Hello P.netters

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Gup, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Gup

    Gup Gup

    If anyone wonders where I might have gone, presumptuous of me maybe, here's an explanation.
    On July 31st the Queen and I set off for Canada's east coast in our Dodge campervan for a month of leisure (actually to shoot fishing villages) but only got 6 hours from home. We pulled into a Provincial Park around 8:00pm just south of Ottawa, registered for a site, and 5 minutes later as we approached the site our rig burst into flames. Flames shot out from beneath the hood, up the passenger side window and windshield. It was very intense very quickly. I jumped out, helped my wife down and then called for the dog. The flames were about 10' or 12' high already at that point. He was curled up in the back at the time. He, Elwood, is a standard poodle and very well trained not to set a foot on any furniture, including in the camper. He refused to exit through the driver's door as he'd never done that before and was also sensing the urgency in my voice which was gaining in volume and pitch. He refused to jump up on the seat. He could also hear my wife screaming 'FIRE' frantically. I ended up jumping back in, with my chest on the seat, grasping him by the shoulders and dragging up and over the chair to pull him out. We quickly got behind the truck and distanced ourselves from the rig as it became fully engulfed, hissing and crackling. This was all happening deep in a pine forest in an area that had been under a fire-ban for 3 months. It was terrifying, to say the least. The fire crews got there 25 minutes later but all was lost by then. By all I mean everything one takes for a month on the road which in my case, being brought up a Boy Scout, was everything I could possibly need for any occasion that I might encounter. About $70,000 worth of contents including 90% of my photography equipment, 'ALL' my cameras, all my lenses, laptop, USB drives, ipods, cell phones, wallet, purse, cash and all our travel clothing. We were wearing shorts and t-shirts and my wife wasn't even wearing any shoes. We just stood there in disbelief. Fortunately, other campers came to our aid with water, fruit, dog food, a leash, a cell phone, etc. I couldn't even rent a car the next day without any ID or driver's license.
    This situation obviously pales in comparison to what thousands of others are experiencing today in California and my heart is with them at this time. I travelled the west coast from Canada down to LA in the fall of 2016 as some of you may remember from my postings here and absolutely fell in love with Northern California. A few months later several of the bridges were washed out in the rains and land slides and I felt so lucky to have seen it when I did.
    So, for the first time since I was 7 years old, I don't even have one camera. I've literally had to learn to live without taking pictures. I reach for one at least once a day! The insurance claim is still not complete so I haven't replaced anything but one cell phone at this point. It has been daunting and humbling.
    My heart sincerely goes out to all here that are being or have been affected personally by the current fire situation on the US west coast. Hug each other tightly and remember, it's just stuff.

    Colleen RV 900 7263.jpg

    Camper 900 2949.jpg

    Nikon 900 _2940.jpg
     
    Sanford likes this.
  2. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Holy Whatever !!!!!

    At least you, your lady and the dog are safe and well, which is the important thing. Hope you get full assistance from the Insurance people, look forward to seeing your work as soon as you feel able.

    Good Luck

    Tony
     
    Gup likes this.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    A near thing - all the best moving forward!
     
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  4. Likewise from me. If there's any kind of silver lining, if you were considering changing systems this might be the right time? (Not intended to be disrespectful or make light, just looking for the good...) Best wishes for a full restitution of losses.
     
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  5. Gup

    Gup Gup

    Thanks guys. I guess the D800E will be upgraded to at least a D810 maybe a D850 in time. We've been instructed to compile a list of lost items, which we did almost immediately, but also to include a value for each. That's the hard part. There are about 300 items and we've got dozens of hours already invested in front of the computer trying to find values. It's both exhausting and demoralizing so we've been going at it a bit at a time.
     
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Been down that road with an insurance company in the past - any receipts you may have kept are good. Also consider that if you did business with any of the major online photo suppliers, they probably have a purchase history. Failing that, your best estimate is probably a good way to go.
     
  7. What a disastrous trip. :eek: Glad everyone got out unharmed and counting blessings. Material things can be replaced and hopefully photos were backed up at home and loss is minimal. I hope you get reimbursed from insurance to replace everything.

    The Nikon looks in sad condition.

    We have been following the California fires in the news, it is heartbreaking what is happening out there.:(
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  8. Gup

    Gup Gup

    Yes, all is backed up. It would have been a different story if we'd been on our way back, though.
    I'll add another shot here of the remains of the carbon fibre legs from my Gitzo. I kept it stored behind the driver's seat so it was easy to see in the wreckage. Of everything that was totally incinerated those legs remained. Even the Arca Swiss ball head was vapourized completely. The fire and heat were intense. Flames peaked at 30' and were at least 20' for 15 minutes. The tires went off like bombs, the gas tank went with a roar and the propane bottle underneath blew an emergency valve and shot out horizontally from underneath about 15' sideways before turning upwards. Each different event drew a huge gasp from the crowd. All the campers on the loop were there by that point because the truck was blocking the only way into the one-way loop and they were all terrified of losing their own equipment and most had children already sitting around campfires on their sites and here in Ontario we had been under extreme fire bans all summer long due to the third dry summer in a row, up until two days before this event. On Georgian Bay where I live the fire ban was still in effect, since May, due to a wildfire 45 minutes north of my house that had been burning out of control for 6 weeks despite the efforts of 800 firefighters. It was the first time in 30 years here that a fire had ever threatened us or even been closer than 3 or 4 hours away.
    The times they are a-changing.


    Carbon fibre 900 2947.jpg
     
  9. I thought I had posted a best wishes to you, but I must have forgot to hit "post". :(

    What bummer, as we used to say!
     
    Gup likes this.
  10. What a crap thing to happen to anyone.

    I can only offer the best for the future.
     
    Gup likes this.
  11. Gup

    Gup Gup

    :( 'What bummer, as we used to say!'

    Thanks, John.
     
  12. Holy cow! Glad you're all okay, Gup.
     
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