California Butte Fire Aftermath

Yesterday I decided to take down a 3 hr drive from San Francisco to Calaveras country where Butte fire has burned down almost 70,760 acres and is now 67% contained. I wanted to document the aftermath of the incident which started on the 9th September. I wasn't shooting for any news publication and was unsure on what and how much I will be able to photograph. I have read in the news that San Andreas and the nearby towns were the most affected, so I decided to continue further down Jesus Maria road. I met some cops there and after telling them I was a freelance photojournalist, they let me go. What I saw there was beyond my imagination, burned houses, cars, everything was completely charred. I also met some firefighters on the way who were there to douse any glows they saw on the road. Some told me that they had already put in almost 62 hours this week. I also met a family whose home was fortunately not impacted because of the fire. They had evacuated their house on Thursday and moved back in just recently but there was no electricity in the house and they were using a generator. I also met a guy who lost his whole house in the fire and had no insurance. and he has been sleeping in his car for days. There was also a donation camp setup at Burson Full Gospel church where volunteers are working day and night to sort out all donations so that it reaches the right hands. I heard so many stories in these 12 hours and my heart goes out to all those people who were impacted. Well as one of the guy who lost his trailer in the fire and was now living with his dog in a tent told me - "There is nothing else you can do except starting all over again". I hope these photos do justice to what I saw.

One of the first burned sites I saw on the Jesus Maria road. CAL fire reported that Butte Fire has destroyed around 250 homes by Friday. 


CAL fire truck look around for any hotspots on the Jesus Maria Road. Every few minutes I could see a CAL fire truck patrolling around the area to look around for any hotspots.

Ryan Johnson from Modoc Country works on the fire hose after putting down a small fire on Jesus Maria. Their team has been working 24 hour shifts

Hector Prado, from the Bay area works with Ryan Johnson to wrap the fire hose after dousing a small fire.

(from L-R) Kris Lowry, Joey Storey, Blake Cuevas, Caleb Storey from the Altaville Melones fire protection district pose for a quick portrait.

Robert Shepherd lost his trailer because of the fire at Mountain Ranch Road. He is now living with his dog named Patch in a tent at Burson Full Gospel Church.

Bob Lamberton along with his daughter, granddaughter evacuated when the fire started. Fortunately nothing happened to their house, and just moved back in their house recently.

Bob, his daughter(R) Bonny Poage and his granddaughter Sage Miller are living without electricity. They are now using a generator which helps power their living room.

A donation center has been setup at Burson Full Gospel church where volunteers work day and night to sort the materials.

A horse is seen at the parking lot of Burson church where a lot of evacuees are currently living in tents.


I second shot a wedding in San Ramon, California. Sara and Ron had a beautiful church wedding and it was amazing being a part of it and capturing this beautiful moment in their lives. 


Digvijay and Chetna Maternity Shoot, Los Angeles

I took a roadtrip from San Jose to LA during a weekend to do a maternity shoot for these amazing friends of mine, Digvijay and Chetna. I have known Digvijay since college days and met Chetna at their marriage. They are an amazing couple and were great hosts when I stayed with them in LA. I had searched for various locations in LA for the shoot and later ended up shooting at different places - Santa Monica beach, their well lit room and Kenneth Hahn State park. A big shout out to Chetna for being equally excited to travel to these places for the shoot. Hope the images speak of their excitement as they prepare themselves to start a beautiful family. 

A Diwali away from home

The earliest memories of celebrating Diwali is of my childhood with my grandmother performing the pujas (prayers), and we kids eagerly waiting for it to end so that we can gorge on the sweets and the sumptuous food. This was followed by bursting different kinds of fireworks. When I grew old, this tradition was then replaced with going on long road trips within the country with my cousins. Indian festivals in US usually mean remembering old times, long hours chat with parents back home and a wish that these holidays pass away quickly, because to be honest Diwali is not special unless its celebrated back home and with your loved ones.

But this year, thanks to my colleague Anu for inviting me over at her place for the holiday. Yes, I carried my camera to document this special occasion and it was wonderful capturing the energy of these kids.  It was good going back the memory lane and see the kids excitement for fireworks or the nervousness of being near them. The adults were equally enthusiastic and it was nice to see the tradition being preserved and the festival celebrated with the same vigor as back in India.


In Love with the city

Everytime I visit SF, there is always something exciting to photograph. Be it the streets, the crowded touristy places like Fisherman's wharf/Piers or famous locations like the Golden Gate bridge. This city never disappoints you except the weather which is chilly throughout. I went to the city one weekend with my friend and couldn't resist myself taking umpteen portraits of her in the wonderful light. This city is a photographer dream and I would love to capture the city in a unique sense everytime I get a chance to go there.

Caught in the Mayhem

While wandering on the streets of Downtown San Jose casually taking pictures, somebody on the VTA train station told me there is a soccer match between Mexico and Chile at Levis Stadium near Great America. A train filled with Mexico fans headed to the stadium then arrived and I along with my camera jumped into the jam packed train. Inside the train, I interacted with a couple of fans, clicked pictures standing in the tiny space. Though my station was a few stops before the stadium, I decided to go the the stadium and capture the crowd's energy minutes before the game. The crowd cheered at every station the train stopped, getting in more Mexico fans.  It has been a hiatus before I shot for my college newspaper - The Daily Texan so this was a small assignment for me in California. Capturing people smiles, excitement, tailgating, cheering for their home country in a different land was an exhilarating experience for me.