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Friday Slide Show: Smoky Sky Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

11 September 2020

Early Wednesday morning we peeked out the window to an unusual yellow cast. It wasn't from the sun rising but from wildfire smoke. We thought we ought to take a photo.

So we got the Nikon D300 and dashed outside to take a photo of the patio and then down the alley and out on the street and around the block. We weren't sure what we captured told the story.

So we added an image from inside the house, the very thing we saw that started the whole adventure.

Then things got interesting. It got darker and darker.

There are no pictures of that because it was simply too dark to capture any. But we did use the same trick we'd just tried and shot inside the bunker looking out the window to paint the picture.

It was pitch black at 9:24 a.m. If we didn't have the lights on in the room, you wouldn't see anything. Not a bird was in the air. Not a bird singing either.

Then things got interesting. It got darker and darker.

We're at 550 feet above sea level. The fog is usually a lovely bright white at this level. If it's very thick, maybe a light gray.

But on Wednesday the smoke laid over the fog turning it yellow and then black and then red. The fog also protected our air quality from the smoke, keeping the particulates aloft. Throughout the morning air quality remained Good to Moderate.

Just before noon, we drove south about 12 miles to Mom's house at sea level to do a few weekly chores. She had said the sky was red, something we couldn't see in the blackness on the hill.

But we did see it on the way to her house. So we took a series of shots. Roofers, a few of the west over the ocean, up and down Mom's street. These are the red shots in the slide show. It looks like sunset or an strong orange filter.

Just for fun we selected the text and had Safari read it to us as we started the slide show. Free narration. (Click on Pause to pace the show.)

When we got home about 2 p.m., we took Mom's mail to our mailbox, covered in ash, and grabbed a few more shots in our neighborhood where it was still dark.

Toward the end of the afternoon, the sky seemed to lighten a bit, promising a more normal tomorrow.

But the next day was all smoke, no fog. And our air quality was Hazardous all day.

We took a walk to pay some bills and, with the Olympus E-PL1, we took a few shots of the hazy atmosphere. Twin Peaks stands like a ghost in the distance. Mount Davidson, too. You can't see downtown or even City Hall from the usual overlooks. It's just a gray wall of smoke.

At one point we looked up at the sun and saw nothing but a red disc.

As we wandered on, we got a laugh. Standing in the middle of the street, a photographer was lining up a shot of the front of a house, fiddling with his tripod.

Well, sure, why should today be any different?

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