An iconic shipwrecked fishing boat in Point Reyes, California, was severely damaged by a fire yesterday, and it may have been caused by a photographer’s long-exposure light-painting photo involving sparks from burning steel wool.
Locals soon discovered that an amateur photographer had posted a long exposure sparks photo on Instagram — the shot, which has since been deleted, featured the same boat (pre-fire), and had been posted the same night of the blaze.
Fire Chief Jim Fox tells the Marin Independent Journal that someone had called to clear their name of the blaze, and that it’s likely that no further action will be taken to identify the culprit.
“We won’t investigate something when there’s no evidence of a crime or actual damage,” Fox says. “This was already a derelict vessel. I don’t know how you can damage something that’s already broken.”
But from photos and messages being posted on social media, it’s clear that locals are furious that a photographer may have wrecked the beloved wreck.
It was such a heartbreaking moment when I heard the news. The iconic Point Reyes Ship Wreck was burned half way down this past weekend due to ignorant and irresponsible "photographers" who are trying to take cool photos. It's okay to be creative, but please respect the places where you have the privilege of visiting. I hope they will keep the remains of the ship there so many of us (including myself) can visit. #rippointreyesshipwreck
“Amateur or professional, burning down a photo spot, damaging a landscape, even alternating a place to get a different image is worthless,” photographer Fede Benavides tells PetaPixel. “That is not what photography is about and if people continue to behave like this, it will ruin the fun for all of us.”
“When they start to put bans on places saying where we can or cannot take pictures, don’t ask yourself or the guards why, just think back on ‘photographers’ like this guy.”