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Lake Mission Viejo fire, October 2007 by Bob Liewer



Dear Seewald's,

I am sorry to hear about the October 2007 fires impact on your family. My brother-in-law and nephew are both San Diego firefighters.

The reason I am sending this e-mail is to tell you that I am honored that the photo I took of the Lake Mission Viejo fire is on your website. I put the photo on Flickr the next day (October 24th). I purposely put it into "public domain" with a request to click the link below and donate to the American Red Cross So Cal Fire Relief fund. The only reason I went through that explanation is because you are a gallery and I sincerely wanted you to know that the photo is free to anyone who wants it. I also know that you are not selling the photo and that it is just a representation of what your family went through during the fires. I'm honored that an artist would pick my photo.

I thought I'd tell you a little about the photo. It is a 20 sec exposure. I took about 10 photos of varying exposures and 20 seconds turned out to be the best. The night I took the photo (October 23rd) I sent it to the LA Times, Fox, OC Register, and CNN. CNN picked it up and showed the photo on national and international television repeatedly for the next two days. The mayor of Mission Viejo was so please with the photo that she made 5 large copies and framed them. 4 of them are now hanging in the four fire stations in Mission Viejo and 1 is hanging in the office of Orange County Fire Chief's office - Chief Cliff Prather. I attended the presentations. I was at a meeting in Montebello last month and I told the city fire chief about the photo. He took me into his office and pulled out a copy from his desk. It has been in magazines. It is a one-half page spread in the city of Mission Viejo Annual Financial statement booklet sent to all residents. Kind of ironic that the financial statement of a city has a photo of the city burning to the ground (as you know, no houses in MV were damage).

It wasn't long before my wife and son got sick of hearing about this photo. The problem was that people around Mission Viejo were talking about the photo. Then someone would say, "Yeh and her husband took that picture". Of course, I milked it for months. It's been over a year and I still get complements. Hey, I'm gonna tell them today I saw it in your gallery and watch them go nuts again tonight.

Anyway, my 15 minutes of fame are over so I have to go now. Thanks again for picking the photo.
Bob Liewer

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