With the “stay at home” order in place, Ashland, OR-based Local 600 Unit Still Photographer Dale Robinette (ICG Magazine, Set 2 One-Sheet) spent his summer building a bathhouse for the family’s 1953 Airstream trailer, where he said, “my hammering did have several hiccups.”
When the job was almost complete, Robinette, whose long list of feature credits include the Oscar-winning La La Land, and the Oscar-nominated Up in the Air, was called to L.A. for pickups on Regina King’s feature directing debut, One Night in Miami. “It was a surreal set with masks and social distancing, but Director of Photography Tami Reiker [ASC] and the crew made it a joy,” he shares.
Back home, Robinette had other chores around the farm to fulfill – until a fire broke out in the Rogue River Valley (just five miles away at its closest point). “Being experienced with fires, between living in Topanga, California, and Oregon, my wife Mary Ellen and daughter Fiona and I scurried to evacuate,” he recounts. “We packed the horse trailer with keepsakes and sweaters we loved, my cameras, knitting needles, and folders for the IRS. Leaving enough cozy space for hay and Cowboy, our horse. It was a Stage 2 warning, which is: Get yourself ready. Stage 3 is: Go!”
Robinette says the “hellish wall of flames” surged north and burned everything that was not steel or concrete. “It jumped Interstate 5 three times,” he describes. “We’re safe, today, but still packed to go. God bless the firemen and their crews, as these images I captured reveal the extent of the devastation. The final image is of Ashland’s Burger King and our American Flag. With it and the ‘cup of happy’ surviving – hope springs eternal.”