are optimistic that the clean up will be done by late spring and that rebuilding can begin at that point.

    All said and done more than 8400 structures are gone. It will be a long time before the area recovers. I've been volunteering a lot with various non profits supporting those who lost everything.

    On a good note for me personally, Nikon has managed to refurbish the old D3 that I had sent them and it will be back in my hands shortly. I've ordered a new 24-85mm Nikkor lens and 1 flash. In my new role as an ex commercial photographer, that should be more than enough to keep me busy with my blog and any fun shots that I will be taking.

    I'm going to try to remain active here on Dgrin as much as possible and might even be able to post some new food and beverage pics in the next couple weeks :p

    Steve

    Website
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